Just Getting into Chameleons


Hello everyone. I am just now getting into chameleons. I am very fascinated with them and I want to get a breeding pair. I am leaning towards panthers, Nosy Bes to be exact, or Ambilobes. The prices I have been seeing are pretty high, and I have seen some anywhere from 150 to 450 but I dont know whether to trust a "cheaper" dealer or what. I have looked thru literally hundreds of ads and stuff. I really want to make an informed decision about it. Also, I want to breed them, and sell the babies to pay for my new found interest, but, is there a market for private breeders like my potential self out there? Any advice, anecdote, suggestions or just cool stuff would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Hi herpluv,

I recently purchased a pair of ambilobes in September and like you spent a lot of time going through hundreds of ads and sites. It is difficult to directly answer your question about buying from a cheap site vs. overpriced breeder...but in general I would tend to avoid those online reptile sites which do not really specialize in chams per se. Some of these sites may be offering very young chams, may not be able to properly sex your panthers, and can't give you information about their bloodlines. On the other hand, I have seen some outrageous prices from some private breeders. I emailed around to some breeders and made my decision not only on the quality of the chams I thought I was getting but also on my perceptions of their knowledge about chams, courteousness, ability to communicate with me, etc (I was very hesistant to purchase an animal by the internet). Anyway, you may want to check out the Board of Inquiry at Faunaclassifieds.com to get more information about postives and negatives of various breeders (may not also be completely reliable, however...but sometimes you see how vendors respond to negative accusations, etc). If you want to PM me...I can give you more information about where I purchased my panthers (positives...negatives, etc.).
Hello herpluv, welcome to the Chameleon Forums :)

It is good that you are doing a lot of research before making a purchase. I would like to suggest being a little more patient with your goal of breeding chams. Chameleons can require a lot of time, knowledge, and money to properly care for. Buying a breeding pair for your first cham might be moving a little fast. I recommend learning to properly care for a male before attempting to breed chams.

Nosferatu posted some good advice on breeder choice. When it comes to purchasing a cham, I usually end up with the more expensive and well known breeders. I enjoy knowing about the cham's bloodline as nosferatu mentioned above, and I feel more assured the cham will arrive in very healthy conditions. I also prefer to purchase from someone who shares most of my views on chameleon conservation.

Something anyone should ask themselves before breeding chams - what are you going to do with those babies if you can not sell them to suitable owners? Almost all experienced chameleon keepers cringe when they walk into an average pet store and see the ultra poor conditions the chameleons are kept in. I have been in a few verbal clashes personally with local stores. A lot of the chameleons kept in small aquariums at pet stores are purchased from local inexperienced breeders. I do not have any specific numbers, but the mortality rate is not very good. Considering the time involved, there also is not much profit in selling to pet stores.

Not all pet stores are as described above, but in my opinion the majority of them are.
Thanks Brad,
I guess then another follow up question is, what do people do when they have babies and want to sell them, are there buyers that will buy from private low scale breeders. Because I do not want to build a huge supply of chams, but I do want to breed them, that is what fascinates me the most about chameleons. But I will learn exact care that should be given to gravid females, eggs, and all the rest. I have read more than fifteen different care sheets for Panthers already. Also, as to breeders, I read somewhere that if the breeders are not willing to send you pictures of the parents and pictures of the exact animal that you will be recieving, that they are no good. One site told me when I emailed them that they have too many to do that for, they are also one of the cheapest breeders for panthers that I have seen. Can you give me an approximate of what I should not exceed as well as not go below of the price that i pay for the ones i get, I know you cant be exact, but your guess is better than mine. Thanks!!! By the way, this site is awesome and so are all the people on it, I must have read every post by now :)
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I do not breed chameleons, so I am not the best person to offer advice. I just wanted to remind you and anyone else thinking about breeding chameleons that you need to be prepared and have a plan for handling all the babies. I mentioned the common pet store with poor chameleon care conditions because unfortunately that is where a lot of babies end up.

Keeping photos of every chameleon a breeder cares for could be a daunting job. I think it is reasonable to ask for pictures of the parents and a sample from the clutch. If you are buying adults, individual pictures are more common. Information on the bloodlines may be available too. For example, are the cham's parents wild caught or captive bred?

Brad is absolutely right in the information he gave to you. Make sure you have read all the requirements to take proper care of a panther chameleon before you purchase. Panther chameleons are absolutely BEAUTIFUL chameleons and I quickly fell in love with them many years ago. But they do require the right temperatures, humidity, lighting, feeding, and daily care. Lighting and water/misting are the most important parts of having a happy and healthy chameleon.

I also agree with Brad about where you purchase your chameleon and knowing the family history. A captive bred panther from a private breeder is what I would recommend. There are many good breeders out there, even though you may need to pay extra for obtaining one from them. The expense in my eyes is worth it when you know that they have been well cared for, family histories recorded, and health guaranteed. Yes, I am a private breeder, but I don't say these things because of that... I say them because I myself have purchased many panther chameleons through the years and it gives me comfort to know that the panther chameleon I am purchasing is one that has been given the best of care and isn't coming from some "puppy" mill that you have no information about their history.

I started my business based on the following promises to my customers... they will ALWAYS get a history of family records and I even provide a certicate of their family tree. I NEVER interbreed locales nor interbreed related bloodlines. This is just something I feel very strongly about. And I personally care for each and every one of my panthers myself. And all my panthers are checked by a veterinarian, especially new panthers I purchase. I spend that extra money so that 1) I keep healthy and happy chameleons, and 2) I can make sure that I am selling a healthy chameleon to my customers. This is one reason a private breeder will have a bit higher prices for their panthers for sale. Additionally, I provide pictures of their parents, grandparents, if available to me.

So I guess what I am saying here... is look into the well known private breeders if you want a happy and healthy panther chameleon. If I can help you or answer any questions for you, please let me know. I'll be happy to help!

Welcome to the chameleon world! And good luck :)
I couldn't agree with you more jenna. You've laid out some very good points and reasons why to buy from a private breeder. I can also attest to the fact that the animals I've purchased from private breeders have been much nicer animals and each one of them is represented 100 time better than any of the online reptile shops just trying to make a buck on a panther that they really dont know anything about.
As for local crossing, jenna I'm very interested to get more of your opinion on the situation. See my new post on Hybrids.
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