How do you know?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by chameleonneeds, May 26, 2008.

  1. chameleonneeds

    chameleonneeds Avid Member


    Im sure most people end up buying a chameleon at a hectic price and then a few weeks later it just gets sick in a way or it doesnt eat or drink or whatever.
    So next time when you go to get a new cham what should you look at for it to be very healthy and will be healthy even under your good caring conditions? :confused:
    What should you do and what shouldnt you do?
  2. mczoo

    mczoo New Member

    great question.....i am the wrong one to answer but i will follow this thread


  3. Julirs

    Julirs New Member

    The very first thing you do is buy from a reputable breeder that knows what they are doing. These people raise nice healthy chameleons and also have a reputation to protect so they are not going to sell you sick animals and risk you bashing them. These people believe in what they are doing and have the knowledge to do things right. Anyone on this forum can point you towards those people.
    I will venture to say and guess a statistic here-90% of the sick chameleons that you are hearing about are due to owner negligence or owner lack of knowledge or owner mistakes. 10% are due to an unhealthy chameleon-and with animals that lay multiple eggs you are going to have to expect some mortality issues-nature expects it. I may be off on the numbers but it makes my point.
    One of the things you learn keeping chams long term (and I don't consider myself there yet) is when to recognize an animal is starting to get sick or having issues of some kind. Chameleons like birds are naturally good at masking any symptoms as a survival technique making it even harder to recognize.
    Healthy chams outwardly have nice plump eyes, nice non-wrinkly skin, good color, etc... There are many things to look for. But buying from somone you can trust and someone that knows what they are doing really can make all the difference.
    Brad likes this.
  4. dodolah

    dodolah Retired Moderator

    very broad questions. But, here is a simple contribution list:
    1. When it is too good to be true, it usually is.Be wary when somebody sell overly cheap chameleon. Ask Questions and the reasons why.
    2. Buy from a reputable breeder.
    3. Petstore is generally not a good place to buy chameleons. They often sell them underage and overly priced.
    4. Avoid buying chameleons when they sleep during the day, have any swollen joints or bumps, wounds, bruises, nasal discharge, cracking or popping sound, open their mouths for long period of time, swollen eyes, unresponsive when being handled (usually a healthy chameleon will be pissy -especially veiled- or quickly hide and run away). During handling, check if their grip on your hand is strong.
    5. Research BEFORE purchasing the animal. Build the perfect enclosure for him and ask around. Have a test trial run for a week or so. Mist the enclosure as if the chameleon is already there (to check the humidity). Run the light timer 12 hours on and 12 hours off (to check the temperature). If you like, release 1 or 2 crickets inside to see if the crickets can escape. You'll soon notice problems that need to be fixed (if there is any).
    6. Prepare EVERYTHING and buy the animal at the very last.
    7. Contact a vet around your area to see if they will care for exotic animal.
    8. Read Read Read and try to keep improving the living situation and nutritional regiment for your new pet.

    Hope that helps.
    Everybody else will chime in, i'm sure.
  5. CleanLineChameleons

    CleanLineChameleons Avid Member

    I agree, buy from a reputable breeder. Also I like people who answer questions, so if I am interested in a chameleon I will call the seller and ask some questions. You want to buy from someone who is selling you their pets not their products. The good breeders will answer any questions because they want you to take care of their pets and if you ever have any questions they want to help you so their pet doesn't die. After selecting a chameleon look at their eyes (make sure they are plump and their eye slits look normal), look at their tale (make sure it curls up), and most importantly make sure they are awake and alert during the day. If your chameleon ever sleeps during the day call the breeder and ask for help.

  6. PNsSP

    PNsSP New Member

    you may still be able to find chams from a nonreputable breeder but there is that high chance of getting a neglected cham. I agree with Julirs that the majority of the time people do not know what they are doing with their new chameleons or how to provide for them. The best thing to do in my opinion is just to do your research... alot of it... There are many articles out there that tell how to purchase a healthy chameleon and what to look for. If u dont choose the nonreputable breeder route then the cham is gunna need more attention, and if hes wild caught try to set up something so ur cham would not be disturbed while ur around or checking up on him. And keep that vet handy. If ur not up to providing such care and attention then definately go for a reputable breeder
  7. dodolah

    dodolah Retired Moderator

    Chris has a good point here.
    A good breeder will help and answer Qs even long after you purchase the animal from them, since they are passionate about the chameleons they sell and want them to go to a good house.
    I bought chameleons from Kammerflage, and we still often discuss about the cham that i bought from them.

