Chameleons should not be bought on impulse. Research the particular species's care
requirements before purchasing it. Many chameleons end up in small glass aquariums with hardly any air movement, a bowl
of water, and a plastic plant to hang on to. If kept in these conditions, the animal will soon perish.
One of the major conflicts is whether or not to buy Captive Bred ( CB )chameleons or
Wild Caught ( WC )ones. Pictured is a table outlining the facts:
Obviously by looking at the chart, You can see that WC chameleons are very tempting
because of their low cost. However, it is better to spend the extra money for a CB specimen. This is because the WC
will need a vet visit, and it will need to be deparisitized. This easily exceeds the cost of a CB chameleon. Captive
bred chameleons are a better choice for beginners as they are used to captivity and can handle a little more " learning "
than other chameleons.
Wild caught chameleons, however, do serve a purpose. They introduce new blood into an
existing bloodline. This diversifies the genes, as well as prevents inbreeding. With some species, there are only a
few CB specimens, and this could mean only a small gene pool.
Another down side of WC's is that they are usually collected in their habitat. Then,
they are given to the exporter and he/she brings the chameleon back to their facility. Here, they are kept together in
cages, males and females alike. This already causes great stress. They are usually not given enough water and food.
Next, they are packed into a large crate and send to the U.S or other destination. Now, if they weren't given the proper
amounts of food and water, add that to the long period of shipping, you get dehydrated, unhealthy, weak chameleons.
I'm not saying this is the case with all facilities, but most are similar to this.
Try to purchase chameleons from a reputable breeder rather than petstores. There are
many cases in which chameleons, as well as other reptiles, are kept in petstores in glass aquariums and not given proper
care. I have been to some stores that it looks like they haven't cleaned the cages in a few months. How could anything
survive in these conditions? Some aren't given enough food or water and are most often wild caught. Another thing that
I have noticed, is that many petstore employees aren't knowledgable about their reptiles. Many will say to feed the
chameleon once or twice a week, keep it in an aquarium, and give it a bowl to drink from. As stated above, this is not
good chameleon husbandry.
When purchasing from a breeder, you have the chance to talk with the them. They can
tell you when the chameleon hatched, how to correctly care for it, and can answer your questions. This is definately
the way to go.
When you are purchasing your chameleon, here are a few things to look for:
1. Are the chameleon's eyes sunken in? If so, it is dehydrated. Give it some water immediately.
2. Is the chameleon kept in a cage with others? It is better to buy one that has been housed individually.
3. How long has the seller had them for? The longer the better.
4. Is the animal bony or robust? If it is skinny, don't buy it.
5. Does the chameleon have any bruises?
6. Hold the chameleon. Does it grip you strongly or weakly? Does its limbs work correctly?
If you follow these steps, chances are you have a pretty healthy chameleon. However, you should still take him to the vet and have it checked for parasites if it is Wild Caught.