best type of chameleon?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by The_Chameleon_Dude, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. The_Chameleon_Dude

    The_Chameleon_Dude New Member

    Just got in to chameleons and wanted to know what is the best chameleon for a beginer and best place to get one?
    #1 The_Chameleon_Dude, Apr 30, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2006
  2. Chamgirl

    Chamgirl New Member

    Yemen/Veiled chameleons are the best beginner chameleon and I would buy one from a breeder if possible. Panther chameleons are a close second but are a lot more expensive to buy. If you just want one as a pet then go for a sub-adult male one to begin with.
    Brad likes this.
  3. Damaranum

    Damaranum New Member

    Are you sure a veiled is better to start with?

    A vieled is maybe less expensive but has higher nutricios needs as a pardalis. The chance for MBD is much bigger with calyptratus. A panther has less of these problems. The only issue is they're more expensive.

    On the other hand a calyptratus is an easy eater compared to a bad behaving pardalis. But in general I wouldn't say a vieled is easier. But that's just my opinion. And to be honest I've never kept vieleds so my total view on them is not 100% but many starters end up with some problems with there nutricion.

    But for sure pardalis and calyptratus are the 'easy' starters.

    But the most important is to read as much information about chameleons as possible. With a good preparation these two are good to start with. But without a decent preparation those two will end up in a disaster as well. and with a very decent preparation some other species are possible as well, as long as it are captive breed animals and no wild caught.
  4. Are you sure that if you are recomending a chameleon to start with it should be the Easiest species to care for? Should there not be a little difficulty to proove to the new keeper that any chameleon is not a walk in the park. That keeping any chameleon, wether they are deemed easiest, mediocre or most difficult, is a huge responsibility. If they adapt the thinking style that my first chameleon was easy and care requirements were minimal, and move on to another species and treat it with the same care, when in fact it needs much more attention?

    Another reason that veileds are a great starter is because for the most part, healthy veiled chameleons are generally not very tolerant of handling. We all know that chameleons need minimal handling compared to other reptiles. Even panthers who sometimes seem to enjoy it. People who start of with a panther are going to be handling it more and more and more, maybe too much- and even though it may not display it, but there is a chance it could be stressing out. Handling is less possible with a veiled.

    Why is there much more chance of MDB in Veileds? They're isn't. It is that there are MANY more cases of MDB showing up because of irresponsible new keepers that start with a veiled chameleon and fail to provid needed elements- the cheaper and more accessible chameleon. Now let me think aloud, maybe it's crude, but if a new keeper looses their veiled chameleon, they are going to have two choices, start over with another veiled after doing more research and adjusting their husbandry and care routine, OR quit working with chameleons. There is no way that a person who lost a $40-80 chameleon is going to spend $300+ dollars on a panther chameleon.

    I may have contradicted myself in this somewhere, nut thats what you get when you throw thoughts into a discussion.

    Why does no one suggest Pigmy chameleons? I think Brevs would ba a great begginer. Not exactly your typical chameleon, but no less interesting.
  5. jvillereptile

    jvillereptile New Member

    that is a good point Will i started out with veileds and a few rough end with them at first but i'm still working with them my first was a 3day old veiled i got from a guy from my herp society and he has been helping me with my chameleons ever since my first one died after 6months i left out of state and had my friend watch my animals at the elementary school for a week. i decided not to start out baby that young until i get better with them now i have 9 eggs in my incubator from my second chameleon the guy gave me. the only problem i worry about is are mine getting enough vitamin and calcium. i feed all my chameleons 3 veiled and 2 jacksons evey other day (one day rep-cal with d3 and the next feeding is miner-all I) since it is getting warmer out i will have them outside fedding them miner-all O and repcal without d3) i have lost more ficus tree then chameleons and i still want to learn more this is my 2nd year with chameleon
  6. Damaranum

    Damaranum New Member

    Interesting thoughts.

    I mean lines I think we both have the same thoughts only we have a different look on the whole picture. I even don't like to recommend one species my general point is that not for sure calyptratus is always the best choice.