    I have a friend who buy a chameleon from a random breeder, 2 days under his care, we found out that the cham has many problems. and the breeder said that it's no longer his problem.
  8. Chuck G

    Chuck G Avid Member

    If you are buying at a show and the breeder/seller is housing chameleons together in a cage or worse yet,in an aquarium, stay away from them.
    Anyone selling chameleons or any animals in inappropriate conditions is only concerned about making a quick dollar and cannot help you in the least when there is a problem.Buy only captive bred chameleons. An adult wild caught chameleon may be beautiful and cheaper but usually come with a host of problems you may not be euipped to handle.
    Brad likes this.
  9. mika

    mika New Member

    Buying from a reputable breeder I agree with. It will save you tons of problems.

    I also found this info very helpful, it's from Linda J Davison's book. Chameleons their care and breeding.

    Questions to ask:

    1. Are the animals kept singularly? If so, how are they caged, i.e., behind glass or in screened enclosures? Do they have plenty of hiding cover?

    2. How long have they been in the seller's hands? This is especially important when the seller is not familiar with proper care techniques.

    3. Does the chameleon have an even, calm coloration? If the animal is exhibiting bright coloration or is almost black, is it being stressed by the presence of another animal or is this the result of an illness?

    4. Are the chameleon's eyes big, bulbous or sunken? If the eyes are fused shut, is this from low humidity or from caseous matter, indicating infection.

    5. Does the animal appear well hydrated? Or is its skin dry and withered looking? Does it have old dry skin hanging from its body and if so why?

    6. Are the animal's shoulders, pelvis or tail thin and bony?

    7. Has the seller deparasitized the animal for worms? What was the treatment and how often?

    * I think this is a very good question to ask sellers selling wc

    8. What does the animal's feces look and smell like? Is it runny or very odorous? If so it should be avoided.

    9. Is the animal's grasp weak or strong? It should be strong for its size.

    10. Are there any visible cuts, broken skin or bruises?

    11. Check all four limbs to make sure they are strong and especially the feet and ankles which are often injured or even broken.

    12. Are there lumps beneath the skin surface that are moveable and often elongated? These are usually filarial worms not normally effected by normal deparasitization methods.

    13. If the chameleon is breathing with an open mouth, look for stringy mucus, bubbles or listen for any popping & wheezing sounds, this is usually an indication of a respiratory infection.

    This book is really good & I highly recommend it.

    In my opinion, I think everyone should have a copy of this book especially those who are just getting into chams.

    It gives tons of useful information such as why chameleons should not be housed in glass enclosures, why not to use ice cubes, etc..

    I believe they sell copies of it at the bookstore here in chameleonforums.

    I have not read it completely though, thanks to my 2 year old. He actually tore some of the pages up :eek:
    #9 mika, May 26, 2008
    Last edited: May 26, 2008
    Brad likes this.
  10. Chuck G

    Chuck G Avid Member

    Great Post!
  11. Sporkthedork

    Sporkthedork New Member

    I agree with this 100%. I talked to Vincent (at for over a month before I bought my very first chameleon. He even has a 5 day course that he e-mails you about general chameleon husbandry. Couldn't be happier with my purchase.
  12. CarolenRunsen

    CarolenRunsen New Member

    Another thing to think about.
    A really good chameleon breeder will not only be answering questions but also be asking you questions as well. If it were me I would have to know for sure that my little chameleons were going to good homes. So i would imagine that a good breeder would be asking you about your setup as well as if you know how to properly care for a chameleon before agreeing to sell one to you.
  13. mczoo

    mczoo New Member

    thanks for the info

    many of you have read or heard about my misadvetures over the last 4 months with my sick jackson annd poor choice for purchaes at the cleveland reptile show.

    should the new only get certain species and how long before you suggest venturing outside the safe chams

    besides jacksonni Xantholophus are their other montanes availible that you would suggest can be obtained andsafely kept by relative newbies such as me?

    do rudis qualify?


    #13 mczoo, May 26, 2008
    Last edited: May 26, 2008
  14. Chuck G

    Chuck G Avid Member

    Unfortunately most montane species are wild caught.
    If the seller has cleaned them up and has records of it,they can be okay.
    Its not profitable to breed these when someone is selling wild caught animals for a third of what you are selling captive bred babies.Trust me I know.
    I breed Quadricornis and Hoehnelii and have some once in awhile.
    Check with Mike at FL CHAMS. He sometimes has good montane species in.
  15. dodolah

    dodolah Retired Moderator

    I hesitate in limiting the species for the newbie since i have a friend that started right away with parsonii and has been a successful keeper.
    It really depends on the perseverance and their passion in providing the best care.

    Although, if someone new in chameleon keeping ask on what species to buy, I will always say Male Veiled Chameleon or Male panther.
    They are the most common species and tend to be tough to withstand beginners mistake compared to the other species.

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