These beautiful animals are one of the most popular pet chameleons. Coming from West Africa, the Senegal Chameleon (or Chamaeleo senegalensis) these gorgeous animals are quite fragile, and need to be taken care of properly. They usually live for around five years and can grow to be up to 8 inches long. A Senegal chameleon has a small neck flap which is their most distinguishing feature.
While most chameleon pets are bred in captivity, these are actually caught in the wild. Because of this, they tend to be very sensitive and are not recommended for people who have little experience with keeping chameleons as pets. However, if you follow the advice we give below, these beautiful animals will live a long and happy life.
Enclosure, light and heating
Now, the first thing you should keep in mind is taking care of the chameleon’s enclosure. You need to keep in mind that this type especially needs a lot of air circulation, and lots of trees and ladders so it can climb and move around a lot. Also, it’s recommended that for Senegal Chameleon it’s best if you have enclosures that are more tall than they are wide. Since they are on the smaller side, a cage that is one foot long and three feet tall is more than enough. Of course, if you can, you can get a bigger one, as long as it isn’t too cramped. Don’t forget to place actual foliage with leaves in the enclosure.
You should pay attention the heat and lighting in your enclosure. First, your basking area (or heat spot) should be around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the whole enclosure should stay at around 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and 65 during the night. Also, you need UVB lighting, since this greatly influences their metabolism and appetite. Furthermore, this allows them to synthesize Vitamin D3. This is needed so that they have healthy bones and joints, as well as having it grow properly. It’s also recommended that you place them in direct sunlight for several hours per day, if at all possible since this is a natural way to allow them to synthesize D3.
Water and food
Since chameleons do not actually drink water from a bowl, but actually lick of dew and droplets of leaves, you need to either get a drip system or simply mist the lizards cage about two to three times a day. In fact, it’s always a good idea to get an automatic misting system, since humidity must be quite high for any chameleon, especially for the Senegal Chameleon.
Now, Senegal chameleons like to eat mealworms, butter worms, crickets and essentially any other insect that you can get at your local pet shop. We advise you get some gut loaded bugs (i.e. insects fed a diet that is specifically meant to help out your lizard) and get them dusted in calcium powder. It’s best if you feed them with insects daily, and remember not to put too much. Chameleons won’t overfeed, but they can simply leave the insects alone. This may cause the bugs to either attack them or (if they’re already dead) begin decomposing, which can make your little lizard sick.
This article has been submitted by Nick Denek for mypetchameleon.com