How much time is necessary for caring for a chameleon

gaia

New Member
So. I'm in college and am putting serious thought into buying a panther chameleon to take care of. I've read online that these specific animals require persistant dedication and I'm wondering if there are any college students out there who can vouch for the possibility of juggling both chameleon care with their studies.

Also: any tips for whether to get a male vs. female? How much $ a month is typically spent on food, electricity? And how many times per day must a chameleon be fed in the beginning?

Thanks so much!
 

buzz

New Member
I am currently a student at SDSU and I own a abanja panther and a preying mantis and I do fine. Plus I am taking 20 units and have a part time job as well where i work 20 hours a week. When I wake up in the morning I will take some time to feed my chameleon and mantis and give him a good spraying. I also put a dripper in there that will drip till I get home. They will eat everyday about 6-8 crickets a day depending on the size. They can become a burden. My suggestion breed your own feeders it is so much easier. I cannot say on the electricity bill though. You might want to look at the traffic in the house as well because it don't want it to have a lot of traffic around the cage it will stress him out. In the end you definitely can but it isn't the easiest thing to have.
 

EvilLost

New Member
in all honesty, I had more free time in college than any point in my life since. In comparison, college is the easiest time of your life; in that sense, it is definitely possible.

In short:

In a typical college environment with an exotic animal, everyone who sees it wants to play with it. YOU CANT LET EVERYONE CROWD AND PLAY WITH YOUR CHAMELEON. This WILL stress it out.

I think it *GREATLY* should depend on your reptile experience. If you have no other reptiles, I would STRONGLY SUGGEST AGAINST a chameleon. You CANT play with them all the time, they are very expensive, etc etc you've heard it. If you have reptile experience, then I don't think a chameleon is very hard to keep at all in a college environment. HOWEVER, if you do NOT have reptile expeirence or you want an animal that you can "play with" and "show and tell" I would lean you towards Colubrids (non-venomous small snakes such as ratsnakes, kingsnakes, cornsnakes, milksnakes). They are harmless, good with being handled, and very very easy to care for. There are several other species that are more suited for the "ooh and aah" factor that comes with owning one in a college environment.

Given they generally want to be left alone, you don't have to "babysit" them very much. The persistant dedication is in understanding their caring and habitats (which is mostly time spent reading) and then once you have a proper habitat it is simply keeping a sharp eye on your animal and monitoring it closely.

Instead of feeding it a random cricket whenever you feel like it, make a log of when and how many you have fed it each day. This way over time you can track its eating habits. Similar for shedding, etc.

These things obviously take a few extra seconds, but if you have just 1 panther, the time required to take care of him isn't immense. Hand-misting (assuming on a college budget you dont have a misting system) takes a minute a few times a day; overall I doubt you would spend more than 15minutes/day attending to his care.

DO CONSIDER THE TIME REQUIRED FOR THE FEEDERS. Are you going to buy new crickets every week? Are you going to culture them yourself? Both of these have additional time and money requirements. Don't forget that you also have to dust your crickets (and ideally gutload them) so this is all added time, depending on how well you truly want to take care of your chameleon (IMO, you should consider all these things "required").

Also, do consider ALL COSTS. Just to give you an example, I am currently designing and building my own 2-level enclosure for my kingsnake and ambilobe (actually getting him tonight so excited!). NOT counting the cost of the enclosure itself, nor any plants nor animals, I have already spent over $500 on reptile equipment. Granted, I am going "all out" with a full misting system, separate day/night cycle bulbs, multiple timers, and multiple T8 bulbs along with live plants and the like. But the "basics" will still run several hundred dollars easy, and you will need to spend at least another $20-30 on a UVB bulb every 6 months. Plus, depending on whether or not you have other reptiles you may need to buy some equipment (critter keeper for your crickets, timers, etc). There are also the regular supplements that you have to purchase.
 

pssh

Avid Member
I take care of more than 5 chameleons every morning in 45 minutes.

Food can get rather expensive though.

Edit: oh yeah, the initial cost for a 'starter' chameleon is generally more than $200 (without the chameleon.) You are an extremely thrifty person if you can buy all that stuff for just $200 though.
 

kaylie

New Member
I'm in college full time, at the moment not working. I'm gonna put minimums on here that I get by totally fine with.... I have a home made rain system, cost me under $50, and have timers on my lights so they turn on and off on their own. Pretty much, I have to grab feeders, dust them, and throw them in, and spot clean the poop. I like to spend extra time, but if I don't have the time to watch and all that, I'd say no more than 5-10 minutes necessary a day spent on my veiled, depending if I have to change the crickets' food. I spent $10 on veggies & greens for gutload, lasted me about 2 months. I spend about $5 in crickets a week, so up to $30 a month if I get an extra feeder like flies. (Of course when I get more money I'll be spoiling him with more variety). I have been suggested not to breed my own feeders if I only have one cham, because they can grow too fast (and get too big to eat [if you have a baby/juv. cham]), and you can end up having way more than you need spending unnecessary money keeping them alive.
 

