Is it better to aclimate slowly or will an immediate change be better.

xmorganx33

New Member
Hi all,

Im new to this group and I am about to take in my friends male veiled chameleon. They are giving him to me because they realized they dont have the time or equipment to take care of him and will also be moving soon. I have never owned any reptiles but have always wanted one and have done lots of research into proper care of veiled chameleons since making this decision three days ago.

My primary concern is how to go about setting up his tank once he is under my care. I dont want to potentially stress him out or put him into shock by making drastic changes even if they are changes for the better of him. Upon talking with the current owner they havent been keeping a UVB lamp or a Heat lamp on his enclosure and his only water access is them misting the tank once or twice a day. The do have a lamp on his tank but bulb they have for him is the Exo Terra 13W Natural light that from my research does not put off heat or UVB only light. They also havent been monitoring the temp or moisture level in his enclosure as his enclosure is next to their ball pytons enclosure so they have just gone with the temp on that thermometer for him but the pythons enclosure is a glass tank vs the chameleons wiremesh siding.

Knowing he needs the Heat, UVB, and constant access to water I have already gotten him a water feature to give him constant access to moving water and I also got him a replacement bulb that will give him UVB as well as an additional dome with a heat bulb so I can maintain a proper temp/moister level for him. Will setting all of that up immediatly be too much change along with the location change or is it better to go ahead and get all of that set up right away so he isnt deprived further?

I know Chameleons arent a starter reptile and in a perfect world would have started with something less fragile first but the little buddy needs some love and im going to do my best to give him everything he needs. Any and all tips are welcomed!
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would rip off the bandaid and just put him in the new, finished enclosure on Day 1... then leave him alone for as long as possible. So he is only majorly stressed for a few days, and will eventually feel safe in his new cage (if you leave him alone). They tend to climb the screens and hide in weird spots when they are frightened, so I would be really careful about heat lamp placement for the first week or so...just incase they try to climb or hide up near it.


This same "rip off the bandaid" advice doesn't apply to everything. For plants, ripping off the bandaid instead of acclimating can kill them... but for the chameleon, so long as your conditions are right, you will be the biggest stressor. Let them get comfortable in their new (densely planted) cage.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Knowing he needs the Heat, UVB, and constant access to water I have already gotten him a water feature to give him constant access to moving water and I also got him a replacement bulb that will give him UVB as well
Welcome here! Great job on researching beforehand, but for some clarification here, could you answer some questions for me, please? What do you mean by water feature? Is it a waterfall, dripper, or something else? Also, what UVB did you get? It should be a T5 High Output linear light fixture at least as long as his enclosure, with either an Arcadia 6% or Zoo Med 5.0 T5 HO UVB bulb. How far away do you have the UVB and heat bulbs away from his basking branch? In his cage, do you have any fake plants, vines with fake leaves on them, moss branches or vines, or Exo Terra vines in your enclosure? What types of live plants do you have in his enclosure (if you have any), and how did you prepare them and the soil in the pots beforehand? One last thing, if you fill out the ask for help form on here (let us know if you need a link for it!), we can help make sure everything is in tip-top shape for your new chameleon (be sure to include pics of his lights and his full cage- top to bottom, as well)! And finally, congrats on this journey ahead, it’s going to be amazing!
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm glad you found this forum; welcome.
I have never owned any reptiles but have always wanted one and have done lots of research into proper care of veiled chameleons since making this decision three days ago.

My primary concern is how to go about setting up his tank once he is under my care.
I hope you see the contradiction in these two statements. Most successful keepers do weeks or months of research. Did your research include the cost of keeping a chameleon? It can run as high as $1000 initially, and several hundred per year thereafter—more than a cat or dog.

I dont want to potentially stress him out or put him into shock by making drastic changes even if they are changes for the better of him.
Normally (like in the case of getting one from a breeder or experienced keeper), I suggest transitioning over a period of 1-2 weeks, HOWEVER in the case of one that's not been kept properly, I think getting things right ASAP takes precedence.

Knowing he needs the Heat, UVB, and constant access to water I have already gotten him a water feature to give him constant access to moving water and I also got him a replacement bulb that will give him UVB as well as an additional dome with a heat bulb so I can maintain a proper temp/moister level for him.
I agree fountains are bad; they're petri dishes for a plethora of nasties. A dripper is better, but misting is best, IMO.

Before we get too much further, what size enclosure is he in? It should be as large as you can afford, but a minimum of 24"x24"x48"H.

It sounds like the UVB you got is a compact fluorescent. If so and if possible, please return it; it needs to be mounted horizontally, and even so it's virtually worthless.
UVB should be supplied by a T5HO linear fluorescent—ideally with a reflector (which most fixtures come with). Reptisun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% are both appropriate, running full width (e.g. 24") across the top of the enclosure.
See: https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-cage-set-up-replicating-the-sun/

The best basking bulbs are old-style power-sucking household incandescent bulbs. Alternatives are incandescent or halogen flood lights (but not spots!) Mount them at an angle to provide a temperature gradient.

I know Chameleons arent a starter reptile and in a perfect world would have started with something less fragile first but the little buddy needs some love and im going to do my best to give him everything he needs. Any and all tips are welcomed!
Make good use of the Resources here, and on https://chameleonacademy.com/

If you do find you're in over your head, don't be embarrassed or ashamed. This isn't easy.
Let the folks here know; most likely someone will take him, or refer you to a reptile rescue near you.

Good luck, and this forum is here for your support.
 
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