Help Send Me To Madagascar | February 2017

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!

Imagine the kind of information I could come back with for the blog! From diet to natural UV to behavior in the wild, all of these things could help us all become better, more informed keepers.

Donate below:

 I have a Paypal widget set up, which allows you to select from a few pre-set amounts. If the button is glitchy for any reason, you can send me finds at


As A Thank-You

The only thing I can offer as a thank-you to my kind and generous sponsors would be original artwork. I can give out the digital file for the two original prints in my Store or I can whip up an original digital or pen-and-paper illustration of your choosing. For now I will reserve the original commissions for individuals that donate more than $50 and we'll see what kind of demand I receive. 

Additionally, for if requested I can offer 20, 40, or 60 minutes of one-on-one consultation via webcam. I am all yours to ask as many chameleon husbandry-related questions as you wish, walk you through different tutorials, and offer critiques for cage set-up, etc. This is an aspect of the blog I was going to keep secret a few more weeks but in honor of the fundraiser I will begin offering the service now to donors only. 

As a guide, I charge companies and professional entities $50 for 20 minutes, $90 for 40 minutes, and $120 for a full hour of consultation work.

Thank you again for those that even consider donating to send me on this trip!

October 12, 2016: As of 9:30 pm we are almost half-way to the total! Thank you SO much to everyone that has donated so far, I cannot believe the outpouring of generosity. As a reminder, the GoFundMe link also works, so far the Paypal button has been getting the most love. 

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.

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.
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