by Michael Fry
I saw my first chameleon in captivity nearly 30 years ago. I was working at a pet shop that specialized in reptiles when, one day, the owner of the store brought in this curious creature. It was a male Jackson's chameleon. Full of excitement over the strange, new lizard he presented to us, the staff at the store could hardly take our eyes off it. At the time, little was known about how to keep chameleons in captivity. Over the next several weeks, we watched our curious, new charge refuse food and water. Shortly thereafter he died.
Occasionally I would see a chameleon in a nature special on television, but I would not see another live chameleon for another 18 years or so, when they began entering the pet trade in the USA more commonly. I still knew painfully little about keeping chameleons, but I could not resist a purchase when I encountered my first chameleon in a pet shop. I did everything right, or so I thought. I asked the pet shop all sorts of questions, so many they must have thought I was crazy. But I repaid them well, spending a sizable sum on the most expensive habitat and accommodations. I was thrilled.
I named my first chameleon Seymour. He was a sub adult calyptratus who was so active and colorful that he kept me mesmerized for hours every day. Unfortunately, he did not survive to adulthood.
Fortunately, before acquiring my second chameleon, I found the CiN, a new publication that was dedicated to the care and keeping of these fascinating animals. With the help of the CiN, my next chameleons thrived, living in large, floor-to-ceiling, screened cages in my living room. Since that time I have come in contact with countless chameleons of various ages, species and feel really blessed for having been able to share a bit of my life with these curious and wonderful animals.
The CiN is no longer publishing their quarterly journals. But I choose to maintain this web site in hopes that it will help potential new chameleon owners to make better choices than I did in my first acquisitions.
The best approach to owning a chameleon is to research captive husbandry recommendations thoroughly and purchase the correct housing, lighting, watering system, plants, perches and live food sources BEFORE you acquire a chameleon. Chameleons purchased on impulse often become ill or even die before an inexperienced owner is far enough along the learning curve in caring for a chameleon adequately. The CiN’s primary goal is to help you avoid "beginner mistakes" so that you will enjoy a rewarding experience with a fascinating and beautiful reptile.
If your chameleon is currently exhibiting signs of declining health (see Signs of Trouble) or has injuries, make an appointment to take your chameleon to a veterinarian that specializes in reptiles as soon as possible. For help in locating a vet, try the member directory for the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians on the website www.arav.org.
The CHAMELEON information Network is a worldwide assemblage of people and organizations with an interest in the Family Chamaeleonidae. Our purpose is to provide a forum for sharing information about these unique creatures in order to contribute to their chances of surviving in the future. It is paramount that members of the CiN disseminate knowledge freely about the husbandry of captive chameleons. It is of equal importance that we advocate, promote, and support conservation of chameleons in the wild and the fragile natural environments they depend on around the world.
Copyright 1994 - 2001, CHAMELEON Information Network & Michael Fry. All rights reserved.
Web site design and development by Mike Fry