Adult veiled chameleon found in my yard.

Ashleyg

New Member
Hi All,

This is my first post here. On Friday my gardeners found an adult veiled chameleon in one of my hibiscus in my yard. I'm located in the san fernando valley, in north Los Angeles. The mornings can get quite cold here, upper 30's to mid 50's with the daytime temps around 70 degrees this time of year. My house is separated from my neighbors by around 50 feet, and I have a lot (field) behind my house, so i'm fairly isolated from neighbors. I'm wondering how far he could have possibly traveled to get in my yard. The conditions in the wild here are definitely not ideal, this must be a hearty guy......There are plenty of predators in the area: hawks, coyotes, owls, rats, cats, racoons etc.... Do most of you think it was an abandoned pet? I'm assuming he's been in my yard a good bit... I took him in, got it a hybrid 3ft enclosure, with the necessities. Could you guys have a look at him and see if anything stands out? He seems to be moving around and climbing a lot since i've transplanted him. I put some food in, can't tell if he's eaten yet, I still see a horn worm hanging on the branch.

I appreciate all the info here, it's been very valuable.

Ash
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Haley Hendrix

Avid Member
Im thinking it was a pet due to the weather you described. He dosent appear to have MBD but he is very skinny and may have parasites. He looks a little dehydrated. I would remove whatever you have at the bottom of the cage and put a real plant in there. This species of chameleons are known to eat fake plants and become impacted. Have you misted? If you can I would put a hibiscus plant in there with him or a pothos so he has coverage along with some climbing sticks. What is your setup? Do you plan on keeping him?
 

Ashleyg

New Member
Thanks for your reply, two of those pics were from a temporary enclosure, it was better than a cardboard box lol..... I'm using "Reptisoil" from zoomed in the current enclosure. I plan on removing the fake plants as soon as I can figure out what should go in. I have a 5.0 long uvb and a 75 watt incandescent basking light, I've been misting all day. I also purchased a "reptirain" for a starter mister. Seems like by mid afternoon i'm at 85 degrees, with 40-50% humiditiy. I have the enclosure under a giant skylight in my house.

What do you base him possibly having parasites on? Because he was in the wild? or do you see something?

This is my current work in progress set up
 

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Haley Hendrix

Avid Member
Okay, I will get you started on the basics. These are expensive pets.

Feeding -
You can feed him 5-8 feeders every other day.
Dubia Roaches, Crickets, Blue Bottle Fly Larvae, Black Soilder Fly Larvae, Silkwomrs, Hornwomrs, Superworms, and for now you can get him waxworms so he can get some fat on him. Superworms are only a treat, dont overfeed them, he will become addicted.
AVOID: MEALWORMS, BUTTERWORMS
You will need to gutload all feeders with: Mustard green, Collard greens, papaya, sweet potato, apple, mangoes, oranges, kale, carrots, black berries, butternut squash, and dandelion leaves.
AVOID: Regular Potatoes, cabbage, ice burg lettuce, and spinach

Supplements
You will need three different supplements. Calcium WITHOUT D3, Calcium WITH D3, and a Multivitamin.
Calcium WITHOUT D3 every feeding but once a week and on that day alternate between Calcium WITH D3 and Multivitamin week to week. So Calcium WITH D3 twice a month and same with the Multivitamin.

Your watering is good, make sure to mist often and get a dripper so he has the opportunity to drink out of that during the day.

Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
Im assuming he has parasites becasue he was in the "wild" and could of eaten bugs that had them and they will be passed to him. Along with him being pretty skinny.

Cage Type - Min size is 2x2x4

Lighting - You need a T5HO 5.0 UVB, make sure this is what you have. Lights need a 12 hour cycle. 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Branch needs to be 9 in from lights to get correct amount of UVB.

Temperature - Basking can be around 85-88. Ambient in the high 70's.

Humidity - 25-45% during the day and at night 80%+.

Plants - You can use the hibiscus and put it in a pot Pothos is also one of the best you can use. Get live plants ASAP. With a hibiscus you will need a strong plant light.

I would recommend a screen cage, you need more climbing and hiding places for him. Remove the substrate, a bare bottom is better than what you have. You dont want him eating it. Take him to a chameleon vet, if you need help finding one let me know.
 

