2016 Blog Updates

Hello everyone! I can’t believe it’s August already, I can’t believe the speed at which this year is flying by. I know the new blog layout has been live for several months now but I’m going to point out the cool new features for anyone that hasn’t taken advantage of them yet and mention some new projects that I’m going to be working on.

General Ease of Use

The new lay out has a quick and easy Contact Form on the right-side of the blog, where you can quickly email me any questions or comments.  Additionally, the Search Bar is more accessible and you can see a list of Top Posts, which are my most-visited posts of all time (thankfully, the most relevant ones, for setting up a cage, sexing panthers, and other general care information.) These should all make reaching the relevant information you're looking for much faster.

My Social Media accounts are all hooked up as well on the right, so if you want to follow my  Instagram account, full of random lizard goodness and latte photos, or my chameleon Pinterest account it couldn’t be easier now.

Additionally, I have set up a Paypal button on the right where you can Tip the Blog if you appreciate the content. I have set it up so that if you would like to leave a little something as a sign of gratitude, to help maintain the blog (hosting services, email account, IT support, etc.) and enable it to grow, then that option is now available.

Contacting Me

I have also (finally!) set up a blog-specific email address, so that I never miss another chameleon-related email amongst all my regular emails. As always, feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or clarification you may need, but the address is now Olimpia.Martinotti@Muchadoaboutchameleons.com. All comments and emails through the contact form will go directly to this address now.  

Typically, I reply to emails within the hour during work hours (East Coast time). I will definitely answer any urgent or emergency emails directly from my phone unless I absolutely cannot. 

[Near] Future Projects

I’m very excited to be working on a few different projects for the blog in the near future. I am working on offering a Youtube channel with video tutorials, I will be working on offering some of the basic content in Spanish, and I am currently building a project (can’t give any details yet!) that should be a really interesting option for anyone that needs personalized help with their chameleons or reptiles in general.

Thank you all for several years of readership, support, and encouragement! If there is anything you would like to see improve on the blog or any additional services I should make available, please don’t hesitate to let me know. What ELSE would be a valuable tool for you as a chameleon keeper, veteran or beginner alike? 

Are All-In-One Supplements Really Better?

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There are few topics that frighten and confuse like that of supplementation. It can all seem very complicated and difficult, and there are hundreds of different supplement schedules with recommended brands and products listed online so choosing one to trust is no easy matter either. It can be enough to make anyone curse at the heavens and reconsider chameleons altogether.

I wrote out a guide to what the key players are as far as the vitamins and minerals and why each one matters, HERE. It sounds intimidating but it’s not! And knowing this stuff will make supplements much more straightforward and logical.

I’ve seen a lot of talk lately in some of the Facebook chameleon groups regarding the use of supplements that worries me, particularly the heavy push to get new keepers on an all-in-one supplement such as the Repashy Calcium Plus, in the belief that using a single product as instructed by the manufacturer will be more fool-proof and will confuse new keepers less. So the point of this blog post is to outline why I think that is a well-meaning but terrible idea.

UVB for Crepuscular and Shade-Dwelling Species

Before anything else, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for what is now over 4 years of support for this blog. I cannot believe that the little pet project I thought no one would ever read has become a blog that receives a quarter million views a year and that generates an inbox full of emailed questions, comments, and grateful messages of encouragement. Last year I did not write very much due to work and other priorities but this year I am pushing myself to get back into blogging, which I so enjoy. And all the encouragement reminds me that I don’t just write into the void. Thank you again and here’s to another 4 years! Cheers!

Now, I wanted to give an example of how relevant something like proper lighting is to reptiles in general and what an impact it can have on health, even those that traditionally aren’t given regular UVB access. I’ve explained in other posts how important UV lighting is, so in this post I just want to tell you a cautionary tale, as it were, from my time as an intern at the herpetology department of a major zoo here in Florida. This department had several major faults that I will not go into, primarily because this isn’t supposed to be an exposé on what is essentially a department of well-meaning but stifled zoo keepers mismanaged by a barely competent administration, but also because only one story is relevant here; the story of why the dart frogs were mysteriously ill.

It is not apparent to the public, but in this department there were hundreds of dart frogs in little terrariums lining the walls of all the back rooms, the ones not visible to anyone but employees. And among these, there were dozens of Golden poison frogs, Phyllobates terribilis, in various cages across these rooms. Small, adorable, and indeed golden in color, these frogs were an important breeding project for the department. However, over the span of a few weeks some of the frogs had started developing sores on the palms of their hands, on their noses, and on their thighs. The zoo veterinarian was doing everything she could think of; she had them change the substrate in their cages to a more sterile one, and she had them apply an ointment to the sores as well as a topical antibiotic. But none of this worked, the frogs were not improving. The sores stayed exactly the same for weeks at a time.

