The bearded pygmy chameleon is a small lizard native to northeastern Tanzania. It gets its name from the elongated scales on its chin that look like a small beard. The lizard grows to about 3 inches long with a short, curled-up tail. It is dark to light brown, or green, in colour. Males turn darker when excited, while females show a pattern. If you want to keep a bearded pygmy chameleon as a pet, it needs a stable environment to survive away from its natural habitat.
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Create appropriate housing. Buy a 10-gallon tank, which is big enough for two lizards. Get a bigger tank if you have two males because they may fight. Put a 3-centimeter soil substrate and a layer of leaf litter and bark on the bottom of the tank. Place thin branches and tropical plants in the tank to recreate a tropical habitat.
Maintain a temperature and humidity level in the tank. Make sure the tank is between 22.2 and 24.4 degrees C. Lower the temperature to between 18.8 and 21.1 degrees C at night. Don't let the temperature rise over 26.7 degrees C. Keep the humidity level at approximately 70 per cent.
Buy suitable lighting. Install a 2-percent UV light to illuminate the tank and help the plants grow. Alternatively, use a fluorescent grow light to create a day-and-night light cycle.
Feed your bearded pygmy chameleon a varied diet. Feed it a mixture of small insects including crickets, mini mealworms, spiders, houseflies and locusts. Give it a vitamin supplement once or twice a week; coating the insects in a vitamin dust is once way of doing this.
Keep the tank misted. The lizard prefers water droplets to drink, instead of a water dish. Spray water onto the plants and other things in the tank. Put a small waterfall in the tank so it can drink from the moving water.
Create the right breeding environment. Males breed throughout the year. Have more than one female in the tank to reduce stress. Females lay their eggs in the substrate so ensure it is moist, but not too soggy. Keep the temperature of the tank between 18.8 and 23.3 degrees C so the eggs can hatch in 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 months.
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