Chameleon "experts" (and to those looking for a first time chameleon)

OldChamKeeper

Chameleon Enthusiast
Whoa....

I've been keeping chameleons now for just over forty frigging years. I can remember back when I had to ride a bike to the library to read a book about the climate of Madagascar just so I could start to understand the environmental needs of these animals. Or the times I would be lucky enough to actually get a letter in the mail from the San Diego zoo in response to me asking about feeder items or nutritional stuff. Then there was the moment I discovered that Vets really didn't know crap about lizards back in the 80's. It took a long time to learn about these tiny dragons. Learn what you ask? Why....everything you could try to.

What do they need to live long enough in captivity to actually call it successful care would be one way of summing it all up.

What species to start with? How do you acclimate a wild caught animal? Is a captive bred one worth the extra money? What equipment works? Who do you talk to for good information? The sheer amount of bad info out there is insane.

...... and with the advent of the internet came both the good and bad.

I have been able to locate and learn from some incredible hobbyists with the help of the internet. Even learn from and teach some folks. Made contact with people on different continents keeping these animals, or even living with them. Good stuff.

On the bad end of things, my goodness the crap I've heard about on facebook is a good example... all these people with six months of experience being called "experts". There are so many bogus experts now on the internet. I'm even watching the occasional bad info go out on this beloved site. Watching people reinvent the wheel instead of using the incredible resources this site offers in the form of care sheets, or even the list of well known sponsors and breeders. Very frustrating to an old keeper.

I came across this on youtube... easily the best damn beginner video ever about chameleons and which species is a good starter one for new hobbyists. Those of you reading this and looking for a new chameleon as a pet should watch this video. It was created by one of the real experts out on the internet.



Now Bill has been doing this hobby right for a long time. Years. Decades. So before you go taking any of the crud I see posted by a six month "expert" as truth think about how much money you can save by doing things right from the very beginning. I'd reach out to him for help over any of the six month "experts" I've been seeing pop up.

Not to mention its not good to inflate the ego of a six month "expert", they can lead a lot of people down the wrong path and cause a lot of harm to many chameleons. Just my .02

<Goes back to his cave>
 
Whoa....

I've been keeping chameleons now for just over forty frigging years. I can remember back when I had to ride a bike to the library to read a book about the climate of Madagascar just so I could start to understand the environmental needs of these animals. Or the times I would be lucky enough to actually get a letter in the mail from the San Diego zoo in response to me asking about feeder items or nutritional stuff. Then there was the moment I discovered that Vets really didn't know crap about lizards back in the 80's. It took a long time to learn about these tiny dragons. Learn what you ask? Why....everything you could try to.

What do they need to live long enough in captivity to actually call it successful care would be one way of summing it all up.

What species to start with? How do you acclimate a wild caught animal? Is a captive bred one worth the extra money? What equipment works? Who do you talk to for good information? The sheer amount of bad info out there is insane.

...... and with the advent of the internet came both the good and bad.

I have been able to locate and learn from some incredible hobbyists with the help of the internet. Even learn from and teach some folks. Made contact with people on different continents keeping these animals, or even living with them. Good stuff.

On the bad end of things, my goodness the crap I've heard about on facebook is a good example... all these people with six months of experience being called "experts". There are so many bogus experts now on the internet. I'm even watching the occasional bad info go out on this beloved site. Watching people reinvent the wheel instead of using the incredible resources this site offers in the form of care sheets, or even the list of well known sponsors and breeders. Very frustrating to an old keeper.

I came across this on youtube... easily the best damn beginner video ever about chameleons and which species is a good starter one for new hobbyists. Those of you reading this and looking for a new chameleon as a pet should watch this video. It was created by one of the real experts out on the internet.



Now Bill has been doing this hobby right for a long time. Years. Decades. So before you go taking any of the crud I see posted by a six month "expert" as truth think about how much money you can save by doing things right from the very beginning. I'd reach out to him for help over any of the six month "experts" I've been seeing pop up.

Not to mention its not good to inflate the ego of a six month "expert", they can lead a lot of people down the wrong path and cause a lot of harm to many chameleons. Just my .02

<Goes back to his cave>
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Honest truth! Would be real stupid not to pay attention to all this info!

