Latin Name: Furcifer lateralis Adult Size: 12cm to 15cm snout-to-vent length (SVL). Average Life Span: 1.5 years in the wild, 3 years in captivity. Native Distribution: Madagascar. Physical Description: Males are light green with a mid-body white stripe. Females are dark brown to black with a mid-body yellow stripe and numerous white to multi-coloured spots, hence the name, Carpet Chameleon. Temperament: A peaceful diurnal insectivore. Status in the Wild: CITES II.
Native Habitat: Found in tropical rainforests, prairies and cities, where they live in bushes or trees. This chameleon has adapted to living around humans. Ambient Temperature: 22C to 28C. Basking Temperature: A basking spot should be provided. Humidity Range: 60% to 100%. Lighting: Full spectrum fluorescent. Terrarium Size: Given a sufficient space with visual obstructions, adults may be kept together in pairs. Terrarium Decor: Tropical rainforest motif. Terrarium Substrate: Moist earth, sphagnum moss or oak leaves. Terrarium Containment: Carpet Chameleons can easily climb branches but not smooth surfaces. A top is only necessary to contain food items.
Hygiene: Carpet Chameleons will not drink from standing water so daily misting, or a dripping / splashing water source is necessary, e.g. waterfall. Clean terrarium as needed. Feeding: Carpet Chameleons eat mostly small insects and grubs. The most popular foods for captive chameleons are crickets and flies. Handling: Handling is tolerated but quite stressful for chameleons. Terrarium Compatibility: Compatible with other insectivorous tropical frogs and lizards.
Maturity: Sexual maturity is reached by 4 months of age. Sexing: Sexually dimorphic - males are light green, females are dark brown to black. See sexing Carpet Chameleons photograph. Conditioning: Carpet Chameleons may hibernate for 1 to 3 months during the winter. After hibernation, keep adults well fed with a variety of vitamin / mineral enriched foods. Cycling: A female that is ready to mate will not try to attack the male; instead, she will slowly walk away with the male in persuit. Copulation lasts from 10 to 20 minutes. Sex Ratio: Best bred in M/F pairs. Egg Laying: After choosing a suitable egg laying spot, the female dig a hole in the soil approximately 10cm deep where she will lay between 4 and 23 eggs, which she will then cover with dirt.
Incubation Temperature: Carpet Chameleon eggs should be artificially incubated in slightly moist vermiculite. A cool phase is needed during egg incubation: 25C for the first 45 days, 15C for 40 days, then 28C until hatching (around 100 days following the end of the cool phase). Incubation / Gestation Time: Gestation lasts 30 to 50 days. Size at Birth: 3cm SVL. Hatchling Sex Ratio: 50% male - 50% female, with the above incubation procedure. Feeding: Young may be fed vitamin / mineral dusted pinhead crickets and fruit flies. Housing: Young may be raised communally.