Animal Stories - Jackson's Chameleon
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Jackson's Chameleons are fascinating creatures with a twig-like motion to their movement!
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I live in Hawaii where Jackson chameleons were accidently introduced in the 70s and they thrive here now. I have one 9 month old male chameleon and he lives in a 2 by 3 foot cage that I built for him out of mesh wire. In the morning, I spray him and his cage with a lot of hot water (which he loves), give him 3 crickets, and I hang his cage on a tree in an area that allows for areas of basking and shade in his cage. Then in the evening I hang him up higher so he can soak up the rest of the day's sun and I spray him once more. I leave him here overnight and he gets more water throughout the night as it usually rains every night here. I switch up his diet very often feeding him crickets for about 1 1/2 weeks then i will give him some silk worms or meal worms then go back to crickets. I gutload the insects with fresh fruits and vegetables and clean their enclosures and replace the food every other day to prevent molding. I do not use Repcal or any other powder to sprinkle on the insects because it is very easy for the chameleon to overdose on calcium or protein. I take him out very rarely, usually on weekends when I am home. I hang out outside and let him climb on a tree in my yard (keeping an eye on him of course). I have noticed that he is healthy and happy when his tail is tightly curled. When he is relaxing he is very green, he does not breath with his mouth open, and his skin is not loose. If I begin to notice that any of his normal behaviors are changing I will hike up a mountain where it is moist and perfectly suitable for a chameleon and let him go. Anyone who lives anywhere else should immediately take them to a vet (who actually knows something about chameleons) if your chameleon looks or acts ill. Hope this helps!
PLEASE READ THIS IF YOU ARE NEW TO OWNING A JACKSON CHAMELEON and have not put in hours of research on how to care for these awesome creatures. We bought Kammey, our Jackson Chameleon, for Chritmas for our 12 yr old son, 2006. We did not do a lot of research on their care and what we needed. We bought the glass aquarium, crickets, some vines and such to climb on as well as a misting bottle. We went home,set it up and watched. It was so cool and we immediately fell in love with her. Things went great for the first 3 weeks and we reminded our son 2x everyday to feed and mist her. He said she was doing fine and still eating, etc.
I walked in there a couple of days ago to check her out and she was cowering in a corner unable walk. She was so weak and her eyes were sunken down in her head and closed. She looked like she could die any second. It was a horrible sight. I went to the computer and started researching her symptoms-dehydration is what it was. (Common problem for those not experienced in their care) I began to mist her a lot. She refused to drink. I called an exotic pet doctor and she told me to pick her up and and try to mist water on the side of her mouth. She said even if she doesn't open her mouth she will get some hydration through capillary action.
I placed Kammey in my hand and began to mist. The water became pooled in my hand and she began to drink and drink. When she closed her mouth and appeared to be done I placed her on a high branch and began to spray her. She stuck her head up and opened her mouth. I preceded to mist and drop water into her mouth from the top of the cage. When my son came home from school he took over the task of waiting for her to open her mouth and then watering her. This went on for a period of 3-4 hours if not longer.
Within a few hours of her starting to drink I began to notice her eyes beginning to open and were also looking protuding again-still not healthy but somewhat better. I made an appointment with the exotic pet doctor for the following day. (We ended up not needing to take Kammey to the doctor after changing the things that were wrong with her environment) Read on...
That night I did hours of research to find out what was going wrong. I found out that glass aquariums are not very suitable for these creatures and that they need a fresh air flow. They also get tired of the same food source(crickets)and may also eat certain kinds of fruits and vegetables. They need a continuous dripping but not saturating water source. Humidity levels need to remain at a certain percentage and the cage needs to have a temp in the 80's on one side and in the 70's on the other. The night time temp needs to drop about 10 degrees from the daytime AND they hate other animals, children and anything else that looks like a predator around their cage.
The next day Kammey was in a 30"x30"x18" fresh air habitat that cost $79.00 compared to the $250 glass aquarium and stand. we began misting her 3x/day instead of 2. We purchased a special bulb for a heating source at night but would not heat up as much as her daytime bulbs.
Needless to say, please do some research into owning this type of pet. They are a lot of work to maintain and they stress out very very easily-which can cause hunger strikes and death. I found many many informative articles on Jackson Chameleons on the internet and they have helped out tremendously. The pay off is rewarding.
Kammey is doing great now. She loves her new environment, drinks, eats and climbs around. What a horrible site it was that day I found her in such poor health. I am very glad I had the tools to find the knowledge to help save her life.
Can a 1 year old male breed with a 6-9 month old female
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cyrus pestana -
How do they drink water?
Jeremy Roche -
They can. They reach sexual maturity at 5 months. Good luck!
Jeremy Roche -
They will normally drink water drops off of plants. So it is a must that you spray the plants with water. They will very rarely drink from a bowl.
Awesome site, I like it.
Infact,this is a good stuff for people
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Charlie Roche -
Yeah, I think so too. Thank you for Animal World.