Livingstons Lizards

Established Member
It could be an escaped/ released pet however I have heard of several Veiled populations spanning from San Diego to San Luis area so it be from one of those. I know they're known to tolerate temps into the 30s in Yemen.
 

Ashleyg

New Member
I'm pretty separated from my neighbors, it's really incredible he ended up in my yard...I have about 12 hibiscus and a bunch of ficus out there, i've been interested in having a chameleon so this is real fun, just need to fatten him up. I wouldn't put it past many people out here to just abandon them when they get too big or move. Out of curiosity I will have to check my other hibiscus as well.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome! Amazing find! Regarding parasites, it’s always a good idea to have any animal introduced to your care checked for parasites...even when you know where they came from. As has been said, keeping a chameleon properly can be quite expensive. So that you don’t waste on needless things, make sure to check out Chameleon Academy...here’s where to start. https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-basics/
Hoping you’ll keep us in the loop of your/his progression. :)
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Okay, I will get you started on the basics. These are expensive pets.

Feeding -
You can feed him 5-8 feeders every other day.
Dubia Roaches, Crickets, Blue Bottle Fly Larvae, Black Soilder Fly Larvae, Silkwomrs, Hornwomrs, Superworms, and for now you can get him waxworms so he can get some fat on him. Superworms are only a treat, dont overfeed them, he will become addicted.
AVOID: MEALWORMS, BUTTERWORMS
You will need to gutload all feeders with: Mustard green, Collard greens, papaya, sweet potato, apple, mangoes, oranges, kale, carrots, black berries, butternut squash, and dandelion leaves.
AVOID: Regular Potatoes, cabbage, ice burg lettuce, and spinach

Supplements
You will need three different supplements. Calcium WITHOUT D3, Calcium WITH D3, and a Multivitamin.
Calcium WITHOUT D3 every feeding but once a week and on that day alternate between Calcium WITH D3 and Multivitamin week to week. So Calcium WITH D3 twice a month and same with the Multivitamin.

Your watering is good, make sure to mist often and get a dripper so he has the opportunity to drink out of that during the day.

Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
Im assuming he has parasites becasue he was in the "wild" and could of eaten bugs that had them and they will be passed to him. Along with him being pretty skinny.

Cage Type - Min size is 2x2x4

Lighting - You need a T5HO 5.0 UVB, make sure this is what you have. Lights need a 12 hour cycle. 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Branch needs to be 9 in from lights to get correct amount of UVB.

Temperature - Basking can be around 85-88. Ambient in the high 70's.

Humidity - 25-45% during the day and at night 80%+.

Plants - You can use the hibiscus and put it in a pot Pothos is also one of the best you can use. Get live plants ASAP. With a hibiscus you will need a strong plant light.

I would recommend a screen cage, you need more climbing and hiding places for him. Remove the substrate, a bare bottom is better than what you have. You dont want him eating it. Take him to a chameleon vet, if you need help finding one let me know.

Not to be rude, but this isn't all correct.

The chameleon should not be fattened up. Saying to feed waxworms isn't a great idea. Avoiding mealworms, eh sure there's better feeders, but it's been mostly debunked a few times on here that they're any sort of real danger and are more nutritious than people think.

You mention to avoid spinach while listing other vegetables with oxalates(the reason people say to avoid spinach), the real answer is to cycle through things, have variety.

Testing parasites for being in the wild(outside of their native habitat), that's rarely, if ever, where chameleons get parasites. I do agree though, good idea to get checked.

The substrate is pretty safe, I've used reptisoil myself, although if the cham does have parasites it's good to temporarily have a bare bottom.
 

Haley Hendrix

Avid Member
Not to be rude, but this isn't all correct.

The chameleon should not be fattened up. Saying to feed waxworms isn't a great idea. Avoiding mealworms, eh sure there's better feeders, but it's been mostly debunked a few times on here that they're any sort of real danger and are more nutritious than people think.

You mention to avoid spinach while listing other vegetables with oxalates(the reason people say to avoid spinach), the real answer is to cycle through things, have variety.

Testing parasites for being in the wild(outside of their native habitat), that's rarely, if ever, where chameleons get parasites. I do agree though, good idea to get checked.

The substrate is pretty safe, I've used reptisoil myself, although if the cham does have parasites it's good to temporarily have a bare bottom.
I said to avoid mealworms because they have a hard outer shell that is hard for chameleons to digest.

