Should you choose a chameleon as a pet? 0 34

Pet chameleon

Chameleons are not the easiest pet to take care of, and are more for the advanced reptile enthusiast. That said, they are beautiful creatures and they can thrive if well looked after.

Our pet care advice below will help you decide whether a chameleon is right for you:

Different types of chameleon

There are a few different chameleons suitable to be kept as pets: The Veiled or Yemen Chameleon is one of the easier species to keep. They can grow to two feet, so make sure you consider that when buying a cage.

Panther Chameleons are active during the day, and require a similar environment to the veiled chameleon. They grow up to about 20 inches.

Jackson’s chameleons are the smallest of these three breeds, and grow to around 10 inches. Some species of Jackson’s chameleons also have a horn.

All chameleons prefer not to be handled, and need to be housed on their own. If you want to breed your chameleons, make sure you look into this carefully.

Getting the environment right

A chameleon’s natural habitat is the humid rainforests and arid deserts, so they need a humid environment with enough space to allow for their tree climbing – the minimum size is three feet by three feet by four feet tall.

You’ll need to include lots of tree branches and foliage within the cage. The chameleon likes to bask, and you’ll need different basking spots, in a range of different temperatures, depending on your type of chameleon.

You’ll also need UV lighting that’s designed for reptiles as well as a misting system if you’re not going to be there to ensure humidity is at the right level. Misting needs to take place twice a day.

Feeding your chameleon

Chameleons are insectivores, and so a mixed diet of crickets, roaches, and worms is their preferred menu. Some also like vegetation such as fruits and vegetables.

Chameleons don’t drink from a bowl, preferring to take droplets of water from the leaves, so it’s important you’re misting twice a day, or providing a water system that drips.

With the right pet care, chameleons are a fascinating pet to keep, but are probably not for you if you want a reptile to handle. You’ll also need to put time into making sure their environment is right, as they can easily get sick if not.

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Essential considerations when buying a tortoise 0 126

Keeping a tortoise as a pet

If you love reptiles, you may have toyed with the idea of owning a pet tortoise. These are truly fascinating creatures, having lived alongside the dinosaurs. Over millions of years of evolution, tortoises have grown to require fairly specific needs. However, they can be loving and fairly low-maintenance pets if you approach tortoise care in the right way. Here are a few things to think about before getting your tortoise.

Choosing a breed

Tortoises are very diverse animals, and different breeds will work better for different lifestyles. Russian, Bell, and Forest Hingeback tortoises are fairly small, growing up to 8.5”. Red Foots are a mid-range breed, growing up to 14”, while African Spur Thighs are a notably large breed, with some adults weighing well over 150 pounds. While vivariums and similar enclosures are fine for young tortoises and particularly small breeds, most will require some outdoor space to keep them in.

General supplies

As with any unusual pets, you need to ensure you have all the right supplies to keep your tortoise happy and healthy in its new home. When kept indoors, your tortoise will need a basking light to draw energy from, as well as a florescent UVB light to help it process vitamins and minerals healthily. To ensure the UVB rays are enough for your tortoise, set reminders to yourself to change them once every 6-8 months. A large water bowl is needed for drinking and soaking. Finally, your tortoise will need a heating pad. This will warm its belly, and help with its digestion.


Like many other animals, infant and adolescent tortoises will need extra nutritional care to help them grow healthily. To this end, make sure you’re keeping them on a balanced diet of crispy, easily-digestible food, like grasses and leafy green vegetables. It’s also a good idea to get them some calcium and vitamin supplements. As their jaws mature, you can move them onto more solid foods like fruits. Fully-grown tortoises will be able to manage darker leafy greens, along with a wider range of go-to reptile food, such as fruits, earthworms, and crickets. If you’re ever unsure of what you should be giving your tortoise based on their age and breed, consult your vet.

Find out more about caring for your pet tortoise

How to set up a vivarium for a bearded dragon 0 124

Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are relatively tame and easy to handle, with interesting, unique habits that make them entertaining to watch and brilliant pets. These wonderful reptiles can grow up to two feet long and have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, so it’s important to set up the perfect home for your new beardie.

Where in my home can a vivarium go?

When planning for your new bearded dragon, it is important to take into consideration the different features of your room that may cause a problem for your pet. Bearded dragons do love the warm, however, it is always considered best practice to avoid putting the vivarium too close to sources of heat as it can make it extremely difficult to regulate the temperature. Although many people like having their pets close to them in their living rooms, placing the vivarium next to any sources of loud noise, such as TVs or speakers can cause a problem for your new beardie.

What needs to go in the vivarium?

When you start shopping for a vivarium for your new pet, there are a variety of starter kits or individual items that you can purchase to help set up the perfect new home for your dragon. Usually, starter kits will include a UVB light (should span approximately two thirds of the length of the enclosure), a controller for the UV tube, a reflector to help maximise the tube’s output, a basking spotlight and ceramic holder, and an appropriate substrate for the base of the vivarium.

In addition to the lighting and base essentials, adding temperature gauges, a digital thermostat, a hygrometer to measure humidity and a shaded area, are all recommended to help you look after your dragon. It is always advisable to use a manual plug for the dimmer or dimming thermostat to regulate the temperature within your vivarium to reduce the risk of it overheating. For your bearded dragon’s comfort, artificial plants, rocks and branches all make brilliant additions to a vivarium.

Other points to consider

It is always worth doing your research when getting any new pet to make sure you get it right the first time, and this is definitely true when it comes to setting up a vivarium for a bearded dragon. Wooden vivariums are better suited to bearded dragons as it’s easier to maintain the temperature compared to full glass vivariums, and it is important to supply plenty of ventilation to prevent the viv becoming too humid, which will also reduce the risk of respiratory infections.

Four more unusual lizards you can keep as pets