Advice Needed regarding an enclosure and eyes


New Member
Hey all I’m new here and am about to get my first reptile. Now, I work for a major pet store chain, and I’ve read that veiled chameleons should be housed in a screened enclosure for the air, but I live in Beaverton, OR and it’s cold here now. My house has baseboard heating and is only kept at about 65 degrees this time of year. I’m concerned that my soon to be new addition to my family will be too cold. We have him in a glass aquarium at the store right now, but I hear that’s not good for them.

He’s the cute one I have as my picture and his eyes are currently closed and I don’t know why. The vet has had him on antibiotics and eye drops and yet his eyes still stay closed. I’m able to hand feed him crickets and water and he gets dark spots until I start talking to him and holding him then he calms right down. I think he’s chosen me as his human which is why I want to adopt him.

Is there anyone who could give me advice on the type of enclosure I should have for him and any knowledge on his eye situation? I would appreciate that, and I’m sure Sully would too!

Thanks everyone!


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Hi and welcome. I’m afraid that there’s no easy way to tell you, but when a chameleon keeps it’s eyes closed during the day there is a serious problem and not necessarily with the eyes. I think the majority of us would advise against getting a chameleon that shows this sign as the odds are high that you may be setting yourself up for a heartbreak. I fully understand the connection you feel though and if you wish to still give this sweet little baby his/her best chance we can help to do that. The first thing you’ll need to do is completely disregard everything that the pet store or random web sites have told you about how to keep a chameleon. Even the vet may not have the most current and correct info. Besides the forum, the best place to learn all of the correct and up to date info is I want you to read thru all of the modules and take note of any questions you may have. Then come back here and ask your questions and we can help you get set up to give that little sweetie the best start possible.
I’ll answer your original questions. The decision of glass vs screen is usually dependent upon the ambient humidity of your home. Veiled chameleons need an ideal range of between 30-50% humidity during the day. Most opt for buying a hybrid screen & pvc or altering a screen enclosure to meet their needs and I would suggest either of these options. The minimum size an adult chameleon needs is 2x2x4’. However, for now I would suggest keeping baby in what we call a hospital bin - you can use a plastic tote with taller sides. Keep it minimal with maybe a couple of branches and a plant. This is just until baby recovers enough to be in a standard enclosure. You will need to provide correct uvb with a linear T5 with either ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6%. It can not be a screw in bulb as those have no range beyond 2-3”. If little one hasn’t been getting correct uvb, that may be the cause of illness. You’ll need to be careful with providing heat as the enclosed space can build it up too high. Little one only needs a basking temp of about 78. A low wattage light bulb should work, but do test it.
One of the other major causes of illness that we see too often here is incorrect supplements. Baby should be getting a phosphorus free calcium without D3 lightly dusted at every feeding. One feeding every other week you’ll lightly dust with either Reptivite with D3 or Repashy Calcium Plus LoD. I’ve heard that some chain pet stores use only calcium with D3 every feeding and that is bad. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and in a baby will very quickly build up to toxic levels. If this is the case, cutting the vitamin D completely for at least a month and making sure to keep hydrated is really all that can be done. Some say going outside to get real D3 from the sun will help, but at this time of year I doubt your climate allows for that.
Baby should be a little eating machine and allowed to eat it’s fill in about 15-20 minutes, twice a day. You’ll want nutritious feeders that are smaller than the space between the eyes. Attaching graphics for you.
Getting back to the plant you’ll be using for baby. Get something simple and alive, like a pothos or heart leaf philodendron. You’ll want to wash the leaves very well with a gentle dish soap to remove any pesticides or fertilizers, rinse extremely well and then rinse again. I suggest repotting in an organic soil and placing at least 1” washed river rocks on top of the soil.
The floor of the bin, keep an old towel on the floor and change it for a clean dry one after misting. You’ll want to mist the plant until the leaves are dripping…I’m going to say to do that three times daily. If little one seems extra thirsty, maybe add a dripper for about 15 minutes daily.
I hope some of this helps you and sweet baby. I’m sure others will add whatever I may have forgotten or their encouragement. Please keep us informed of your and baby’s progress. I’m rooting for you both to succeed above and beyond all expectations. 💗
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