It IS possible...... those with an Aggressive Veiled....

ZiggyStardust

New Member
Hi folks..... I don't post much but I lurk a lot. I took ownership of my first cham, a 10 month old male veiled about 4 months ago.

I did my research before buying him (im from the UK where there are many more less Chameleon owners than in the USA). I wanted to make sure that he had the perfect home and I think that my husbandry is pretty good - my lad had shed twice in 2 months - he eats loads every other day (mixture of hoppers and silkworms) and he had the occasional couple of waxworms as a treat. He poops regularly and has white urates and normal poop. I spray regularly with warm water and also have a dripper going all day. He seems the epitome of health.

BUT!! He was one angry and antisocial cham! I put a post up on here a few weeks ago, after I got him, because he literally launched himself at me whenever I went in to feed him or spray and then went to the back of the viv, to ground and I wouldn't see him for hours.

I tried hand feeding..... nah!!! not a hope in hell! As soon as I went in there with an insect in my hand (and it didn't matter what it was) he just puffed up, gaped, hissed and tried to bite me if I got too close and then shot down the back, despite my perseverence every day for over a month.

Got quite despondent, to be honest. I know full well that chams are not lizards that really like being handled, but I have seen so many pictures of people handling their chams, who seem happy enough and I honestly thought that I would never ever get there with Ziggy........

BUT!!!

2 weeks ago, I realised that he wasn't shying away from me when I put his food in. so I waited, and waited, and then, when I put his food in, around 4 days later, I left my hand in to see what he'd do. He looked at it, but didn't take off, which was a major breakthrough!!

Anyway........... to cut a long story majorly majorly short.... when I put my hand in the tank now, and Ziggy is feeling sociable, he climbs out onto my hand and up my arm, happy, chilled, and a complete contrast from the lizard that I had 3 months ago.

he recognises me and will happily come out to be held. On the flipside of this though, he won't go anywhere near my husband and when he holds his hand in front of mine, for Ziggy to walk from the one to the other, Ziggy shrinks back against me and climbs up my other arm to get away from him.

I know that Lizards do not form attachments to people the way that other, furry pets like dogs and cats do, but Ziggy knows and trusts me now. It is seriously an amazing feeling, taking into account that 4 months ago he couldn't stand the sight of me!

So I guess this (very long) post is a ray of hope to those owners that might have a very very aggressive young cham....... keep going with it, spend time with them, a lot of time and don't force them during the early days out of their viv or to do something they dont want to do and you WILL get there!

I am a really happy cham owner today - because for the first time I have taken Ziggy out into the garden in the full sun (its been boiling here in Blackpool, UK) and he absolutely loved it !!! I wish I had a photo to show you, but I was so excited to have him out in the garden, in the sun, that it never occurred to me.

I love my lizard to bits and the fact that he now accepts me and comes to me willingly, after such an aggressive start, has made me feel amazing!!!!

Thanks for reading - sorry its so long!!!!:)
 

mnlwfan

Member
What a great story. Thanks so much for sharing. It does give me hope and inspiration.

While I don't have an aggressive cham, I do have a very shy one. I've been working with her every day and she has had no problem taking food from my hand. The next step is to get her to not shy away and possibly even come to my hand the way Ziggy does for you. I just have to keep reminding myself that I've only had her for five weeks and it will just take time to earn her trust.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
I always love hearing a nice story. I truly believe that chameleons do recognize us. I know mine do. :)
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
Chameleons, regardless of how intelligent you think they are or are not, definitely respond to operant conditioning like nearly all living things - that's why usually hand feeding works so well! You reward a behavior with something like food and they are more likely to engage in that behavior, like trusting your hand or approaching you, etc. I haven't come across a chameleon (yet!) that this doesn't work for eventually, personally.

So I'm glad to hear that Ziggy feels much more comfortable in his new home!
 

absolutbill

Chameleon Enthusiast
Congrats, that's such a fantastic story! I also have a male veiled, and it took him about 2 1/2 years until he would allow me to hold him (which involves nearly yoga-like positions getting him to walk onto my hand without realizing it!) Patience does indeed pay off, and now that he's getting more comfortable with you, you'll be able to remember to grab that camera to snag a photo for us! :D
 

xephyr17

New Member
Great story! Ender has never been one to hand feed... he hasn't hissed much if at all until a few days ago, actually. He's getting older... maybe more terratorial or something. But I'm trying to keep positive and work my way into him trusting me :) I've got some great treats for him in the mail. We'll see!!
 

ZiggyStardust

New Member
Great story! Ender has never been one to hand feed... he hasn't hissed much if at all until a few days ago, actually. He's getting older... maybe more terratorial or something. But I'm trying to keep positive and work my way into him trusting me :) I've got some great treats for him in the mail. We'll see!!
Xephryr17 - Seriously!! Just keep at it. I cannot emphasise enough just how aggressive and territorial Ziggy was up until about 3 weeks ago.

I couldnt even open his doors to spray him, or drop his free range food in, without him gaping, hissing or actually going for me. He honestly distrusted me that much.

It has taken 3 months, but again today, he was on the branch nearest his doors..... I have opened them.... put my hand in and waited about 2 minutes and he climbs on, completely relaxed.

I would have thought that this was as far away from me as the moon 4 weeks ago. Seriously. It all seemed to happen in the last fortnight.

One minute he hated me... the next, in the space of 2 weeks, he decided that actually, I wasn't that bad, after all....

Now, and this is running to three days consecutively.... he is actually WAITING at the front of the tank for me to open the doors, so that he can come out. He only does this once a day, and I would never get him out if he didn't want to come out, but he DOES!!

He loves it. He spends about 15 minutes on my hands, in front of an open window, breathing all the fresh air, basking in the sunshine that comes in and he is seriously happy to do so.
 
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