When a family decides to get a pet, a fundamental piece of information they need to know is whether this pet is cold-blooded or warm-blooded. This information is vital to understand what temperature their new friend will need. Some pets may be warm-blooded, while others are cold-blooded. In the specific case of chameleons, are they cold-blooded or warm-blooded?
Chameleons are cold-blooded animals. We have to understand that this does not literally mean that their blood is cold. When an animal is cold-blooded, it cannot control its body temperature, mainly when changes occur in its environment.
Another way of putting it is that chameleons can have a stable body temperature by relying on the conditions of the environment they inhabit. People, unlike chameleons, can use their metabolism to generate heat. They also have other elements, such as shivering and sweating, to help the body maintain stable temperatures. Chameleons are fascinating animals, and for this reason, today, we will study everything related to the cold blood of their organism.
Chameleons: Cold-Blooded or Warm-Blooded?
There is no doubt that chameleons are fascinating animals. Still, they are pets that require exceptional care.
Deciding to have a chameleon as a pet could be more complex than it seems. We have to be aware that we will have to give them warmth and have a space available to sunbathe. All these measures are because chameleons are cold-blooded animals.
A cold-blooded animal cannot regulate its body temperature as we can. Chameleons have to be directly exposed to the sun to warm up. A place that does not have the right conditions for the chameleon to stay warm could cause this pet to become sick in less than two weeks. Once we see symptoms of illness in the chameleon, it may be too late, and the animal could die.
But we can avoid all these problems if we understand how important it is for this animal to have a warm and comfortable living habitat.
What Are The Differences Between Warm-Blooded And Cold-Blooded Animals?
Animals include humans and other mammals. These animals can maintain their body temperature independently of environmental conditions without taking conscious action to do so. However, we will always need a good coat when it is freezing. Still, even so, our body heat will not drop drastically unless we suffer an accident or a specific health mishap.
Cold-blooded animals or ectothermic animals cannot have a constant temperature. These animals depend solely on absorbing heat from the sun or other artificial heat sources when in captivity. Other differences that we can find between these two types of animals are:
- Reptiles, fish, and invertebrates are cold-blooded animals that cannot maintain body heat independently of their environment. If a change occurs outside, they will not adapt, and some may even die. In contrast, warm-blooded animals do make internal adjustments when the outside changes. These animals can adapt to extreme climatic conditions.
- The metabolism and temperature of cold-blooded animals change depending on the environment. In comparison, warm-blooded animals can survive drastic changes in the environment.
- Cold-blooded animals have two phases: estivation and hibernation. During the summer, deprivation is the sleeping stage, and hibernation is the sleep stage when the winter season arrives. Cold-blooded animals activate these sleep phases when outdoor conditions are unfavorable for them.
- Cold-blooded animals can defend themselves against parasite attacks and can also protect themselves against infections. Warm-blooded animals possess an immune system that also helps them fight diseases and infections.
How Can I Keep My Chameleon Warm?
The chameleon’s body temperature should always be kept in the optimal range. We already know that these animals are cold-blooded. So we have to take specific actions to ensure that their environment never reaches extreme temperatures, neither too hot nor too cold.
The chameleon is an exotic pet. This animal requires advanced care from its owner. In addition to food, as one of the fundamental elements for their excellent health, providing them with a space to sunbathe is essential.
This place can be an area of their habitat where the sun shines directly on them. The chameleon can sit and receive natural or artificial heat (heat lamps).
What Are The Ideal Light And Heat Conditions For The Chameleon?
Let’s review some tips to help us achieve this favorable environment for our pets.
- We must provide the chameleon with the ideal temperature in its habitat to avoid health problems. It is essential to know that this habitat must have hot and cold zones. The average temperature of the cold zone should be between 70° to 80° Fahrenheit.
- The hot zone or the place where you will get sun or artificial light should be between 80° and 55° Fahrenheit. If you want to monitor the habitat’s temperature accurately, it is best to use a room thermometer.
- At night, the room temperature should be between 65° and 70° Fahrenheit.
- Chameleons will need approximately twelve hours of darkness or light cycles in their habitat. An option that also works is to use a fluorescent light bulb; this bulb will emit light rays that will assist the chameleon in absorbing calcium.
- You also should monitor the humidity of the habitat, knowing that the best humidity range should be between 65% and 68%. A hydrometer could be ideal for measuring the humidity level.
- The habitat should have a drip system, a nebulizer, and a sprinkler.
Can I Use a Heat Lamp On The Chameleon?
Of course, you can. Chameleons need to have a heat lamp at night. These heat lamps are a source of energy that these fabulous pets need. However, this is not a source of metabolic heat, so we will always need to give the chameleon an external source of energy, that is, sunlight.
A fundamental aspect is to know what is the ideal temperature that a chameleon should have. After that, we can adjust the habitat’s temperature with the help of a thermometer.
When we do not have the possibility of using sunlight due to climatic conditions, we can use an external artificial source such as heat lamps.
There are other reptiles, such as snakes, that can heat their bodies. Still, chameleons are dependent on sunlight or external sources.
If a chameleon is in the wild, the only alternative is to receive heat from the sun. But when the chameleon is in captivity, we can also heat it with a heat lamp. Heat lamps are one of the best heat sources for chameleons living in houses as pets.
We can place the lamp on top of the cage or habitat. Experts recommend setting the temperature between 90° and 95° Fahrenheit. When the chameleon is a baby, you can adjust the temperature a little lower.
Can I Know If the Chameleon Is Cold?
With chameleons, we must learn to read their subtle signals to tell if something is wrong. When we know well the behavior of the chameleon, we can easily recognize its state of health by looking at its skin color.
One of the things chameleons are famous for is their ability to change color. You need to know that it will have a much darker color when a chameleon is cold than usual. By having this color, the chameleon can attract heat more quickly.
You should also know that the dark color of the chameleon may not only mean that it is cold. Other different health reasons can cause this dark coloration in the chameleon. The first action should always be to check the animal’s body temperature.
A Final Thought on Cold Blood In Chameleons
When an animal has cold blood, it must receive a warm light from having a chance to raise its body temperature. The chameleon must also have a good place to sit to reduce the heat it receives.
The decision to own a chameleon involves special and advanced care, which would not be necessary for other less exotic pets. For these reasons, adopting a chameleon requires a high level of commitment and responsibility from its owner so that this particular pet can live a healthy and happy life.