looking to get into the chameleon world, unsure of where to start

#1
I'm 16 and semi-experienced with owning reptiles. I've kept anoles, bearded dragons, ball pythons, and fostered a Northern Blue-tongued skink. I've been looking into chameleons for a few months now, and have done loads of research. I've seen so many conflicting methods to their care and I am so lost. I have a 26x26x48in full screened enclosure. I'm not even 100% set on a species, to begin with. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of getting a veiled chameleon. But I'd like input from experienced chameleon owners. Thank You!!
 

Peeps101

Established Member
#2
I'm 16 and semi-experienced with owning reptiles. I've kept anoles, bearded dragons, ball pythons, and fostered a Northern Blue-tongued skink. I've been looking into chameleons for a few months now, and have done loads of research. I've seen so many conflicting methods to their care and I am so lost. I have a 26x26x48in full screened enclosure. I'm not even 100% set on a species, to begin with. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of getting a veiled chameleon. But I'd like input from experienced chameleon owners. Thank You!!
Welcome to the forums! Before buying the cham, you’ll need a linear T5 uvb bulb or T8 uvb. You’ll need to be okay with feeding insects that are alive too. Look at these to get started:

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#3
Remember that chameleons are not cheap. Well, I mean even though a young veiled may only cost $20, an enclosure set up appropriately will average (on the cheap side) about $500. Their lighting and humidity is extremely important. Also, knowing a good veterinarian locally with chameleon experience is important. You’ve got a good start with the right enclosure, now time to furnish it.
 
#4
Remember that chameleons are not cheap. Well, I mean even though a young veiled may only cost $20, an enclosure set up appropriately will average (on the cheap side) about $500. Their lighting and humidity is extremely important. Also, knowing a good veterinarian locally with chameleon experience is important. You’ve got a good start with the right enclosure, now time to furnish it.
I have already looked into a vet not too far away. I'm working on getting vines, live (pesticide free) plants, and logs and sticks etc to furnish the enclosure. I got the enclosure for free from a friend and so far I've only really spent about $100-$120 and I am very aware of the expenses of a proper enclosure, and that a cham itself is on the pricey side.
 
#5
Good to hear. A proper set of fixtures should cost you about $150, bulbs another $50, and a simple MistKing setup about another $125. Feeders get pricey too, best to have your own colony of at least one type if you don’t already.
 
#7
Good to hear. A proper set of fixtures should cost you about $150, bulbs another $50, and a simple MistKing setup about another $125. Feeders get pricey too, best to have your own colony of at least one type if you don’t already.
is a Misting system necessary? I'm never out of the house for more than a few hours at a time. I'd be able to mist it manually multiple times a day. also i do have a colony of dubia roaches
 

Rst_Cham

Established Member
#8
Hello, and welcome! Have you had a chance to listen to the Chameleon Breeder Podcast by Bill Strand yet?
https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/
Despite the name, it is not just for breeders, tons of great info for everyone interested in chameleons. I suggest starting with episode 99 since it covers the three most typical species and requirements. There are also great care sheets under the resources tab on this site. I highly recommended buying from site sponsors and member breeders over pet stores so that you get a healthy animal and to get everything up and completely running at least two weeks in advance of getting your chameleon so that you can troubleshoot things like lighting, temperature, humidity, and drainage beforehand.

I agree with previous responses in that it's an expensive hobby, so make sure you price everything out in advance.
Good luck, you've come to the right place for help and advice, I've learnt so much on here.
 