I went off NeptunetheChameleon for gutloading.

I recommend getting a fecal because he could of eaten crickets, locust, etc in her yard and there’s a chance they had parasites.

I don’t want to argue, just an explanation.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
You will need to get him in a cage that is at least 2x2x4tall. For accurate info and complete info on how to set up an enclosure....
Start reading https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
and https://chameleonacademy.com/veiled-chameleon-care/

He was probably loving your hibiscus that is one of their favorites and they will actually eat the flowers.
Here are some accurate images for you on gutloading your feeders and what feeders you can feed.

chameleon-gutload.jpg
chameleon-food(1).jpg
 

Ashleyg

New Member
Not to be rude, but this isn't all correct.

The chameleon should not be fattened up. Saying to feed waxworms isn't a great idea. Avoiding mealworms, eh sure there's better feeders, but it's been mostly debunked a few times on here that they're any sort of real danger and are more nutritious than people think.

You mention to avoid spinach while listing other vegetables with oxalates(the reason people say to avoid spinach), the real answer is to cycle through things, have variety.

Testing parasites for being in the wild(outside of their native habitat), that's rarely, if ever, where chameleons get parasites. I do agree though, good idea to get checked.

The substrate is pretty safe, I've used reptisoil myself, although if the cham does have parasites it's good to temporarily have a bare bottom.
He seems very skinny, I was thinking wax worms would be a good impulsive way to get him eating, as he may have only been eating hibiscus in my yard...
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I said to avoid mealworms because they have a hard outer shell that is hard for chameleons to digest.

I went off NeptunetheChameleon for gutloading.

I recommend getting a fecal because he could of eaten crickets, locust, etc in her yard and there’s a chance they had parasites.

I don’t want to argue, just an explanation.

Not arguing, just friendly discussion 👍

I do think mealworms aren't necessary, but they're not terrible either. Their chitin isn't worse than much else they eat.

I think limiting spinach is good, but no need to remove anything entirely(except a select few like avocado, onion, garlic). I just like to reinforce the idea of constant variety rather than X is good, Y is bad.

Parasite check is a good idea, no disagreement there. Just saying, outside insects rarely have a risk to passing on parasites. Usually comes from store bought crickets or contact with other wildcaught chameleons.
 

Cham Cham Man

New Member
Hi All,

This is my first post here. On Friday my gardeners found an adult veiled chameleon in one of my hibiscus in my yard. I'm located in the san fernando valley, in north Los Angeles. The mornings can get quite cold here, upper 30's to mid 50's with the daytime temps around 70 degrees this time of year. My house is separated from my neighbors by around 50 feet, and I have a lot (field) behind my house, so i'm fairly isolated from neighbors. I'm wondering how far he could have possibly traveled to get in my yard. The conditions in the wild here are definitely not ideal, this must be a hearty guy......There are plenty of predators in the area: hawks, coyotes, owls, rats, cats, racoons etc.... Do most of you think it was an abandoned pet? I'm assuming he's been in my yard a good bit... I took him in, got it a hybrid 3ft enclosure, with the necessities. Could you guys have a look at him and see if anything stands out? He seems to be moving around and climbing a lot since i've transplanted him. I put some food in, can't tell if he's eaten yet, I still see a horn worm hanging on the branch.

I appreciate all the info here, it's been very valuable.

AshView attachment 294123View attachment 294124View attachment 294125
Poor cham!
 

CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
He seems very skinny, I was thinking wax worms would be a good impulsive way to get him eating, as he may have only been eating hibiscus in my yard...
It is hard to determine skinny in a chameleon without weighing. If he is not under 90g he does not need to be fattened up. He looks scared of course but not necessarily thin. His tail and arms look ok. Honestly he looks healthy. As @jamest0o0 mentioned he will not get paracites living wild in CA. They simply do not exist there. Parasites tend to be pretty specific to their host. He would only have them through domestic infection. Honestly he looks pretty darn good to me. Healthier than many I have seen. There is nothing wrong with getting a vet inspection, it is just not entirely necessary at this point. Have you put up signs? He is either a recent escape and will be claimed, as he would come from near by. Or he has been on his own for a while. I can't say the likelihood of him being wild born, but it is possible. I would say if wild born, that would mean that there would likely have to be others. Have you done any exploring ?
 
