chameleon as a second reptile


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I am looking to buy a chameleon and keep it as a pet, as I find them to be fascinating and I feel I am now old enough to seriously consider caring for one.

I have never kept a chameleon before, but have previously kept a leopard gecko that was atleast 3 years old when she was given to me in 2001, by a relative, and passed away just before Christmas 2010. I am going to buy a new leopard gecko soon, but would also consider a chameleon at a later point.

I understand very well that to move from leopard gecko (of which I also intend to keep again, though I will get another leopard gecko much more sooner than I would obtain a chameleon) to a chameleon is a huge leap to make in terms of difficulty and demand of care and husbandry.

I have done plenty of research on chameleons, their needs and their behaviour, and will do much more to follow. I understand that I can by no means call myself an expert, and do not overestimate my skills.

I'm just wondering what anybody else thinks (especially others who have experience with chameleons) - honestly, is the demand too great to take on for me with my lack of experience, even given the amount of research I am undertaking and the dedication I am prepared to put in?

Also, I have found out how much it would cost for me to set up the enclosure for a chameleon, and have found it to be approximately £200, possibly more. But in terms of running-costs, how much more would it be compared to caring for say a leopard gecko or bearded dragon?

Am interested in a panther or veiled/yemen, but if anybody could recommend a more suitable starter species, please do.

As long as you do your research, and have the funds for feeders, lights, possible vet bills etc, then you will be fine. you can work and have a chameleon. There are tiimers for lights and automatic misting systems available. The feeders are the most expensive part for me unless you take on breeding your own feeders, which can be more time consumption. It cost me about about $700 to start up with everything including the cost of the cham which was $250.00
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That is a pretty accurate cost from Carol, I spent about the same amount setting myself up. I bought a Mist King, which was a good chunk of change but it took a vital part of the husbandry and make it just about worry free.

When I was 10 I kept an anole, I took him home from class when we were done with him. I had no idea what to do. I kept him horrible looking back on it now with no special lights, basking spot, gutloaded food, cover. I made lots of mistakes back then from my part but was always fascinated by reptiles (other than snakes) When I decided to get a chameleon I just kept reading and asking questions and doing more reading and asking more questions for about a span of 3 years until I bought Samson. Now I feel very comfortable with my guy although there is still a lot of unknowns and things only experience can teach me but at least I feel well prepared through my research and the helpful people on this forum.
Initially I spent 100 when I first brought my little guy home. I only bought the UVB bulb, vines, ficus, supplies for my dripper, supplements, and feeders (Hugh was given to me by a friend). Later I bought him a big boy cage so spent another 100 on that. Go to you local Craigslist and search for supplies. You can get lucky with free Cham supplies, very cheap, or even adopt one with whole set-up from someone. :)
My second reptile was a chameleon, after an anole which, like Silkyslim, I got when I was 10. There was about an 18 year interval between anole and chameleon in my case; I got the cham years before I knew about this forum, but read several books and other websites (especially the "Chameleons!" online magazine)
Panthers and veileds are both considered among the better "starter" chameleons; a veiled may cost as little as a fifth to a tenth as much as a panther. My start up (7 years ago) was probably about $400 (I got a much less expensive cham than Carol's). I buy my bugs from the pet store, which is probably the least economical way to go about it, so spend ~ $360/year on feeders and feeder maintenance (gutload, cages, supplement dust, etc.), $150/year/chameleon on lights (1 mercury vapor UV-B 2x/year [pricier than linear]). Vet visits have run me between $60-$200 per visit, depending on what's done; I don't do maintenance vet visits (e.g. annual check-ups), but they're something you've got to budget for, just in case. I have had four chameleons over 8 years, and have had five vet visits in that time.
But, short answer, no reason why you shouldn't be able to take on a chameleon, if you do/have done the research and have the resources. Good luck, and hope to see more of you on here!
I actually bought my veiled as my first pet and reptile!

I did my research for months before i bought him so that i would be prepared for what i needed, what to expect, and so on and so forth, if you are interested, make sure you do your research, and be ready to have the tiem to spend on your little guy, and I would also reccomend you to get a veiled as a first cham, I hear they are the easiest ones to care for.

Good luck!
Glad to see you on the forum. I feel anyone who cares enough to do the research and know what is ahead can do well you a chameleon. If i were getting my first chameleon I would have a male veiled. I would want one about 3 or 4 months old to watch him grow up. Also at 3 months they are not as intimidating at they are when an adult. It will allow you to be familiar with him and him with you. We are all here to help you, but the full responsibility will be yours. Enjoy:)
Welcome Chris,
If your time and passion and commitment to learn the 'cham ropes' match your enthusiam,
you'll do find so long as you meet certain guidlines, you wont go far wrong.
Chams are talked of in hushed awed whispers by those who have never kept them, but once you have hung in there a while, you wonder what the fuss was about.
Mind you, some are more 'fragile' than others, so I would suggest starting with a commonly kept species like veileds, until you get a bit more adventurous.
Best wishes and happy herping,
Dan :)
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