Buying Online VS In Person

Carter42

New Member
I'm new here and have done all the research into what is needed to keep a chameleon. I have all the necessary stuff to house my first chameleon, but I don't know where to buy from. (Living in the central valley of California)

I want a male, and I want to be able to see its coloration and that of its parents before I buy because I want something at least somewhat bright green or blue.
As my second reptile I don't want to get something too needy, and I don't want to spend more than $100.
Because of this I'm mostly looking at Veiled babies. I'm open to Panthers and other species, but I'm trying to be realistic with pricing and my capabilities as an owner.

The problem is, the only sellers in my area are Petco and a local pet chain (which are both fine but their stock usually isn't that colorful), so my only other option is to buy online. I'm reluctant to buy online because you don't always know what you're getting, it's usually much more expensive, and there is a risk of death during transit. I don't want to pay $200 for a brown chameleon that shows up barely clinging to life.
I have looked at all the sponsors already, but the ones that do show pictures and/or lineages tend to be out of my price range.

If you have experiences (good or bad) with buying from Petco or any online retailers, as well as advice and pictures related to coloration please feel free to share. Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.
 

absolutbill

Chameleon Enthusiast
If you go with the sponsors on here you will know what you are getting. You will be able to see photos of the dams and sires, and track the lineage, something you won't be able to do at the big box pet stores. Personally I would never buy from them - they have sick animals, and poor husbandry for the most part. They have chameleons too young to be responsibly sold (you don't want something younger than 3 months, especially for your first chameleon). Buying from the big box stores just perpetuates the cycle of them buying animals, housing them in terrible shape, and then having them die on a new owner.

Shipping (of course if done properly), is not a real risk to take. I wouldn't have a chameleon shipped until after the Christmas holidays right now, just as an added level of safety, however I've had both babies and adults shipped to me. The key is to make sure the person shipping is comfortable in doing so, and having the animal held for pick-up at the depot - this way you don't have an animal bouncing around in a cold truck all day long.

With your price range you will probably have to stick with a veiled baby, and please remember that the cost of the chameleon is the least expensive part of owning one. You will have the money for feeders, lighting, new plants, etc. Good luck in your search!
 

Carter42

New Member
If you go with the sponsors on here you will know what you are getting. You will be able to see photos of the dams and sires, and track the lineage, something you won't be able to do at the big box pet stores. Personally I would never buy from them - they have sick animals, and poor husbandry for the most part. They have chameleons too young to be responsibly sold (you don't want something younger than 3 months, especially for your first chameleon). Buying from the big box stores just perpetuates the cycle of them buying animals, housing them in terrible shape, and then having them die on a new owner.

Shipping (of course if done properly), is not a real risk to take. I wouldn't have a chameleon shipped until after the Christmas holidays right now, just as an added level of safety, however I've had both babies and adults shipped to me. The key is to make sure the person shipping is comfortable in doing so, and having the animal held for pick-up at the depot - this way you don't have an animal bouncing around in a cold truck all day long.

With your price range you will probably have to stick with a veiled baby, and please remember that the cost of the chameleon is the least expensive part of owning one. You will have the money for feeders, lighting, new plants, etc. Good luck in your search!
My Petco seems to keep their animals in good shape, and at least one employee is a chameleon owner as well so I'm not too worried about it ethically. And I have seen chameleons mistreated in a local shop before, so it's not that I'm just not blind to it (thankfully that store closed down recently). I would love to buy in person, but I don't have many options unless someone knows breeders in my area.

Lineages are only available for Panthers on most of the sites, and only the expensive Veileds have them.
I'm mostly worried about the cost, color, and quality of what I see online because at least at somewhere like Petco I can see what I'm getting into. If you don't mind me asking, what sites have you used, what was pricing like, and how was your experience?
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
My Petco seems to keep their animals in good shape, and at least one employee is a chameleon owner as well so I'm not too worried about it ethically. And I have seen chameleons mistreated in a local shop before, so it's not that I'm just not blind to it (thankfully that store closed down recently). I would love to buy in person, but I don't have many options unless someone knows breeders in my area.

