Acquired: Online breeder / seller,
Worked with pet (didn’t own)
New York, United States
Posted Nov 16, 2015
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.