We cannot emphasise enough the importance of hydration. In our opinion it is the primary factor towards fatalities in captivity. Hydrating a chameleon is a slightly more involved process than other animals. Most chameleons will not recognise standing water, therefore simply putting a bowl in the bottom of the enclosure will not be enough to keep your animal hydrated. Chameleons drink droplets of water that fall from leaves and branches during and after rainy spells, or from the morning dew. Getting a chameleon to drink regularly is a challenge in it’s self, they can often be slow to respond when daily misting, often leaving them dehydrated, unbeknown to the keeper who is misting the enclosure 2-3 times a day.
A drip system can be used to run along side your misting routine to allow your chameleon to drink freely all day. This may take time for them to recognise where to go but they soon will. An automated system works well as long as you have drainage in the bottom of the enclosure. Hand spraying with a spray bottle bought from any garden centre will suffice if keeping 1-2 animals. If keeping larger numbers of chameleons it is recommended you use a misting system, which will not only save you time but allow you to observe your animals, without interruption, to see if and when they are drinking.
Heat and regular misting will both help with the correct levels of humidity for an individual species, which should peak and trough throughout the day. Adding safe live plants will also contribute to these levels.
Please note constant high humidity and the lack of air flow in your chameleons enclosure can lead to respiratory issues. If this is suspected please seek help from an experienced exotics vet.