The colors and patterns on this female Furcifer lateralis lateralis might remind people of an Oriental carpet.
The Carpet chameleon is a very popular species of chameleon found in Madagascar. Averaging a length of 5-8″, the Carpet chameleon is good-sized chameleon for any pet-keeper. The colors that they display are usually green and yellow with a shade of blue around the eyes and feet.
Furcifer lateralis, also known as the carpet chameleon or the white-lined chameleon, is a species of chameleon that is endemic toMadagascar. It was described in 1831 by John Edward Gray.
Description and habitat :
Furcifer lateralis can be mainly found in central Madagascar. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the species is found around the entirety of Madagascar except the northern part. It can be found between 120 and 1,925 metres (394 and 6,316 ft) above sea level and has been estimated to be found over an area of 467,634 square kilometres (180,554 sq mi), and is ranked as Least Concern (LC). The population of Furcifer lateralis is currently stable.
Both sexes of Furcifer lateralis can reach a maximum length of anything between 17 and 25 centimetres (6.7 and 9.8 in). The males are largely green and females are heavier-bodied and have a wider range of colours, including bands of white, yellow and orange. Both sexes have stripy throats and lips. They can change their colour depending on their mood and environmental factors and they usually start the day with a dark colour to enable them to warm up rapidly by exposing themselves to sunlight. This species is one of the smallest "true" species of chameleon, and they are timid and shy.
Furcifer lateralis adults mature at the age of three months. Females lay between eight and twenty-three eggs at one time, and can produce up to three clutches a year. The eggs have to be maintained at a steady temperature of about 24 °C (75 °F).
Furcifer lateralis is also commonly known as the jewel chameleon, the white-lined chameleon, and the carpet chameleon.
Binomial name :
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Carpet Chameleon Care
Carpet Chameleon Care Tips
courtesy to : www.reptilesmagazine.com/Carpet-Chameleon-Care-Tips/
BY LINDA J. DAVISON
One of the things that attract people to chameleons is their ability to change color. Contrary to popular belief, chameleons do not change color to match the exact color of their surroundings. Instead, their color changes reflect fluctuations in temperature and emotion, and these remarkably swift changes are believed to occur from a shift in hormones or a reaction by the nervous system.
Carpet chameleons are the most common and plentiful species of chameleon found on Madagascar, which is off the coast of Africa. They live in varied habitats and favor humid areas in the central to southern regions, where most of the native population can be found. Carpet chameleons have adapted to mountains, deserts and rain forest habitats, but they seem to be most numerous where there is ample humidity. There is little question that within reason most chameleons can adapt to varying temperatures, humidity and dryness, but the fact remains that they will only adjust to some semblance of their native environment. Adaptability does not mean lizardkeepers should push the extreme limits of the chameleon’s environmental needs. All subspecies of Furcifer lateralis are generally collected where humidity averages 70 percent or higher.
A male Furcifer lateralis lateralis (pictured) is less ornate than a female of the subspecies..
Carpet chameleons (Furcifer [Chamaeleo] lateralis ssp.) are one of these colorful chameleons. According to the book Chameleons by R.D. Bartlett, the common name stems from the patterns and colors gravid females display, which might remind people of an Oriental carpet. They are also often called jeweled chameleons in the pet trade. Because the common names of chameleons can get confusing, I prefer to use scientific names. Although there is some debate as to whether Furcifer lateralis has subspecies, I will refer to subspecies here as a way to distinguish between types. I have worked with two: Furcifer lateralis major and F. l. lateralis.
Selecting Carpet Chameleons
Furcifer l. lateralis measures 6 to 10 inches in overall length, and it’s a smaller, more common subspecies. Its brilliant and interesting color patterns vary greatly between individuals. Females are uncharacteristically more ornate than males, and pet owners often prefer them for this reason. Generally displaying green hues with a white stripe while resting, males display bright green with yellow or white highlights when fully colored. Sometimes shades of blue are also present. Females are often dark-red to brown at rest with white or yellow highlights. When fully colored, they display black with brilliant yellow, orange, blue and often red spots.
Although one of the most attractive and available chameleons on the market, Furcifer l. lateralis has a shorter life compared to other easily attainable species in pet stores, such as panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis) or veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus). The upside of Furcifer l. lateralis is that females usually produce 15 to 20 eggs per clutch with a high to perfect hatch rate every six to eight weeks from the time of sexual maturity until they die.
Wild-caught imports of Furcifer l. lateralis can be found quite often in pet stores due to the number and wide distribution of this particular subspecies. Be warned, however, that purchasing an adult carpet chameleon may not have favorable results. They may not live long if they are purchased too old or if there is a parasite issue.
