Habitat and Distribution: B. damaranum inhabits bushes and trees of the Tsitsikamma Forest region on the slopes and foot of the Outeniqua Mountains in the moderate but humid coastal regions of Western and Eastern Cape Provinces, South Africa (from George to Witelsbos)
Description: Medium-sized dwarf chameleon. Sides with granular scales and flattened, lenticular scales. Two rows of enlarged lenticular scales adorn the dorsal region. Head with well developed, narrow casque, bent to the back of the animal. Dorsal crest with enlarged, convex tubercles. Gular crest consists of 8-13 large skin flaps, longer than wide. Abdominal crest of 35-50 intermittent, low tubercles, which increase in size caudally. The tail is longer than the SVL of the animal. Males display a intensive green to turquoise or blue basic coloration. On the sides there is a long yellow, orange to red or purple spot, mostly limited by a yellow stripe. Females and juveniles are mainly green or yellow-brownish. The total length is about seven inches, SVL about three inches.
Husbandry and Breeding: Usually individual housing, pairs only in large enclosures. Gravid females should always be housed separately. Outdoor setups during the summer time are strongly recommended but there must be ample opportunity for the animals to withdraw from direct sunlight. Semi-screened cages are highly recommended with a minimum space of 20x20x25 inches. The following temperatures proved to be useful: Summer time day temps: 77-82ºF, at night 60-65ºF; Winter time day temps 70-75ºF, night temps 53-57ºF. The night drop is essential for the animals. Humidity days: 60-70%, at night 80-100% r.H.
Special fluorescent tubes with UV-light, HQL/HQI-lamps are required for indoor housing in large enclosures. A little spot light for thermoregulation is also necessary. Cages should also contain Small-leaved plants and twigs with dense plantings in one corner of the cage.
Hydration requirements are medium to high with a minimum of 2 mistings per day but during the dry period only once. The use of an extra dripper or individual watering of adult animals can be helpful. Every other week a multi-vitamin product should be added to the drinking water in an adequate amount.
Feeding should occur on 2-3 day/week. Babies and gravid females should be fed more often. All kinds of small food items, including crickets, flies, wax moths and larvae are eagerly accepted. Food items should be dusted with a multi mineral (but not vitamin) product every other day.
For breeding purposes the female is introduced to the male's cage after the winter break. The male approaches the female while performing a head-bobbing routine and displaying intensified coloration. If the female is receptive, she doesn't reject the male. If the female isn't receptive, the animals should be separated again. Lack of receptivity is typically indicated by the female gaping at the male and showing stress colors. Copulation lasts a couple of minutes and is performed numerous times during a period of about a week. After that period the female should be separated from the male again.
B. damaranum is ovoviviparous. Up to two litters are dropped during one year. Six - fourteen (maximum of 20) babies are born after a gestation period of 4-6 months, usually in the morning hours. The female attaches the babies inside their birth sacs to twigs, leaves, bark or she simply drops them. Healthy babies emerge from the birth sacs within a short time and start to crawl around immediately, feeding within the first couple of hours. They can be raised in groups in the beginning but must then be housed separately in suitable cages. First food items are fruit flies, pin head crickets, spring tails, etc. Sexual maturity occurs at one year of age. Life span is 3-4 years if maintained under optimal conditions.
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