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#9
The best place to start, I think, is with the Chameleon Breeder Podcast. It is an absolute goldmine of information. There are hundreds of episodes which can seem overwhelming but if you casually listen (or read the transcripts) then you'll learn a ton. The first season would be a good place to start and the link is here: https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/archive-season-1/ There's even an episode about choosing the right breed! https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-99-what-chameleon-should-i-get/

Exploring this website is another good resource but I would not have felt confident enough to buy and care for a chameleon if I never discovered that podcast. Here is a link to a care sheet that Kammerflage Kreations has on their website; a lot of people on the forums seem to have gotten their chameleon from them (myself included!) https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0...s_Chameleon_Care_Info.pdf?9523637524601777413

I got an ambilobe panther a few weeks ago because they're the most colorful species and because veiled chameleons are known to be a little more grumpy. Veiled chameleons eat plants though and panthers don't, so some people think that makes them easier. Like you, I kept a bunch of different reptiles as a kid (frogs, turtles, leopard geckos, crested geckos) and so keeping bugs doesn't bother me.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
#10
is a Misting system necessary? I'm never out of the house for more than a few hours at a time. I'd be able to mist it manually multiple times a day.
Some people get away without them, I hand misted when I first got mine and can tell you, the difference in having a mister and not is huge. The way the chameleon reacts to the constant fine mist and you not hovering over the cage makes a difference. If you happen to go with a montane species, hand misting goes out the window though, for them, they need misters. Even with veileds or Panthers, they benefit from long constant mist to get them to drink. So just because the cage is drenched doesnt mean it shouldn't keep going for 5-10min at a time.
 

JoXie411

Established Member
#11
is a Misting system necessary? I'm never out of the house for more than a few hours at a time. I'd be able to mist it manually multiple times a day. also i do have a colony of dubia roaches
You can try building a dripper with a water pump to give the water if you don’t want/afford a mistaking. Costs around $49 to build one
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
#12
Hi there and welcome. I am going to throw my list up for you just to give you a point of reference while you weigh out if this is something you want to get into.

The absolute basics you will need... This gets expensive and adds up quickly lol.



Cage 24x24x48 like this https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-Rept...&sprefix=extra+large+reptibre,aps,204&sr=8-11

Drip tray you can buy for these is like a hotwater heater pan...

or you can spend more and get a better quality with drip tray for the water to collect like so in screen or clearside. The dragon ledges help attach potted plants higher in the cage. But he builds in a schedule so you have to pre order and wait to get your cham. or you can buy the drip tray from dragon strand and the ledges and get the reptibreeze cage.
https://dragonstrand.com/screen-cages-2/

FYI You will want to wrap at least the back and one side panel if not both of the cage in clear plastic like a shower curtain and attach with magnets so the water does not spray out.

Lighting for UVB and plant growth is dual or quad T5 HO fixture. You can look on lightyourreptiles.com These need to be the 24 inch fixture. UVB bulb you get will depend on the species of cham you get.

Heat lamp I would recommend a: https://www.amazon.com/Flukers-Rept...&s=gateway&sprefix=fukers+dimm,aps,208&sr=8-1
bulb for it is your preference but I am partial to zilla brand day light white: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005SRUU32/ref=twister_B07C8WY1XN?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

May need timers for different fixtures as well. 12 hour on and off for lights on chams.

Automatic mister a must have in my opinion. https://www.amazon.com/MistKing-222...=gateway&sprefix=mistking+stra,aps,206&sr=8-1

hydrometer and thermometer to measure heat and humidity you want a few to get different levels. Most use a wired thermometer at basking level then a non wired other area : https://www.amazon.com/Pangea-drt-1...reptiles&qid=1552311763&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-2

and https://www.amazon.com/Alfie-Pet-Pe...eptiles&qid=1552311838&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-18

Live plants like Pothos or dwarf umbrella plants. https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/plants/

If you get a veiled you have to put large 1inch or bigger river rock in the top so they don't eat the soil. :)

Vines and branches for horizontal pathways in different sizes for grip: https://www.amazon.com/Exo-Terra-Ju...nes&qid=1552311902&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-1&th=1

And then you need a multivitamin to give 2 times a month every other week, Calcium with D3 to give 2 times a month the opposite every other week, and then a calcium without D3 used nearly every feeding. See image below.

