Chameleons and people

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Brodybreaux25 no disrespect, I enjoy what you add to this forum, but how is a cat any more or less dangerous than a human? If a cat is a trex, we must be godzilla, and they get used to us just fine assuming the cat isn't staring all day(none of mine do) and assuming they can't bother the chameleon or enclosure at all. I get that it's definitely an obstacle, but I like to think with creativity and precautions it can be done.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Brodybreaux25 no disrespect, I enjoy what you add to this forum, but how is a cat any more or less dangerous than a human? If a cat is a trex, we must be godzilla, and they get used to us just fine assuming the cat isn't staring all day(none of mine do) and assuming they can't bother the chameleon or enclosure at all. I get that it's definitely an obstacle, but I like to think with creativity and precautions it can be done.
None taken. Because cats are driven by instinct, you and I can think. Chams get used to us through positive reinforcement, such as hand feeding, and close contact over a long period of time. A cat can do none of that. If as a Cham owner you just stared at him all day from across the room with no intimate contact would that same chameleon ever trust you? I think not. Hell, even with all the positive reinforcement in the world some Chams still hate the world! Lol
 
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jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
None taken. Because cats are driven by instinct, you and I can think.
Right, I'm not comparing it to our actions, I'm assuming the cham is in an enclosure that the cat can't harm. So by sight alone, to a chameleon, we should be much more terrifying. We have the predator's face just as much as cats do.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
On a side note, has anyone here had a cat that has stared all day? Seems most like the bugs or the lights. Mine look around, but are never interested in the chameleon itself. I rent a house and even keep my one panther free ranged. When I go in the rooms to feed and such the cats often join me. I don't think they've ever given one of my chams a glance. At my old place, my female cat even got locked in the cham room overnight where my chams were free ranged. I'd never suggest that, but even then i was lucky enough to have no problems.

If you have a room with just people, why not just add two large trees outside the enclosure on the sides, so there is plenty of space for the cham to get away. You said you can put it high off the ground, IME if a cham can get well above everyone's head they don't seem to mind who's in the room.
 
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jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree, we have a predators face too, but we can overcome that by slow, deliberate positive reinforcement.
Yeah I'm with you guys saying it's a concern, I just think it can be worked around with some extra devotion. And if the cats are any like mine, the chams should get used to them being around in time. I don't see the problem in the chams being in the living room though. I see members here post enclosures next to their TVs and wherever else without all these people shooting it down.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yeah I'm with you guys saying it's a concern, I just think it can be worked around with some extra devotion. And if the cats are any like mine, the chams should get used to them being around in time. I don't see the problem in the chams being in the living room though. I see members here post enclosures next to their TVs and wherever else without all these people shooting it down.
My only real concern is the cats but full disclosure I don’t own one now, did when I was younger. Both of my vivs are in my living room, but I wouldn’t call it high traffic. We simply have a difference of opinion, nothing wrong with that!
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Honestly, I think your living room will be fine with some planning and privacy screens, as long as your future cham has lots of space to get away and feel secure. You said that the cats only have monitored access to the room, right? If people are right there, i really don't think it'd be a concern. Heck, if the cat(s) are only in the room during specific monitored moments, just throw up a privacy screen whenever they're in the room! I think it'd be a better solution than your private room, which has unrestricted cat access, and you're right - more people would get to enjoy the enclosure. Again, pending traffic/how close the enclosure would be to people a room divider of some sort would be beneficial during peak hours/if the little guy is getting stressed.

The feeder insects have always been much more interesting to my cats (when I had them), but as long as they're kept in sturdy, uninteresting bins I've never had any issues. My cats were much more fascinated when I was keeping crickets in a glass tank but when I switched to a ventilated rubbermaid bin they completely lost interest. Neither of my cats were at all interested in the reptiles (leopard geckos, at the time), and rapidly lost interest in my various fish tanks and birds. I suppose it depends on the personality of the cat, but even my most voracious hunter who frequently brought me rodents, large insects, and occasionally birds never bothered my pets.

Not entirely sure why you've had such a response - it sounds to me like you'd do any chameleon justice with some preparation! I do agree with Brody that you ought to set up/make your future cham a nice vivarium and let it mature for awhile before you being the reptile home. That way you have time to perfect the environment and iron out any issues beforehand! I wish I could have done that. My Karma quite literally fell into my lap and I've been scrambling since!

I've been moving from house to house with as many as a dozen pets and three planted aquariums for the last ten years, though I'm currently down to three birds and my veiled chameleon. If you intend to move at some point, it may be difficult to disassemble your cage to move it depending on what you end up with, but I don't honestly think it's that much of a concern. It's totally doable with some forethought, though it may not be ideal for the animal.

I'd browse the forums, get some educational material together, and discuss with your housemates. Is it the best living situation for a chameleon? Maybe not. But many people with imperfect situations make it work with some effort and cooperation. Case in point: I'm making it work with extreme space limitations and three large bird cages in the room.

