Species group: Chameleons
Other common names: KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Dwarf Chameleon
Scientific name: Bradypodion thamnobates
The Natal Midlands Dwarf Chameleon is a terrestrial chameleon which is native to woodlands in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Their habitat is lowland forest and they are usually found on the lower branches of shrubs and trees. As with most chameleons, its tongue is twice the length of its body and it can be shot out of its mouth using a special muscle in the jaw. This gives the chameleon the ability to catch insects some distance away.
Dwarf Chameleons are quite rare because their populations are very localized. There are 14 documented species of dwarfs in South Africa with a number of newly discovered ones, yet to be recognized. The Natal Midlands Dwarf Chameleon is classified by The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as "near threatened", though captive bred specimens can be found in the trade.
Appearance / health:
The Natal Midlands Dwarf Chameleon is one of the largest Dwarf Chameleons, and can reach a length of 19 cm (7.6 in). They have bulbous scales of varying colors scattered around the body. Their head crests are yellow, with white skin on their throat. Males have a short orange stripe around the middle of their body and red spotted eyelids, whereas females are brown with smaller helmet-like protrusions.
Adults are extremely territorial and when two breeding males meet, there is a head confrontation with bobbing and shaking from side to side. A male will co-exist quite happily with a number of females.
Chameleons feed on crickets, mealworms, wax worms, super worms, and newborn mice. For their optimum health, they must have a varied diet (too much of only one type can lead to ailments, and too much of super worms can be fattening). Supplements of calcium and vitamins are recommended. Gut-loading feeder crickets with vegetables, fruits, fish flakes and other commercial gut-loading formulas is another way to supplement the diet.
Dwarf chameleons are viviparous, which means they give birth to live young.
ambient temperature range, specific care requirements
Tempting Challenge Chameleon, ample UVB exposure, cork bark rolls, lightweight screen cages
A Tiny, Tempting Challenge
Chameleon enthusiasts have made great strides in recent years, but many remain challenging, even for those of us fortunate enough to work with them in zoos. Among the most unique and interesting of all reptiles, chameleons can be hard to resist, but please think and research carefully before making a decision to purchase one. The Natal Midlands dwarf chameleon may be easier to manage due to its small size, but please remember that it has very specific care requirements, and is best left to experienced keepers.
Shy and arboreal, dwarf chameleons should be kept in cages that are vertically oriented and well-stocked with vines, cork bark rolls and sturdy plants. A single adult requires an enclosure at least 2x2x2 feet in size, but preferably larger. Pairs may co-exist, in larger quarters, but must be watched carefully. Glass terrariums with screen top and side panels, or all screen cages, will supply the air circulation essential to good health. These are strictly “hands-off” pets – please ignore YouTube videos and advice to the contrary!
Dwarf chameleons require ample UVB exposure, and benefit from time outdoors in lightweight screen cages. They range into temperate regions, and do best at temperatures somewhat cooler than one may expect. Incandescent bulbs and ceramic heaters can be used to supply an ambient temperature range of 68-82 F; a night-time dip to 62 F should be arranged if possible.
A wide variety of insects supplemented with powdered calcium and vitamins are essential to your chameleon’s well-being. Fruit flies, small roaches and crickets, silkworms, butterworms, locust nymphs, lab-reared houseflies and other commercially-available insects, and an assortment of wild-caught invertebrates, should be supplied. A diet comprised of crickets and mealworms alone, even if vitamin/mineral supplemented, is not adequate and will lead to your pet’s early demise..
From findiviglio Nov 16 2015 7:38PM