How to train a chameleon to be more calm while holding him?

Qbear05

New Member
I've been training my little guy for the past couple months, as he's now getting out of his angsty teen phase.. he comes out of his cage as soon as I open the door, and crawls on me immediately when I hold my hand out. But whenever I try to move around with him, he goes crazy, and he's not very big so he can't grab onto my shoulder or head very well yet. But he won't stay on my hand! any ideas?
 

Prince of Duval

Avid Member
I've been training my little guy for the past couple months, as he's now getting out of his angsty teen phase.. he comes out of his cage as soon as I open the door, and crawls on me immediately when I hold my hand out. But whenever I try to move around with him, he goes crazy, and he's not very big so he can't grab onto my shoulder or head very well yet. But he won't stay on my hand! any ideas?
Keep working with him occasionally so you don’t overly stress him and move slowly with him. Maybe use a branch or small plant to make him more comfortable while you transport him and treats to distract his attention. If you have any dogs, cats, or small children, make sure they are not around while you are working with him.
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree with moving slow. Also don't approach from up above. Avoid eye contact.

Chameleons like to be up high and don't particularly like being handled. It'd be best if you could just put him on a tree or plant.



This is my free range set-up:

 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
well in all honesty chameleons aren't exactly a handling species.. although they can be handled for short periods of time its best to keep it to a minimum unless you're transporting them to a free range or some other lower stress situation... but taking them out just to handle them isn't exactly the best idea. I take my guy out a few times just to move things in his cage, deep clean or to let him use his free range but other than that, he isn't an animal that I am able to just lounge around with.

if I were you, I would introduce food with handling. I had my guy crawl onto my hand for me to clean his cage and I would reward him with a worm when he voluntarily crawled on. positive reinforcement is key and within a few months you'll be able to hold and possibly move him without too many problems. when first moving him its best that he feels secure. to do that id make a designated transport plant. maybe just a small house plant that he can perch in and feel safe and covered while you move him. slowly build this up to moving on a bunch of sticks, then one stick, then your hand. this takes a lot of time and patience.

just remember, they love being high so when you reach your destination, a free range or some other structure, put him up high so he can feel safer. also note that when handling, always come from below, and don't pick them up by the stomach. their ribs are very sensitive and are fragile. if you come from above they think you're going to attack them since their most natural enemies like birds will come from above. note: slow and patient is key to earning a chameleons trust!
 

Qbear05

New Member
Thanks, I rarely hold him for over five minutes, and he's constantly eager to get out. I haven't tried giving him treats on my hand yet. So maybe I'll try that. But my only issue is he's almost fallen off of me multiple times just because he's always trying to run around on me. But other than that he's perfectly fine with being held.
 

Qbear05

New Member
Oh and just by the way, to get him to this point I would cup/hand feed daily. But that didn't make much of a difference, so for the first bug of the day, I would hold it at the top of my arm so that he would have to crawl onto my hand to eat it. And eventually, he was fine just sitting on my hand eating bugs, so I started moving him to a free range area in my window so he could enjoy some natural sun. (He loves watching the rain too)
 
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