Lineages are only available for Panthers on most of the sites, and only the expensive Veileds have them.
I'm mostly worried about the cost, color, and quality of what I see online because at least at somewhere like Petco I can see what I'm getting into. If you don't mind me asking, what sites have you used, what was pricing like, and how was your experience?
Go with a site sponsor or well known breeder, they’re the best option. They have the healthiest chams and should have a guarantee of some sort. They’ll send you pics of the exact cham you want, as well. Price shouldn’t be a concern, quality over price should be your concern. especially for a veiled, they're the cheapest chameleons to buy. Could you fill out this form, please? https://www.chameleonforums.com/how-ask-help-66/
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
My Petco seems to keep their animals in good shape, and at least one employee is a chameleon owner as well so I'm not too worried about it ethically. And I have seen chameleons mistreated in a local shop before, so it's not that I'm just not blind to it (thankfully that store closed down recently). I would love to buy in person, but I don't have many options unless someone knows breeders in my area.

Lineages are only available for Panthers on most of the sites, and only the expensive Veileds have them.
I'm mostly worried about the cost, color, and quality of what I see online because at least at somewhere like Petco I can see what I'm getting into. If you don't mind me asking, what sites have you used, what was pricing like, and how was your experience?
Have you looked at FL Chams?
 

nick barta

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
Couple of thoughts...a chameleon is a "needy" animal, you seem detail oriented in your post, you should know these are a reptile with special daily care. Have you budgeted for the correct linear lighting, basking, both calciums, vitamins, live plants, feeders, and vet bills? I would consider a pause in your search, evaluate if you have the money and time for a chameleon. CHEERS!

Nick
 

celeste_knitter

Chameleon Enthusiast
I bought from a reputable breeder here on this site (@Matt Vanilla Gorilla) and had my cham shipped overnight from California to Kentucky. It is stressful, but more so for the human. Realistically, you should have a nice budget for the enclosure, misting system, lights (uvb, basking, plant), feeder program, supplements, and money set aside for vet visits before looking for a breeder. You get what you pay for is definitely true in this case!
 

RyanBRZ

Avid Member
I bought from FL Chams. The only issue I had was with the shipping -- I paid $35 for next day air, but it ended up taking 4 days for delivery and temperatures were in the 40F-50F range. The breeder insists he delivered the package to UPS on time and was going to try to get my shipping money back since it was UPS's failure and they offer a guarantee for delivery on time. FL Chams eventually stopped responding to my texts regarding the refund of shipping charges -- he was very responsive prior to the sale. The chameleon did arrive alive and is doing well after 1 month.
 

KingGoodman

Member
I would suggest putting the brakes on this purchase for a little while. Your budget doesnt sound like a realistic reprentation of the massive cost that caring for a healthy chameleon incurs. The cost is kind of absurd really.

If you did chose to move forward, your first step would need to be developing healthy and large colonies of feeder insects like dubia roaches, crickets, and various worms. The colonies can help keep the ongoing cost of a chameleon down but its still big.

It also worries me that you are determined to pay less than the cost of a decent uvb light fixture and bulb for your cham. What’s your budget for the enclosure? Are you doing a misting system?

Sometimes after doing a lot of research, people determine its just not the right time in their life to have this pet. Its a very mature and responsible decision to make especially when it is easy to allow chameleons to become an obsession. I hope you consider the advice of myself and others about it.
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
buying online is great but shipping and not knowing temperament and other factors like seeing them and working with them first always come to mind too. I personally like to buy in person because my local mom and pops store will order their shipments from reputable breeders like flchams and then I get to go in store look at them handle them and get a feel for their temperament I think that's what works best for me because I like to see what I'm buying. but it all depends on whaat you like and if the shipping process will be too stressful for you
 

RyanBRZ

Avid Member
As others have suggested, if your budget is limited I would definitely hold back. Between the cost of a cage (cage itself, live plants, lighting (UVB & basking), mister, vines, bamboo/branches, etc) and vitamins/gutload it adds up quickly -- I spent over $500 on my setup. Baby chameleons eat a LOT, I have spent approximately $100 this month on feeders alone. Due to the cost and frequency of feeders, last week I spent another $80-$90 or so for 35 adult dubia roaches and items (tub, heat mat, dubia chow, water crystals, thermostat) to create my own dubia roach breeding colony. You also need to feed them a mixture of things. My $100 order last week consisted of (excluding my dubia breeding colony) 500 feeder dubias, 15 hornworms, 25 butterworms, 200 superworms. I also spent $30 on 200 silkworm eggs & silkworm food 2 weeks ago. When it's all said and done, between my setup, my chameleon, and feeders I have spent over $1000 this past month.

