Maybe it's just me.


New Member
I work at a retail pet store, and one of my biggest pet-peeves (no pun intended) is when someone decides it's a good idea to purchase a pet as a gift for someone.

In most cases, I think it's the worst fathomable idea someone could come up with, but there are a few exceptions, like an addition to a fish tank, or a Betta fish or sometimes even a hamster on rare occasion.

With Chameleons being the delicate little flowers they are, does anyone else get nervous about Christmas time and the possible influx of newbies coming to the forums with threads sounding something like, "hi, im new here I just got a chameleon for Christmas, what does it eat?" followed by many of us replying, giving correct information that results in that new member having to re-create the living quarters for their new pet, resulting in a huge investment. Ideally, this is the "best" case scenario, because the recipient of the gift was conscious enough to make the effort of finding this forum, meaning they were looking for information, and I'm all for that.

What really makes me nervous, is the amount of people that won't come to the forum out of sheer ignorance, and lack of interest in their gifted chameleon.

Now I know it's silly to worry so much, since there are bigger issues in world that I should be concerned with like child slavery, deforestation, child-sex trade, and homelessness just to name a few, but for some reason I'm able to emotionally and mentally block those out (maybe I'm a terrible person) but for some reason, I feel a churn in my gut when I think about chameleons and Christmas.

Regardless, I'll continue doing my part by telling customers not to purchase pets as gifts, but I was just wondering, am I the only one that thinks/feels this way?

edit: spelling/grammar


Avid Member
I would agree that getting a chemeleon or any other pet as a surprise is a horrible idea. There are scenarios where there is an experienced keeper that could take on a new cham as a surprise gift and really appreciate it ("hint to my wife") but usually it is a recipe for disaster. Noone wants to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet if it is shoved on them and the pet suffers as a result.


New Member
I generally agree with you - pets as gifts are a bad idea!

Then again, saying that, I think it depends on the recipient. I got a puppy for my 14th birthday (8 years ago now!) but then again my parents OK'd it and knew that I'd care for it anyway so....

Also when I was younger I had a hamster for my birthday and stuff (when i was about 7) but again, it was on the basis that my parents knew that if I got bored with it, they'd look after it.

I think now, I'd be slightly miffed if someone got me a pet as a gift that i hadn't agreed to, but then again, I'd take it on anyway and be happy with it etc. but thats just how I am - anything has a home at my home!

I've also taken on hamsters and other small rodents that have been bought as gifts for people that they dont want - so it can go either way...

However, if anyone wants to buy me a chameleon for xmas - please feel free!!


New Member
It is the same at reptile shows. Some parents will stop and ask a million questions and you feel good because you know that they will be the ones taking care of the chameleon. Then you see the people with little kids carrying a reptile around, you know they don't have any supplies, they got the kid a gecko or something else because it was cheap, and they really don't care if it dies. That makes me sad.
The thing I worried about more than Christmas was that new movie with the chameleon like creature in it-that usually spikes people to impulse buy.
However, Leon, my first chameleon, was a Christmas present from me to my hubby, and look what happened there! :)


Chameleon Enthusiast
I feel just as you do and not just chameleons, any animal.Funny you should post this thread!.... I was picking up superworms yesterday at the reptile shop and a young girl and her dad were in there looking for her something to purchase for her christmas present. They had a young veiled chameleon (with incorrect husbandry I might add and this is a reptile shop) and the girl wanted to get it. Well, I gave the dad a class in Chameleons 101 and he was floored at the care and expense of feeders, gutloading, supplements, mistings, etc and he nixed that idea immediately!! I felt good about it, but I am sure there will be someone right behind them. Christmas time is unfortunately an impulse buying time of year for all pets.


Staff member
That's why I could never work in a pet store - I'd never let anyone buy the animals! It's just like at Easter. Thousands of chicks and ducklings are bought because they're cheap and cute and people have absolutely no idea how to take care of them. Even if they do a smidge of research to keep them alive long enough for the kid to get bored with them they end up dumping them in the "wild". Because a pink dyed chick will do so well on it's own on the side of a road... I wish we get rid of the notion that pets should ever be gifted to children especially if the parents have absolutely no interest in it.