Feeders: Need to offer variety. See image below. can buy feeders from a site sponsor or rainbowmealworms.com

Feeder containers: I have bought my own as well as converted plastic tubs to hold them. I like these but the large size only if I buy one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073KOGOG/ref=twister_B06X9LKF3Z?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Feeder food: something like Repashy Bug burger, cricket crack, or insect fuel from Arcadia brand if you want a predone instead of fresh veg and fruit everyday. see image below for feeder food

Buying your cham.... do your research and do not buy from petco, petsmart, chain stores, etc. They can have health issues and cost you quite a bit to repair the damage done. We have site sponsors and some wonderful forum members as well such as @Matt Vanilla Gorilla (breeds panthers multiple locales)

Link to panther care sheet: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/panther/

Link to veiled care sheet: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/
Supplements pic.jpeg Gutloading 101.jpeg UVB lighting pic.jpeg nonUVB pic.jpeg Basic Feeder pic.jpeg
 
#13
Hi there and welcome. I am going to throw my list up for you just to give you a point of reference while you weigh out if this is something you want to get into.

The absolute basics you will need... This gets expensive and adds up quickly lol.



Cage 24x24x48 like this https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiBreeze-Screen-48-Inches/dp/B001PHABI8/ref=sr_1_11?crid=750TXFPLI11X&keywords=extra+large+reptibreeze&qid=1552311072&s=gateway&sprefix=extra+large+reptibre,aps,204&sr=8-11

Drip tray you can buy for these is like a hotwater heater pan...

or you can spend more and get a better quality with drip tray for the water to collect like so in screen or clearside. The dragon ledges help attach potted plants higher in the cage. But he builds in a schedule so you have to pre order and wait to get your cham. or you can buy the drip tray from dragon strand and the ledges and get the reptibreeze cage.
https://dragonstrand.com/screen-cages-2/

FYI You will want to wrap at least the back and one side panel if not both of the cage in clear plastic like a shower curtain and attach with magnets so the water does not spray out.

Lighting for UVB and plant growth is dual or quad T5 HO fixture. You can look on lightyourreptiles.com These need to be the 24 inch fixture. UVB bulb you get will depend on the species of cham you get.

Heat lamp I would recommend a: https://www.amazon.com/Flukers-Repta-Clamp-8-5-Inch-Ceramic-Dimmable/dp/B003H200QC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=8HVMEZI2QMV3&keywords=flukers+dimmable+heat+lamp&qid=1552311478&s=gateway&sprefix=fukers+dimm,aps,208&sr=8-1
bulb for it is your preference but I am partial to zilla brand day light white: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005SRUU32/ref=twister_B07C8WY1XN?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

May need timers for different fixtures as well. 12 hour on and off for lights on chams.

Automatic mister a must have in my opinion. https://www.amazon.com/MistKing-22251-Starter-Misting-System/dp/B012IAK4SC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3HEHG6S2ENP0I&keywords=mistking+starter+misting+system&qid=1552311288&s=gateway&sprefix=mistking+stra,aps,206&sr=8-1

hydrometer and thermometer to measure heat and humidity you want a few to get different levels. Most use a wired thermometer at basking level then a non wired other area : https://www.amazon.com/Pangea-drt-1...reptiles&qid=1552311763&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-2

and https://www.amazon.com/Alfie-Pet-Pe...eptiles&qid=1552311838&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-18

Live plants like Pothos or dwarf umbrella plants. https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/plants/

If you get a veiled you have to put large 1inch or bigger river rock in the top so they don't eat the soil. :)

Vines and branches for horizontal pathways in different sizes for grip: https://www.amazon.com/Exo-Terra-Jungle-Vine-Large/dp/B003PB4VSS/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=exo+terra+vines&qid=1552311902&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-1&th=1

And then you need a multivitamin to give 2 times a month every other week, Calcium with D3 to give 2 times a month the opposite every other week, and then a calcium without D3 used nearly every feeding. See image below.