Amanda1801

New Member
I take care of more than 5 chameleons every morning in 45 minutes.

Food can get rather expensive though.

Edit: oh yeah, the initial cost for a 'starter' chameleon is generally more than $200 (without the chameleon.) You are an extremely thrifty person if you can buy all that stuff for just $200 though.

takes me that long to feed one - but then again hes just a problem chameleon! :mad: :p
 

pssh

Avid Member
takes me that long to feed one - but then again hes just a problem chameleon! :mad: :p

If mine dont eat whatever I'm offering right away (if it's worms or other roaches) I just throw crickets or dubia into their tubs and they have to eat that if they get hungry. :) They hardly ever refuse anything though. Tough love I guess.
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Here's what taking care of chameleons means for my time:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/sandrachameleon/185-chameleon-related-chores.html
It takes several hours every week to properly care for them

What many new keepers fail to take into consideration when determining if they have time for a chameleon is away time. If you're going to be away all weekend (occassionally or often), who will provide water to the chameleon? If you're going home for the holidays, who is going to feed and water the chameleon (and the feeder insects)? If you take a vacation for a couple weeks, then what?
 
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Amanda1801

New Member
Here's what taking care of chameleons means for my time:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/sandrachameleon/185-chameleon-related-chores.html
It takes several hours every week to properly care for them

What many new keepers fail to take into consideration when determining if they have time for a chameleon is away time. If you're going to be away all weekend (occassionally or often), who will provide water to the chameleon? If you're going home for the holidays, who is going to feed and water the chameleon (and the feeder insects)? If you take a vacation for a couple weeks, then what?

Oh wouldn't that be lovely!!
 

Amanda1801

New Member
If mine dont eat whatever I'm offering right away (if it's worms or other roaches) I just throw crickets or dubia into their tubs and they have to eat that if they get hungry. :) They hardly ever refuse anything though. Tough love I guess.

I inject calcium into colin's feeders so I like to make sure he's eaten at least those ones - hes recently started eating from his feeder cup again so its making life easier!
 

NWD

New Member
Very possible

Yeah it's not too hard I have five chams and like 10 beardie breeders and six leopard geckos and 2 sand boas and tons of roaches and mice and I go to school an work so one cham shouldn't be too hard....it's way easier with a misting system though and definitely breed feeders that gets expensive...roaches are good I breed lobster and dubia. Lobsters breed fasttt also boy and girl is all preference but I would recommend a boy because they are so cool looking. Lol. Good luck with ur cham if u decide to get one.
 

sixstring

New Member
I am in college, and the best thing I ever did for my chams is get a misting system and a timer on the lights. I dont have to worry about humidity/drinking when I'm at school and I can go out on weekends if I feed on Friday. I breed dubia and buy horn worms occasionally, but other than that feeding is almost free. As far as electricity think about it as leaving your bathroom light (not fan) just the lights on 12 hours a day. Not the end of the world. I do have a heat pad on the dubias (and turks until I finish feeding them off) 24/7 that might take a little juice. The initial cost is bigger, but the rest is cheap. Someone else mentioned stress and people wanting to mess with them/have you pull them out. As long as your not in a frat house or something and your mindful of the effects of stress on these guys your golden. I say go for it.
 

sixstring

New Member
Yeah it's not too hard I have five chams and like 10 beardie breeders and six leopard geckos and 2 sand boas and tons of roaches and mice and I go to school an work so one cham shouldn't be too hard....it's way easier with a misting system though and definitely breed feeders that gets expensive...roaches are good I breed lobster and dubia. Lobsters breed fasttt also boy and girl is all preference but I would recommend a boy because they are so cool looking. Lol. Good luck with ur cham if u decide to get one.

Sweet action on all the critters. Ya Male is the way to go. They get bigger, have color, and you dont ever have to worry about eggs
 

Lingling

New Member
I'm a full time student and I work, as well. I have plenty of time for both my chams (a nasty veiled and a sweet little panther) and a discus tank on top of that. The chameleons were my first reptiles. Even if you don't have a lot of reptile experience, I think you can definitely do fine with chams - as long as you do your research BEFORE you buy. Hang around this forum for awhile before you jump in; you'll be much better prepared, and you'll have a better understanding of the time it requires. It really isn't much time if you start with the proper supplies. Putting a $10 timer on your lights, using a dripper (not to replace misting), and having 10-15 minutes set aside in the mornings for feeding and heavy misting/watering plants will make everything run much smoother.

Do you live at home or on campus? As sever people mentioned, the times you'll spend off campus are a big consideration. Chameleons aren't animals that you can leave at home for a week like some other reptiles.

Generally, it is best to start with males like everyone has suggested.
 
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