Caring For Chameleons
First of all, buying captive chameleons is the only way to go. No parasites or stress from being caught in jungle and put in captivity. Starting off with captive bred babies of young chameleons is ideal. Cages should be screened for ventilation. No glass or at least screen on 2 sides and top. I like all-screen enclosures because air can pass through and easy to clean. Chameleons are solitary and like to be caged alone. Except when introducing female for breeding. Also they are not a lizard that likes to be handled much. They should e observed rather than held. If you want to a hold lizard, get a bearded dragon. Panther chameleons are mostly gentle and tame. Taking out and letting it exercise on hanging plants is OK. Just don't leave it unattended or it will likely wander off.
Small chameleons should be started in small cages 16x16x24 inches or 16x16x30 inches. Large Panthers will need 24x24x48 inches. Females midsize cage, 18x18x36 or larger if possible. Large free roam cages are nice. I spray filtered, lukewarm water twice daily. Some say 3-4 times a day, but I think that is excessive as it may lead to respiratory infections. When cage is too wet. Automatic mister are available. I use a pump sprayer. No substrate on bottom of cage, just paper. I use red rosin. Construction paper seems to work well. My outdoor cage in sheds have just plastic and can be washed out easy with bottom door opening. I buy cages from LLL Reptile in Oceanside California. They seem to be most reasonable, work well, and will ship anywhere.
Keeping chameleons indoors requires screen caging, 60+ watt bulb, Reptisun 5.0 UVB bulb, and paper flooring. Also include live plants: ficus benjamina, umbrella plants, pothos plants, hibiscus, dwarf-palm, or other non-toxic plants. Plastic plants are acceptable, but I prefer live plants. Try to get your chameleons outdoors at least one time a week for natural sunshine, the ultimate in bone growth and all around health.
I feed babies every day fruit flies and small crickets with Rapashy calcium plus. There are other brands of calcium, but I prefer Rapashy. I feed the adults every other day, give them calcium 2-3 times a week, and give them multivitamins once a week. Make sure to have at least 3 or more horizontal branches. Dowels work well for perching. Put one dowel or branch under light (not too close so the lizard doesn't get burnt), and put the others in the middle and lower areas. Also include a ficus tree or umbrella plant, and make sure to wash them with clean water regularly. To keep the cages clean, I use diluted simple green to kill bacteria, flush with clean water, then dry.
For additional information, please contact your local pet store or check online for chameleon books. Enjoy you new pet!