Best place to start?

KatsKhameleons

New Member
Hello! I have always wanted chameleons and now that I am an adult with adult money, I want to fulfill that dream. I have not owned reptiles since I was a kid in the mid-90s and am currently hip-deep in research.

I know that a lot of the husbandry practices that were used in the 90s were not good and are no longer being used. I'd like to start with a panther but all the research that I've done so far says that chameleons are not a beginner reptile. I want to make sure that any animal I have not only lives but thrives.

My questions are:
  • Should I consider myself a beginner or novice keeper?
    • If I should approach this as a beginner, should I get a different reptile for my first reptile as an adult?
      • If so, what would everyone recommend as a good stepping stone animal to move into chameleons?
 
Beginner:
Never taken a reptile to the vet
Never administered medicine to a reptile
Only had reptiles housed in "fish tanks" and not open air or semi open air "cages"

Can a cham be fine with a beginner? SURE. We have basic husbandry down to a science after 30 years of practice. Its almost bone simple with a repibreeze xl and a T5HO bulb, and then supplement brands in your area.
I would say a male panther would be your best bet. Male veileds are a bit hit or miss when it comes to personality for a beginner to handle, and females are out of the question due to egg binding for beginners.

If you are still unsure, a fancy bearded dragon would be my recommendation. Easier to feed, can be just as pretty, and the setup is "similar" to having a chameleon cage on its side with higher output UVB bulb.
 
if you want a chameleon, get a chameleon but only if you follow the advice on these forums. Get the right enclosure, lights, plants, and learn to keep bugs and you will do fine. Make no mistake…Chameleon enclosures and equipment are a $1K initial investment. Then there’s the cost of the chameleon itself and of course big $ for emergency vet care which I hope you never have to experience. When things go bad, they can go real bad real quick. I got one as my first reptile and made mistakes. Then I got on the forums and everyone here helped straighten things out
 
Hi and welcome. :) As long as you know what you’d be in for and are willing and able to research and set up proper husbandry, I see no reason why you shouldn’t get a chameleon if that is what you want. They are expensive to set up and there’s no real tolerance for errors in husbandry. There is a ton of misinformation out there and it’s too easy to fall victim to it. The best sources for correct and current husbandry is https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/ and https://www.neptunethechameleon.com/ Of course, we are always happy to help out with advice, questions, finding a reputable breeder and what not.
 
Beginner:
Never taken a reptile to the vet
Never administered medicine to a reptile
Only had reptiles housed in "fish tanks" and not open air or semi open air "cages"

Can a cham be fine with a beginner? SURE. We have basic husbandry down to a science after 30 years of practice. Its almost bone simple with a repibreeze xl and a T5HO bulb, and then supplement brands in your area.
I would say a male panther would be your best bet. Male veileds are a bit hit or miss when it comes to personality for a beginner to handle, and females are out of the question due to egg binding for beginners.

If you are still unsure, a fancy bearded dragon would be my recommendation. Easier to feed, can be just as pretty, and the setup is "similar" to having a chameleon cage on its side with higher output UVB bulb.
I have never taken a reptile to the vet and never administered medicine, however, I did keep my reptiles in Exo-terra/zoo-med enclosures.

I was looking at panthers but at females because their price points seem to be lower on average. Now I've really just been window shopping on MorphMarket.

I'm also in a northern latitude (upstate NY) and I'm really hesitant about using a fully screened cage due to temp and humidity drops between Nov. and Apr. in my area. I currently have a zoo med 18x18x36 Paludarium.
 
Hi and welcome. :) As long as you know what you’d be in for and are willing and able to research and set up proper husbandry, I see no reason why you shouldn’t get a chameleon if that is what you want. They are expensive to set up and there’s no real tolerance for errors in husbandry. There is a ton of misinformation out there and it’s too easy to fall victim to it. The best sources for correct and current husbandry is https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/ and https://www.neptunethechameleon.com/ Of course, we are always happy to help out with advice, questions, finding a reputable breeder and what not.
I have been diving deep into Bill's resources and podcasts! I've watched some of Neptune's videos on youtube but I'll definitely give them a deeper look too!
 
if you want a chameleon, get a chameleon but only if you follow the advice on these forums. Get the right enclosure, lights, plants, and learn to keep bugs and you will do fine. Make no mistake…Chameleon enclosures and equipment are a $1K initial investment. Then there’s the cost of the chameleon itself and of course big $ for emergency vet care which I hope you never have to experience. When things go bad, they can go real bad real quick. I got one as my first reptile and made mistakes. Then I got on the forums and everyone here helped straighten things out
I've definitely been trying not to cheap out on the initial investment. I'm taking my time to make sure I have everything.
 
Hello and welcome! I also had random reptiles here and there as a child/teenager and now as an adult my reptiles are chameleons and I LOVE IT!

