Carpet Chameleon (Chamaeleo lateralis), also known as the Jewel or Jeweled Chameleon
Popularity: Make good pets
Native habitat: mixed woodlands and forest
Size: 5-8 inches
Lifespan: 5-8 years
Appearance: The male can display lovely greens with shades of blue around the eyes and feet. The colors are best when being displayed to a rival or a female, and when the female is full of eggs, the effect is most pronounced. Environment and mood cause them to change colors, and they may display combinations of deep reds, blues or black.
These chameleons are tree-dwellers and need lots of climbing surfaces, so it is necessary to have a 25-gallon tank with a secure screen lid that allows good ventilation. The housing can have a glass bottom and front with four sides being screen. A small ficus tree and silk plants will provide the security the chameleon needs. Also, use other branches to provide more climbing surfaces. Substrates are not necessary and can be a health risk. Bare floors or paper towels are best.
Temperature and Humidity
Keep an ambient daytime temperature between 75 and 85 degrees F., keeping cooler and warmer sides. Nighttime temperatures should drop 65-75 degrees. Provide a basking area of 95-100 degrees by using a basking lamp with a 60-watt incandescent bulb and climbing branches. Keep humidity at 50% or more by daily misting.
Chameleons need 10-12 hours of daily exposure to direct UVB rays for good health. Use UV lamps specially designed for reptiles, and place them 12 inches away from the pet. To give the chameleon a natural day/night cycle, leave lights on for 10-12 hours during the day and turn them off at night.
Chameleons don’t respond to standing water, so they need a container above the cage that drips water onto the leaves in the enclosure. You can make one by punching a small hole in the bottom of a clean plastic container. You can also add a waterfall, but it raises the risk of bacteria and contamination from defecation. Misting a few times a day, using a drip system and having live plants are sufficient to provide appropriate humidity and water.
Feed your chameleon gut loaded crickets, silkworms and roach nymphs. Good treats include farm raised flies, hornworms, mantises, stick insects and superworms. Occasionally dust your feeders with vitamin and mineral supplements as you feed them to your chameleon.