New to the board and thinking about getting a chameleon...


New Member

Allow me to quickly introduce myself... I'm about to start my sophomore year at MIT (studying aeronautical and biomedical engineering) and have been a lizard/amphibian lover for well over a decade. I've had numerous species over the years, including my prize giant day gecko, whom I had to give to a biology teacher when I went off to college--6 1/2 years after I got him (here's Oscar). My parents moved when I went to school, and made a no pet rule in the new house :(

Anyway, I've wanted to get a chameleon for years, and have been thinking about getting a pet for my room (I'll have a single the next 3 years). With the workload that I have, I'd like a chance to sit back and watch the beauty of nature for a bit, instead of go right to a computer to pass time and unwind.

Since I've wanted a chameleon for such a long time, and since they're so interesting to watch, I've thought that one might make a good pet to get. So I have a few questions to begin:

1- Does this seem like a feasible idea? The only issue I could se arising would be if I were to go home for a weekend (or longer). In those cases, I could probably find someone to take care of my critter, if I couldn't take it with me in a smaller cage (and possibly have a larger cage waiting--does anyone know about flying with a chameleon?)

2- What are some good species to look into getting? The pet stores where I grew up often had veiled chameleons, and I see a lot of them online, as well. I also have seen quite a few other species at sites like I'd prefer to not spend the hundreds of dollars I see for the panther chameleons.

3- Are the premade cage setups I see offered a good idea, or should I go buy everything myself, individually? Which ones would you recommend?

I'd like to do more research over the course of the summer before I do any purchasing (less necessary reading material).

Thanks for your input,

Hey Jeremy- Welcome! :D

Research is the key to properly maintaining a healthy chameleon, so if you're truly interested, I recommend you study up. You sound to be in the proper environment with adequate knowledge and a plan to care for the chameleon, so you're on the right track.

A good species to start with, in my opinion, is either a Panther or a Veiled chameleon. Both are extremely hardy, can endure a great amount of things (some big first-time chameleon owner mistakes) and are generally the most popular species of chameleons. Veiled's tend to be a bit more aggresive, and Panther's more expensive- so they really wind up being equal in decision making when you narrow it down.

A good place to purchase your first chameleon is from reputable breeders. (Kammerflage Creations, BlueBeast Reptile, FLchams, Prism Chameleons ect- are some examples of great places to purchase) You primarily want to stick to experienced breeders by purchasing offline or at shows, and straying away from petshops, who often go to no lengths to care for their chameleons, resulting in an ill animal.

Premade enclosures/set-ups are a very reasonable buy. You must first determine the species/age of your chameleon before you commit to purchasing a specific cage. Each species dependent on it's age may have different caging requirements- babies usually needing a small cage to grow up on, and an adult enclosure for their final move.

Just do your research and don't hesitate to ask questions- they should all get answered. Again, welcome to the forums- there are many knowledgable people here! :)
Thank you, Michele! Upon this advice, I think I'd go with a veiled, simply on the large price spread, and the lack of a recommendation for the other neat look species I've seen :)

Regarding buying at a show, though, it seems like there really aren't any shows in the Boston area--the only one I see, in Manchester, NH, is one I wouldn't be able to make. I've purchased from lllreptile before (a tortoise whom I also had to give away :() and was very happy with them. It also seems like they have good prices for their veiled chameleons. That said, I've seen these critters at $30-$40, and also the mid $80s for seemingly similar ages (babies)--is there a price where it becomes "too good to be true" and the animals should be avoided?

LLL also has this package, which looks pretty good (although I believe I'd need some additional things, such as a water dripper, mister, etc.). Does anyone have any opinions on it?

Finally, would it be a bad idea to start with a pair? I don't know how (anti)social chameleons are.


airplanenut said:
Finally, would it be a bad idea to start with a pair? I don't know how (anti)social chameleons are.
For the most part, it is very important for current breeders to stress to new keepers, that chameleons are very antisocial. You need to understand the complex symbols and signs that chameleons show (or sometimes don't) when they are in anothers presence. Some species are hardly show intraspecific aggression, but in some case even when no aggression can be seen, it may be accompanied by unseen stress.
Will Hayward said:
in some case even when no aggression can be seen, it may be accompanied by unseen stress.
So this explains why I'm so nice to everyone and so stressed out... :D

I guess that means one to start with.
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