Health & Hygiene
A healthy Chameleon will have bright eyes, clear skin and be quite active. To help ensure the ongoing health and well-being of your Chameleon, it is important to provide her with a balanced diet, a carefully managed habitat and regular cleaning.
Following are some of the more common health problems experienced by Chameleons:
Metabolic Bone Disease
A problem for many reptiles, MBD is caused from a lack of calcium and/or UVA/UVB lighting. Symptoms include a thickened jaw line and/or ankles, bumps along spine, poor color, brittle/broken/misaligned bones, lack of coordination and weakened grip or tendency to fall.
Caused by your Chameleon getting to close to her basking light, thermal burns are recognisable by a light green patch, which may be accompanied by a blister(s). The area then turns black and eventually falls off leaving a raw area prone to infection. If you notice this, medical attention will be required, but it can be easily prevented by ensuring the basking light is at least one foot away.
Female Chameleons will lay eggs a number of times each year, regardless of whether or not they have mated. If she does not have a suitable place to lay her eggs, she will retain them, which will cause suffocation, dehydration or malnourishment, each of which will be fatal. When she wants to deposit her eggs, she will stop eating, but keep drinking. She may also start scratching the glass or ground, her eyes will be closed and she will remain in the lower part of her vivarium. Provide a container of clean sand in which she can deposit her eggs when you see these symptoms develop.
Cleaning the Habitat
Like any pet, regular cleaning of your pet's home will be required to maintain its ongoing health. Establishing a regular routine will help you to keep your Chameleon's vivarium clean and disease free.
- Remove waste, debris, dead feeder insects, and shed skin from the vivarium
- Mist your Chameleon's vivarium with clean, fresh water
- Remove and clean any objects that have fecal matter on them
- Clean and disinfect enclosure thoroughly
- Clean and disinfect interior items such as decorations, feeding and watering items
- Replace soiled substrate.
When cleaning your cage your chameleon should not be handled or played with instead you could put it in a supervised area to encourage exercise.
As with all reptiles, Chameleons have the potential to carry pathogens such as salmonella so children under five should not handle them and hands should be thoroughly washed before and after handling.
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