Grumpy 3 Month Old Veiled Chameleon

ladybug264

New Member
Hello All,

I have a 3 month old Veiled named Napoleon. We got him when he was just a week old from a reptile show. He has been doing really well since we got him. Eating, drinking, pooping regularly with proper colored urates. When we would open the cage door, he would come right towards us to be taken out and held and loved to walk along the screen on our back porch (we live in south Florida). In the last week, he has been running to the back of the cage and hissing and opening his mouth when we try to get him out. I used to put my hand in and he would crawl right onto it. Today we finally got him out and let him roam the porch, but when we tried to pick him back up to put him back in his cage he kept hissing and puffing up. I know they usually don't like to be held, but its such a dramatic change from only a week ago. He would let us hold him for an hour at a time, going from one hand to the other, up our arms, etc. He's been getting the same food, same cage setup, etc. The only thing different is we put a nice hibiscus plant in there about a month ago, which he seemed to be enjoying. I just wonder if this is a normal change in behavior because he's getting older and more temperamental? Anyone else notice this in their babies?

Thanks for any insight :)
 

PascalsWager

New Member
From what I've been reading, it's pretty common among the veileds. I have a 5mo that's done it since I got him at 2mos. He's fine once I get him out of his enclosure, but he has to try to dominate his territory while he's in there.

Make sure you pick him up from below, and not from over him. He should be more comfortable about being picked up. I ignore the hissing and gaping. I know he doesn't mean it. :)
 

Blink

New Member
A lot of times, if not all, when a chameleon behaves in this way it is not dominance nor aggression, but defensiveness. Chameleons are prey creatures and as far as he knows, you are a predator. A hand can seem like a bird's claw lifting him to his doom. So, naturally, it will be his instinct to defend himself. Often as chameleons get older, they can become more fearful and aware that they can defend themselves. You should never approach a chameleon from above or attempt to lift it by grabbing it from the top. It is always best to allow the chameleon to climb on your hand by himself. This changes the view of the hand from claw to branch. Granted, it will take time to get to this point, but don't rush it. The best way to a cham's heart is with food. Try hand feeding. Something I also did with my cham when he was young, is whenever I fed him a meal, I had him sit on my hand to get it. Another great way to get your chameleon out of the cage is to set up a special free-range tree in front of the cage with a branch leading out to it. This will allow him to get used to exiting his cage by himself. Also, make sure that you read your cham, particularly his colors. If he turns dark and stressed, back away and come back later. Hope this helps.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
A lot of times, if not all, when a chameleon behaves in this way it is not dominance nor aggression, but defensiveness. Chameleons are prey creatures and as far as he knows, you are a predator. A hand can seem like a bird's claw lifting him to his doom. So, naturally, it will be his instinct to defend himself. Often as chameleons get older, they can become more fearful and aware that they can defend themselves. You should never approach a chameleon from above or attempt to lift it by grabbing it from the top. It is always best to allow the chameleon to climb on your hand by himself. This changes the view of the hand from claw to branch. Granted, it will take time to get to this point, but don't rush it. The best way to a cham's heart is with food. Try hand feeding. Something I also did with my cham when he was young, is whenever I fed him a meal, I had him sit on my hand to get it. Another great way to get your chameleon out of e cage is to set up a special free-range tree in front of the cage with a branch leading out to it. This will allow him to get used to exiting his cage by himself. Also, make sure that you read your cham, particularly his colors. If he turns dark and stressed, back away and come back later. Hope this helps.

Excellent advise. I would also like to add that with my experience with veileds, they do not like being caged. They are almost alway friendlier when out of the cage. I free range all of my chameleons but I realize it is not safe for everyone to do this but if you have a safe area that you can chameleon proof and it's free from other pets and small childern I'm sure he would love it. Not just free ranging alone make them friendly it take allot of interaction with them too.
 

ladybug264

New Member
Thank you all so much for your insight! We've been trying to be more regular getting him out and handling him more so that he gets used to it more. He's getting better and not hissing as much anymore. Still not happy about getting out, but we're making progress :) We are trying to give him a cricket or mealworm each time we get him out or hand feed him to associate him the hand with food, and hopefully that will help him see we are not a danger to him.

Thanks all again!!!
 

Kayroxyoursox

New Member
It's weird. Mine is the opposite. He was pretty mean and would hiss and try to bite me even when I put my hand in his cage to feed him. Now he doesn't try to bite me anymore. I can put my hand up next to him but he won't crawl on it yet. Hopefully someday he will trust me enough to.
 

prskiller

New Member
A lot of times, if not all, when a chameleon behaves in this way it is not dominance nor aggression, but defensiveness. Chameleons are prey creatures and as far as he knows, you are a predator. A hand can seem like a bird's claw lifting him to his doom. So, naturally, it will be his instinct to defend himself. Often as chameleons get older, they can become more fearful and aware that they can defend themselves. You should never approach a chameleon from above or attempt to lift it by grabbing it from the top. It is always best to allow the chameleon to climb on your hand by himself. This changes the view of the hand from claw to branch. Granted, it will take time to get to this point, but don't rush it. The best way to a cham's heart is with food. Try hand feeding. Something I also did with my cham when he was young, is whenever I fed him a meal, I had him sit on my hand to get it. Another great way to get your chameleon out of the cage is to set up a special free-range tree in front of the cage with a branch leading out to it. This will allow him to get used to exiting his cage by himself. Also, make sure that you read your cham, particularly his colors. If he turns dark and stressed, back away and come back later. Hope this helps.

That there is great advise, thank you.
 
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