Believe it or not, most of us keeping chameleons, despite of declared interest, fascination and love, rather systematically kill them than care for their long and high quality life...
It is hard to admit but it is like this.
Otherwise it is very hard to explain why such a frequent Chamaeleon like C. calyptratus reaches normally the lifespan of 5 to 7 years while it can easily live up to 16 in captivity; why F. pardalis mostly dies at 4-5 years while it can easily live 10.
The reason lays in the specific chameleon biology: chameleons are a rule animals which are stenoecous, it means they inhabit a very narrow niche, to which they are strictly bound as a result of millions of years of co-evolution and adaptation to it. Every single - even the tiniest environmental factor - is therefore crucial for their well-being and survival.
On captivity, we ignore their requirements and underestimate them, we play Gods and think we can outsmart the Mother Nature. The result is however a tragedy.
There are few most important killer-factors in chameleon husbandry, such as:
1. Overfeeding resulting in obesity
2. Overheating resulting in speeding the metabolism
3. Wrong hydration (regime, method and quantity)
4. Wrong nutrition including supplementation
5. Wrong Lighting incl. UV
6. Wrong caging
7. Fake plants and accessories
8. Wrong handling and manipulation
9. Exposure to predators
10. Wrong healthcare and hygiene
If we act wrongly and irresponsibly and always shake the head and say "it is good enough", then we get the result, the "lifetime reverse count down":
16 years maximum longevity in C. calyptratus
Obesity: minus 4 years
Overheating: minus 3 years
Wrong hydration: minus 2 years
Wrong nutrition: minus 2 years
Result: 5 Years life expectancy maximum
This is not acceptable!
What to do?
There is one way only:
Study chameleons in the wild,
Pay attention to the smallest details
Analyze and try to understand their meaning
simulate them meaningfully in the captivity.
The name of the game is naturalistic Chamaeleon husbandry!
There is nothing "good enough", other than "the best possible".