First steps...


New Member

My name is John, I am new to this community, I am french canadian so pardon me if sometimes what I write does not come out clear...

I am getting ready to purchase a Veiled Chameleon, I am currently building a corner cage. I had a good experience raising an iguana, I use to feed it the MK diet and he was extremely healthy with vibrant blue colors on its head, sadly for some reason he became VERY agressive in his second year and I had to give him up to a local pet shop, a high end pet shop, they found him so beautiful that they put him on display (not for sale), and he is still there today!

People say a chameleon is for more advanced reptile owners, but from what I read it looks a lot easier than an iguana, the diet in particular.

Here are a few questions I have about the creature. Thanks in advance for the answers, I will post pics of my cage soon then the chameleon when I get it.

-Does its diet impact its color?

-I see some fancy red, orange and other crazy colored chameleons online, do they take the picture at the right moment or do some chameleons really have these spectacular colors?

-People online say NO HANDLING, but the current one at the pet shop just walks onto you hand on its own will, the guy says its cause he was hand fed and raised, what do i do?

- I have two cats, they are well tamed and don t jump on tables, I will be building the cage in a way they will not have access, but will having them running around the house gonna stress my chameleon?

-I have parties every now and then, will loud noises stress it that much? Would covering it like a bird cage help when I have several people in the house?

-do they make noise at night?


Welcome! I too have an iguana and I would definitely not say that a chameleon is easier...if that's how it seems your ig probably had some superior care in your hands so a cham might be good for you with enough research.

Their color is not dependent on their diet like iguanas, it changes with their moods. While chams may survive only on crickets it is not that easy. All the food you fed your iguana needs to be fed to your crickets! You have to work up the food chain to give them the nutrients they need which are more or less the same as the iguana. Also some chams get bored with crickets and go on hunger strikes so they need variety in their diets like butterworms, hornworms, silkworms, superworms, etc.

Yes those vibrant colors are pretty standard for some species. The panther chameleons are known for their bright colors, some are just when they're all fired up, some have really bright resting colors. It depends on the locale and the bloodline. Handling usually stresses chams out, but there are some friendly ones that don't mind it. I have one that hates the world and acts like he might die if you touch him, one that's indifferent but prefers to be left alone, and one who actively paws at the door so he can come out and crawl around with me. Depends on their individual personalities, hand feeding as they're little doesn't necessarily make them friendly. Mine aren't stressed by my cat, but she doesn't stare at them at all. I'm sure if yours did it could really freak them out to be under the watch of a predator!

They don't ever make noise, except maybe hiss. And at night they sleep and should not be disturbed or have a light on them, even a night light. You should keep the cage in a low traffic area. If you have parties I would maybe move their cage into a back room where people won't be if it's not already there. They need calm, quiet environments. I cover my cages at night if I'm up late with a light on, but that's after their lights have already gone off for the day and it's still quiet.

It sounds like you've just started looking at your options and I would highly suggest doing a lot more research on them before you make any decisions. I would say my iguana is at least 10 times easier to keep than my chams are! Hope that helps! :)
Here's some information you might like to read.....
Exposure to proper UVB, appropriate temperatures, supplements, a supply of well-fed/gutloaded insects, water and an appropriate cage set-up are all important for the well-being of your chameleon.

Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects before you feed them to the chameleon with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it.

If you dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. (Some UVB lights have been known to cause health issues, so the most often recommended one is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light.) D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it.

Dusting twice a month with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while.

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon its important too. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

Here are some good sites for you to read...
Wow, thanks guys, this is indeed very good info! I Takeing my time with the cage getting every little detail done perfectly before I pick up my chameleon...

I really like what yall say about breeding nutritious crickets and such. I juice carrots, broccoli, apples, celery and oranges every day, the pulp with a little calcium should make great food for the crickets.

Is it safe to feed things like wild grasshoppers and wild crickets to the Chameleon?

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