New Owner/ lots of questions!


New Member
Hi everyone,

I bought a baby veiled chameleon a few weeks ago. I had done quite a bit of research and thought I had the basics covered before I went and bought him. Good thing I did some research because the pet store I bought him from gave me NO INFO on his care really.
Here are a few of my questions, and I am sure there will be many more:)
How much and how often to feed? I asked them and they said he gets 3-4 small crickets a day, which is what I have been feeding.
As far as his age, they didn't tell me. I know he is a baby (body is only about 2 inches without the tail).
I made a mistake that I just discovered and I am horrified!!! I have been dusting his crickets every day and just discovered that my Repti Calcium has D3.... OMG!!! I am praying that I haven't done any damage, and will not dust at all until I get out to the store in the next day or two and get plain calcium.
He is currently in a 10 gal tank with a screen top. We are planning on building a screen enclosure for him soon.
He has a UVB light that is diagonally across the top, and then a basking light on one end.
I have a thermometer in each end. The basking area is about 90, and the other end is about 70ish. In the beginning, the cooler end was more like 80ish, so not sure what that is about... I would say the middle of the tank is probably about that, 80ish.
Do those temps seem okay? He doesn't spend any time really in the basking end, but seems to prefer the cooler end. I am thinking that I will raise the basking light a bit so it's not quite so hot. But I had read in my prior research that the basking end should be 90-95?
He has both vertical and horizontal vines and fake plants, and then has a live pothos in the cooler end. He hangs out on the pothos stems and leaves all the time.
Just tried putting two meal worms in the cage. He was right next to them and climbed up and away. I felt bad so I took one out (can't find the other one without really rummaging around and stressing him out), and gave him his three crickets.
I mist the cage at least twice a day, and have just set up a homemade dripper that drips on the leaves of the pothos and into the soil.

Any help for this new owner would be so greatly appreciated!!!
I just love Stitch, and want to all that I can for him to care for him properly.
great that you found these forums! you definitely need to move the heat light further back, temps shouldn't be higher than low 80s for a baby, also he will need a bigger more vertical cage for the supplements, good that you stopped the daily D3, you just need to get a vitamin and non d3 calclium!
Thanks so much!
Yes, I will move the light so that the temp is in the 80's. I can't help but worry about all my critters & try to do what's best for them. We have a farm with horses, dogs, birds, etc. They are all our "kids" :D
Oh, one more thing....
I notice that he has calcium dust around his nostrils..... this worries me, should it? I guess once I get the new supplement, I should cut back on the amount I dust with?
You said that you think there is calcium dust around his nose...I would think its some other mineral.

I feed my hatchlings as much as they will eat in a minute or two at each feeding and I leave a couple of extra crickets in their cage. It will be more than 3 or 4 crickets IMHO. (If you have a female, you will eventually want to cut down on the feeding more so than for a male.)

I dust the insects at most feedings with a phosphorus-free calcium powder (Rep-cal) to help make up for the poor ratio of calcium to phos. found in most of the feeder insects.

I dust twice a month lightly with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder (Rep-cal) to ensure that the chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it and it leaves the chameleon to produce the rest from its exposure to the UVB. 3 produced from exposure to the UVB should not build up in the system as long as the chameleon can move away from the light if it wants to.

I dust twice a month with a vitamin powder (Herptivite) which has a beta carotene source of vitamin A. Beta carotene (prOformed) sources of vitamin A will not build up in the system...but there is controvery as to whether all/any chameleons can convert you might want to give it a powder with a bit of prEformed vitamin A once in a while. Excess prEformed vitamin A can/may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards be very careful with it.

Gutloading/feeding the crickets, locusts, superworms, roaches, etc. with a wide assortment of greens (dandelions, collards, kale, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.) is also beneficial.

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

For young veiled chameleons, I keep the temperature in the cage more moderate (low 80's) than I do for adults. Their small bodies can dehydrate, warm up and cool off more quickly than the adults do.

You will want to replace the fake plants with real non-toxic well-washed (both sides of the leaves) plants eventually since veileds tend to munch on them from time to time.

Here are some good sites for you and your parents to read...

