Hi, I’ve never owned a reptile before

J-A

New Member
I know chameleons are not recommended for beginners but I just find them so interesting, any information you think I should know (from handling to enclosures any info is appreciated) before even considering to get one would be greatly appreciated.
 

Tobias&Jellybean

New Member
Hi there! So chameleons are definitely (as you know) not for beginners and I would recommend starting off with a beardie, a leo, ( etc)and seeing how you like it first before buying a Cham as you might realize you dislike it.
Best of luck!
 
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SharpShooter

Avid Member
I know chameleons are not recommended for beginners but I just find them so interesting, any information you think I should know (from handling to enclosures any info is appreciated) before even considering to get one would be greatly appreciated.
I'm not going to dissuade you BUT....

Before you start, you must do proper research of the different species and then decide which is best for you. Male or female? Females require additional care.

You MUST be prepared to spend money, a lot of money to do things right, easily into 4 figures.

DON'T think you can cut any corners, the cham will suffer. Do it right from the start and with careful planning and following some basic rules, you'll be off to a good start.

NEVER buy a 'chameleon kit', you will have to throw it in the junk anyway.

Start with the Chamleon Breeder Podcast and look up posts on here. This site has some good basic care sheets available to read. A lot of health clinic posts wouldn't even be needed if new keepers took the time to learn and plan before buying. A lot of advice is repeated over and over as soo many people simply don't have a clue what's actually needed. Look what they screwed up on and learn how to avoid it happening to you.

Take advice from shops with a pinch of salt, most really don't have a clue themselves and stay well away from the big chains. They will sell you a kit claiming your all set up and that couldn't be further from the truth.

Get in contact with a well known and reputable breeder. Buying from one of these guys is by far the best way to go making sure you get a healthy cham from day 1.

DO NOT THINK YOUR CHAM IS GOING TO BE CUTE AND CUDDLY. Chances are it'll hate you or at best tolerate you. (There are exceptions of course) In general terms think of them as tank full of reef fish and corals, they look stunning but you don't touch them.

There's a lot to learn. Hopefully you'll do things in the right order and be a successful keeper.

(P.S. If you don't like creepy bugs in your house, don't bother at all lol).

EDIT.
If you're not in a position where you can't afford a vet bill at any time, please don't go ahead. You need to find a reptile vet with good knowledge of chams BEFORE you bring any animal into the house.
 
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CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm going to jump in and freak people out by totally agreeing and yet disagreeing with what's been said. All great info as said above. Here's where I'm going to disagree though...

I'm 31. I haven't owned a reptile in my entire life. Since I was a kid (10 maybe) I was always into chameleons. But back then even a veiled was expensive as SH**! So mom said no. Rightfully so. Instead I collected local species of amphibians until I killed them from neglect (not proud about it but being honest here).

So until recently I decided I wanted to try my hand at finally getting a chameleon. I did some internet research and thought I knew the basics enough to purchase my first cham. Little did I know I didn't know as much as I thought I knew... You mean compact UVB bulbs are worthless? What's gutloading? I have to own more than just crickets? He needs how big a cage? Why are there so many kinds of bulbs!?!? Long story short I found this forum after a day with my new cham in halfway decent husbandry care. This place has only skyrocketed my success. I now own 2 species of male chameleons!

So without going into further detail about my experience let me just say welcome to the forums! You have come to the right place to learn about chameleons and chameleon husbandry the proper way!!!

If I could start over I'd listen to every podcast found here:
https://www.chameleonbreeder.com
Than I'd come back and ask questions. Again welcome to the chameleon forums! You're in great hands.
 

krikinit

Chameleon Enthusiast
@SharpShooter and @CamoChameleonsHuman are right. Im about $1500 into my first chameleon! I read a bunch of MBD horror stories on here. They all start the same, cfl or no uvb at all. Sprinkle in some poor gutloading and a splash improper supplementation.Lights and misting system will set you back on some coin. You want a misting system. Simplifies things quite a bit. A quality cham will cost around $300-$400. Its worth it! @CamoChameleonsHuman and I both have panther chameleons from @Matt Vanilla Gorilla. He is very good and will help you along the way. Best of luck and please do as much research as you can.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok... So welcome! So happy you came to learn prior to buying you will be very happy you did.

I am a first time keeper of a reptile. And I have only been at this since October. I do not think that never owning one should discourage you. But research research research! Also you really need to be prepared to spend a lot of money. It is not the chameleon that is expensive it is all their stuff. I am now in $2500 for everything I have bought for him. From lighting, to enclosure, to live plants, to feeders, to feeder containers, misting system, fogger, supplements, solarmeter, dimming thermostat, to well I think you get the picture. And I am not done as I am now about to spend probably another 200-300 setting up an outdoor enclosure.

I would consider a Panther before a Veiled. Veileds can be quite the grumps. I would also do a male first before you try with a female. Females lay infertile eggs. So their care has to be very precise to avoid egg binding which can lead to death.

Buy only from a reputable breeder that is going to mentor you. We have some pretty great forum members that breed and there are site sponsors as well. Do not buy from a pet store or off an ad on craigslist or the newspaper.

As mentioned the chameleonbreeder podcast is excellent. I am partial to dragonstrand enclosures. Keep in mind a male will need a minimum of 2ftx2ftx4ft tall.

And look through past threads by using the search function. And of course ask questions. Good luck :)
 
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Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Same here, chams are the only reptiles I’ve ever kept.

You seem to have a questioning attitude and haven’t reacted negatively to the bit of criticism you’ve received so far, keep that up and you will be just fine.

