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Yemen Chameleon

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Yemen Chameleon

Name Dutch: Yemen chameleon
Scientific name: Chamaeleo calyptratus
Origin: Yemen
Age: Male 4-8 years, females rarely more than 5 years
Height: Male up to 45 cm, female max. 35 cm
Day temperature: Air 24-28°c
Humidity: 40-50%
Birth: Eggs hatch after 120-280 days
Activity: Day active
Legislation: CITES B
Climate: Savannah
Stay: Terrariums
Heat place: 35 ° c
Night temperature: 20 ° c
Night humidity: 80%
Minimum size: 60x45x90 cm for an adult woman. 90x45x90 cm for an adult man

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The Yemen chameleon is a fun species for any enthusiastic and novice hobbyist and is the most commonly kept chameleon in the hobby. It is a beautiful strain that is widely offered. The chameleon can come to the fore, but some animals remain a bit shy and will hide behind branches or between leaves. Every animal has its own character and unfortunately this cannot be seen in advance. The Yemen chameleon is native to Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia. Here they live in warmer areas where there is vegetation such as shrubs and trees. They are also found in wetter places such as near rivers.

These chameleons have completely evolved on a life in the trees. Their claws allow them to move easily through bushes and trees. Their legs have evolved and the thumb and forefinger are fused together. This also applies to the middle finger, ring finger and little finger. This allows chameleons to hold onto the tiniest twigs. Their tail is used as a fifth limb to hold twigs. Sometimes they hang completely free from their tail in order to reach prey in this way. Then they can easily turn around and climb back into the branches. At rest, it is neatly rolled up. Chameleons have no hearing inputs and are therefore deaf.

Chameleons are known for their special way of looking, they can move both eyes separately from each other and in this way keep an eye on the world around them. As soon as they see prey, both eyes will focus on the prey to estimate its depth. As soon as everything is right, the tongue shoots at the prey very quickly. At the end of the tongue is a thickening with which they grab their prey and pull it in, as it were.

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Males get a raised crest on their head and can show a brilliant color palette when excited. From green to blue and with light or dark yellow contrasts surrounded by a brown border. When the animals are comfortable they will become greener. If they get angry they will puff up their throats and show a row of serrations that runs from the bottom of their chins to their throats.

Males are on average 45 to 50 cm. Women stay smaller and can't get the beautiful drawings that men get. They are often solid green in color and during excitement the females turn a darker green with some yellow spots and smaller light green spots. They also get a helmet on their head, but it remains considerably smaller than on the man.

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It is important to know that you can never keep several chameleons together in a terrarium. They are solitary animals and only come together to mate and see each other as a competitor. If animals are kept together, eventually one of the animals can die from stress. The terrarium is best decorated with a lot of branches that the Yemen chameleon can easily climb into. The best thing is that the legs can clamp themselves well around the twigs. They do not like to walk on branches that are too thick. Place it diagonally, vertically and horizontally so that the Yemen chameleon can move throughout the terrarium. Ground covers such as coconut fibre, jungle bedding can be used on the bottom or an active soil can be composed yourself. This consists of various products such as coconut, soil, bark, sphagnum moss, active cool and sand. Springtails and tropical woodlice are added to this. This keeps the soil airy and the insects eat away mold and rotting material.

Plants that can grow large in these conditions can be placed in the terrarium. Examples are: scindapsus, monstera, philodendron and schefflera. Of course, other plants can also be used. Don't have a green thumb? Then you can always use artificial plants. Water is also very important for Yemen chameleons. They must always have access to water. This is often done by spraying. However, care must be taken that the moisture does not remain in the terrarium for too long. This creates fungi and can even cause problems for the chameleons such as inflammation and bad molting. The best option is to opt for a drip system. These are available in different models. The chameleon sees the drops that fall through small sparkles and through the movement of the water and they drink this. Stagnant water is hardly drunk by the chameleons.

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Juveniles are all green and are about 5 cm tall when they emerge from the egg. With this species it is immediately apparent whether it is a male or female. The male Yemen chameleons have a bulge on their hind legs that looks like a heel. After about a year, the Yemen chameleons are sexually mature and the animals can mate. The female can then be placed in the terrarium with the male. If the female is ready to mate, she will admit the male. This mating can last from 5 to 30 minutes. After good copulation, the female will deposit her eggs in a dug pit after 25 to 40 days. Clutches can consist of 50 to 80 eggs. Once the female has covered the eggs with substrate, they can be removed and placed in an incubator. It is best to have this ready in advance and at an average temperature of 25°C. After 6 to 8 months, the young animals will hatch from their eggs.

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Heating and lighting

The terrarium can be heated in different ways. In any case, it is important that the animal cannot burn itself, but can get close enough to warm up quickly. Below the spot it can rise to 35°c. We call this a hotspot. At the bottom of the terrarium it may be 24°c. The chameleon can then determine its own body temperature. Always make sure that there is a good thermometer in the accommodation with which you can measure the hotspot and also the coolest temperature.

UVB lighting is also very important in the terrarium, because the chameleon makes vitamins D3 through this. This ensures that calcium is better absorbed into the body. If this is not done properly, MBD (metabolic bone disease) can occur, also called rickets. Bones then become soft and can deform. UVB lamps come in different types such as energy-saving lamps, fluorescent lamps and combination lamps. Which lamps are best to use depends on the situation. Be well informed about this by a specialist. They can think along and thus determine which situation is most suitable. Make sure that a good vitamin and mineral preparation is used in combination with a UVB lamp.

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Power supply

Yemen chameleons are very voracious eaters and their diet consists mainly of crickets, grasshoppers, dubias (cockroaches), wax moth larvae, dolas and silkworms. Sometimes leaves or cooked green beans are also eaten, but various fruits such as banana, mango and strawberries are also an option. It is important that food animals are powdered with a good vitamin and mineral supplement, because the food naturally contains too little calcium and vitamins. In terms of quantity, you can feed the Yemen chameleon as much as it can eat. It is recommended to feed food with a high fat content such as wax moth larvae and morio worms in a lower dosage.

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