Chameleons – Do They Really Disappear Into the Background?
There are so many mistaken thoughts about chameleons, and once you have added one to your reptile collection you will begin to discover the truths. They are not a difficult lizard to keep, but not one recommended for first time reptile owners.
What about the Chameleons reputation of being able to almost disappear? There is a great basis of truth in the statement, but only when you temper it with a good dose of reality. The Chameleon lizard does not move from place to place and instantly change color. Most of the time they actually stay a standard color. Their ability to change colors becomes fully engaged when they are frightened or feel threatened. It is part of their defense system to help them blend into the surroundings, not a moment to moment habit.
Perhaps an even more interesting aspect of Chameleons is watching their eyes. Their two eyes move independently of each other allowing them to focus on two things at one time. A skill most of us humans would love to have. This skill is very important to these amazing hunters.
Chameleons are insectivores, meaning you will be feeding them insects. This is one of the most interesting portions of watching your lizard. Their tongue is long, extremely long, almost 150 percent of their body length. The tongue is very sticky, too. When this tongue darts out and snatches an unsuspecting insect from a nearby branch you may jump.
Since Chameleons are forest creatures who spend most of their times in trees it is critical the habitat you give them is tall and filled with climbing branches and vegetation. This will be where they spend all of their time. It will be very rare for you to find your Chameleon spending time on the floor of the habitat.
While many lizards are commonly kept in glass enclosures the best habitat for your Chameleon will be a screened cage. It allows for better air flow and can be built for greater heights allowing more climbing area for your Chameleon.
Compared to many reptiles the lifespan of your Chameleon is very short. They normally live between 5 to 7 years, where many other reptiles are known to live 15 to 30 years. This is one reason you must only buy your Chameleons from a trusted pet store who can verify the age of the reptile. Without having a great idea of age you could easily be buying a lizard in the last year or two of their life.
While Chameleons are beautiful and not terribly hard to maintain, they are not easily handled, and can become frightened easily. They are a good reptile for experienced owners, but should not be the first choice of a new hobbyist. If you are new to the world of reptiles and lizards try your hand at the Bearded Gecko first. They are easier to handle, great with people, and easy to care for. Once you have a little experience is the perfect time to add a Chameleon to your collection.