More than 90% of the mighty Yemen chameleons are facing heavy overheating in captivity. I do not understand it, because nowadays, it is so easy to get reliable information about their country of origin, where they inhabit high mountain slopes and valleys at the elevation of above 4000 feet above sea level. Most of the populations, from which the breeding stock is originating, is residing at around 8000 feet, where they live in specific montane climate which is mild and is in accordance with the inhabited high altitude. I have no clue why the most people think they need to be overheated up to 100°F and they need to sleep at 75 to 80°F at night. This is a complete nonsense. In the wild, they never face temps over 93°F (34°C) and the maximum night temperature is 64°F (18°C). The daytime is usually rather dry with humidity is below 30% and mild in temperatures, while the nights are cold to freezing cold with heavy fog and humidity around


The overheating is absolutely:


It does not make sense to expose cold blooded animals to temperatures which are more than 10, sometimes 20 degrees higher than in their home country (and we do not talk about climatic extremes that can be lethal). It is of no benefit to overheat them, it does not make their lives better!


What gives us the right to expose the animal to completely different conditions which lay even far beyond the upper limit of their tolerance in the wild! They would occupy regions with warmer climate if they would want to (there are no barriers to drop even 2-3.000 feet lower if they would prefer to) but they do not do so! In some countries it is even ILLEGAL, means against the law.


The overheating speeds up their metabolism and has many negative consequences:

- they live quicker and die sooner

- they die young, the longevity record is 16 years but most caltive Yemen chameleons die at 5, aximum 7years of age.

- they need to eat and drink more

- they need process more food, metabolize it and exspell more toxins

- the level of reproduction-related hormones gets boosted, as they believe they are in reproductive season

- the females lay unnecessary clutches of eggs which exhaust them

- males can show aggression and restlessness

- males can perform masturbation on diverse objects incl. human hands etc.

- they can not sleep well and regenerate, therefore, they get chronically tired and exhausted

- their immunity gets weaker and they are more prone to diseases and parasites

- at high nighttime temperatures (above 18C/65F), it is impossible to use the most naturalistic hydration method - fogging, otherwise they get RI

- they desiccate and need to drink more to compensate the dry hot nighttime loss of body liquids

- unnaturally high amounts of drinking of liquid water cause osmotic damage of their intestine cells which leads to digestion problems and chronic inflammation of the digestive tract

- over-hydration leads to inefficient metabolism due to lower concentration of enzymes in body/cell liquids and to edemas, edematic organ failures, nausea, vomiting - even death.

- etc.


There are several strategies how to keep the Yemen Chameleon correctly: the main difference is whether you want to breed them or not. But for longevity and wellness, the following regime is recommended:

Daytime: low 70s / 20-23 °C

Nighttime: 50s °F - low 60s °F / under 15°C

Basking: 78-80°F / 25-28°C, max. 2 times a day for 30minutes

Look at the climatic forecast from their homecountry for this week!

For further climatic data you can get everyday's climate parameters at:

Author: Petr Nečas