Chameleons Live Long! (If We Allow Them To)


Chameleons are surrounded by so many myths has almost no other animal in the world. And by expanding their presence in the captivity, new myths appear "like mushrooms after the rain"(Old Czech Saying)...

One myth is, that chameleons live extremely short lives.

Care-sheets of many people and even of organizations like Chameleon Forums support that myths in giving very short live expectancy with the reasoning: this is how the chameleons live on average. But the short life of chameleons in captivity is not due to their normal life expectancy but because of improper care that is still practiced and even recommended by many:

- too high temperatures
- food that contains too much phosphorus (locusts and superworms) or too much of uric acid
- lack of proper supplementation refusal of feeding pollen as a natural part of the diet
- reverting the humidity cycles from the natural cold and moist nights and dry and warm
   days into hot and moist days and dry and warm nights,
- absence of natural fogging
- ase if poisonous and dangerous fake plants instead of living ones...

All this are the main reasons for tremendous shortening of the lives of chameleons in captivity.

In the nature, the chameleons might live quite short lives, because they die of harsh weather, predation or diseases. Nothing like that is necessary in captivity, where we can control most of these factors.

So, the Yemen Chameleons instead of living 3 to 5 years on average and if they reach seven we applaud, they can live up to 14 or even 16 years (I had many exceeding 12, Kishan Patel from England recently reported on 14)! The Montane Chamaeleon species do not die when they are two or three years old maximum, but they can easily reach 10 years like it is the case o Kinyongia multituberculata kept by Mario Jungmann in Belgium. The life expectancy of the giant Parson's Chameleon it's up to 20 years so congratulations to Kent Manchen: he has a beautiful male reaching 15 this year!

Don't do any compromises the only way how to ethically keep Chameleon in captivity is not meaningless experimenting but listening to science and to Mother Nature and practicing the Naturalistic Chamaeleon Husbandry!

(Fotos courtesy of P. Necas, K.  Patel and K. Manchen)

Author: Petr Nečas