I'm hinting to my hubby that he needs to get me a cute little carpet cham for Christmas though :D


Avid Member
The thing I worried about more than Christmas was that new movie with the chameleon like creature in it-that usually spikes people to impulse buy.

This concerns me more then Christmas too. I remember when Taco Bell used the Chihuahua and everyone wanted one. Then the animal shelters were filled with the same Chihuahuas that people "HAD" to have the year before. Unfortunately there isn't many sanctuaries for unwanted chameleons.


Retired Moderator
We had a man on this forum a couple of weeks ago who purchased a chameleon for his 12 year old son. After 2 weeks he learned the cham was not being cared for surprise! I spent over an hour on the phone with him but I am not sure Dad plans to step up to the plate. He did say he would "tell his son what to do". I gave him my number but have not heard back. This breaks my heart.


i have noticed that a lot of people who keep reptiles, KEEP reptiles, they don't CARE for reptiles....mostly with snake people (not attacking snake people i also know some whos love of snakes outshines my love or chams). I feel the average person's attitude toward reptile keeping is that you throw it in a glass tank with a light and it is all set. I often wonder at reptile shows at how many of the reptiles being purchase that day by are doomed by owners who's interest in them wont extend much past that day. Last convention i was APPALLED at how many "vendors" had just purchased a lot of baby veileds and put them in cage and that was their booth....I can SAFELY say ALL of the veileds i saw last year (about 100) were so small they were still eating only pinheads and FF, and guess what, only one vendor had pinheads and he was sold out within the first hour! I asked everyone with chameleons basic questions like "can you sex them for me" ....NOT A ONE KNEW If anyone is putting the effort in to SELL veiled chameleons, they can put the effort in to LEARN a little about them and that they are the easiest thing to sex in the world!! the common response was "i just work here!!!" it was sad and pathetic, only LLL's booth and one local breeder (who i know is on the forums) had a set-up and healthy looking chams that i approved of!! I hate to say it but the reptile convention here in Manchester, NH is a death camp for most!


Staff member
Sure enough, just saw an ad on craigslist wanting a cheap chameleon because her daughter just saw Tangled and it would be a 'great Christmas present but they're so expensive'. *sigh*
Well now that is about the chameleon's only defense is it's price tag. If it weren't for that, can you imagine how many would perish. I actually saw my very first chameleon in a pet store. It was beautiful. The cage was built into the wall and it had a painted backdrop behind it. It was picturesque in every way. A colorful chameleon set inside in the center displaying it's colors. It was in a pet shop that I was first memorized. The price tag was somewhere upwards of 200.00. I being ten at the time asked Mom, who quickly said NO. Granted this was the area's High End pet shop that soon closed, but it was here that I was hooked. How many of you have been hooked at the pet store?

Yes I too see it sad that many chameleons are impulsively purchased, but kids are smarter these days and with google at their fingertips at least we can help get the information to them. As for the reptile shows, that's just bad business. "I just work here" and "I'm not sure" should never be said to any customer in any industry not alone the pet trade. Shheessh!

I'm thankful for these and other forums but mostly for the caring people behind them.

Mr Wilson

New Member
As a former "newbie" (as I'm sure almost everyone on this site was one at some point in their lives) I have to disagree with it being wrong.

When we got our first chameleon, we had no idea how to take care of it. I'm not ashamed to admit that at all. She was an impulse buy after I had seen a water dragon and then we saw the veiled in a glass tank. We figured the pet store would tell us all of the info we needed. We found this forum and did everything everyone said to do because we realized the pet store didn't know what they were talking about (I know.. not everyone will do that yada yada yada) and she unfortunately didn't make it. Had the pet store told us the right info, we wouldn't have had an issue. It's not always the consumer's fault.

