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P.O. Box 173
Sun City, CA 92586

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Care Sheets - Hydration
Keeping a chameleon fully hydrated is important. If the chameleon is not properly hydrated when shedding, a skin tourniquet may form on toes and joints. This can result in loss of the digit or foot. Using a pump sprayer, mist plant leaves and the chameleon's body twice daily. Allow them to drink for at least 3-5 minutes. Gently rain on their head until they start to drink. They will lick water off leaves, but it is better to rain on them. They are rainforest creatures after all! Take note if your chameleon repeatedly rubs its eyes on branches. This could be the first stage of an eye infection or simply trying to clean dirt out of it. Proper hydration again plays an important roll here. When the chameleon is in a rainstorm shower, it has an opportunity to clean its eyes. If the eyes do become infected, swollen, leaky, mattered shut, contact your veterinarian for antibiotics.

Humidity needs are very similar for most chameleons. Get a humidity gauge, aim to keep humidity above 60% when possible. Use a cool mist ultrasonic humidifier if the humidity drops lower than 60%. The hotter the temps the higher the humidity requirements will be. If it is hot and dry, the chameleons can turn into chameochips, especially the montaine species. Even if you supply a humidifier, your chameleons will benefit from being placed in a “rainstorm” in your shower once a week. We feel the "shower method" is very successful. Place the chameleon on a clothes drying rack or plant in a shower stall or tub. Turn the shower on so a light room temperature rain is falling on your chameleon. Leave the chameleon in the shower to drink for 30 to 60 minutes once a week. During the dry seasons showering may need to be repeated more often.

To avoid a sudden shock to your chameleon, allow them to walk onto the plant or clothes-drying rack on the side devoid of rain fall and into the water stream slowly.  When I studied Jackson’s chameleons in Hawaii it rained daily. If the rain was slow to start, the chameleons seemed undisturbed, but if the rainfall came on fast, quite a few chameleons jumped off their branches with a thud onto the ground and scampered for cover. This sudden shock can be stressful and result in injury to a captive chameleon.  Be aware of how this little creature is going to react to what you are doing to them.

If you keep your chameleon in an outdoor enclosure, an automated misting system is very handy. Regular lawn sprinklers can be set so individual stations activate one at a time during the day, and one of these might include the enclosure within its sprinkling radius. Do not think just because a water system is in place the chameleon has enough water. Make sure at least once per week to observe the system for efficiency. An unseen problem can mean disaster for you chameleon.