Best place to start?

Yeah I dunno about the "settle for a Veiled" either... I have had the most amazing 5 1/2 years with Beman. I would not trade him for anything.

As long as you base getting a cham off of what you can provide to suit their needs and what you really want. And don't let the financial investment of the cost of the chameleon be what makes your decision. Honestly if that is how you decide what you want to get then this is not a suitable hobby. The expense of just the enclosure and everything involved in setting it up is pricey. If you do not have the financial means to back up what you need to buy then this is not an animal someone should get. Heck just a trip to the vet can be expensive.

The only thing I would say is where you buy your cham is what matters most. If you want healthy then you go with a reputable breeder that backs up what they sell. In doing so you are paying a premium for their genetic line and the time and energy they put into making sure the babies are all healthy/thriving before they are sold.
I just love my panthers…my boys are so brightly colored and just gorgeous! My girl is just the prettiest and sweetest chameleon ever! Every time I look at my boy veiled and other boy veileds, I think how nothing at all compares to their tall proud casques and amazing colors and patterns. But…my heart will always belong to my veiled girls - the humble and spicy little beauties who are so completely underrated and under appreciated. It’s most certainly not ‘settling’ for me.
When I started keeping reptiles I did my research on here and jumped in with a male panther. I had never owned a reptile before, but 15 years later I'm thrilled that I did. I've kept both panthers and veileds, males and females. For me, personally, I wouldn't get a female again but that's a personal preference. My 2 ladies were feisty and aggressive, but I fell in love with the males and have (except for a current one) very friendly chams. The amount of research and changes that this hobby has undergone in the last couple of decades is amazing, and "truths" that I was taught when I started are now considered out of date and bad husbandry. I whole-heartedly agree with the above posters - stick with the information you find here, Chameleon Acadamy, and with Neptune and you will do just fine. Remember we were all beginners once and we are all here to help and support you. Get your chameleon from a reputable breeder and you will have FAR FEWER headaches down the line. Good luck!
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?
You could start with a bearded dragon, I think they are a good beginner reptile. It would get you accustomed to working with lighting, basking temps and feeder insects.
Chameleon Academy offers so much info in a very digestible way. You should check them out if you haven’t yet.
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