It might be better to wait for the sake of the animal, but I think you're perfectly capable of making it work. Maybe as part of your presentation to your housemates, you can bring up some of the concerns members have had regarding the suitability of your home for a chameleon. Sounds like you're a group of reasonable, intelligent individuals!

Just my two cents, for what it's worth. ;)

~Amanda
 

celeste_knitter

Chameleon Enthusiast
We also have a pretty rigorous process to bring any animal into this house. I have to prepare educational materials and draft a proposal for all my housemates and then we all have to discuss. Assuming people are open to the idea, we have to establish collective guidelines and agreements around the cham.

The truth is, I am not sure that I will get approval to adopt a chameleon. I've brought the idea up with some people and have so far the response has been positive, but if one person feels like the inclusion of such a creature into our home would be inconvenient for them OR, equally important, if one person thought that out house would be a bad fit for a chameleon, then I wouldn't get that approval. The process of making that decision will involve them getting a lot of education on chameleons, too.
Another thing to think about & I haven't seen it discussed (forgive me if I have overlooked it) is about the keeping of live feeders. How will your housemates feel about you keeping a large volume of a variety of "pests" around to feed to the chameleon? There is no way around this really. Just something else to think about.
 
Thanks everyone! I do appreciate people's responses. I'm not happy to hear some of the things, true, but also I asked because I wanted to know. So, I appreciate it!

To clarify, there are parts of my house where the cats can't get into without human help and where we have rules that they aren't supposed to be unattended. To repeat, I live in a gigantic house (4000+ sqf with 10 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, 3 living rooms, 2 garages, 5 bathrooms...), and we currently have dedicated rooms that are off limits to cats with no problem keeping them out. I think if any of you have cats, unless your cats are indoors only and you keep the reptiles in a disconnected garage or something, your set-up is similar in this regard, but it is possible that your cats don't have an additional 3000+ square feet to keep their minds off of the reptile room they aren't allowed into.

That said, Matt's point is that other people with free access to my chameleon (rules, aside) is just too risky. I would argue that the same goes for couples and families with kids, but also most families these days don't have ten people in them!

Also, @absolutbill, though, made another valid point, which is that it'd be a shame to move a cham in and then move him again in a couple of years. As I said before, I don't have plans on moving, but I am at the cusp of ending school and then needing to start work and there's potential for a move to happen.
 
Another thing to think about & I haven't seen it discussed (forgive me if I have overlooked it) is about the keeping of live feeders. How will your housemates feel about you keeping a large volume of a variety of "pests" around to feed to the chameleon? There is no way around this really. Just something else to think about.
We raise chickens and in the past (not now) worms for our garden and do extensive composting. I doubt anyone would be bothered by me raising bugs in our detached garage or some other location, but it would be one other thing to discuss with them.
 
Honestly, I think your living room will be fine with some planning and privacy screens, as long as your future cham has lots of space to get away and feel secure. You said that the cats only have monitored access to the room, right? If people are right there, i really don't think it'd be a concern. Heck, if the cat(s) are only in the room during specific monitored moments, just throw up a privacy screen whenever they're in the room! I think it'd be a better solution than your private room, which has unrestricted cat access, and you're right - more people would get to enjoy the enclosure. Again, pending traffic/how close the enclosure would be to people a room divider of some sort would be beneficial during peak hours/if the little guy is getting stressed.

The feeder insects have always been much more interesting to my cats (when I had them), but as long as they're kept in sturdy, uninteresting bins I've never had any issues. My cats were much more fascinated when I was keeping crickets in a glass tank but when I switched to a ventilated rubbermaid bin they completely lost interest. Neither of my cats were at all interested in the reptiles (leopard geckos, at the time), and rapidly lost interest in my various fish tanks and birds. I suppose it depends on the personality of the cat, but even my most voracious hunter who frequently brought me rodents, large insects, and occasionally birds never bothered my pets.

Not entirely sure why you've had such a response - it sounds to me like you'd do any chameleon justice with some preparation! I do agree with Brody that you ought to set up/make your future cham a nice vivarium and let it mature for awhile before you being the reptile home. That way you have time to perfect the environment and iron out any issues beforehand! I wish I could have done that. My Karma quite literally fell into my lap and I've been scrambling since!

I've been moving from house to house with as many as a dozen pets and three planted aquariums for the last ten years, though I'm currently down to three birds and my veiled chameleon. If you intend to move at some point, it may be difficult to disassemble your cage to move it depending on what you end up with, but I don't honestly think it's that much of a concern. It's totally doable with some forethought, though it may not be ideal for the animal.

I'd browse the forums, get some educational material together, and discuss with your housemates. Is it the best living situation for a chameleon? Maybe not. But many people with imperfect situations make it work with some effort and cooperation. Case in point: I'm making it work with extreme space limitations and three large bird cages in the room.

It might be better to wait for the sake of the animal, but I think you're perfectly capable of making it work. Maybe as part of your presentation to your housemates, you can bring up some of the concerns members have had regarding the suitability of your home for a chameleon. Sounds like you're a group of reasonable, intelligent individuals!

Just my two cents, for what it's worth. ;)

~Amanda
Thanks for the feedback. I'm not decided one way or the other, but I certainly see the points some people have made here and am taking it all into consideration, plus talking to others.

