Keeping the Cuban Knight Anole

The last few weeks have featured a lot of little Mojito, my Cuban knight anole (Anolis equestris.) To be perfectly frank, when I attended the Miami Repticon at the University of Miami campus earlier this Fall I was not planning on coming home with anything alive besides feeder insects. But when I saw cups with baby lime-green anoles I stopped and admired them for a brief moment, and then meandered onward to buy some cork bark for the leachies. But then I circled back. How cute they are, I thought. And then kept going so I could buy the crickets and hornworms I needed for my pets. And then I looped back around a third time, and looked at them again over the shoulders of other show-goers.

You get the idea, I’m sure.  

Long story short, by the time I made it home that afternoon I had a new pet. 

Yes, Mojito may have been an impulse purchase (do as I say, not as I do, anyone?) but as an underrated species that could make a very rewarding pet, I decided that I would try my hand at raising one and use him as another ambassador for the blog. So this week’s post will feature him exclusively, and we’ll take a look at how easy it is to care for these beautiful large anoles when you already have some experience with chameleons.

Taking Advantage of Space in a Reptile Cage

Unsurprisingly, my most popular post to date is How to Set Up a Proper Chameleon Enclosure, which even years later still generated the majority of the comments and emails I get regarding chameleon husbandry. Of course I’m guilty of repeating over and over that setting up a cage properly from the beginning sets you up for success more than anything else – a good cage with the correct parameters can help even a sickly pet store chameleon bounce back, where as a mediocre set-up will spell the downfall of any healthy chameleon given a little time.

This week I’ll delve a bit into one aspect which I think many chameleon owners tend to fall short; taking advantage of the usable space within a cage.

It’s no surprise that decorating a cage is my favorite part of the whole ordeal! I just love setting up cages, so I’ll walk you through what I keep in mind when I decorate a cage, whether it’s for a chameleon or a gecko or a snake. I want to decorate the inside of my cages in such a way that I meet  three basic requirements:

1. Provide natural gradients for regulation of temperature and UV.
2. Offer a variety of choices for basking, hiding, lounging, and eating.
3. Make all areas of the cage accessible.

Turning a Screen Cage into a Solid-Sided Cage

When I first purchased the R. leachianus geckos I found myself in a slight predicament – I wanted to snatch up the pair before the person selling them realized how insane they were to charge only a few hundred dollars for an adult, proven breeding pair of Nuu Ana geckos, but I wasn’t prepared to house animals of this size just yet. I only had a week to prepare the cage, and I didn’t want to order in something in the fear that shipping would take too long and I’d find myself with two animals without a proper home.

So then I looked through the reptile supplies that I did have and realized that I could probably emulate closed-sided cages like the Dragonstrand designs for less money and in less time than ordering a new one. I knew the quality wouldn’t compare, but for now it should prove to be more than adequate. I just needed something large, and with mostly solid sides. And then I realize that this could prove a useful tutorial for anyone else that perhaps wanted to add a solid side or two to their screen cages themselves.

Help Send Me To Madagascar | February 2017

The map shows the rough regions of Madagascar we will be visiting on the 10-day expedition.

Chameleon Education & Outreach, Inc. will be hosting an expedition to Madagascar in February of next year. Considered one of the most amazing places on Earth as far as its biodiversity, I can't think of anything else I would rather for for 10 days with a group of amazing, like-minded chameleon experts, breeders, and enthusiasts. Not only does it afford us all safety to travel in a group such as this, but being able to learn about chameleons in their natural habitat, make observations and take readings, and share opinions and experience with other chameleon-lovers would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience worth its weight in gold.

Weeks ago I signed up for the expedition with the backing of a sponsor, but recently he has fallen away and for sure I thought I would no longer be able to attend. I simply cannot come up with the funds as quickly as ChamEO needs them to book the trip. However, after telling friends about what a let-down this was they, along with various extremely generous readers, were able to donate a couple hundred dollars in just two days. This is amazing! So in a final pitch for help, I have started fundraising and will hope for more amazing help from people who recognize what an opportunity this is!

5 Things I’ve Learned about Keeping Leachies

So far this year has been a peculiar one, as far as my reptilian menagerie. Years ago I swore that I would never keep another creature besides a chameleon (dogs not withstanding) because nothing could be as interesting or challenging to keep as a chameleon. I was possibly right to a degree, but as I stand in my new little reptile room/office and admire my ten non-chameleon pets, I have contradicted myself on every regard!

In May, as a birthday present to myself I purchased a bonded pair of R. leachianus geckos (New Caledonian Giant Geckos), allegedly belonging to the Nuu Ana locality. I had always toyed with the idea of keeping leachies, but for the price of one of these beauties I was never sure I could justify it if they were going to be boring to keep. Who wants to pay $800+ for a giant blob of gecko wrinkles that you can’t handle and that doesn’t move all day? This pair was for sale at a ridiculously reasonable price, so I snatched them up and I’ve been so glad!

This is written with just about 5 months of experience with this species but as they are dominating my Instagram, I am getting bombarded with questions on how I care for mine. Below are 5 things I’ve learned about them while they’ve been part of my little household.

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.

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.
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