Feeders: Need to offer variety. See image below. can buy feeders from a site sponsor or rainbowmealworms.com

Feeder containers: I have bought my own as well as converted plastic tubs to hold them. I like these but the large size only if I buy one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073KOGOG/ref=twister_B06X9LKF3Z?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Feeder food: something like Repashy Bug burger, cricket crack, or insect fuel from Arcadia brand if you want a predone instead of fresh veg and fruit everyday. see image below for feeder food

Buying your cham.... do your research and do not buy from petco, petsmart, chain stores, etc. They can have health issues and cost you quite a bit to repair the damage done. We have site sponsors and some wonderful forum members as well such as @Matt Vanilla Gorilla (breeds panthers multiple locales)

Link to panther care sheet: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/panther/

Link to veiled care sheet: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/
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Thank you! This is a very nice informative post!
 
#14
Hi there and welcome. I am going to throw my list up for you just to give you a point of reference while you weigh out if this is something you want to get into.

The absolute basics you will need... This gets expensive and adds up quickly lol.



Cage 24x24x48 like this https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiBreeze-Screen-48-Inches/dp/B001PHABI8/ref=sr_1_11?crid=750TXFPLI11X&keywords=extra+large+reptibreeze&qid=1552311072&s=gateway&sprefix=extra+large+reptibre,aps,204&sr=8-11

Drip tray you can buy for these is like a hotwater heater pan...

or you can spend more and get a better quality with drip tray for the water to collect like so in screen or clearside. The dragon ledges help attach potted plants higher in the cage. But he builds in a schedule so you have to pre order and wait to get your cham. or you can buy the drip tray from dragon strand and the ledges and get the reptibreeze cage.
https://dragonstrand.com/screen-cages-2/

FYI You will want to wrap at least the back and one side panel if not both of the cage in clear plastic like a shower curtain and attach with magnets so the water does not spray out.

Lighting for UVB and plant growth is dual or quad T5 HO fixture. You can look on lightyourreptiles.com These need to be the 24 inch fixture. UVB bulb you get will depend on the species of cham you get.

Heat lamp I would recommend a: https://www.amazon.com/Flukers-Repta-Clamp-8-5-Inch-Ceramic-Dimmable/dp/B003H200QC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=8HVMEZI2QMV3&keywords=flukers+dimmable+heat+lamp&qid=1552311478&s=gateway&sprefix=fukers+dimm,aps,208&sr=8-1
bulb for it is your preference but I am partial to zilla brand day light white: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005SRUU32/ref=twister_B07C8WY1XN?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

May need timers for different fixtures as well. 12 hour on and off for lights on chams.

Automatic mister a must have in my opinion. https://www.amazon.com/MistKing-22251-Starter-Misting-System/dp/B012IAK4SC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3HEHG6S2ENP0I&keywords=mistking+starter+misting+system&qid=1552311288&s=gateway&sprefix=mistking+stra,aps,206&sr=8-1

hydrometer and thermometer to measure heat and humidity you want a few to get different levels. Most use a wired thermometer at basking level then a non wired other area : https://www.amazon.com/Pangea-drt-1...reptiles&qid=1552311763&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-2

and https://www.amazon.com/Alfie-Pet-Pe...eptiles&qid=1552311838&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-18

Live plants like Pothos or dwarf umbrella plants. https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/plants/

If you get a veiled you have to put large 1inch or bigger river rock in the top so they don't eat the soil. :)

Vines and branches for horizontal pathways in different sizes for grip: https://www.amazon.com/Exo-Terra-Jungle-Vine-Large/dp/B003PB4VSS/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=exo+terra+vines&qid=1552311902&s=pet-supplies&sr=1-1&th=1

And then you need a multivitamin to give 2 times a month every other week, Calcium with D3 to give 2 times a month the opposite every other week, and then a calcium without D3 used nearly every feeding. See image below.