I'm not that concerned about the cats. I really just wanted to know if the sight of cats would bother a cham and, if so, I do have location options that are already off limits to felines.

As for the concerns about my housemates...I think these are valid concerns. I DO think that people here might misunderstand the level of responsibility and involvement that characterize the relationships of the people in my house: if a breeder would sell to a person who lives with children or romantic partners/spouses or other family-type situations, then my own set up is quite similar. But, also, concerns about the number of people feel valid to me. One thing I will say is that in my experience, animals can be stressed out by having "strangers" in their space, even if it isn't a high volume of traffic all the time. I've seen this with cats, in fact. I don't know if a cham would even notice that our house had that many people in it--it's rare that more than two or three people are in that living at the same time--but if it did notice, I could see it reacting similarly to those cats. Or not. I don't know, but maybe folks here do.

As for the concern that too many people=too many opportunities for terrible mistakes to happen. I also think that's valid, too. For me, my response to that would be to just implement a blanket rule that says no one but me should hang out around that cage w/o my permission. But I can see the point that I'm risking my cham's health and even life in depending on 9 people to all respect that rule all the time. For me, having housemates who will want to be educated in chams, who will expect to have a say in certain aspects of my care of it (because it will effect them) and who otherwise have an active interest in me keeping such a pet--well, this feels like an advantage, not a disadvantage. If I lived in a house with my bf and something happened where we had to leave quickly to attend to a sick family member or something, it'd be a huge headache to find someone just willing to feed and check in on the cham, let alone find someone with any prior understanding of chams. And we'd have to gamble that this stranger showing up and caring for our animal for the first time when we're not home is going to be ok. With the co-op, my housemates will have at least sat through a couple rounds of my proposal and Q&A before I got the cham, some of them would be helping me build its enclosure and set up the cage and shelf, and they'd be around hearing me talk about the cham and raising dubias for it or whatever, and assuming the cham had the temperment for it, some of them would even have handled or at least seen the animal before. So not only would I immediately have people to jump in and help with care in a pinch, but these people would be people who know as much about my pet as I do--or pretty close. And they'd hopefully be familiar to my cham. So, the risk of a housemate disregarding my wishes or doing something harmful out of ignorance is outweighed (for me) by the benefit of having knowledgeable, familiar people on call to pitch in with cham care the next time some disaster befalls me and I have to fly to a funeral or something. Or maybe just take a vacation.

I see my situation as a plus in many ways...but I'm not a breeder who has experience both in dealing with chams and also in dealing with cham owners. And I do respect how such a person sees my situation with regards to its suitability for an animal that they are experienced with and invested in.

We'll see where this all goes for me. We'll see.
 

absolutbill

Chameleon Enthusiast
Don't yuck her yum. ;) It works for her, and seems to be a pretty good working lifestyle for all involved. Honestly, having people who live with you who are intimately familiar with chameleon care if you have to go out of town unexpectedly is pretty awesome, and a money-saver from having a pet sitter like I have to hire.

I only have 1 more point about cats to add (and may I say that I've cats the entire time I've had chameleons and cannot ever give up either one). In addition to the cats potentially starting at the chameleons and stressing them out, they are also good at both climbing the screen of the cage as well as chewing the cords for your lights and misters. I've had both happen to me (2 different cats, one of whom has passed away), so keeping them separated is vital.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Don't yuck her yum. ;) It works for her, and seems to be a pretty good working lifestyle for all involved. Honestly, having people who live with you who are intimately familiar with chameleon care if you have to go out of town unexpectedly is pretty awesome, and a money-saver from having a pet sitter like I have to hire.

I only have 1 more point about cats to add (and may I say that I've cats the entire time I've had chameleons and cannot ever give up either one). In addition to the cats potentially starting at the chameleons and stressing them out, they are also good at both climbing the screen of the cage as well as chewing the cords for your lights and misters. I've had both happen to me (2 different cats, one of whom has passed away), so keeping them separated is vital.
I did not say it was a bad thing, everyone has something strange about them, own it!
 
I did not say it was a bad thing, everyone has something strange about them, own it!
I understand that IC's (intentional communities) are unfamiliar and strange to most Americans. That's why I've been over-explaining things. I'm used to people not "getting it". But then folks come and visit us and they usually get it after that. It's not a lifestyle for everyone, but I think lots of people would like if they knew more about it.

On the other hand, my bf is not one such person (partly because he grew up in a cooperative house in 1970's China, partly because he is a proud slob), so I may well end up moving out some day to cohabit with him.

Live and let live, I guess.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
For a person with the handle "Thehippie", how are you not digging it? ;)
Oh my gosh, I was thinking the same thing! :ROFLMAO:

I've lived in a similar house community before, and enjoyed it. I can be very social when I have the mindset for it, and found it to be beneficial. It makes living very affordable, and there's pretty much always someone available to help out/hang out with! My cockatoo loved it. She's a social butterfly! We had a lot of awesome communal dinners, and a communal food store that everyone contributed to.
 
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