Although rarer in pet stores or at trade shows, Furcifer lateralis major, in my experience, has proven to be a hardier animal than F. l. lateralis. These chameleons grow from 10 to 14 inches in overall length. Females at rest are usually green and tan. When fully colored, they display deep green and tan with bright-purple to lavender spots. Sometimes blue highlights are present. Males are not as flashy, but they do have an aesthetically pleasing coloration with brighter green and yellow bursts of color.
Breezy Housing :
House carpet chameleons in full-screen enclosures. Provide each chameleon with a space at least 1 foot long, 1 foot wide and 2 feet tall. Bigger enclosures are better.
Carpet Chameleon Breeding
BY LINDA J. DAVISON
House carpet chameleons in full-screen enclosures
Simulate a chameleon’s natural environment as close as possible. Carpet chameleons like to bask in the sun, so give them the opportunity to do so, but make sure they have a shady retreat. Never leave a chameleon in direct sunlight without giving it the opportunity of shade. Otherwise they might get too warm.
Also watch them for signs of overheating while in direct sunlight. Chameleons showing dark green or solid black are basking. Blanching, turning very light green, yellow or even white, indicates that the animal should be removed from the sun and given shade and water. A trip to the shower for “deep hydration,” a watering method I discuss later, is a good idea for any chameleon found overheated, blanched or panting with an open mouth.
Although I believe chameleons should be in natural sunlight as much as possible, an indoor environment is fine for most animals. They require a full-spectrum fluorescent light and a heat dome light. I position the dome light so the highest point the chameleon can reach is no more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Ambient temperatures can range from 70 to 80 degrees. Chameleons should not be able to touch bulbs, or burns can result.
Also provide nontoxic plants (such as a Ficus benjamina), sticks of various sizes and vines, so they may feel secure. Chameleons become stressed when they see other chameleons, even if they see one across the room. If you notice a chameleon stressing — changing to gravid or unreceptive colors, hissing or puffing up for no apparent reason — it may see its reflection or have view of a chameleon in another cage.
Carpet chameleons do well on a diet of medium-sized crickets, flies and other small insects. Offer five to six gut-loaded feeder insects per meal. I generally feed my chameleons twice a week, and I allow the feeder insects to roam the cage freely. This forces chameleons to use their hunting abilities and keep their tongues strong. Dish feeding is also an option, but there is a higher risk of tongue damage when using a dish.
A chameleon’s tongue is not really sticky. It’s hollow and composed of three main elements: accelerator muscles, retractor muscles and the sticky tip, which is more like a toilet plunger. The tip hits prey hard and creates suction around it before the chameleon retracts it. Because of this suction, the tip can get stuck on a feeder dish. Irreversible damage can result. Sometimes the tongue no longer retracts, and it atrophies or even causes death if the chameleon cannot be taught to be hand-fed.
Furcifer lateralis lateralis, such as this male, is the more common subspecies in the pet trade. It can measure 6 to 10 inches long.
Supplement nonbreeding chameleons every third feeding with calcium, vitamins and minerals. I use Sticky Tongue Farms Miner-All and Vit-All.
Breeding animals especially need to be healthy, well-fed and filled out. A thin, undernourished animal might mate, but the number and health of offspring often reflect a female’s malnourishment. Overly nourished animals also should not be bred. Females too fat often overload with an inordinate number of fertile eggs. I have seen young, overweight females develop so many eggs that they were unable to expel them. They became egg-bound and died. Females full of eggs usually do not have much room for food intake, and this can also be a problem.
Egg production takes a lot out of a female, so she must be adequately nourished with proper calcium, vitamins and minerals to produce viable eggs that in turn produce strong, healthy young. I use Miner-All and Vit-All. During internal egg development, a female should be fed a varied diet of high-quality insects, such as crickets, cockroaches, flies and mealworms. Use supplements every other feeding. Without this nutrition, females and their young suffer and often die.
Supply water to your chameleon twice daily in the form of a mist, spray or dripper. I use tap water in a Hudson sprayer to mist my enclosures. A humidifier also helps to keep humidity in check. Do yourself a favor and get the more expensive one with the auto shut-off. I use only distilled water in the humidifier. This keeps minerals from building up and causing the misting nebulizer to malfunction. Make sure to wet the chameleon’s body as well as the plants in the enclosure.