Three things I like to tell first time keepers:
- Chams are not pets, they are a hobby!
- Question everything when starting out, even if you think your right.
- Find a mentor, someone you can message day or night.

Welcome to the Forums!
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@SharpShooter and @CamoChameleonsHuman are right. Im about $1500 into my first chameleon! I read a bunch of MBD horror stories on here. They all start the same, cfl or no uvb at all. Sprinkle in some poor gutloading and a splash improper supplementation.Lights and misting system will set you back on some coin. You want a misting system. Simplifies things quite a bit. A quality cham will cost around $300-$400. Its worth it! @CamoChameleonsHuman and I both have panther chameleons from @Matt Vanilla Gorilla. He is very good and will help you along the way. Best of luck and please do as much research as you can.
Thank you!
 

ldarmo

Established Member
I'm an experienced reptile keeper, a biologist, also experienced with keeping other animals. I'm fairly new to keeping panther chameleons. I agree with comments here. Even as a generally experienced herper, I had some issues keeping chameleons. The suggestion to get a mentor is a good one. There is a lot of conflicting information out there. Find someone that is doing it right and has been for a while, and learn all you can from them. Also, go captive bred all the time, buy from a breeder NOT a pet store. Since you are new to reptiles, a reputable, experienced breeder who has a record of providing followup support is your best bet, not a first or second time hobby breeder. With chameleons, once you know what they need, you need to provide it, no shortcuts. And while there are ways to save money, it's going to be expensive. Many reptiles can be fed every few days or once a week. For the most part, chameleons need to be fed daily, with live food, gutloaded and dusted. They don't drink from a bowl, and must be misted daily. If you are going out of town, you need to find someone who knows what they are doing to care for them. I'm glad you are interested in getting a chameleon. Most fascinating reptile I have ever owned. But not a "pet", they are a huge commitment and they will impact your lifestyle, discretionary income, and freedom. Kind of like a kid, but one you can't touch too much. LOL
 
I'm an experienced reptile keeper, a biologist, also experienced with keeping other animals. I'm fairly new to keeping panther chameleons. I agree with comments here. Even as a generally experienced herper, I had some issues keeping chameleons. The suggestion to get a mentor is a good one. There is a lot of conflicting information out there. Find someone that is doing it right and has been for a while, and learn all you can from them. Also, go captive bred all the time, buy from a breeder NOT a pet store. Since you are new to reptiles, a reputable, experienced breeder who has a record of providing followup support is your best bet, not a first or second time hobby breeder. With chameleons, once you know what they need, you need to provide it, no shortcuts. And while there are ways to save money, it's going to be expensive. Many reptiles can be fed every few days or once a week. For the most part, chameleons need to be fed daily, with live food, gutloaded and dusted. They don't drink from a bowl, and must be misted daily. If you are going out of town, you need to find someone who knows what they are doing to care for them. I'm glad you are interested in getting a chameleon. Most fascinating reptile I have ever owned. But not a "pet", they are a huge commitment and they will impact your lifestyle, discretionary income, and freedom. Kind of like a kid, but one you can't touch too much. LOL
Can't agree more! The only difference, I touch my chameleons a lot! All of them! From the moment they hatch that is all they know!
 

extrajordinary

Established Member
Ok... So welcome! So happy you came to learn prior to buying you will be very happy you did.

I am a first time keeper of a reptile. And I have only been at this since October. I do not think that never owning one should discourage you. But research research research! Also you really need to be prepared to spend a lot of money. It is not the chameleon that is expensive it is all their stuff. I am now in $2500 for everything I have bought for him. From lighting, to enclosure, to live plants, to feeders, to feeder containers, misting system, fogger, supplements, solarmeter, dimming thermostat, to well I think you get the picture. And I am not done as I am now about to spend probably another 200-300 setting up an outdoor enclosure.

I would consider a Panther before a Veiled. Veileds can be quite the grumps. I would also do a male first before you try with a female. Females lay infertile eggs. So their care has to be very precise to avoid egg binding which can lead to death.

Buy only from a reputable breeder that is going to mentor you. We have some pretty great forum members that breed and there are site sponsors as well. Do not buy from a pet store or off an ad on craigslist or the newspaper.

As mentioned the chameleonbreeder podcast is excellent. I am partial to dragonstrand enclosures. Keep in mind a male will need a minimum of 2ftx2ftx4ft tall.

And look through past threads by using the search function. And of course ask questions. Good luck :)
I agree. I had never owned a reptile before I bought Leo (my cham) this past October. I did a ton of research first, but I still learned a lot along the way. My biggest advice is also about money. Be prepared to spend $$$. I wasn’t prepared at first and it sucked. Leo might as well have been eating money instead of crickets! But now I’m fully invested and currently working on a custom viv for my little guy. Welcome to the forums!
 

J-A

New Member
Sorry I don’t have the time right now to reply to every response but I’ve read them all and it’s been great to get the view of chameleon owners, far better advice than I’ve had anywhere else, I’m not dead set on a chameleon but want to make sure I do I do as much as research as possible into whatever reptile I decide upon, thank you all
 

Daesie11

Chameleon Enthusiast
I just got my first cham last month, after doing over a year of research and slowly buying everything that I would need so I didnt have to drop big money right away. I have owned a snake in the past, but in no means did I do so properly. I have to be honest(Camo was!) that my ball python died a couple months after I got him. I still dont know what I did wrong, but I do think i may have gotten him with a RI at the time. What I'm saying, is in no way do I consider myself an experienced keeper! But the fact that you are even here asking questions means that you are looking to do the best you can for your future cham!
Do your research, ask your questions. No one will ever hold anything against you!
 
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