    And indeed both species have their own specific problems. But the handling part I can not agree with you. Both species can be very tolerant or not depending on their care. When you want to handle them you will be able to. And if you leave them alone that's what they like. I also prefered very agressive pardalis.

    I think the most important part is a good preparation. For the keeper and for the animal. Whitout it the chance for troubles is very big. And I also won't agree that all more difficult species require more care. The care is only different. And important is to know everything about a species and its habitat.

    Then about the MBD. You're totally right that a big number of MBD cases are due bad husbandry. But on the other hand the growth rate of a vieled is so much higher that the same nutrition given to a panther wouldn't be enough to a vieled. And in this way maybe it's good to have a vieled as you'll be able to see your bad care faste. But on the other hand the slower growth makes it easier to handle.

    And indeed pigmy's can also be a good starter but so I can give you a big list of good starters. The most important is to give them the right enviroment and care. If you can do that you can start with many species. As long as you know what their needs are.

    And counting in money never works. As someone with few money maybe has less options but might take more care due to this lack of money. and someone with a lot of money will keep on buying new ones just to have a cool animal. This is no general rule but this makes for me the money issue very hard to mension.
    Brad likes this.
  7. chrissy87

    chrissy87 New Member

    My first Cham was a Senegal Chameleon. They're so steardy and are available in alot of pet stores. She was the sweetest temperment and even drinks from the droplets on her misting bottle. :) I haven't owned a veiled yet, so I can't speak for them. Hopefully I will soon enough!
  8. Essh. I have never seen a healthy senegal. Always imported, and always in rough shape.
  9. chrissy87

    chrissy87 New Member

    She was when I got her. She was always dark and wouldn't move. Now she's as bright as ever and moves around her cage like crazy! What a turn around. But, sadly, she had the shakes when she first got home. I'm guessing it's a sign of mbd. :( I'm trying my best, and keeping a positive attitude. She looks great though.
  10. lhaley14

    lhaley14 New Member


    My first and (only so far) chameleon is a captive bred Jackson's (jacksonii xantholophus). He is a year old now. The only problem I nearly faced was possible symptoms to early dehydration, as the months got warmer and I was gone over the weekends. They need to have access to moving water whenever they are thirsty. They should at least have the ability to drink for 5+ minutes twice a day. I've since installed an automatic mister (though I may move to a himidifier style rain machine) along with the drip system and occasional spraying as I walk by. Anyway, I think a jackson's is a nice beginner chameleon since there are challenges to raising it, yet if done properly it is a very hardy lizard. He is very docile and will allow me to take him outside for some sun. They also don't grow very large compared to some other chameleons, like veiled and panther, which will allow a moderately sized cage to be used. If I had to make one suggestion for a beginner, it would be to get a male rather than a female. Males usually have the more impressive coloring, etc..., but females may eventually develop egg binding. Hope this helps.
  11. Jerm

    Jerm Avid Member

    my thougts...

    I would say it all depends on the personal preferences of the new owner. From my experience in keeping, veileds seem to be one of the "easier" to care for. I can't say that they are necessarily easy though. For one they can tolerate a wider range of climates than other species. Also, they are the only species that I have kept that accept vegitation as a food item which makes it easier to meet nutritional requirements. Supplimentation is compairable to panthers, I wouldn't say that veileds require more. Actually panthers require higher doses of vitamin A. If you are looking for less suplimentation, go with a montane species like jacksons. Leaf chameleons are good if you have a small enclosure or you want to use glass. They also require less supplimentation. Montane species require higher humidity though they can be tough. Oversupplimentation can also occur. I wouldn't say that any are "easy", but if you want to get into chameleons, expect a challenge and do your research.

