Probably the highest level of lizard reptile ownership is trying to keep a chameleon happy in captivity. Very difficult creature at any level and we just steer people away. If they're first-time lizard owners, we just say for forget it, because it's usually going to end up bad.
Chameleons have exact requirements and you have to understand where they're coming from, how big they're going to get, or how small they're going to stay in order to do this right. Screen cage is mandatory. Water drip systems are mandatory. Proper food, proper food size, proper food type, meaning an animal with a soft body usually is a lot better. They'll shoot their tongue out again and grab the item and pull it back in.
And sometimes, things like crickets, although they will eat them, they have very sharp bodies on them in certain areas. Their exoskeleton can pierce the mouth lining of the chameleon. And although they will eat them, you've got to keep it to a minimum, because they could actually puncture their mouth and an infection can set in.
And once a chameleon gets sick it usually doesn't get better. They are very stressed out creatures. Everything about them is wanting to the hidden. From the little pygmy chameleon who's just blending in with the branch he's sitting on to the giant Miller's chameleons which is trying to escape notice by turning whatever color he is right now. He keeps changing as we talk.
He thinks that's hiding him. If he was in the African bush, it probably would. He would probably be in an area that have that type of foliage that''s behind them and he would disappear right before your eyes. But on my shoulder he's clearly still there. So, he needs to be in a place where he's hidden and have all the same requirements as this little guy. If you're going to have a chameleon species: Veiled, Jackson's and Panther chameleons are probably the top three, in terms of ease of keep.
When you get down to pygmies and the giant Meller's chameleons, this is only for the utmost expert in the marketplace and I encourage you to do tremendous homework before embarking on a owning one. Meller's chameleons, of course the very the size of them, very large enclosure with a very thick branch so they can get around and navigate.
Where the pygmy is just the opposite. They like to inhabit low-hanging branches, thin little branches so their little tiny legs can grab onto them. This is way too big, what we have here at the moment. Way too big for him. And that shouldn't be in his terrarium at all. You want spindly little Vines that he can hide and and they'll just stay cryptically hidden in a leaf litter.
Oftentimes, people keep them in larger numbers because they're not long-lived and they want to see them breeding. And you can keep a colony of pygmies going for a number of years to come if you get a good percentage of males and females. So that's the chameleon species. The pygmies versus the Meller's. They're close cousins but they're really quite different in how they look.