@OldChamKeeper you are a hero! You put words to the pain in my brain! Thank you!
 

CC's Baby

Avid Member
Thank you for this video. Very informative. I had selected a male panther cham initially and that is what I am going to stick with. However, I do not have it yet, heck, I am still learning and working on getting my habitat setup and to perfection first. But, I would like to ask --- no one seems to talk about the biting very much with panthers. Is there a signal with them "eyes, mouth, etc....." that I should watch for to know this prior to happening?? AND, I do like the idea of handling them, and I want them to be tame and comfortable, but I do not "like you said" want to overhandle them and give them their space. So my question is "How much handling is too much handling and what would you recommend to keep them calm and comfortable with human interaction and not stress them out as well. We work all day so his daytime he will be left alone after morning feedings, but at night late, is when we tend to be most active hear so any handling would be short lived and occasionally in the evening? Otherwise, he will be left alone to be at home in his terrarium. Would like some basis input here and I would like to review the list of panther breeders you recommend as well. I have not seem that link as of yet.
 

OldChamKeeper

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you for this video. Very informative. I had selected a male panther cham initially and that is what I am going to stick with. However, I do not have it yet, heck, I am still learning and working on getting my habitat setup and to perfection first. But, I would like to ask --- no one seems to talk about the biting very much with panthers. Is there a signal with them "eyes, mouth, etc....." that I should watch for to know this prior to happening?? AND, I do like the idea of handling them, and I want them to be tame and comfortable, but I do not "like you said" want to overhandle them and give them their space. So my question is "How much handling is too much handling and what would you recommend to keep them calm and comfortable with human interaction and not stress them out as well. We work all day so his daytime he will be left alone after morning feedings, but at night late, is when we tend to be most active hear so any handling would be short lived and occasionally in the evening? Otherwise, he will be left alone to be at home in his terrarium. Would like some basis input here and I would like to review the list of panther breeders you recommend as well. I have not seem that link as of yet.
For those types of questions, send an e-mail to the guy who made that video. Bill owns the Dragon Strand cage company here on these forums. You can look him up that way. He's great with brand new hobbyists and has way more patience than an old keeper like me.
 

salty dog

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for the info!! we are lucky to be able google the info you pioneers had to learn from blood and sweat, I appreciate it!! I am new and trying to learn as much as I can, I killed a panther when I was a kid by accident not knowing the proper culture of these guys, and vowed at some point in my life to make it right
 

DeremensisBlue

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
Thank you for this video. Very informative. I had selected a male panther cham initially and that is what I am going to stick with. However, I do not have it yet, heck, I am still learning and working on getting my habitat setup and to perfection first. But, I would like to ask --- no one seems to talk about the biting very much with panthers. Is there a signal with them "eyes, mouth, etc....." that I should watch for to know this prior to happening?? AND, I do like the idea of handling them, and I want them to be tame and comfortable, but I do not "like you said" want to overhandle them and give them their space. So my question is "How much handling is too much handling and what would you recommend to keep them calm and comfortable with human interaction and not stress them out as well. We work all day so his daytime he will be left alone after morning feedings, but at night late, is when we tend to be most active hear so any handling would be short lived and occasionally in the evening? Otherwise, he will be left alone to be at home in his terrarium. Would like some basis input here and I would like to review the list of panther breeders you recommend as well. I have not seem that link as of yet.
Overall, I do not handle my chameleons. Even without daily handling they do get to know you, but the grumpy ones will stay grumpy. But there are so few times that I am required to handle them for medical reasons I rather give them a stress spike should I ever need to medicate them than to put the effort into the taming process. This is not saying you should or shouldn't do something. Just know that your chameleon (and you) will live a very happy and safe life without handling.
So much of what you are asking about biting is answered by the chameleon's body language. A chameleon bite is almost never a surprise. This podcast episode would be very helpful in laying down the basics of chameleon body language.
https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-6-chameleons-and-stress/
So, if you are inclined to listen to 45 minutes of chameleon body language talk, give it a listen and then come back here with any questions so we can all benefit from the conversation!
Bill
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
Excellent video! This was my first time to watch it so thank you @OldChamKeeper for creating the thread. Bill does a great job at comparing the 3 species and explaining what new keepers should look for when purchasing a chameleon. I found the temperature and humidity charts especially informative. The video is not only well produced and organized, but he pulls it off with the charisma of a professional speaker. More keepers need to see this.
 