Feeders: Need to offer variety. See image below. can buy feeders from a site sponsor or rainbowmealworms.com

Feeder containers: I have bought my own as well as converted plastic tubs to hold them. I like these but the large size only if I buy one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073KOGOG/ref=twister_B06X9LKF3Z?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Feeder food: something like Repashy Bug burger, cricket crack, or insect fuel from Arcadia brand if you want a predone instead of fresh veg and fruit everyday. see image below for feeder food

Buying your cham.... do your research and do not buy from petco, petsmart, chain stores, etc. They can have health issues and cost you quite a bit to repair the damage done. We have site sponsors and some wonderful forum members as well such as @Matt Vanilla Gorilla (breeds panthers multiple locales)

Link to panther care sheet: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/panther/

Link to veiled care sheet: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/
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Nice Job Becca on this post!
 
#15
Welcome to the forum! You have definitely found that best place for the "correct" information and all of the information provided to you above is HANDS ON THE BEST WAY TO GO ! to keep your chameleon happy and HEALTHY! If you do what they are telling you, you will find it will provide you the proper care for your cham. Good luck and keep us posted! We look forward to seeing what you do and pics of your little one when you get him or her.
 

celeste_knitter

Chameleon Enthusiast
#17
is a Misting system necessary? I'm never out of the house for more than a few hours at a time. I'd be able to mist it manually multiple times a day. also i do have a colony of dubia roaches
Unless you want carpal tunnel issues by misting 5 minutes - 3 minutes multiple times per day...every day at set times, no excuses, save your money and get a mist king system. I'm specific on the system because it will save you a lot of frustration later. You have no clue what your life or school schedule will be in a year or so...automate as many things as possible if you choose this hobby.
 
#18
Unless you want carpal tunnel issues by misting 5 minutes - 3 minutes multiple times per day...every day at set times, no excuses, save your money and get a mist king system. I'm specific on the system because it will save you a lot of frustration later. You have no clue what your life or school schedule will be in a year or so...automate as many things as possible if you choose this hobby.

I don't intend to come off as rude or snappish, but keeping an animal, of any kind really; is not a hobby. They are living creatures. Sorry, that just really bothers me. Anyways, I have an Exo Terra Monsoon for my tree frogs and salamanders. (the reason I asked if it was necessary is that I'd have to do a TON of rearranging to get it connected to a new enclosure, as my soon-to-be cham enclosure is on the opposite side of the room.)
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
#19
Monsoons are notorious for failing with chameleons. They can't keep up and end up dying after several months. I've never used one, but that's what pretty much any review with chameleon keepers mentions.

No intent to start an argument, but curious how it is not a hobby in your eyes? Caring for living things(chameleons in this case) is something we enjoy and spend our free time doing. That's the definition of hobby. No harm in it...
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
#20
I don't intend to come off as rude or snappish, but keeping an animal, of any kind really; is not a hobby. They are living creatures. Sorry, that just really bothers me. Anyways, I have an Exo Terra Monsoon for my tree frogs and salamanders. (the reason I asked if it was necessary is that I'd have to do a TON of rearranging to get it connected to a new enclosure, as my soon-to-be cham enclosure is on the opposite side of the room.)
It is the Chameleon Hobby. So it is considered and called a hobby. No one meant it in a negative way. The person taking care of the chameleon is called a keeper and the chameleon's overall care is called their husbandry.

Celeste is a very knowledgeable keeper of chameleons. Her advice is sound in the fact that they require a certain amount of mistings on a schedule and therefor the easiest and most efficient way to provide this as a keeper in this hobby is to automate it with a misting system. Along with automation of your lights on timers.

You may not be able to use the same misting system on the cham enclosure because they require long misting sessions of at least 2-4 minutes multiple times of day. Depending on the enclosures you use for your other reptiles it may or may not produce too much water in their enclosure along with humidity.

I have given you a very comprehensive list of the basics you will need to provide the proper husbandry for a chameleon. Should you have any questions let us know.
 
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