I have had much better luck breeding and maintaining healthier captive animals with a humidity higher than 70 percent. If humidity in the enclosure drops below 70 percent, a weekly deep hydration is necessary. Even with a humidifier present I prefer this shower method. Gently place the chameleon on a clothes-drying rack or plant in the shower stall. Turn the shower on so a light, lukewarm rain falls on the chameleon for 30 to 60 minutes. In drier climates the shower method may be used twice a week or more. Outdoor enclosures can be fitted with automatic mister systems, which reduce the risk of dehydration and make watering easier for the lizardkeeper.
Time and Money Required
Chameleon owners need to be prepared to spend not only time on this creature but also money. The lizard is normally the most inexpensive part of startup costs. Hidden costs include parasite checks, possible treatment, follow-up fecal checks, possible blood work, tests for bacterial infections and other expenses.
This female Furcifer lateralis lateralis displays gravid coloration.
When you purchase any chameleon, please do the animal and yourself a favor: Get a fecal check. It’s the only way to be completely sure the animal doesn’t have parasites. Veterinarians can do this simple test. All you have to take to the vet office is a fresh stool sample. Even a healthy-looking, active chameleon with a tight grip and strong tongue can harbor a fatal parasite load. Parasites are commonly aggravated by stress, which can grow to unmanageable levels in a relatively short amount of time in captivity. Even a very heavy load of parasites, if caught early in an otherwise healthy chameleon, can be treated and cured.
However, a fecal check won’t detect all parasites. Additional tests, such as blood tests, may be needed as well. If parasites are found, follow the veterinarian’s recommendations for treatment.
Parasites sound scary, but in reality wild chameleons usually have some sort of parasite, and captive animals can contract them at any time from feeder insects. This is perfectly normal. An annual fecal check is a wise precaution for all your chameleons whether they are wild-caught or captive-bred.
Due to my obsession for knowledge about Old World chameleons, I have succeeded in breeding some of the most difficult species in the world. I love them all, but Furcifer lateralis subspecies are real gems. They are beautiful, easy to tame, hardy and healthy chameleons, but nurturing these small creatures is a big responsibility. Be sure you are ready for the challenge.
LINDA J. DAVISON owns Sticky Tongue Farms, which has specialized in deparasitized imports and captive-bred chameleons since 1993. She also is the author ofChameleons: Their Care and Breeding and numerous articles. For more information on Sticky Tongue Farms and products, such as the Miner-All and Vit-All supplements, visitstickytonguefarms.com.
If you intend to breed carpet chameleons (Furcifer [Chamaeleo] lateralis ssp.), please purchase only unrelated animals. Some species are represented by very small gene pools, and extra effort must be made to keep these animals genetically divergent and pure to avoid genetic depression and hybridization. Captive-bred or wild-caughtFurcifer lateralis subspecies mature and breed at the early age of 8 to 12 months, and they are subsequently gravid for the rest of their reproductive lives.
An adult male Furcifer lateralis major (above left) and an adult female Furcifer lateralis major both display receptive breeding colors
Breeding only the strongest and healthiest chameleons adds to the future strength of the gene pool. All subspecies of F. lateralis are avid breeders. In my experience, once sexual maturity is reached, female carpet chameleons have produced a clutch every six to eight weeks. Maturity can occur as early as 2 or 3 months of age. Once bred, females lay between five and 20 eggs depending on the subspecies. Generally larger subspecies produce more eggs than the smaller ones. Eggs hatch in as few as five to seven months. They can produce upwards of 200 eggs in a lifetime.
The challenge of keeping and finally breeding carpet chameleons under captive conditions is both fascinating and worthwhile. Sperm retention is common in all chameleons. It is possible that if a female breeds once, she can have fertile eggs clutch after clutch. Technically, a female chameleon can breed for one season and still produce viable eggs for her entire life.
Normally in this case the fertility diminishes per clutch, allowing for more infertile eggs as sperm is used and not replenished. In prolific species it is advisable to breed the females shortly after she lays eggs to make sure there are enough sperm to fertilize subsequent clutches.
Allow the female carpet chameleon to rest at least a week or two after egg deposition, and then reintroduce the female to the male in his enclosure. The female retains the active sperm and automatically fertilizes more than one clutch of eggs, so it is possible to have an impregnated female lay several clutches of fertile eggs without being exposed to a male for many months.
Unfortunately, females of all chameleon species, especially short-lived ones such asFurcifer lateralis, can breed with a potentially infertile male and not show signs of infertility until they have expired, and the eggs all turn up useless. I recommend all chameleon females breed with several males per season to ensure proper fertilization.
A gravid female chameleon that does not like to be in the proximity of an amorous male usually exhibits unreceptive coloration, which is different from her normal resting colors. This beautiful display of color announces to the male that female does not want anything to do with him. Yet some males will try to mount anyway, so to prevent unnecessary stress, it is advisable to remove a gravid female after mating has taken place.