DeremensisBlue

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
I think alot of people take the normal chameleon solitude, shy, territorial behaviour personally
This is true. As humans we just naturally create families. That is deep within our genes because it is how we survived on the savannah millennia ago! It takes being able to step out of who we are at our most basic level to understand a creature that lives a social life that does not contain a family/pack/flock concept. And what do families do? They love each other! So we have to learn to reign in who we are and respect an alien culture. This is definitely not easy!
 

DeremensisBlue

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
Excellent video! This was my first time to watch it so thank you @OldChamKeeper for creating the thread. Bill does a great job at comparing the 3 species and explaining what new keepers should look for when purchasing a chameleon. I found the temperature and humidity charts especially informative. The video is not only well produced and organized, but he pulls it off with the charisma of a professional speaker. More keepers need to see this.
Thank you, Brad. I appreciate the encouragement!
 

DeremensisBlue

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
@DeremensisBlue , I'm not sure, but I think @OldChamKeeper might have given a compliment :unsure:. It is hard to see through all the dust from the boulder moving in and out :D.
oh, he certainly did. I have been spending all this time trying to figure out how to respond to such a colorful combination of praise and grouchiness :) There aren't that many people like @OldChamKeeper out there. This guy is a state treasure. I think that every couple months someone should sneak into his cave and poke the bear to see what happens.
 

OldChamKeeper

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think that every couple months someone should sneak into his cave and poke the bear to see what happens.
The attack squirrels get released. They're worse than a B-rated horror flick. Leave a hell of a mess when they're done with the fool who comes to my cave asking if a veiled cham from a big box store for $19.99 is healthy enough to buy. All you beginners can just go ask nice old Bill for help. He made that video cuz he cares about the animals as much as he cares about you getting good info before you buy that "cheap" chameleon.
 

DeremensisBlue

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
Well, now that we have gotten into it, I'd be interested in hearing from new keepers - what chameleon did you get as a first chameleon and what would your advice be to people making that decision right now? Of course, watching the video you know my pick was a panther chameleon because of the strong support network. If you are reading this you are on the Chameleon Forums so you have ample support for just about any species!

I'll start: My first chameleon was a Jackson's Chameleon. This was back around 1980 so there really wasn't any other species of chameleon available unless you were "in the know" (as a grade schooler I didn't even know who to meet to be "in the know"!)
I had a wonderful experience with her, but suffered from having to figure it all out. We talk about how bad the books were back then, but, really, they weren't that terribly bad. There was some good information. The problem was interpreting it all correctly. It is amazing how the same words mean different things depending on your experience.
I got lucky because I lived in Southern California and that environment worked well for a Jackson's Chameleon. But times are different now and there is so much more opportunity for variety, information, and community. My advice, from my experience, is to pick one breeder that you trust and go with what they tell you to do. When you get on social media you will be hit with so many different ways of doing things and so many huge egos who feed off of being right that you will get confused if you don't have a filter. Your breeder did it right enough to be successful. Follow that advice until you feel like you understand what is going on. And then you can tweak your husbandry to include some new ideas you are running into.

So, I'd very much like to hear about your first experience and if you have a piece of advice you would give to someone starting out.
 

nick barta

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
Like OldChamKeeper, I have been keeping chameleons for a long time (gas was 29 cents a gallon), and the fighting on Facebook groups and misinformation on the web generally is discouraging and maddening; it pisses me off. I have unfortunately seen waterfalls become a "good idea" for recycling potentially contaminated water, and other unsound practices become "good information". Because you have used a recycling waterfall and your chameleon in your opinion is "just fine, and he likes it," does not make the practice safe, or your information worth the risk of sharing. I had a chameleon escape into my yard, and I found him 2 months later; that doesn't justify having him free-range in my yard with the predator risks, temperature drops, and the possible lack of food was a good practice.

My best advice for a potentially new person who wants to keep a chameleon, is to contact an administrator here, and have them put you in contact with a mentor.

I'm holed up in my bug room, I am considering a rock for a door...

CHEERS!

Nick
 
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