Always use common sense. Remember the goal is to provide as close to
a natural environment as possible.
More than one way to house a hatchling:
- Introduce your hatchling
to an adult sized aquarium immediately. When you accessorize the enclosure,
only accessorize a portion of the aquarium so your hatchling will
be contained to a smaller region inside the larger space.
For your hatchling to
find food easily, purchase a small (approximately 8 Inch diameter
top) terra-cotta planter without the bottom pan. Place all food
items in the pot, with one or two vines or sticks leading down beside
it, making it very accessible. Terra-cotta pots are cheap, natural
in appearance and are heavier than plastic containers that can tip
over easily if your chameleon grabs onto it! If they don't respond
to this method try using a transparent container, which makes the
prey more visible.
Placing food items in
a separate container prevents the insects from hiding under foliage
and ground cover. It also allows you to remove them before misting
the enclosure (therefore preventing the mineral supplementation
you have dusted them with from washing off). It also enables you
to remove any insects that are uneaten so you can put them back
to gut-load them, making sure they are well hydrated & nutritious
when your hatchling eats them! (Tip: do not keep this container
directly under the basking lamp It will kill the bugs very quickly)
If your chameleon has a favorite branch, you may want to place the
container underneath the branch so it can easily see the food items.
If your chameleon does not respond to this feeding method, you may
want to try using a transparent container to keep the bugs in so
it can see them from any angle and not just when looking down!
You can also purchasing
a "critter container" (small plastic container with a
ventilated lid) for the hatchling and place it inside the aquarium
(without the lid). This method has both pros and cons.
- The hatchling feels comfortable
and safe. A large aquarium can be intimidating and cause stress due
to the vast space.
- It is much easier for
your chameleon to find food when it's confined.
- Since your chameleon
is already in a confined area, the bugs can be placed in loosely.
This is definitely the method to use if you chameleon is having difficulty
finding the bugs in a container. It is very important that the insects
will not bother your chameleon. To ensure this, place branches high
off the ground so that your chameleon can escape them and only put
a few in at one time!
- Your hatchling will grow
at an astonishing rate and will not like being confined to a small
region for long! This will cause extreme stress it is forced to.
- Your chameleon requires
a basking lamp and UVA/UVB light immediately. The UVA/UVB light may
be to far away using this method.
- Your chameleon may overheat,
as it does not have a large enough region to move to in order to cool
I recommend using the first method with chameleons of all ages due the
noted advantages. However, many chameleons enjoy hunting free roaming
bugs. Observe your pet and determine which method it prefers.