I'm not trying to steer you away--I know chameleons are awesome, but it costs money to get started and then money over time on feeders and possibly vet bills. Aside from money, they also consume a lot of time. If you are not 110% sure you can swing it, I would hold off. Maybe get something lower maintenance like a leopard gecko or bearded dragon.
 
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Amydaveg

Member
I bought a cham from FL Chams and every thing went fine.

Not sure how you will make it work with a 100 budget.
 

Carter42

New Member
To everyone blasting me for saying I don't want to spend more than $100: that's for the chameleon ONLY. I'm not stupid, I understand that they are costly pets to keep. I just want a cheap Veiled to start off with, and I'm hesitant about getting one online for this exact reason:
buying online is great but shipping and not knowing temperament and other factors like seeing them and working with them first always come to mind too.
I would prefer to buy in person, and I'd rather spend an extra $400 on creating a nice setup for a cheap cham, than buy a $500 cham to start with. I understand that chameleons are needy in many ways, I'm just not trying to spend a fortune on the creature itself.

After this one though, sure, maybe I'd go all in for a $500-1000 lizard, but that's not for me right now, and I don't need people judging me for not wanting me to pay that much for a pet. I understand everyone's concerns, I'm just trying to cut costs where I can because I don't care too much about lineage, as long as it's healthy, cheap, and looks alright. The only factor lineage plays into my decision is that I specifically don't really want a dull/dark colored cham.

I'm currently prepping for a purchase in a few months. Right now, I have the bare, bare minimum, but I'm working on it and have family pitching in with supplies for Christmas.
An established food source is something I don't have and want to look into (I've watched a few how-to videos, but haven't put much consideration towards it), but most of the stuff I don't have are just things I could easily get at the pet store when the time comes.
I've done the research; I know about proper lighting, watering, gutloading, vitamins, plants, humidity and I'm prepared for the costs. Everything that I don't currently have, I have plans on buying before I purchase a chameleon. I've read all the forum pages related to basic care and the guides, and I'm not going to rush into buying one without making sure I have everything ready. That's not what this thread is about, and I'll consult other threads or start related threads specific to concerns with preparing when I have them.



I just want to know peoples' experiences with where they bought their chameleons from since I don't have many options in my area, and to get some suggestions. I'm just trying to make the most informed decision I can when it comes to where I buy from. RyanBRZ's input about FLChams is exactly what I'm looking for. Good or bad, I just want to know what peoples' experiences have been.

To those that were asking if I've looked at FLChams: it is one of the main sites I was looking at. As of right now, if I bought online it would probably be from them because of their reputation on this site, and their prices being some of the closest to my budget that I've seen online.

Anyone have any experience with, or know anything about LLLReptiles, Underground Reptiles, or Backwater Reptiles? They seem like cheap wholesale companies, with some of their inventories even being captured.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
To everyone blasting me for saying I don't want to spend more than $100: that's for the chameleon ONLY. I'm not stupid, I understand that they are costly pets to keep. I just want a cheap Veiled to start off with, and I'm hesitant about getting one online for this exact reason:

I would prefer to buy in person, and I'd rather spend an extra $400 on creating a nice setup for a cheap cham, than buy a $500 cham to start with. I understand that chameleons are needy in many waysides, C, I'm just not trying to spend a fortune on the creature itself.

After this one though, sure, maybe I'd go all in for a $500-1000 lizard, but that's not for me right now, and I don't need people judging me for not wanting me to pay that much for a pet. I understand everyone's concerns, I'm just trying to cut costs where I can because I don't care too much about lineage, as long as it's healthy, cheap, and looks alright. The only factor lineage plays into my decision is that I specifically don't really want a dull/dark colored cham.

I'm currently prepping for a purchase in a few months. Right now, I have the bare, bare minimum, but I'm working on it and have family pitching in with supplies for Christmas.
An established food source is something I don't have and want to look into (I've watched a few how-to videos, but haven't put much consideration towards it), but most of the stuff I don't have are just things I could easily get at the pet store when the time comes.
I've done the research; I know about proper lighting, watering, gutloading, vitamins, plants, humidity and I'm prepared for the costs. Everything that I don't currently have, I have plans on buying before I purchase a chameleon. I've read all the forum pages related to basic care and the guides, and I'm not going to rush into buying one without making sure I have everything ready. That's not what this thread is about, and I'll consult other threads or start related threads specific to concerns with preparing when I have them.



