Handling Problems

cham_urchin

Established Member
Hey all! I've got a rather embarrassing (but I suspect fairly common) problem - don't worry, it's chameleon-related - I have a VERY skittish little 4 mos. old veiled male. When cleaning day comes around each week, I have to enlist my son's help because I am literally afraid to fetch Pete out of his cage. And he's obviously terrified as well. He runs from hands (and even if we come too close to the cage) no matter how slow we go, and it ends up being a really stressful experience for him to get transferred to the plant he rests in until the cage is cleaned.

I am familiar with the "treadmill hands" thing and I try to use that, but he darts around unpredictably in fear (and I'm afraid too) and he actually fell off my hand today...only about 2 feet down and he seems fine, just stressed. I am ready to cry by the time the cage cleaning is done! I have no idea how I'm going to manage this if my son isn't around, lol...... I know desensitization is needed, but wow.....I should also start hand-feeding I suppose? Any tips, tricks, pep talks, anecdotes are appreciated.
 

Daesie11

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey all! I've got a rather embarrassing (but I suspect fairly common) problem - don't worry, it's chameleon-related - I have a VERY skittish little 4 mos. old veiled male. When cleaning day comes around each week, I have to enlist my son's help because I am literally afraid to fetch Pete out of his cage. And he's obviously terrified as well. He runs from hands (and even if we come too close to the cage) no matter how slow we go, and it ends up being a really stressful experience for him to get transferred to the plant he rests in until the cage is cleaned.

I am familiar with the "treadmill hands" thing and I try to use that, but he darts around unpredictably in fear (and I'm afraid too) and he actually fell off my hand today...only about 2 feet down and he seems fine, just stressed. I am ready to cry by the time the cage cleaning is done! I have no idea how I'm going to manage this if my son isn't around, lol...... I know desensitization is needed, but wow.....I should also start hand-feeding I suppose? Any tips, tricks, pep talks, anecdotes are appreciated.
I would say also to try to calm yourself more. Animals are empathetic beings, he can probably feel your stress/fear and its stressing him out also. If you're calm he is calm. This is just general advice for any animal!
 

cham_urchin

Established Member
put a stick infront of him in a tilt angle so he can see he can clim higher up. when he is on the stick move him to a container to keeo him in while you Clean his Cage.
I did try this today but he catapulted off before I could move to the bin...I agree this seems the best approach so I'll keep trying.
 

cham_urchin

Established Member
I would say also to try to calm yourself more. Animals are empathetic beings, he can probably feel your stress/fear and its stressing him out also. If you're calm he is calm. This is just general advice for any animal!
Absolutely! I've had many critters over the years and you are spot on. Just easier said than done....maybe a glass(es) of wine before cage cleaning is in order.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
My advice is a whole lot of patience. Every day work with him on hand feeding. I did this with mine the first month. Granted he was always more open to me being near him in the beginning but he was a little hesitant to climb on my hand. Once he understood that my hand meant he got the wax worm that was in it he realized that seeing my hand in his cage was not a bad thing. I used a wax worm each day.. At the time crickets and dubia freaked me out to hold. This aloud me to work up to holding the feeder farther up my arm so that he would climb onto a finger then my hand to get to it. I never sat to where I was above him and I held perfectly still trying not to make eye contact. Some will calm down and some will not. It really just depends on their individual personality.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok so I uploaded my video of 2 weeks into my trust building with Beman. Hope this helps you get an idea of what I meant. It took a total of 6 weeks and working every day with him. Now I do not have to have any treats for him. When I open the cage he happily comes out. Granted they are all different but I think if you are consistent you could make some progress for you both to feel safer with cage cleaning. :)
 

cham_urchin

Established Member
My advice is a whole lot of patience. Every day work with him on hand feeding. I did this with mine the first month. Granted he was always more open to me being near him in the beginning but he was a little hesitant to climb on my hand. Once he understood that my hand meant he got the wax worm that was in it he realized that seeing my hand in his cage was not a bad thing. I used a wax worm each day.. At the time crickets and dubia freaked me out to hold. This aloud me to work up to holding the feeder farther up my arm so that he would climb onto a finger then my hand to get to it. I never sat to where I was above him and I held perfectly still trying not to make eye contact. Some will calm down and some will not. It really just depends on their individual personality.
Ah ok, makes sense. I shall persevere ;) thank you
 

krikinit

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok so I uploaded my video of 2 weeks into my trust building with Beman. Hope this helps you get an idea of what I meant. It took a total of 6 weeks and working every day with him. Now I do not have to have any treats for him. When I open the cage he happily comes out. Granted they are all different but I think if you are consistent you could make some progress for you both to feel safer with cage cleaning. :)
Great use of conditioning training. You would make an excellent animal trainer. A keen eye for behavior is not often found in keepers of most animals. Well done.
 
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