Chameleon basics


New Member
So, I felt a little weird signing up for this site. I am not a chameleon owner as of right now.
I've loved them for a long time now and im finally able to afford one (I think..).
But, it felt stupid to jump into buying one and not knowing proper care for them to keep them healthy and happy (Which is my main goal!)
I looked around the internet for a few days and couldn't find anything that wasn't completely contradicting what id previously read/seen. I finally decided to look up a forum site and that is how i got here. I want to know the things i NEED to make my soon to be pet happy. Should i order online? Rely on my local Petsmart? Could i maintain a part time job, school and keeping this guy happy with 1-2 other room mates casually helping (With anything but feeding)? How much does maintaining a healthy diet actually cost? What is recommended for them? how do i properly clean its habitat? Ive heard they are aggressive, are they? Do they bite? If so, how bad are their bites?

Im sorry about all the questions id rather be safe than sorry BEFORE i buy my pet!

Any links or actual tips for taking proper care of these guys will be greatly appreciated. :)

Thank you!
Welcome! Educating yourself first is absolutely the right thing to do. I was as lurker on the forum for months before I got my cham. The info here set me up on the right path. I'm still learning, but this is THE place to get yourself going.

There are a few "sticky" posts at the top of the General Discussion forum that should be step 1:


Frequently Asked Questions:

Basic Husbandry:

Be prepared to invest a few hundred bucks to get all your equipment and enclosure set up. Bugs are a must: crickets, worms, flies, roaches, and grubs. Find yourself a good vet with chameleon experience. And find a way to visit someone who has a chameleon to see one firsthand!

I'll admit, it was love at first sight for me. My cham is so friendly and has such a cute personality. It's been much more rewarding than I expected :D
Welcome to the forum!

Its excellent that you are doing your research here and NOT at petsmart.

You'll find this site is very informative - but there will still occasionally be apparently conflicting info, because there are many types of chameleon and more than one way to successfully keep them.

Yes, you will be able to work / go to school and still have time to care for a chameleon. In the beginning it will be more work than later on after you've learned lots and become comfortable. :)

They don't like lots of change or traffic around their cages, so best to keep the cage somewhere quiet away from roommates, cats, etc.

There is some good "average cost" info in one of the links below.

Each animal is different. Some will allow/tolerate handling and others don't. They are typically more of a look at than play with/touch animal. If you want a pet you can handle a lot, a chameleon probably isn't the best choice.

I once had an adult panther bite me hard, and it hurt but I didn't bleed or cry. Just a small triangle bruise. no long term marks or damage :)
Veileds are sometimes considered more aggressive than panthers, but the bit wouldn't be any worse. Some people have very "friendly" chams and others wear leather gloves if they have to handle their chams.

The links Lathis provided are good. Here are a few more:
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Man you have came to probably one of the best online communities for chameleons around! Tons of info can be found on here that is accurate for the most part. The best way to learn is to get in here, read, become active, and engage yourself. I started out doing research on here but quickly found that I was actually using this forum mostly as entertainment! If I could tell people interested in chameleon keeping to not be discouraged by all the neg/scary stories out there about how tough they are to keep, because all your doing is missing out on a great great experiance! Its just like anything else you care about, do some good research and stick to the basics. You will find that it is not that hard and will kick yourself in the back for not getting one ten years ago. Now dont take this as they are super easy and require minimum attention. Thats is absolutely not the case, but I think with a little research and good execution you will find yourself and cham doin just fine! Actually, you will probably find yourself going overboard and overly cautious! Well welcome, good luck, and remember do ur research and dont take short cuts on the basics!
Welcome to the forums, ask about anything even if it seems really dumb to you. People on this forum are incredibly knowledgeable and love to help.
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