I wouldn't focus so much on the idea that chameleons are 'not a beginner reptile'. I believe that if you have the passion and the interest then you will do amazing with that animal vs getting something that you are not as interested in but you get it anyway simply because its a 'beginner reptile'. They are just labels.

Some great places to learn about chameleons is the Chameleon Academy and Neptune the Chameleon and this forum. Stick around here and fall down the Chameleon Academy / Neptune the Chameleon rabbit hole and you will do GREAT!!!
 
I am in upstate as well and you are spot on about the humidity struggles. I have 2 panthers who do fine in a reptibreeze xl but I highly recommend a hybrid.
There is also a good exotic vet in the area if you ever need and don’t have one for your reptiles.
Welcome to the forum! I recommend a cham for sure if you’re up for the challenge, addiction, and drainage of your wallet! 😅
 
I have never taken a reptile to the vet and never administered medicine, however, I did keep my reptiles in Exo-terra/zoo-med enclosures.

I was looking at panthers but at females because their price points seem to be lower on average. Now I've really just been window shopping on MorphMarket.

I'm also in a northern latitude (upstate NY) and I'm really hesitant about using a fully screened cage due to temp and humidity drops between Nov. and Apr. in my area. I currently have a zoo med 18x18x36 Paludarium.
I would avoid buying from anywhere other than a reputable breeder. There are several who are forum sponsors. https://www.chameleonforums.com/sponsors/?tag=chameleons There is also a forum member @Camiezone whohad a bunch of panthers that many of us got and they are all just amazing! She hasn’t been around lately though, but you can see many of the babies here. https://www.chameleonforums.com/sponsors/?tag=chameleons If you are interested in a veiled, there are plenty available thru here. https://www.chameleonforums.com/thr...ameo-has-a-bunch-of-them.192740/#post-1803451
I would suggest considering a hybrid enclosure. https://dragonstrand.com/ You’ll need a minimum of a 2x2x4’ enclosure for an adult.
 
You said…”I was looking at panthers but at females because their price points seem to be lower on average”…females need extra/different care because if the husbandry isn’t right they will likely end up with dystocia or follicular stasis and not live a very long life. So IMHO, males are safer to get as a first chameleon.
 
I would second everything that everyone has said. While they may be slightly more expensive, you will probably want a male as your first chameleon.
My current and first cham is a female and after hundreds of dollars, a diagnosis of follicular stasis, and being put on hospice care with the possibility of not making it to her 3rd birthday, I would say while female are amazing, beautiful and full of personality, but they also have higher chance of health problems with their laying eggs, expecually if husbandry isn’t spot on. So ya, if you are adopting a chameleon as one of your first ish reptiles, you should go for a male.
 
I am in upstate as well and you are spot on about the humidity struggles. I have 2 panthers who do fine in a reptibreeze xl but I highly recommend a hybrid.
There is also a good exotic vet in the area if you ever need and don’t have one for your reptiles.
Welcome to the forum! I recommend a cham for sure if you’re up for the challenge, addiction, and drainage of your wallet! 😅
Meh ohio proud. Mine all do fine in the winter with the 90 days of sub 30% humidity and reptbreeze/free range. I only get issues if i run a humidifier then i start getting URI etc. Not sure if its just mold etc growing in the room, or the humidifier cleaning growing pink slime...
 
I think a beginner can totally come into this hobby. The key is you want to buy the right stuff and know what you are getting into. I would highly recommend researching vets near you to see if you have any that are capable of treating a chameleon should something go wrong.

I would not start out with a female for your first as they are higher risk of stuff going wrong when it comes to them laying eggs.

Hybrid cage would be more ideal for your environment. And you want to buy from a well known breeder not just anyone selling them. With a well known breeder you are going to get a healthy baby. Buying from an unknown does not give you the security of knowing they have been properly cared for prior to coming to you. Starting off with an unhealthy baby in most cases leads to very sad outcomes. I would recommend one of our site sponsors to purchase a baby from. https://www.chameleonforums.com/sponsors/?tag=chameleons
 
Meh ohio proud. Mine all do fine in the winter with the 90 days of sub 30% humidity and reptbreeze/free range. I only get issues if i run a humidifier then i start getting URI etc. Not sure if its just mold etc growing in the room, or the humidifier cleaning growing pink slime...
So good to know! My humidity runs in 30’s in winter and with the panthers I get nervous it’s having an effect on their life. No issues have come up but just another minor stressor with these babies. 🤣
 
Hey Kat, relax! Don’t settle for a veiled. There are really only 4 or 5 basic and simple things you need to keep a panther and keep it healthy and thriving. Do the research and go for it! If you want to hit me up on Instagram or Facebook, I am happy to help you with anything you need. It’s exciting.
 
“Don’t settle for a veiled”

NONSENSE

I just showed that to my Tony and ummm….veileds are the BEST
 

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