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Fischers Chameleon

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Species group:

Other common names: Fisher’s Two-Horned Chameleon

Scientific name: Kinyongia multituberculata

The basics:
The Fischers Chameleon is a montane chameleon which is found in Tanzania and Kenya, with close relatives in other parts of East Africa. It is most abundant in cool, moist mountainside forests, but may also be found in nearby wooded grasslands, farm fringes and even gardens.

Appearance / health:
Several species are sold under the name “Fischer’s Chameleon” (i.e. K. fischeri, K. uluguruensis), but their care is the same as described below. The Fischer’s Chameleon ranges from 7-13 inches in length, with related forms reaching 19-20 inches. Males sport two thick rostral protrusions above the snout, and their bodies range from yellowish-green through darker-green in color; flecks of white and maroon are sometimes exhibited. Females are more somberly-colored, and bear much smaller “horns”.

Behavior / temperament:
Fischer’s Chameleons are easily stressed, so quick spot cleaning should be used to maintain cage hygiene. Humidity and temperature levels must be monitored carefully, as they fare poorly in hot, dry environments. Moist coco-husk and sphagnum moss and, in dry homes, a reptile humidifier, will assist in maintaining the conditions they favor.

These are strictly “hands-off” pets – please ignore YouTube videos and advice to the contrary!

Housing:
Shy and arboreal, Fischer’s chameleons should be kept in custom-made cages that are vertically oriented and well-stocked with vines, cork bark rolls and sturdy plants. A single adult requires an enclosure at least 3 x 3 x 4 feet in size, but preferably larger. Pairs may co-exist, in large quarters, but must be watched carefully. Glass terrariums do not supply the air circulation essential to good health.

Fischer’s Chameleons are adapted to cooler temperatures than many folks imagine, and fare best when afforded a temperature gradient of 72-82 F; a dip to 68 - 70 F at night may be beneficial; Basking temperature: 86 F. UVB exposure is essential. Humidity should kept high – 65-70%.

Diet:
A wide variety of insects supplemented with powdered calcium and vitamins are essential to your chameleon’s well-being. Roaches are a particular favorite. Crickets, silkworms, hornworms, locusts, lab-reared houseflies and other commercially-available insects, and an assortment of wild-caught invertebrates, should also be supplied. A diet comprised of crickets and mealworms alone, even if supplemented, is not adequate and will lead to your pet’s early demise.

Breeding:
A single male can be housed with a female, but they must be watched carefully. Clutches contain 15 - 25 eggs, which may be incubated in moist vermiculite at 70-74 F. Incubation times have varied from 6-11 months at similar temperatures, so we still have much to learn before they can be standardized.

Written by Frank Indiviglio