Good luck with your chameleon!
about the meal worms i put mine in a small shot glass so my little guy could decide when he wanted them and so that they did not wiggle away.
Thanks again everyone for the info/ advice.
Kinyonga, very useful information and I really appreciate it (by the way you mentioned my parents and I visiting the links you included... I am 40, lol but thanks for that :) Anyway, I had not checked back on this thread and seen your latest post with all this info, and I was still searching for the amount to feed. You had said more than three or four... per feeding. Here is my question, how many feedings per day? I am currently feeding the crickets a fruit based gel for reptiles. I don't think they were eating the powdered cricket food I had bought for them. Tonight I sprinkled some of the powdered stuff on the fruit gel.
Please read my post "please help, need advice" under general discussion (think that's what I called it.)
I went out today and bought the plain calcium without the D3. Also as far as the calcium dust on his nostrils being a mineral... I wonder if it could be from misting with tap water??? I read on another site tonight that I should use distilled water instead of tap. I will start that tomorrow.
I am going to maybe pickup the roll of screen and wood trim to start his new cage tomorrow. Is he too young to move to the screen? Everyone is saying that the tank he is in is bad news....
Thanks so much & look forward to more great advice!

Wow, I followed a link to a similar thread which had been posted by another new owner. They had outlined what they were doing for their three month old (which I believe mine to be in the neighborhood of)... and they were feeding 15 crickets a day!!!!!!! Wow, the responses to what the person was doing were mostly positive....
I am thinking that I might be having to invest in buying a much larger batch of crickets....
Now I feel like a bad mother again, and that I have been doing wrong by Stitch :(
One of the challenges I face living in New Hampshire is that the crickets in the pet stores are really expensive, and the winter temps here make it challenging to have them shipped in. I am thinking that if I need to feed many more crickets per day, then I might as well take a chance on getting them shipped.....
Opinions please....???
he should definitely be eating more than three or four a day. i got my three month old almost two weeks ago, and on the low side, he eats about ten small crickets a day. i just recently introduced mealworms and he loves them. he will usually eat two mealworms and about five crickets. i pick up my crickets at local pet stores for usually about 20 per $1
I have been dusting his crickets every day and just discovered that my Repti Calcium has D3.... OMG!!! I am praying that I haven't done any damage, and will not dust at all until I get out to the store in the next day or two and get plain calcium.

Assuming we're talking about Zoo-Med Repti-Calcium dusting daily (4-5 days a week prefered) will be perfectly fine.

The quantity of D3 in the powder is significantly less then what most of the forum members use (RepCal product).

You're doing nothing wrong assuming you're using the Zoo-Med product.
Okay, here's a quick update...
When I fed Stitch this morning I gave him about 8 crickets dusted lightly with the Repti-Calcium without the D3. When I gave a quick look a couple hours later, I only see one cricket left! I could have missed one hiding, but I think he ate the majority. Yay! I placed an order for 500 crickets that are being delivered on Tuesday. I will plan on giving him 6-8 crickets this evening and see how he does. I would rather give him more than less under the circumstances. Also the crickets seem a bit on the large side (some of them) but the crappy pet store doesn't always give you "small" when you ask for them. They tend to mix in some a little larger.
So now...... I need to get to work on a new screen cage for him so that I can get him out of a tank. :)
Just cleaned Stitch's cage...
three crickets left, so he ate five this morning.
I will probably only give him about four tonight, which would equal nine for the day. I will see if he finishes the three in his cage during the day today, and can go from there for tonight...
Oops...I cut and pasted my post from another thread and missed that when I altered it for your thread. I guess since you are 40 you can skip showing it to your parents...unless they would like to learn about chameleons. :)

I use tap water that has been left out overnight so the chlorine will dissipate...and I don't have any white powder on my chameleon's noses.

Re: feedings...I feed once a day as a rule for hatchlings.
It's just my opinion, but I wouldn't feed too close to "lights out". You want them to have time to bask in the light after eating. Basking is an important part of the digestive process.

I would give a minimum of 2 hours of "daylight", preferably 4 or better, 6.
Newest update :)

I had given him 8 crickets yesterday morning, and at one point when I cleaned his cage there were three left... so he had eaten five my say midday. Around dinner time he had two that I could see. Last night at bedtime I only spotted one I think it was, so I didn't give him anymore, I just let him be. I felt the same about it being lights out, and not time to give more food.
This morning I gave him 7 crickets, so we will see how he does today. It is now around lunchtime and when I was in the room and gave a quick look, I only saw one cricket....
Bought the materials for the new cage at Home Depot last night, and I will plan on starting it today. I am sure that I will have plenty of questions regarding the new setup :)
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