If veiled and yemen chameleons come from the desert, why do they need a tropical cage


New Member
Hey, i was always wondering why it is always necessary to mist the cage and have plants and make the cage as tropical as possible. I mean, the veiled chameleon comes from Saudi Arabia which is mostly desert and i have friends from there who say that there are chameleons walking on the rocks in the deserts. Why do they require such tropical habitats with plants and such?


Avid Member
Short answer.

They don't require them, strictly speaking.

You can raise a veiled without plants - just sticks to climb on and a drip for water and not mist.

But it isn't much of a life. And your chameleon will probably look dark and ugly.

Most veileds live in green areas in the wild- areas around towns, irrigation ditches, etc.

They are found in other areas- In the book "calyptratus" the author describes seeing veileds along the road on plants with hardly any foilage at all on them- maybe a single leaf. Presumably the rest eaten by the poor lizard. In areas with little rainfall.

But it's hard on the lizard for sure.

Such lizards are unlikely to look their best, be their healthiest or live their longest.

You can see a big difference in veileds when their setup has plenty of foliage. They are much more colorful.


Chameleon Enthusiast
Ed Pollak and I wrote it from experience and information gleaned from the books, etc. listed at the end.


Avid Member
its not a desert

The coastal mountain valleys of Yemen and the nearby areas of Arabia are not a desert. They are steep, rugged, canyons that get plenty of rain in certain seasons. They are forested. They are original home to the coffee plant, which is a very thirsty tree. There are a huge range of trees and one of the Acacias found there is a common host to the Ch. calyptratus.

While they are too steep to grow crops, these mountains provide water to downstream communities that are very ancient and productive. Visitors to the area comment on the vast range of wildlife that inhabit these valleys. I have seen two slide shows on the breathtaking midieval cities in this area and their people. Some towns are perched on pinnacles in the most unbelievable ways. The architecture makes them look as if they are from a fairy tale. Its a pity that as Westerners we can not freely visit these places any longer. At least we can keep the chameleons...


Established Member
According to a friend who has been there, during the monsoon season, the combination of humidity and heat in some coastal areas of Yemen becomes almost unbearable. More like a really hot day in Costa Rica, than your normal mental picture of the Middle East.

I have never been to Yemen, but I have been in Israel. A few wadis in the Judaean desert have year-round streams, lush vegetation and fairly high humidity. Outside the wadis, the environment is hot and dry.


Very good article

The title of this thread is my point exactly!! The veiled Cham is the most hardy Cham in existence hence why they are in shops and senegals arnt!!!!
I don't mist mine 2 times a day, sometimes I don't mist her as her natural habitat doesn't lie! She is happier with less humidity, they arnt water dragons or chilian Rose tarantulas!! They arnt from madagasgar either and live in dry heat with fresh air breezes. This is not an opinion it's a common sense fact.
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