  12. Prism Chameleons

    Prism Chameleons New Member

    The veiled and panther chameleons are the hardiest rather than the easiest of chameleons to care for when considering chameleons as a whole. I would say there isn't really a chameleon that can be considered "easy" to care for, unless one follows all the requirements and set ups needed to have a happy and long living chameleon. The main difference between veiled and panther chameleons are price and coloration. The set up, care, feeding, and nutrients are basically the same between both veileds and panthers. Panther chameleons can require higher humidity levels than veileds, however, it was found that in captivity, panthers did not seem to have any adverse effects in humidity levels comparable to veileds at the 50-60% range of humidity (The Panther Chameleon, Ferguson, Murphy, Ramanamanjato, Raselimanana 2004, pg. 75).

    Veileds can be more aggressive in behavior than panthers, however, many have veiled chameleons without showing any aggressive behavior.

    Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) can happen in both veileds and panthers if the proper set up, equipment, and nutrients are not given. If the correct UVB/A lighting, vitamin regiments, and proper gutloading of the feeders are provided and followed correctly, one should not experience MBD in either the veiled or panther chameleon.

    All chameleons have certain requirements that are needed for a long life span in captivity, so I'd recommend the "hardiest", which would be either a veiled or panther chameleon. :)
    #12 Prism Chameleons, May 1, 2006
    Last edited: May 1, 2006
    Brad likes this.
  13. MicheleSmith

    MicheleSmith New Member

    I'm deffinetly not reccomending you keep a Senegal as your first chameleon, but that's what I began with, and I had him for almost 3 years. He was actually killed by a cat, so he may have even lived a bit longer. I think senegals are a lot tougher than we give them credit for, as well as a "more" neglected species by hobbyists...
  14. Just keep in mind where I come from. I don't think anyone is breeding senegals in all of Canada. If there CB's I might not have the prejuice against them.
  15. The ONLY reason calyptratus have such a high MBD rate is from irresponsible (or simply unknowing) breeders, feeding them excessivly, getting them into absolutly unnaturally fast growth rates. By the time the buyer gets them, MBD might be a 100% certainty - even if they are kept in full sun.

    This means, in the end, that you are more likely to get MBD from the "average veiled" as most wholesale breeders are breeding for proifit first and foremost. The faster they grow, the earlier they can be sold, and the more profit they get. Most do not know that such feedign resutls in growth that can be "too rapid". Many believe that a chameleon cannot be fed too much, especially when young.

    The end result is that more veileds come down with MBD than should. I've seen people wiht reptisuns, repcal and minerall get chameleons with MBD. I've seen veields given sunlight several times a week, plus balanced diets, and stil come down wiht MBD.

    All of these were eating adult sized crickets at 2 months of age. When I raise mine, they're eating 1/4 inch crickets at 2 months. Fast growth stresses their systems, so much so that their bones cannot be calcified fast enough.

    The key is to buy from a private breeder, who is aware of such problems,a nd doesnt' feed their babies constantly. I feed them as much as they'll eat, once a day - sometimes twice a day. Other breeders feed them constantly - they just grow so fast their system can 't keep up.

    Still, veileds are easier, prvoided you have the proper setup.
    Brad likes this.
  16. Heika

    Heika New Member

    What will the new keeper assume about their chameleon purchases after pygmies? That they can live in groups, need no basking light, can live in an aquarium, don't require UVB, and need substrate. Hmmm. And, speaking of cost.. if pygmies were regularly recommended as a beginning chameleon, replacing a pygmy wouldn't be too much of a struggle. There are not enough captive breeding programs to handle the "oopses", so the impact would be on wild populations.

    I am all for a new owner purchasing a high dollar value chameleon. The investment alone would keep the owner inspired to take care of it. How many times have you heard that an owner can't afford to take their cham to the vet? Maybe if the cham in question is worth $300 or more, a vet visit would be more appealing. How many people would take their $20.00 pygmy to the vet if it was ill? (One of my pygmies had a recheck at the vet today.)

    In some respects, one of the worst things happening to the chameleon market is that the prices are falling. That means that the animals are more available to impulse shoppers and kids.


  17. Speak for yorself, haha. Pygmies up here are expensive comparatively and are few and far between.

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