Chameleons as Christmas presents -- Input needed!

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
It's that time of the year when parents, etc. start to consider getting their kids a chameleon as a pet. At this point my YouTube channel covers all the basic husbandry videos such as what supplies a chameleon needs, cost, what cham is recommended for beginners, how to set up an enclosure, etc. But I would love to do a video tailored to parents who are looking at getting a chameleon for their kid. So I am asking for help from the parents and kids on the forums to help me pull together some advice, things to consider, etc for parents who would be watching this video. Here are some things I want to mention in the video. Just remember this isn't a video to teach someone how to care for a chameleon -- I already have videos on how to do that that go into more detail than this video could provide.
  1. They're a look-at pet
  2. What age is appropriate for a child to get a chameleon (Anyone have any thoughts on this?)
  3. The parent needs to be able to oversee the care of the cham
  4. They will need to be okay with live bugs
  5. Chameleons have advanced care requirements
  6. Buy from a good breeder
  7. Make sure the child will want the chameleon for 7+ years -- have a back up plan in case your kid loses interest
  8. Look up a good reptile vet in your area
  9. Be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars on the set up and care
  10. Reoccurring costs include food, supplements, bulbs, and plants
  11. Chameleons cannot travel between homes or travel in planes to go to college
What else would you add?
 
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nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
"they are a look at pet, not an interact pet"
"they need a low traffic area of the house" (have you seen how "quiet" a teenagers room can be?"
"the food needs a place to live"
"you will need to buy food on an almost weekly basis"

Id say 12-14 years old is a good time to start herping.

Im not a wordsmith, and you already have a "how to care" video, but you need to really hit it home on frequency of care per week, and how long care takes, and cleaning. Ive seen many of parents end of being full time caretakers of hedghogs when the child loses interest.

I can still remember getting my drivers license, and trying to figure out the parents directions to the vet using only the back roads because the highway was a no no...
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
"they are a look at pet, not an interact pet"
"they need a low traffic area of the house" (have you seen how "quiet" a teenagers room can be?"
"the food needs a place to live"
"you will need to buy food on an almost weekly basis"

Id say 12-14 years old is a good time to start herping.

Im not a wordsmith, and you already have a "how to care" video, but you need to really hit it home on frequency of care per week, and how long care takes, and cleaning. Ive seen many of parents end of being full time caretakers of hedghogs when the child loses interest.

I can still remember getting my drivers license, and trying to figure out the parents directions to the vet using only the back roads because the highway was a no no...
Oooh yes good point on the foot traffic! I think I have everything else you mentioned on my list already 👍 Good to know I'm on the right track.
I'm not a parent, but thanks for adding the part about college. Nothing frustrates me more than seeing a year old chameleon re-homed, due to college, or even worse, plans trying to be made to take one to college.
Yup yup! Also a lot of kids with two homes trying to bring their chameleon back and forth between two houses.
 

bbyoda

Chameleon Enthusiast
Some additional considerations:

1) keeping chameleon safe from other pets - do you have a room where dogs and cats don't go where the chameleon can live in peace?

2) allergies - if your kid is allergic to cats / dogs then reptiles can be a great option BUT if your kid is asthmatic or allergic to plants or cockroach poo then even reptiles might not be conducive to their health

3) does your home's location and heating/AC system allow you to configure temp/humidity to the ranges your chameleon needs? If not you may need to purchase additional appliances like dehumidifier, humidifier, or a window or portable AC unit. I guess this goes under being prepared to spend lots of money on the animals care. But it's not just about setting up the cage, right? Also isn't it more like $1000+ in startup costs?
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Handling! They need to be okay that chams are not animals that can be ‘played with’.
Since veileds seem to be most common, you may also want to mention temperament and aggression. My girls have bit me several times and are always trying to get me more.
Gender. Males would be a better choice to avoid the whole egg laying thing.
Age of the chameleon. Avoiding those adorable babies that are way too young and fragile.
Rather than age of the child, I think it’s better to go by responsibility level and parental involvement.
 

bbyoda

Chameleon Enthusiast
@bbyoda I was just adding pets to my list when you commented :)

There are always ways to spend more for a chameleon enclosure but I typically see a cage set up correctly for $300-500.

I need your product list. 😂 I just went through the process again and spent $1k including the cost of the chameleon, cage, plants, etc. And I'm sharing some timers and the mist king. But I guess me going bioactive adds to the cost since good soil is $$.

Another thing I've found is if you can take your time in hunting for deals you can find the right lights and cages for cheaper. If you rush to get everything around Christmas, that might increase startup costs.
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Handling! They need to be okay that chams are not animals that can be ‘played with’.
Since veileds seem to be most common, you may also want to mention temperament and aggression. My girls have bit me several times and are always trying to get me more.
Gender. Males would be a better choice to avoid the whole egg laying thing.
Age of the chameleon. Avoiding those adorable babies that are way too young and fragile.
Rather than age of the child, I think it’s better to go by responsibility level and parental involvement.
All great advice! Luckily I already have videos on handling/temperament, what the best beginner cham is, and what age chameleon to buy.

I agree on the responsibility level and parental involvement. That'll have to be a decision that the parent makes since it is subjective.

My thought is that this video will be the kick-off for a parent's research -- like if you're okay with all of this info, go watch these other care videos to learn what cham to buy and how to care for them, etc.
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
I need your product list. 😂 I just went through the process again and spent $1k including the cost of the chameleon, cage, plants, etc. And I'm sharing some timers and the mist king. But I guess me going bioactive adds to the cost since good soil is $$.

Another thing I've found is if you can take your time in hunting for deals you can find the right lights and cages for cheaper. If you rush to get everything around Christmas, that might increase startup costs.
100%! I made sure to get my enclosure set up before bringing my first chameleon home and wasn't in any rush so I managed to find a Dragon Strand on Craigslist for a STEAL. While I will always recommend a MistKing, using a $1 spray bottle from the Dollar Store is a totally fine option for someone balling on a budget.

Here is my Amazon Store shopping list for anyone interested: www.amazon.com/shop/neptunethechameleon
 
As a chameleon owner and father of four kids, I would likely recommend against buying a chameleon as a gift if a parent were to ask my advice. However, assuming the recipient of the chameleon really wanted one and had invested time studying up on care, I'd suggest they get the enclosure set up and let the kid care for the plants/environment for at least a couple weeks and make sure all the variables can be dialed in before the live lizard ever comes home.
 

Mountain Dragon

Chameleon Enthusiast
I didn’t read all the comments so some of these ideas may of been said

I love this vid idea

the work it takes to clean the cage
A lot of time and effort
Buying things randomly as stuff dies and bugs get eaten
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
As a chameleon owner and father of four kids, I would likely recommend against buying a chameleon as a gift if a parent were to ask my advice. However, assuming the recipient of the chameleon really wanted one and had invested time studying up on care, I'd suggest they get the enclosure set up and let the kid care for the plants/environment for at least a couple weeks and make sure all the variables can be dialed in before the live lizard ever comes home.
I would also usually recommend against it, but I'm mindful lots of people will try to get a chameleon anyways so at least this way they will have an idea of what they are getting themselves into. I LOVE the idea of taking care of the plants/enclosure first. I've also recommended kids make a PowerPoint presentation on chameleon care and present it to their parents so show they know all of the info.

Another one popped into my head: Making sure they only get one chameleon and noting that they're solitary animals. I see quite a few people get their chameleons a "roommate or sibling" 🙄
 
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