Best First Chameleon


New Member
Hello everyone! I'm somewhat new to the forum but I've been considering getting a chameleon for over 6 months now. I've done my fair share of research, including reading threads on here like nobody's business and buying a couple of books on chameleons. I'm more than confident in my ability to take care of one of these fascinating creatures and am now ready to take the next step forward into attaining one! Well, my question here is should I, as a first time chameleon owner, get a veiled chameleon or a panther chameleon? I've already decided upon purchasing a male, because I've read they're much easier to care for first time owners, so that's not an issue. I've heard from some that a veiled is best for beginners because they are much heartier than other types of chameleons. While I've heard from others that panthers would be the best choice because they are in general, much more calm and docile. I don't know if I have too much of a preference, panthers are much more colorful than veileds, but also are a lot more expensive! What do you guys think? Your opinions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! :D
When it comes to care, ive found that the only difference for me is that panthers like it hotter.

otherwise, i care for my veileds and my panthers the same way.

ive met a very docile veiled, and a wicked mean panther.

So its a luck of the draw.

Welcome to the forum and the addiction!
Up to you, really! Their care is nearly identical and they are both hardy species if their set-ups are correct. For a lot of people it does come down to price (although a lot of people seem to start with a veiled AND later pay the extra to get a panther as well anyway, so there's no fighting the appeal ;) ) but go for the species that you'd most like to live with for the next 5-8 years. The decision is yours!
Yeah from what I understand the three main beginner chams are panthers, veileds, and jacksons, with jacksons being slightly more difficult, but from among those three I think you can pretty much just get what you like.
I would agree a panther or veiled. My veileds prefered it hotter than my panthers.

Another difference I found is my panthers like more water but other than that I keep both species exactly the same.

Veileds seem to be a little more forgiving
It can be more of a hit and miss personality wise with veileds. I would say start with a panther because they generally are more forgiving with their attitudes. Veileds can be more crabby but if you socialize them right, they are very sweet. Mine loves to hang out with me, he never gets stressed or angry unless he's at the vets. I think to many people go for veileds because they are less expensive and that's not a good mind set to have when it comes to chams. Realistically you should have 500-600$ get aside for a Cham and its supplies. But most importantly you need to find a reliable herp vet in your area. If you don't have one close to you it may not be a good idea to purchase one. You should also keep altleast 200$ in savings for emergency vet bills. In the end, just buy from a reputable breeder so it is healthy.
It's going to come down to your preference and price range in the end. I paid $450 for my male Panther from a breeder in Canada including shipping. After enclosure (I have 2 of them, smaller starter and large for when he's adult), lighting, supplements, free range, etc. I've spent upwards of $1000 on him to date.

You are being a responsible owner by doing your homework before you get him. That's what I did and I can assure you it makes things much, much easier than getting him home and figuring it out. I setup my enclosure a few days before he arrived to ensure temp and humidity was ok as well. With these temperamental creatures, you can never be too careful or too informed.

I would suggest a Panther only because I think they are appealing for the colours and they seem to have a fairly wide range of what is acceptable for keeping them.

Best of luck to you!
Hi Liz,
Welcome to the addiction some call a hobby!! I've kept both Veiled's & Panthers and there are plenty of fans of both here on the forums. as others have said before me - personality with any cham is going to be hit or miss - you just have to learn their idiosyncrasies and even then they can still surpise you. I tend to favor Panthers because I have found them "in general" to have calmer demeanor & friendlier personalities than the Veiled's I've kept.

When you've made up your mind on which kind - then it's time to figure our where and from who to get it from - and I would say that there are plenty of people here in the forums who do a wonderful job of producing healthy quality babies and I definitely suggest getting a younger one to start with (though no younger than 3-4 months as a minimum) so you can experience the joys of watching them grow & get to learn their personality. Just check the classifieds section.

Either way- keep asking lots of questions & post some pics when you get your first chameleon!!
size difference

There is a huge size difference between the two. It is ideal to set up at least 24x24x48. However a lot of people agree that panthers don't necessarily require the bigger cage. I have read and seen perfectly housed and healthy panthers in 18x18x36 & 16x16x30 cages. The male veil of course would be miserable in anything smaller than the 48". Just something i didn't see anyone speak of to you. I have both, with a human addicted female veil and male blue bar panther. Both freak to be held, however the veil more so. Even while gravid she DEMANDS to be held. Out of 15 assorted chams, only two are wanting to be held. Others just tolerate, while some refuse. Also, the way your cham acts at the store might not be that cham at your house. The male blue bar who likes being held, used to bite the previous owner every chance he had. That's how he ended up in my care. Treat your cham as to how he responds to your movements, and after a while he might want to be held or at least tolerate you.
I dissagree, I think most people believe that adult male panthers should also not be in anything smaller than a 4' cage. They can be tremendously active and aren't necessarily that much smaller than most veileds. I've kept my baby-juvie panther females in 36" x 18" cages, I think an adult male would be miserable in that little space.

I get that breeders might for the sake of being space-efficient but for the casual hobbyist that just has one to a handful of chams, it's going to be much more preferable to provide more space.
i would say it this way...

what can you do as far as care is concerned vs what are you willing to do???

if you can afford everything and are willing to spend the time required...

i really think that you should get the cham that you really want:cool::cool::cool:
Veileds are less expensive, but please do not let the cost determine which one you go with. Even with research I expected to pay around $500 for my cham and his supplies (cage, accessories, etc), but I ended up spending over $1000 in the short 3-4 months that I've owned him.

I'm by no means trying to deter you from the hobby. It's just a lot less stressful to get his cage, lighting, mister, foliage (real and fake), food, gutload, supplements, and everything before you get the chameleon. It's much easier to do everything before hand, because if you do it after you get a cham, things become more urgent, and you won't have the opportunity to "wait till payday" to get the things you need.

Welcome to the forums (the best place ever to learn about chameleons) and eventually chameleon ownership!

We look forward to lots of pictures of your cham and it's cage :)
Vieled's are little terrorists. One tried to burn my house down.

Consider where Vieled's are from. Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Mean and miserable people and animals come from these areas.

My adult male Veiled, Osama, never gets along with any of the other chameleons in the free range environment, constantly picks fights with them and thinks the whole living room is his. I have 6 Veileds, a Panther, two Meller's, two Fisher's, a Jackson and an Usambata.

Plus, Osama recently tried to burn my house down. Yes, Osama has a habit of rocking back and forth on the cords from my heat lamps and throws them down to the ground. (See Photo Attached). I came home twice now and found my carpet on fire.

So you see, unless you want a little home grown terrorist in your house you should definitely get a panther.


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I recently brought home my first chameleon, a Jackson, and I love it! I love the horns and the almost more prehistoric look. Although not particularly fancy in color, usually a bright lime green, he's fairly social! I am of course jaded because he is my first and only, but I work at a pet store, and the veileds tend to hiss at me. It took me four years to finally break down and get a chameleon, but it's been a great joy every day!
I am very new to the Chameleon addiction also!! (be prepared you will have more then one!) and have 2 Veiled and 1 panther now. I take care of them the same and they are doing wonderful. I am looking at a male blue bar and the only thing I may change from my current 18X18X36 each of my current guys have is I may go with a 48". Other then that I treat them the same they just have different food choices but that you learn when you get yours!

Welcome to the forums and always keep browsing around. I have learned so much here and everyone is so helpful! I like they will tell you if you change something but not make you feel like an idiot haha :D

So keep doing research and be sure to share pics when you finally get one!!
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