Reintroduce females to a male’s cage for a few hours per day for a week. I allow one male to breed a female for 24 hours and then switch her to another male’s cage until she shows gravid colors (a black body with vibrant yellow, green, red, orange and blue spots, and white stripes) or unreceptive behavior (open-mouth hissing, rocking back and forth on the branch, or even running away). My personal preference is to have at least two males and two females in any breeding project, and I rotate the females with the males. Chameleons are not monogamous creatures, and in my breeding projects they have produced more viable clutches with multiple partners per breeding season. This is what might happen in the wild. In a single breeding season, a female wanders from tree to tree, and multiple males might breed with her.
If breeding was successful, the female carpet chameleon shows gravid coloration. A gravid female displays this coloration, hisses and possibly bites males even if she is carrying infertile eggs. After she lays eggs and has time to fatten up, reintroducing her to a male may still elicit a gravid, unreceptive coloration.
The time period for actual mating can vary from a few minutes to more than an hour. The carpet chameleons should not be disturbed during this time. After mating has taken place, the pair pulls apart, and the female usually tries to escape the vicinity of the male. Remove the female, place her in her enclosure, offer food and water, and let her relax. If the female doesn’t show signs of being gravid, try mating her again.
Sometimes breeding chameleons does not go as planned, and the animals take their sweet time. The male may be disinterested in this particular female. Therefore, a backup male is always a good idea. Sometimes a break between breeding attempts gets a lazy male interested. Make sure the animals can’t see each other from their cages. Absence makes the heart grow fonder in a lot of males, especially young, inexperienced ones.
It is important to give a gravid female carpet chameleon high-quality food and supplementation during the initial period shortly after breeding has taken place. She most likely will go off food after her body becomes so engorged with eggs that she no longer has room.
When a gravid female carpet chameleon is ready to lay eggs, a nesting site should be available. I provide a plastic container measuring 1.5 feet long, 1.5 feet wide and 1 foot tall placed in the bottom of the female’s enclosure. I position it next to her plant with a stick leading into the nesting site.
If the female carpet chameleon, possibly pacing for a few days with no signs of digging, doesn’t show interest in this setup, I place her in a new garbage bin measuring 1 or 2 feet in diameter and 3 feet tall with 1 foot of potting soil at the bottom. I place a small Ficus benjamina tree inside with a stick from the tree to the dirt. Make sure soil is twice as deep as the length of the female’s body. I use damp potting soil wet enough so it doesn’t collapse when a hole is dug. Don’t allow water to pool at the bottom of the container. This could drown the eggs. Provide a nontoxic plant, sticks and a dome clamp lamp. I believe the seclusion relieves stress and allows the female to relax for egg deposition. I have had great success with this isolation method when a female is not laying in her enclosure. Her attention can then be focused only on the task at hand.
A female carpet chameleon may dig several test holes. This may take days or hours to accomplish. Leave her alone, and let her dig. Do not remove her until she is finished covering her holes or returns to her branch for a length of time. She may return to the test holes repeatedly and cover only a few them. Be patient.
Carefully dig up the chameleon eggs, and place them in a plastic container with a sealed lid for incubation. I use a Tupperware cupcake container without holes. The container should be filled halfway with damp vermiculite purchased at a garden center. Mix in enough water so when it’s squeezed, a few droplets dribble off. Too much water drowns the eggs. Place eggs in rows 1 inch apart and half-buried in vermiculite.
Place the container in an incubator or a closet where the temperature is an average of 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep humidity at 70 percent. Check the temperature and moisture once a week to make sure the vermiculite stays at the original consistency with only a few drops of water dribbling off when squeezed.
Look for chameleon eggs to start swelling and sweating after four to five months. Eggs hatch between five to seven months on average.
Hatchling carpet chameleons can be kept in much the same way as the adults, but even more care should be taken to make sure the temperature and humidity are precise. Hatchlings are very strong and usually eat voraciously in a day or two. Furcifer lateralis subspecies grow so quickly that it is imperative that supplements contain a high-quality form of calcium to ensure proper growth of bones and muscles.
As long as no aggressive behavior is present, a clutch of 10 to 15 hatchling carpet chameleons can be housed together in a screen cage measuring 1 foot long, 1 foot wide and 2 feet tall for no more than a month. After that time, keep no more than five hatchlings per cage. Furcifer lateralis subspecies grow quickly, and adults require their own cage after they reach 3 months old.
Even though F. lateralis is a short-lived species, these chameleons are still a rewarding breeding project for beginners and advanced keepers, and they’re well worth the effort.