The Yemen Chameleon isn't a small species, and require a lot of space to move around. A minimum of 90 x 45 x 90cm should be provided, although bigger is definitely appreciated, especially for large males. This will provide good opportunity for horizontal movement as well as the all important arboreal habits. To begin, your enclosure will need a good quality loose substrate such as soil - this will ensure moisture is held, and also provides a layer for females to dig when egg laying (females may lay eggs even if they haven't been with a male, so this is an important consideration). Soil will also provide the option of a live planted terrarium, which is much more natural and aesthetically pleasing. It may also be a good idea to think about a drainage layer, consisting of a layer of hydro rocks, matting and then your substrate - this will stop the soil becoming water logged and helps aid humidity in the tank by re-using the water that collects in the bottom layers.
To be sure that your Yemen Chameleon can make use of the entire enclosure, a lot of decor will need arranging in your enclosure. It is essential that the climbing structure created is sturdy enough to hold the weight of the animal but also that it creates access to the higher portions of the tank, and make heat and UV more accessible. For this, you could use a variety of branches, logs, vines and foliage. To allow your chameleon to take cover from heat and UV and hide from view, you should also use some of this decor to create sufficient 'off show' areas - for example dense foliage over a branch to create a hidden area underneath. Being diurnally active, this wont effect you viewing your chameleon as they will still venture out to bask and feed, and they are usually active animals.
Heat and UVB are vital elements of any reptile enclosure. For the Yemen Chameleon, you will first require a good heat source - either a basking bulb or ceramic heat emitter are best. Any heat source should be attached to a thermostat for regulation and safety of the animal. You should also use an accurate digital thermometer for monitoring. This should be placed at the top of the enclosure, facing down as the chameleon would also bask at height. A temperature of between 32-35C should be maintained in this basking area, with the cooler areas of the tank remaining around 22-25C, allowing your chameleon to move away from the heat as well as towards it for basking. During the night, you may not need to heat the enclosure, as temperatures can drop to around 15-20C - this mimicking a natural temperature drop experienced by the animals in a wild setting. Another essential aspect of the enclosure is a good quality UVB light. This will come in the form of a strip bulb such as Arcadia's T5 6-12% (the strength will depend on the height of the enclosure). This bulb will enable your animal to metabolise key nutrients and use them effectively in the body, as a result, not having this UV can make them extremely ill and even prove fatal. You will use UVB in a 12 hours cycle, going off as the temperature drops. It is also important to note that all UV has a lifespan to be considered, between 6 - 12 months (this again will depend on the bulb and brand). After the lifespan of the bulb is up, the UV will no longer be being emitted, even if the tube is still glowing.
Another consideration of this animals environment is the humidity. For a Yemen Chameleon, this should remain between 60 - 80%, measured with an accurate digital hygrometer). To achieve this humidity, the enclosure will require frequent spraying, a good quality, moisture holding substrate and possibly the addition of a fogger and/or live plants. Another aspect to note is that the chameleon wont drink from still water, such as in a water dish, and it is therefore highly recommended that a fountain or dripper is included to ensure that your chameleon is constantly hydrated. Another good idea is the use of broad leaf plants on which water can collect for the chameleon to drink off.
Your Yemen Chameleon is Omnivorous, which means it will feed on a variety of live food such as crickets, locust, cockroaches, and worms but also a small amount of vegetation - which is great opportunity for extra vitamins. All food provided will need supplementing with calcium, multi vitamins and D3 powders, in the relevant feeding cycle. It is also very beneficial to feed live food up before it goes to your chameleon to make them even more nutritious. Chameleons are arboreal so it is important that they are light weight and agile so ensure there is good variety of food and introduce a few starve days to keep them in a healthy body condition.
Swell SuperStore Yemen Chameleon:
- Current Age/Size - x 2 juvenile 2.5 inches approx / x 1 sub-adult 8 - 10 inches approx (Snout to vent)
- Adult Expected Size - female: around 14 inches / males: up to 24 inches
- Habitat - Forest and mountainous regions of Yemen and Southern Saudi Arabia. Arboreal living.
- Required Enclosure Size - minimum of 90 x 45 x 90cm (bigger is beneficial)
- UV Lighting - 3 - 4 UVI (6 - 12%T5 - dependent on the height of the enclosure)
- Expected Lifespan - 7 - 10 Years
- Temperature Gradient - 22 - 35C
- Humidity Levels - 60 - 80%
- Feeding - Omnivores - Mainly live food such as crickets, locust, cockroaches and worms
- Handling - Tend to be friendly when young but a challenge to handle into adulthood.
If you like the look of these animals, and would like any further information, please call the shop directly on 0161 351 4705, or contact them for more images or information at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Livestock List is updated regularly, but please call ahead to ensure we still have what you want, or to reserve something you may have seen.