Contributor Post | Chameleons: A Threatened Species?

Canvas Chameleons is a small, family-owned breeding business that focuses on the healthy development of Chameleons as pets. We enjoy educating both new and experienced Chameleon owners in order to maximize their enjoyment of these amazing creatures. We offer a wide range of stunning chameleons, as well as everything you need to set up and maintain a quality habitat. For more information visit Canvas Chameleons today.


When you think of endangered and threatened species, chameleons don’t typically come to mind; however, they should come to mind. While only a few species are in immediate danger of becoming extinct and endangered, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) lists "all chameleons are being threatened” in some way (Kundinger, n.d.). Many circumstances contribute to animals becoming threatened and endangered, but chameleons have become threatened primarily due to habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change.  

Habitat destruction due to deforestation either for commercial gain or for increased human living space is a major concern. Chameleons are native to sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and to some parts of southern Europe, south Asia, and Australia. Some species have been introduced to other parts of the world through breeding and release into the wild. Unfortunately this means their homes are primarily in third world countries and, as Anderson (2003) says, “The dangers of habitat destruction are particularly abundant in third world countries…Agriculture is a large part of the economy and therefore, the land has value that is too high to be ignored by the government, as well as families struggling to survive in these nations.”

When In Doubt, Offer Advice Cautiously

Anyone that is familiar with my presence on the Chameleon Forums will probably have noticed that I have been extremely absent in the last year or more, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if my account has been stripped of moderator privileges. I’ve been so caught up with so many other things that I’ve found it hard to find the energy to get online and continue participating in daily forum life as before. I have, however, been a  vaguely active member of chameleon groups on Facebook, specifically groups pertaining to Meller’s chameleons and other advanced species topics, with the exception of a Spanish general chameleon group. But this last week I was asked to join some of the bigger general chameleon community groups so that I might be able to help people with general questions.
As much as I am a huge advocate for free and accessible information, I cringe at the advice I witness on these chameleon groups, both in English and Spanish. It’s quickly apparent that the average experience level is very minimal, but the most vocal contributing members are exactly these. So when a new keeper asks a question  the cacophony of replies can be overwhelming, and it would be impossible for the person doing the asking to know with any certainty whose opinion to trust and whose opinion isn’t based on anything. This can be a nuisance if the question pertains to something like sexing a young chameleon or getting opinions regarding a product, but it can be catastrophic in the case of any medical emergency, for example.

Temperature Sexing and Chameleons

We’ve all shopped for chameleons before, and probably yearned for the beautiful male offspring of a certain species or locale but groaned at the added price. It can cost from $20 to a few hundred more to purchase a male compared to a female of the same species, especially when we talk about the ever-popular and flashy panther chameleon (F. pardalis.) It’s on an almost daily basis that I get emails from readers asking me to sex their baby chameleons, and to read their frustration after having paid more money for what they were told was a male only to discover they have a little female instead. I understand, as males in almost all the chameleon species are flashier, prettier, more ornate, and don’t come with the added challenge of egg-laying. So I see the appeal, especially for first-time keepers.

And for breeders of popular pet species like panthers or veileds (C. calyptratus), the Holy Grail for them would be to be able to produce more male offspring than female offspring, who sell more quickly and for a higher price. But why can’t we? Don’t other species like geckos or snakes develop their gender characteristics depending on incubation temperatures?

Quick Trick | Cleaning Glass with a Lemon

I get quite a few messages a week about how to clean cages properly and safely. This is not going to be a revolutionary blog post, but if you're anything like me then you might appreciate this easy, cheap trick to make life easier. If you have glass cages for any of your pet reptiles (and if you do not use RO/DI water for spraying) then you've inevitably going to get water spots on the glass that a normal cleaner just won't get out. And if you're afraid to use harsher chemicals there is a really easy trick that works pretty darn well, especially if you do use it every few weeks and don't allow the build-up to get too bad. Unfortunately, this will not work if you have etching on the glass due to uric acid in snake feces, for example, but it will work on typical hard water build up.

The acid in citrus, like limes, lemons, or oranges, works wonders to break apart the water stains on glass. And it is non-toxic, so you should feel comfortable using it. I will clean the entire cage's glass when I do a deep clean (along with a bit of bleach to disinfect), but sometimes I just get irritated with how the doors are starting to look and clean those quickly when I can. Especially if I am expecting guests so that they can have a clear view into the cages.

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