handling veiled chameleons

i see people who mention they do not handle their veiled's or only once every other week because they are "aggressive"
you just need to be aware of your chams personality and how to approach them properly. NEVER grab from above them, veiled's also like a very very slow approach. preferably like this
1. open cage
2. stand there for a second until they recognize you
3. slowly put your hand out
4. hold hand still in a pal up position below the height of where their feet are
5. let them act as they will and if they seem ok- slide your hand gently under their stomach and allow them to climb on

obviously some W/C or adults that were just adopted may be still getting used to their environment so approach with caution. I always feel sad to hear really negative things about veileds attitudes. My friend was blown away when he saw how docile and sweet mine is

id like some more people to add opinions so that others can learn proper handling of this species
 

Simon1986

New Member
I agree that it's a delicate operation but i wouldnt say aggressive id call it defensive. your a preditor advancing toward them.

my female has never climbed on she's very viv defensive so have to move smoothly under her chin and gently lift so she grabs onto my hand, but once out she's so happy and will immediately hand feed.

Where as my male is the total opposite when I got him he was a nervous wreck would hide as soon as we entered the room. It took a lot of trust games to get him to trust me but now he will jump out onto my hand and up into my shoulder.

I think it's gaining their trust and understanding that there is no generic tactic to training them. They're the most awkward stubborn bi-polar animals I've seen
 

SaintJimmy

Avid Member
It's not that people aren't using the correct holding methods, it's just that in general, veileds are a more aggressive species.

I approach my veiled with a kind voice (they can feel vibrations so why not let him know I'm there?) and food, let him come to me and let him know I'm the source of food. I've held him many times and I've never hurt him.

I've given him the best possible habitat and care anyone could provide, but he still hates me.

There is nothing you can do to force your chameleon to tolerate you, like you stated, you have to approach them and know their personality.

I just give him his space and only touch him when he lets me.

Like you said, it is sadly a matter of their personality. If you have a mean cham, there is only so much you can do. I've learned that.
 

vgaines

Member
I knew when I purchased my veiled Rebel that more than likely he would be a "look at me" pet and not a "oh please hold me" pet. I can hold his food cup and he will eat from it but is not a happy cham when I try to pick him up. I'm ok with that. I knew that was a chance I would have to take buying a veiled. That being said I love my little guy. I like his pissy attitude. :D
 

italian chameleon

New Member
My veiled is ok with being handled but each time I put him back in his cage after being handled he looks really unhappy and tries to escape, he also went on hunger strike a few times because of this. if I don't take him out of the cage is perfectly happy, he's got a huge cage, lots of food, live plants and natural sunshine. I think that he doesn't' realize he lives in a cage until I take him out!! I guess he experiences capture stress each time I put it back there!! :( considering that chameleons are not social, the need for handling is more of a human issues and I don't want to upset him just to show my friends how tame my chameleon is!!;)
 

bigeaters101

New Member
I handle my baby veiled daily. She is accepting and none aggressive every time. She has never hissed and has only puffed up at me once or twice early on. I hand feed her so she is comfortable with my presence and lately she has been more adventuros while being held, she climbs my shirt, sits on my shoulder and takes food from me while being held! Hopefully this contuines into her adulthood.
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
I think any chameleon can be worked with, at least to some extent.

When I worked at a pet store we had this one huge Florida WC male with the nastiest temperament I'd ever seen. The females were bad but no where near as horrible. This male wouldn't just stand his ground, he would charge at you and actively reach out to bite at you! More than once while wiping out the floor of his cage (the top of his cage was at over 7-8', so at 5'7" I'm way below him) he ran down and lunged to bite at my face.

But on any downtime when I wasn't cleaning out cages or helping customers I would sit and try to hand feed him and work on holding him. He didn't become a docile chameleon in the 2 months we had him but he did relax a bit and let me hold him much more easily. Which allowed him to go home with a great lady who was planning on free-ranging him.

So I think even WC animals stand a chance. It just takes a lot of patience and some knowledge of positive reinforcement, I believe.

All of mine are great, thank goodness! lol No one lunges for me aggressively at home.
 
