B. perarmata is a small, oviparous chameleon inhabiting the bushes and forest floor of western Madagascar's Antsingy region of Menabe Province. Bartlett and Bartlett (1995) and Pronk (personal communication) report their TL at no larger than 4.5 inches but exceptional specimens of 7 inches have been reported (P. Necas, personal communication). Successful captive breeding has been exceedingly sporadic and to the editors' knowledge, they have never been bred past the F2 generation. Incubation time is as short as 2 months (F. LeBerre, personal communication). WC individuals reportedly have heavy infestations of round worms. For these reasons,
B. perarmata is recommended only for the expert chameleon keeper.
The body color of B. perarmata is brown with the head being brown to tan. They are easily distinguished by the bilateral rows of thorny spines running along the dorsal surface. Similar thorny spines adorn the various cranial crests and give a serrated appearance. The overall impression is of a tiny, armored dragon.
These chameleons seem to be especially fond of any white colored food. Dusted crickets are more readily accepted than undusted ones.
Wax worms & white mini-mealworms are among their favorite prey items. A key aspect to keeping them in captivity may have to do with proper humidity/hydration levels. Simply put, they need it humid but not damp and should have access to a wet area but be kept dry. What this means is that the relative humidity needs to be high. However, in trying to accomplish this, spraying down the cage so that the substrate becomes saturated/wet can quickly cause their health to deteriorate. The same applies for their drinking water. Watering in the typical rain-like manner causes the cage to become too wet. It is
preferable to give them a shallow water dish in their cage which is cleaned daily. The
perarmata will come over and actually soak in the shallow water. It must not be too deep so as to avoid drowning. While in the water dish, it is then an excellent time to spray them down -- allowing the cage itself to remain dry, but supplying the necessary water. Another technique is to removed them from the cage and place them in a small screened cage to spray them down ... which seems to work well for those B. perarmata that are freshly imported and may need the extra hydration. A variation of this could be to set up a small waterfall/fountain in the terrarium.
Contributed by M. Yankee and E. Pollak
Klaver, C. & W. Boehme. 1997. Chamaeleonidae.
Das Tierreich, 112: i-xiv' 1 - 85. Verlag Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin, New York.
Martin, J., 1992. Masters of Disguise: A Natural History of Chameleons. Facts On File, Inc., New York, NY.
Necas, P. 1999. Chameleons: Nature's Hidden Jewels. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, FL.