New to Chameleons or Want one? A Story.

It’s Saturday morning, I’m out picking up coffee with my three year old daughter Nora. My wife calls me to tell me our cat just brought in a lizard, it’s still alive and it’s escaped into our bathroom. I say, “That’s pretty metal, what do we want to name the lizard?”

We make an unexpected stop at PetSmart to buy an aquarium, heat lamp, sand I’m guessing and some crickets. My daughter, rocking a NASA shirt sees it...A Veiled Chameleon she’s calling Pascal (We were really into that Rapunzel movie Tangled). She jumps up and down asking if we can get him. We don’t even know it’s a him. It was. Thankfully.
Looking at my daughter dancing in excitement and not wanting to break her heart I did what any loving father would do... We called Mom.

“Have you done any research on Chameleons?” The staff member asks. “Mhmm.” I nod like the liar she knows I am. And so, One Veiled Chameleon, one ZooMed chameleon starter kit, two dozen crickets and a spray bottle later we are at home with our new friend.

Panic sets in. I’ve never owned a chameleon. I’ve never owned a reptile. Am I an idiot? How do I keep this thing alive? How old is it? Is it a boy or girl? Will it drink from a bowl? Can I just stick whatever plant I want into it’s cage? Is that other lizard seriously still in my bathroom?

Luckily for me I googled my questions and found an amazing forum of people who gladly answered... Yes. You are an idiot. Here’s a form for you to fill out. We’ll prove it! (If you’re new and reading this please fill out the form. It truly does help)

I spent the next two months binge reading every forum post and binge listening to every episode of The Chameleon Breeders Podcast with Bill Strand. Man oh man. I do not know what I do not know.

Too often we make spontaneous decisions that we are so unprepared to take on. Unfortunately this is all too common with chameleon ownership. There is a problem that Bill Strand talks about where you learn the basics to husbandry and you feel it’s enough to get you by so you’re all set! With Chameleons and pretty much everything else in life we should always take the students mentality. Never stop learning.

With every episode and every forum post I learned something new, I made a smarter purchase, I tweeked my enclosure, I researched the seasons in Yemen, I googled how to raise crickets... seriously.

If you’re new to this and like me, you are going to have so much fun learning and thinking about these little ones. You might become a bit obsessive but that’s probably good! Your chameleon will be better for it. Take it one step at a time and enjoy your little dragon.

Comments

Thanks, for showing a very real side of chameleon keeping. The impulse, the “harsh” message of how you are needing to fix things, and most importantly the way that we should always strive to learn how to give them the best life possible in our care.

Great job!
 
Thanks, for showing a very real side of chameleon keeping. The impulse, the “harsh” message of how you are needing to fix things, and most importantly the way that we should always strive to learn how to give them the best life possible in our care.

Great job!
Thank you! It’s crazy to me that I see the, “Just bought a chameleon! Now what?” Posts daily. I was one of them. Wanted to let new comers know that after the initial shock, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” That it gets better the more you dive in.
 

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