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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