You are living my fantasy! I'm going to put a sign in front of my house that says "abandon chameleons here" :p

I'm not sure what your humidity is like there, but consider getting a fogger for overnight fogging. It helped my chameleon out quite a bit with hydration and energy levels. I live in a really humid place so I was on the fence about if it was needed or not, but it was strongly recommended by members of this forum and I see why. It really has made a huge difference in his quality of life. Just make sure the cage has nice airflow.

If you're completely new to chameleons I HIGHLY recommend reading through the chameleon academy site: https://chameleonacademy.com. It is an incredible care guide - another rec from this forum. I didn't have that info for my first and I wish I could go back in time and change so many things!

Congratulations!
 

Ashleyg

New Member
I currently have my enclosure under a skylight in my house with 5.0 uvb and 75watt basking light, currently using a reptirain and hand misting occasionally, hoping the skylight is a good thing, its very warm under it. I'm getting rid of the fake plants as soon as I have all the real plants, i'm thinking a money tree and a few pothos to start.

I'm very aware of chameleonacademy, its a great resource.

What are the steps to acclimating nursery bought plants to the enclosure? I plan on re-potting them, trying to figure out what soil will eliminate gnat activity etc... I currently have reptisoil on the bottom, although I may eliminate that.

Thanks again for the great help
 

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I would ditch the dirt bottom - it's going to be a pain to keep clean. Chams are tree-top dwellers. They don't like the ground and since it's a male you don't need dirt for egg laying.

As long as he's not in direct sunlight that should be a great place for him. Direct sun will bake him into a chameleon cookie, especially through glass. Basking spot should get to 85 and no higher - i've got my bulbs on a inkbird thermostat as a safety measure. They rarely get hotter than 85 but sometimes for whatever reason they do.

Your enclosure is similar to the enclosure my chameleon came in. The problem I ran into was drainage. It's really hard to get enough water/hydration running through the system without having drainage at the bottom. I had two choices - invest a lot of time and money into making an amazing bioactive terrarium (which would still require a pump for drainage) or just get a new enclosure with a drainage base. I went with the second option. Chams have sensitive respiratory systems and you have to get the bioactive thing just right to keep them healthy.

If you're handy, you could probably remove the bottom glass pane and replace it with a drainage tray. IDK, the upkeep may not bug you. I just went for what would be the easiest maintenance with the smallest chance of mildew/mold.

For plants from the nursery: I rinse all the dirt off the root ball, spray the whole plant down with a spray bottle of dawn dish soap and warm water, then rinse again really well.

For potting soil you've got lots of options. I use whatever organic soil mix and coco fiber I have lying around. You can go with a premade mix (checkout biodude) or you can make your own. Here is a recipe for your own mix: I haven't had any issues with gnats as long as I am careful about where I get my stuff (reptile stores). You could also probably bake the mix to kill anything that was hitching a ride. I've never done that before though.

I'm not the greenest thumb but my plants do ok. I use microlife multipurpose 6-2-4 for fertilizer and so far I've had amazing results. It's non-toxic. Do you know how I know? My dog ate two pounds of dirt fertilized with it and I had to call poison control. Turns out it's the same stuff used in zoos. https://www.microlifefertilizer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Multi-Purpose-6-2-4-Spec-Sheet.pdf I use it for everything - cham plants, our garden, house plants. It doesn't burn so you don't have to worry about using too much.

I put rocks on the top of the soil for two reasons - 1. to keep my cham from digging up the roots 2. to keep my cham from eating soil/fertilizer. Even though we're using organic/non-toxic materials it's not good for them to munch on.
 

Ashleyg

New Member
Update: He is eating like a champ, he mostly wears dark colors unless sleeping, hopefully he's just still acclimating to going from the yard to an enclosure...
Can anyone tell me are these white markings normal?
Also, are the feces normal looking?
Thanks again
 

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PoseidonTheChameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
I said to avoid mealworms because they have a hard outer shell that is hard for chameleons to digest.

I went off NeptunetheChameleon for gutloading.

I recommend getting a fecal because he could of eaten crickets, locust, etc in her yard and there’s a chance they had parasites.

I don’t want to argue, just an explanation.
I agree with you 🙂
 
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