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From my expirence I strongly believe their enclosure directly affects their attitude in a significant way. If they need a lot of space to not feel cramped and grumpy. If they don't get it they will feel anxious and aggressive. Just like a dog who's been tied up most of its life, or crated a lot. It creates anxiety and aggressive behavior.
 
I think any chameleon can be worked with, at least to some extent.

When I worked at a pet store we had this one huge Florida WC male with the nastiest temperament I'd ever seen. The females were bad but no where near as horrible. This male wouldn't just stand his ground, he would charge at you and actively reach out to bite at you! More than once while wiping out the floor of his cage (the top of his cage was at over 7-8', so at 5'7" I'm way below him) he ran down and lunged to bite at my face.

But on any downtime when I wasn't cleaning out cages or helping customers I would sit and try to hand feed him and work on holding him. He didn't became a docile chameleon in the 2 months we had him but he did relax a bit and let me hold him much more easily. Which allowed him to go home with a great lady who was planning on free-ranging him.

So I think even WC animals stand a chance. It just takes a lot of patience and some knowledge of positive reinforcement, I believe.

All of mine are great, thank goodness! lol No one lunges for me aggressively at home.


I agree 100% you just need to feel the situation out with your best judgement. I started by leaving the enclosure door open and letting mine climb out an do as he pleased. He started to even come over to me as a baby and hang out. Obviously starting with an adult is different and can be much more difficult but allowing them to make the calls for a while is your best bet at having a nice veiled. They need to know they have freedom and that you gave it to them, it creates a great bond.
 

RGEN

Member
i see people who mention they do not handle their veiled's or only once every other week because they are "aggressive"
you just need to be aware of your chams personality and how to approach them properly. NEVER grab from above them, veiled's also like a very very slow approach. preferably like this
1. open cage
2. stand there for a second until they recognize you
3. slowly put your hand out
4. hold hand still in a pal up position below the height of where their feet are
5. let them act as they will and if they seem ok- slide your hand gently under their stomach and allow them to climb on

obviously some W/C or adults that were just adopted may be still getting used to their environment so approach with caution. I always feel sad to hear really negative things about veileds attitudes. My friend was blown away when he saw how docile and sweet mine is

id like some more people to add opinions so that others can learn proper handling of this species
What do you mean by pal up position?
 

JoeDigiorgio

Avid Member
I think they each have their own temperment and some species (veileds) tend to be very stand-off-ish. I've had mine since he was very small and I tend to agree that their physical environment has a lot to do with it. He's pretty much lived on my patio his whole life and spent most of that time free ranging on hanging plants out there, at or above my eye level. Even when he was small, I'd take him from his cage to eat on the plants in the sun.

Literally every single meal he's eaten since coming to live with me has been hand fed, because he free ranges. I don't use a cup and never have. He takes everything from my fingers. It helps me monitor his intake and helps him trust me. I credit all that hand feeding with his positive attitude toward me. He won't hand feed from anyone but my wife and I unless he's super hungry. He absolutely recognizes us two and won't accept food if the dog is visible to him either but he will happily climb to our hands to reach food and never gapes or hisses. I think routinely hand feeding especially when they're very hungry is a huge trust builder along with an environment that makes them feel safe, high up, warm, concealed.
 

scarecrowaj

New Member
My baby veiled of about a year would love to be taken out and crawl all over me while I did my homework. he would get so happy to see me start pulling my books out. he would head to the front of the cage and wait for me to get him out, I'd slowly put my hand into his enclosure and wait for him to hop on. It got so bad I had to build a little place of fake vines and things for him to climb on next to me while I worked.
 
Tillman was a little skittish when we first got him (no hissing or biting though). When he got sick, he was handled a bunch of times for his vet visit and then giving him his meds and vitamin paste (don't know what it's called). I think due to that, he's just accepted that we are big, constantly moving, leafless plants for him to climb on. Nowadays when he sees either of us (more my hubs) by the cage he follows us with his eyes and if we open the cage door, he'll start to climb on our hand if we put it down somewhere by him. He likes to relax in my hubs' "tree hat" he made for Tillman to chill in outside his cage.
 
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