Keeping and breeding Parson’s Chameleons

Keeping and breeding Parson’s Chameleons

Haltungsberichte Newspaper articles

The keeping and breeding of Calumma parsonii parsonii has become quite successful in Germany in recent years. There are regular offspring and keeping is also becoming increasingly popular. In the current issue of Elaphe, the magazine of the DGHT e.V., there is a detailed report on keeping this beautiful, large chameleon species. It was written by three members of the AG Chamäleons.

They keep their animals in self-built terrariums made of aluminium profiles and Forex with a completely ventilated lid, and door as well as a full side area or in spacious winter gardens. Living plants provide sufficient cover. Both sexes are kept individually. Lighting is provided by Reptiles Expert metal halide lamps, Arcadia UV-B tubes, and HQIs. The lighting time is 10 to 12 hours in summer and winter. The enormous drinking needs of the species are satisfied by daily manual watering. In addition, feeding is rather sparse with only one adult food animal, e.g. a grasshopper, per chameleon per day (or the equivalent of several smaller food animals). A cooler winter hibernation, imitating the dry season in Madagascar, ensures a higher life expectancy and is therefore recommended by the authors.

Mating takes place in the German midsummer from July to August. The chameleons are put together for a few days until successful matings have taken place. The females are pregnant for four to six months. Between late December and early February, the female digs an elongated tube into the ground and lays 20 to 69 eggs. The incubation of the eggs takes place on perlite at 23 to 24°C. Weekly the eggs are sprinkled with distilled water. In February, a diapause is carried out at 13 to 14°C without further water supply. The young hatch after 15 to 24 months and are then raised individually. Unfortunately, the sex can only be determined at the age of 9 to 12 months.

All in all, this is a very detailed article with a lot of information for chameleon lovers who are interested in keeping this great species or are looking for one or two tips for breeding. In addition, the article discusses the distribution and habitat of the different colour varieties of Calumma parsonii parsonii on Madagascar.

Parsons-Chamäleons (Calumma parsonii parsonii) – Madagascar’s Gentle Giants
Alexandra Laube, Andreas Augustin und Thorsten Negro
Elaphe 3, 2023, pp. 12-25

Foto: Schlupf eines Parsons Chamäleons, fotografiert von Alex Laube


Keeping and breeding Brookesia thieli

Keeping and breeding Brookesia thieli


The breeding of leaf chameleons outside Madagascar has been successful since the 1990s. Nevertheless, there are only a few keepers who can prove breeding success in the long term or who have been dealing with individual leaf chameleon species for years. Michael Nash from the USA has now published a detailed husbandry and breeding report on Brookesia thieli.

He keeps his animals in the terrariums we commonly use with completely ventilated lids and either vent in the front bottom or the entire front as ventilation area, living plants, and bioactive substrate. T5 HO and halogen spotlights are used for lighting. The best breeding results were achieved by keeping two or three males together with four females. The author was able to make exciting observations on the defensive behaviour of males, where the animals not only open their mouths but actually protrude their mouth cavities. For food, the author uses Zelus renardii, a type of predatory beetle from North America, in addition to the usual small food such as micro crickets, bean beetles, and various flies. This is sold as a beneficial insect and is used, for example, in the Mediterranean region to control certain pests in olive plantations. In addition, Brookesia thieli particularly liked winged termites offered by the author, which might also be an interesting food animal that has hardly been used by chameleon keepers so far.

To trigger mating behaviour, dry and rainy seasons are imitated. The dry season is characterised above all by a massive night-time drop in temperature to 13°C and less irrigation. During the imitated rainy season, temperatures rise to around 26°C during the day and 19-21°C at night, and there is also increased irrigation during the day. Females lay 3-5 eggs after an average gestation of 30-60 days, with up to three clutches per female per season. The best incubation success was achieved at 21-23°C during the day and 19-20°C at night. The author notes that hatching rates increased after supplementing the diet with preformed vitamin A every two months.

Overall, this is a very readable husbandry report with many interesting details. Hopefully that the data will support keepers in the breeding and long-term conservation of this exciting leaf chameleon species.

Keeping and breeding Brookesia thieli
Michael Nash
Responsible Herpetoculture Journal 5, 2022
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