Chameleons Checklist: Chameleon Supplies List

Just like us, our scaly pals appreciate a comfy and well-equipped home. It’s important to remember that their unique needs are quite different from other pets. Imagine it like this: we wouldn’t feel comfortable living in a house without furniture or any amenities, would we? It’s the same for our chameleon friends. Their enclosure is their world, and it needs to be as enriching and tailored to their needs as possible.

This brings us to the core of our discussion today: the Chameleon Setup Checklist. Now, this isn’t just any random list of items; it’s a compilation of key components that contribute to your chameleon’s health, happiness, and longevity. It’s like your personal guide to creating a mini-habitat that reflects the rich and diverse environments where chameleons thrive in the wild.

Chameleon Setup Checklist

  • Enclosure
  • Substrate
  • Thermometer and Hydrometer
  • Plants
  • Branches
  • UVB Lights
  • Incandescent dome and bulb
  • Drip system
  • Misting bottle or pump-style garden sprayer
  • Cricket Container
  • Supplements
  • Vitamin supplements

1. Enclosure

A chameleon’s enclosure is more than just a place to sleep—it’s a whole environment that affects their health and happiness. Chameleons need room to explore, climb, and enjoy their solitary lifestyle. Hence, the enclosure needs to be spacious with ample vertical space.

Screen enclosures provide better ventilation than tanks, minimizing respiratory issues. However, pygmy chameleons are an exception and can do well in glass tanks due to their different humidity requirements.

4’x2’x4′ Original PVC Reptile Enclosure
  • Zen Habtiats patent-pending design allows you to set up your enclosure in just a few minutes.
  • Spacious enough to create various zones and heat gradients.
  • Front-sliding removable acrylic doors allow you to approach your pet in the least stressful way.
  • Bamboo-finished panels can retain heat up to 10 times better than glass.
  • Non-reflective surfaces reduce anxiety in your pet.

Read More >> Best Chameleon Enclosures

2. Substrate

Substrate forms the flooring of your chameleon’s enclosure. Newspaper or paper towels are preferred as they’re clean, simple, and pose no risk of ingestion, which can lead to severe digestive problems. They also make it easier for you to spot and clean up waste, keeping your chameleon’s home tidy and sanitary.

3. Thermometer and Hydrometer

Temperature and humidity control are paramount in a chameleon’s enclosure. As ectothermic creatures, chameleons depend on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. And they hail from humid habitats, so maintaining the right moisture levels is key to mimicking their natural environment. A quality thermometer and hygrometer will help you monitor these vital parameters closely.

Zoo Med Labs Digital Thermometer Humidity Gauge, Single (TH-31)
  • Digital read out
  • Quick and easy to read
  • Waterproof probe. Uses one LR44, 1.5 v battery
  • Country Of Origin: China
  • Age range description: All Stages

4. Plants

Plants in the enclosure serve multiple purposes. They enhance humidity, provide climbing and hiding spaces, and offer a more natural, comforting environment. However, make sure the plants are non-toxic as chameleons can occasionally nibble on leaves. I often recommend going for a mix of real and artificial plants to make the enclosure both functional and visually appealing.

Read More >> Chameleon Terrarium Plants

5. Branches

Chameleons are arboreal, which means they spend most of their time off the ground, navigating branches. Ample branches of different diameters facilitate climbing, exercising, and natural behavior like basking and hunting. They should be sturdy enough to support your chameleon’s weight and arranged horizontally and vertically to create a climbing paradise.

6. UVB Lights

UVB lights are a must-have for bone health as they assist in vitamin D3 synthesis, which in turn aids calcium absorption. Lack of UVB can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), a common but serious condition in captive reptiles.

Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 HO T5 UVB Lamp, 22″ L, 24 Watts
  • Stronger UVB and brighter light than standard ReptiSun 5.0 lamps
  • Increased UVB Output, perfect for larger reptile habitats
  • Helps prevent or reverse metabolic bone disease commonly seen in captive reptiles
  • Used and recommended by zoos, veterinarians, and top reptile professionals

7. Incandescent dome and bulb

An incandescent dome and bulb are your primary sources of heat in the enclosure. Chameleons need a temperature gradient to thermoregulate, meaning a warmer basking spot and a cooler area to retreat to if they overheat. The wattage of your bulb will depend on the size of the enclosure and the distance from the basking spot.

8. Drip system

Chameleons, fascinatingly, prefer not to drink still water. A drip system simulates droplets from leaves, encouraging your pet to hydrate. While a simple setup like a punctured plastic bag can work, there are many commercial options available that can be adjusted for drip rate.

9. Misting bottle or pump style garden sprayer

Maintaining humidity is crucial for chameleon health, helping with hydration and shedding. Misting the enclosure also encourages natural drinking behavior as chameleons will often drink the droplets from the leaves or even the air!

10. Cricket Container

A well-fed chameleon is a happy chameleon. A cricket container is necessary for keeping the insects healthy and nutritious for your pet. Make sure to ‘gut-load’ your crickets with a nutritious diet before feeding them to your chameleon for maximum nutrient transfer.

11. Supplements

Calcium and vitamin supplements are necessary to prevent deficiencies. Indoor chameleons particularly need supplements with D3 as they lack natural sunlight exposure. Dust the feeder insects with the supplement powder before feeding to ensure your chameleon gets their vitamins.

Zoo Med Reptivite Reptile Vitamins
  • Ultra fine super stick formula
  • No artificial additives or fillers
  • ReptiVite does not contain artificial additives or fillers like soy, yeast, or sucrose
  • Originally developed for the San Diego Zoo to correct soft-shell problems in turtles, it is now used by some of the most respected zoos and animal parks throughout the world

12. Vitamin supplements

Just like us, chameleons need a range of vitamins for their overall health. Multivitamin supplements like Herptivite are often used in combination with calcium supplements to provide a balanced diet.

Taking care of chameleons is a serious commitment, but armed with the right information, you’ll be well on your way to providing a fantastic home for your new pet. Remember, every chameleon is unique, and the joy lies in understanding and catering to their individual needs. Good luck on your chameleon-keeping journey!

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