Your Chameleon's Enclosure  
Chapter 2:
Environment


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:

  1. 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!

  2. 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.


PROS:

  • 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!


CONS:

  • 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 down.


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.

 

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Checklist: Everything You Need For Your Chameleon