We now have FIVE chameleons (all panthers) who are very healthy and well taken care of. Had we never bought Rosie in the first place, we wouldn't be as in love with chameleons as we are now. We would have never learned how to take amazing care of them and what wonderful and amazing animals they truly are. Everyone needs to start somewhere. And while not everyone will be totally thrilled with a chameleon and all the work they take after a while, there are also many who get one chameleon and they become addicted (Can you say


Established Member
Reptiles in general probably have an better chance at life as a gift then living in any of these pet stores in NE OHIO ...Thats a fact.


Established Member
Soon they will be just giving them away as gifts at places like petco and petsmart since they make millions off crickets alone.


New Member
the first time i saw a cham was in the fourth or fifth grade when a kid brought his in for show and tell. thats also when i knew i wanted one and i would eventually get one. sadly about two weeks after he brought it in he said it died, which is why i waited to decide and get one until i knew i could take care of it. im 23 now and just now getting my first cham from my girlfriend for christmas. no one needs to worry though, i have a full proper setup and this forum at my fingertips.


New Member
As there are 2 movies featuring chameleons out this season, I think there are going to be a lot of chameleon "gifts".

I don't think anyone should do a "surprise" gift of an animal. (noting that if it's cleared with the parents, then a gift to a child doesn't really count as a surprise)

If I worked at a store that sold chameleons, I guess I would make up a "business card" sized info card with the link to this forum and some very basic info like "Chameleons are more fragile than most reptiles, please go to this site for important information" or something like that. I'd print those up myself and toss them in with every chameleon sold on my watch.


Avid Member
Hey now, let's have some faith! :) While I agree with the notion that it should not be a gift to be taken lightly, I think it's fine if the recipient understands the responsibility. My first chameleons was given to me as a present when I was seven. My mom would not have let me have it (from my uncle) if she didn't think I would be able to take care of it. We bought a mesh cage, a nice ficus, UVB and heat lamp, and a supplement. I bought two chameleon books and read them cover to cover and made my mom drive me back to the store so I could by a dripper, more plants, more vines for his basking spot, and a commercial gutload to add to my veggies. While my husbandry wasn't 100% it was better than half the people who join here start off with. If I could change anything, I think I would have dusted a bit better and misted a little more. That chameleon lived to be almost 7. Considering some adults cannot keep chameleons thriving for so long, I think I did pretty dang well.

The problem is the fact that people are so used to impulse buys and that many are ill informed. As we have seen, many who purchase chameleons mean well and do actually care for the animals, but they were just given the wrong information. Also as seen on the forums, people readily absorb information regardless of them understanding it and believe it because they think the source is credible. It's a lack of questioning and researching that is the problem in my opinion. Everyone is so used to having the answers handed to them that they think most things they are told by a 'higher authority' is correct. JMO.

I don't really think any of you should feel that bad about all the 'poor' chameleons. Hey, they die in the wild, they die in captivity. They have no choice in it regardless. It's not like the world needs that many chameleons. Think about how much money we spend on our lizards. What would happen if we all donated the money to charities, think about how much money would be sent to the less fortunate. But of course, we are who we are and we won't do that.


New Member
I dread Christmas time with all animals full stop. I work in a vets and see unwanted pets come in after Christmas all the time, they have always been treated so badly either by dumping them half starved beaten to a pulp in need of great medical help. Mind not every1 who doesn't want or know how to look after a Christmas pet does that they send the poor animal to a rescue place which are already so full and don't really have the money to keep them but do anyway.
It's all very very sad!


New Member
in case,i dont totually agree this situation is same for everyone because some people may buy for their fd who is interested and already an exprienced keeper keeping alot of other pets.The one buy a pet as gift may has no experience of keeping pet so that they just ask wheter is really diffcult to keep for their fd.
you can not ensure their fd is no good at pets.
you should ask .if their fd are lack of exprience on it,then you can finally advise them not to buy.

but it is sure, giving animal as gift isnt good idea.


Established Member
Depends on the situation, if my son has been wanting a chameleon and i knew he was ready for the responsibility then yes i would get him one as a suprise, but no i would never buy from a pet store chain, there quality of animals seem to poor for my standards.:D
Top Bottom