Welcome to the Yemen Chameleon care sheet keeping section, this area is divided in to several separate sub sections – the introduction (this page), the housing Yemen Chameleons page, temperature and humidity, feeding Yemen Chameleons and breeding Yemen Chameleons sections.
Beginner Friendly Yemen Chameleon Care Sheet
The Yemen or Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) is native to Saudi Arabia and the Yemen, hence its common name.
Generally speaking it is quite large as far as chameleons go getting to around 2 feet in length including the tail.
The Yemen Chameleon is also know as the Veiled Chameleon due to the bump or casque on the backs of the lizards head.
The females casque is smaller than the males.
|The picture opposite shows a 6 month old male Yemen Chameleon in his fighting or showing off colours.
Normally in rest he would be more green than anything with just a hint of the vertical stripes shown here.
When displaying like this for either mating purposes or to ward off other males he will also puff out his neck pouch and the stripes and spots come out in him.
There are a couple of main differences between males and female Yemens. Firstly he is a different colour to the female as she does not show these colours when approached, generally the female is green with a couple of broken pale stripes running down her body
|The most conspicuous difference though is that the male has a spur on both of his back legs, this can be seen in this photo looking like a backward pointing toe.
This is a young 4 month old males back foot. With age this will become more pronounced.
Yemen Chameleons are a good starter chameleon (if there is such a thing) and one of their good points is that they will readily drink from a water bowl rather that just wanting to take it from dripped on leaves.
|This is the Yemen Chameleon female. As you can see she differs greatly in appearance to the male and is generally green over her entire body except for a couple of broken yellow stripes.
Chameleons are insect eating lizards and can be fed on large crickets, locust and pinkie mice can be given as a treat.
They are particularly fond of large locust or even adult locusts.
Chameleons are very shy creatures normally and want to hide away in a branch. In captivity they will become quite tame and readily handled, many will often feed from your hand with their long sticky tipped tongue.
Housing Yemen Chameleons
|Chameleons should not be kept in sealed glass tanks that were designed for fish or other animals.
There are a few reasons for not keeping chameleons in a glass tank but the main two are:
A. Chameleons can suffer from respiratory (breathing) infections if kept in stale air, a constant flow of fresh air is essential in keeping chameleons.
B. They can see their reflection in the glass and assume it’s another chameleon in their territory. This will cause them to become aggressive to it and this will escalate as the reflection does the same – the result is a very stressed chameleon
The best enclosure I have seen for chameleons is the Reptarium from Apogee. These consist of a strong plastic frame with a strong and machine washable mesh cover which has zip off ends.
The Cage should have no substrate in the bottom as this can be accidentally eaten by the chameleon as it tries to catch food. Instead plain paper should be used or better still, buy Reptarium Softray which slips over the base of the frame prior to putting on the outer mesh. This is also waterproof.
In the UK you can safely put the entire cage outdoors in a sunny position. As the cage is mesh it will not overheat and the chameleons will benefit from the summer sun. Make sure to spray at least twice a day if keeping outdoors during the summer and make sure that there is some shady places within the cage or put part of it in the shade and part in the sun, this will allow the lizard to bask safely.
Whatever kind of tank you choose you will need at least one other piece of equipment, a large tree branch, this should have at least 6 side shoots. The branch should start at the bottom left corner and rise to the top right corner with the side branches going right up to the mesh sides. This will allow the reptile to move in to either warm areas or cooler ones (thermo regulation).
Temperature for Yemen Chameleons
In addition use a 100w spot light aimed at a particular fork in the tree branch. The chameleon will position its body at a right angle to the light and warm up its body, it will then take a walk around its tree or branch in search of food and water.
One other important element for keeping chameleons is a source of UV light, chameleons need the UV light from the sun in order to metabolise the calcium in their diet.
The strip tube should be replaced every 6 months as the UV element gradually stops providing the required levels of UVB light.
The lighting system should be set to come on for 12 hours a day, this can be done using a simple timer switch.