Chameleons' Natural Habitat

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Chameleons' Natural Habitat
Chameleons are arboreal. (Chameleon 2 image by Shade from Fotolia.com)

Chameleons are slow-moving, tree-dwelling lizards known for their colour-changing properties and their long, sticky tongue. Depending on the species, they can range from 3 to 27 inches in length. They are popular pets, and learning more about both their habitat in the wild and how they need to be kept in captivity can help you make better decisions about their care.

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Geography

In the wild, chameleons are primarily located in Madagascar and Africa. They may also be found in Asia, the Middle East and in the southern parts of Europe.

Location

When you are putting together a chameleon habitat, a quiet room that does not see a lot of traffic is ideal. A room on the second story is preferable to the first because constant street traffic seen from its cage can agitate a chameleon or make it uneasy. Choose a room with a great deal of natural light, because the chameleon is a basking lizard and will require regular full-spectrum light.

Features

Because chameleons primarily live in trees, they need tall plants to climb. They also require high humidity. Chameleons can be watered through a drip system that drops water into the enclosure, or they can be misted. They do not require substrate because they primarily live on the trees or plants that you provide. Chameleons should have a fair amount of cover, which will make them feel safer.

Considerations

Chameleons primarily subsist on a diet of insects and worms. In the wild, they will hunt these insects down; in captivity, this can be simulated by placing the chameleon's prey on the leaves of the plant or hidden throughout the enclosure. In its natural habitat, the chameleon eats a variety of different insects, but if you are feeding your chameleon only one or two different types of insect, fortify them with vitamin supplements to make up for nutrients that the restricted diet may be lacking.

Misconception

Due to the chameleon's small size, and due to the size of the cage that might be available, new chameleon owners may want to introduce a second chameleon to the enclosure. Chameleons are aggressively solitary, however, and territorial lizards should never be housed together. Similarly, avoid overhandling your chameleon as it will simply become stressed and fearful.

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