I just want to know peoples' experiences with where they bought their chameleons from since I don't have many options in my area, and to get some suggestions. I'm just trying to make the most informed decision I can when it comes to where I buy from. RyanBRZ's input about FLChams is exactly what I'm looking for. Good or bad, I just want to know what peoples' experiences have been.

To those that were asking if I've looked at FLChams: it is one of the main sites I was looking at. As of right now, if I bought online it would probably be from them because of their reputation on this site, and their prices being some of the closest to my budget that I've seen online.

Anyone have any experience with, or know anything about LLLReptiles, Underground Reptiles, or Backwater Reptiles? They seem like cheap wholesale companies, with some of their inventories even being captured.
Don’t buy from Underground Reptiles, Backwater Reptiles, CB Reptiles, or LLL Reptiles, they either flip and sell chams that aren’t healthy or sell you unhealthy chams and neither help out afterwards
 

Carter42

New Member
Don’t buy from Underground Reptiles, Backwater Reptiles, CB Reptiles, or LLL Reptiles, they either flip and sell chams that aren’t healthy or sell you unhealthy chams and neither help out afterwards
Yeah, I figured they were somewhat shady; reputable companies don't sell wild. I just wanted to know if anyone knew anything else about them.

Just curious if anyone has an answer, why are baby chameleons less expensive than adults? Usually pets go down in price with age, I just think it's a bit strange. Is it because of determined coloration, expenses to feed, sexual maturity, ...?
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yeah, I figured they were somewhat shady; reputable companies don't sell wild. I just wanted to know if anyone knew anything else about them.

Just curious if anyone has an answer, why are baby chameleons less expensive than adults? Usually pets go down in price with age, I just think it's a bit strange. Is it because of determined coloration, expenses to feed, sexual maturity, ...?
Expense to feed, house, and raise up. Though sometimes when people retire their breeders, they’re at a lower price. Not sure if you want an adult or if it’ll even be as low as $100 though
 

mae_day

Established Member
Yeah, I figured they were somewhat shady; reputable companies don't sell wild. I just wanted to know if anyone knew anything else about them.

Just curious if anyone has an answer, why are baby chameleons less expensive than adults? Usually pets go down in price with age, I just think it's a bit strange. Is it because of determined coloration, expenses to feed, sexual maturity, ...?
I agree with ERKIeRose on this one. Additionally, depending on the age of the cham, they can be quite fragile. Anything below three months old and more reputable breeders won't adopt them out. There's a certain amount of risk in a super, super young cham.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree with ERKIeRose on this one. Additionally, depending on the age of the cham, they can be quite fragile. Anything below three months old and more reputable breeders won't adopt them out. There's a certain amount of risk in a super, super young cham.
Yes, definitely buy one 3 months or older! If someone is sellling them younger, don’t buy from them!
 

Kristen Wilkins

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm new here and have done all the research into what is needed to keep a chameleon. I have all the necessary stuff to house my first chameleon, but I don't know where to buy from. (Living in the central valley of California)

I want a male, and I want to be able to see its coloration and that of its parents before I buy because I want something at least somewhat bright green or blue.
As my second reptile I don't want to get something too needy, and I don't want to spend more than $100.
Because of this I'm mostly looking at Veiled babies. I'm open to Panthers and other species, but I'm trying to be realistic with pricing and my capabilities as an owner.

The problem is, the only sellers in my area are Petco and a local pet chain (which are both fine but their stock usually isn't that colorful), so my only other option is to buy online. I'm reluctant to buy online because you don't always know what you're getting, it's usually much more expensive, and there is a risk of death during transit. I don't want to pay $200 for a brown chameleon that shows up barely clinging to life.
I have looked at all the sponsors already, but the ones that do show pictures and/or lineages tend to be out of my price range.

If you have experiences (good or bad) with buying from Petco or any online retailers, as well as advice and pictures related to coloration please feel free to share. Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.
Howdy and welcome . I’m not sure if you picked a species . If you are interested in a panther @Matt Vanilla Gorilla and @Teal Beauty hands down . Best customer service. Will fallow you for life of chameleon . Beautiful , healthy loved chameleon’s family owned business amazing care . PM Matt if you have not already . You will be so very happy . Best of luck .
 
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