WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO SUCCESSFULLY RAISE AND/OR BREED AN "OLD WORLD" CHAMELEON?
If you want CUTE get a kitten, for companionship adopt a DOG, if you just want to be different ... consider a sugar glider or prairie dog. Bearded Dragons are great "Lizard" pets. If you are ready to be a part time HERPETOLOGIST, CLIMATOLOGIST, ANIMAL PSYCHOLOGIST, ENTOMOLOGIST, BOTANIST; the "lIST" goes on and on... then you MIGHT be ready to own a chameleon.
The level of commitment is much higher than a typical pet AND they are a "hands off" animal, meaning they do not like contact. It creates stress and can shorten their life. Why then, you might ask, would any one choose this troublesome and demanding animal? If you have ever WATCHED one for any length of time, you can answer that question. Their grace and beauty is unmatched. Their skills as a hunter are admirable, their agility and flexibility would make even the greatest contortionist's head spin. There are over 120 known species with, each with adapted coloration and ornamentation for their environment.
I have learned, now, just how typical my story is...
My first experience with chameleons was
at Christmas 1998. My wife saw a
******** and dragged me in to look at it. She wanted to get it
for my son. I thought that’s a cool looking creature. It sorta looks like a Triceratops.
I said ok lets get it . . . BIG MISTAKE. I asked for information on this unique
animal and was told by the sales girl . . .It’s the same thing they use in
the Budweiser commercial, only they use the females because they don't have
horns (She knew that much anyway)”. I went to their magazine rack, and
found an edition of
REPTILES magazine with an article about them. I bought the
magazine and the chameleon.
As I said, that is an all too typical story. If it does not match yours, then keep researching before you purchase. Even if you have extensive herp experience, these little wonders have very different husbandry requirements than any other herp. There are many species available, each has very different humidity and temperature requirements. Decide what is best for you based on your ability to maintain their environment...NOT because they are the "cutest, most colorful, most unique, etc..."