New to the chameleon world

seanUTD

New Member
I am buying a veiled chameleon in about a week and I have a Zoo Med 2'x2'x4' mesh enclosure with a plastic bottom and it only came with one measly vine. I WILL be buying a fake ficus plant at 3'... I guess Im posting this to get personal advice from you guys in the forums. I HAVE done the research and having two rabbits and a cat I am used to taking a LOT of care of my animals so I feel confident.

What more do I need in the enclosure (I do know Im just asking opinions) and how do I attach such items (I do NOT know this as reports are scattered)

How do I feed it (I know WHAT just not how)

How often can I have physical contact with it without "breaking" it so to speak.. I've known temperamental reptiles from too much to too little handling. I am getting this because I LOVE lizards and want to have something that likes being around me and not just something pretty
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
Hey, and welcome to chameleons! It's a pretty different ballgame from the pets you already have but they're a lot of fun.

I highly recommend live plant in your cage if you can get them. Stuff like pothos (hanging plant, this one takes a little ingenuity to add to the cage. More on this late), schefflera (umbrella plant), and ficus have all worked really well for me. Others use hibiscus with success but they always die in my cages. To use pothos plants I know of two methods: I prefer using plant stands, which can come pretty tall. I actually use them for all my plants, even if it's only elevating the tall ones a couple inches because it keeps my floors free and I can spot clean much more easily, and the plants aren't sitting in stagnant water. Alternatively, you can get a wood dowel across the top frame of the cage and string very strong fishing line through the screen and attach the plant to the dowel with this. It will look like the plant is hanging and will be pretty neat.

You have a few options for feeding: handfeeding, cup feeding, and freeing the insects in the cage. I use a mix of all three. I recommend setting insects like crickets free in the cage because it gives your guy something to do for a while, and it will get him some excercise. For things like worms, you can hand feed or cup feed, for example. The method is completely up to you. Handfeeding will also help make a bond with your chameleon though, since you're now a direct source of food.

Unfortunately, not very many chameleons are really very friendly. Out of my 6 I can really only handle 4 of them, but only 2 really sort of like it. There is no set time for it either, it's sort of the art of reading the signs of stress your pet is giving you and respecting them. There's a lot of conflicting advice on handling chameleons however.
 

melric

Established Member
What age is the chameleon you're getting?
You can choose to free feed your Cham or cup feed. If your Cham is a baby you may want to cup feed if he isn't finding his food in that large of an enclosure.

I know you said you know, but I would include lives plants to up humidity and if you don't have an auto mister get a bottle that pumps rather than squeezing constantly. Any other questions?

How is your lighting and supplements?
 

Stanly

New Member
I'd say make sure you have the big things covered

1) UVB bulb, there are alot of diffrent ones they will try so sell, some good some not so good. as a biggener I'd say with the most tried and true repti-sun 5.0 TUBE (some say the compacts can cause eye issues) if you can't get repti-sun 5.0 I think reptiglo 5.0 is a close 2nd

you will also need another kind of light and bulb for basking (heat) one of the dome type fixtures and a 40-60 watt house hold bulb setup to provide a basking site in the low 80s for young ones (I think a bit higher for full grown veiled but I'm not 100% sure on that as I own a panther)

2) Water! if your home enough you can hand mist with a sprayer bottle
( as they drink from moving water), if your not home much you might want to try a automated mist system (and maybe a dripper to)

3) feeders and gut loading, make sure you give them healthy Feeders that have been feed healthy fruits veggies and grains (ie Gut Load)

I would also like to reiterate what Olimpia said about live plants, not only do they help to keep humidity up, they also give off O2 and IMO look better (tho I add in some fake vines and leaves as well as they make good path ways) just make sure any thing you put in there is chameleon safe and non toxic (also washing it all off and either repotting or at lest covering the soil so your chameleon can't eat any perlite or fertilizer)
 

seanUTD

New Member
Thanks guys! Youve all been really helpful... The only concern I have about live plants is honestly the death risk.... I don't have any sort of a green thumb and I seem to kill everything... But it does seem to be one of the most debated thing in the chameleon world...

To answer the age question it will be a baby only as old as they can sell at petsmart.. However old that is...

I'm thinking i am going to feed from both hand and cup and free running food... I found an awesome cage design that has bowls mounted randomly through the cage (mounted to vines and the cage sides) I thought I would give that a try but that does give me another question... What have yall found to be the best method of securing the vines to a mesh cage
 

melric

Established Member
I got some good advice to sew it in with a needle and thread. Basically you wrap the string around the vines to hold them in place and sew them into the screen.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Here is some information that I hope will help....

Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption. Temperatures needed can vary with the species and age. For hatchling panthers I keep the temperature in the warmest area in the low 80's. For older panthers I keep it in the mid to high 80's for the most part.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects just before you feed them to the chameleon at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you also dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

Dusting twice a month as well with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite which has beta carotene.)

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

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.

Here are some good sites for you to read...
http://chameleonnews.com/07FebWheelock.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200605020...Vitamin.A.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200406080...d.Calcium.html
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/
http://raisingkittytheveiledchameleon.blogspot.com/
http://web.archive.org/web/200601140...ww.adcham.com/
If you can't access the sites above that have the word "archive" in you can do it through the WayBackMachine.

BTW..female veileds can produce eggs once sexually mature even without being mated....so, once she's sexually mature, its important to provide an appropriate place for her to dig to show you that she needs to lay eggs. Failure to do so can lead to eggbinding and eventually death.
 
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Stanly

New Member
Thanks guys! Youve all been really helpful... The only concern I have about live plants is honestly the death risk.... I don't have any sort of a green thumb and I seem to kill everything... But it does seem to be one of the most debated thing in the chameleon world...

To answer the age question it will be a baby only as old as they can sell at petsmart.. However old that is...

I'm thinking i am going to feed from both hand and cup and free running food... I found an awesome cage design that has bowls mounted randomly through the cage (mounted to vines and the cage sides) I thought I would give that a try but that does give me another question... What have yall found to be the best method of securing the vines to a mesh cage
I'm no gardener but for the health and happyness of my guy I've been trying to learn. I can tell you some are easier than others. Like pythos, schefflera. I've had good luck with those. Good drainage and lighting help (do some more research on keeping you plant alive, it's just another part of chameleon keeping imo)

Do what you want, but you might think of buying from a breeder rather than petsmart, both them and petco do a very poor job of caring for their chameleon and unless they say cb (captive breed) they may very well be wc (wild caught) which is a whole other can if worms.

If you check the site sponsors and classifieds (on these forums) you can find much healthier (and imo better looking) chameleons and chances is for cheaper. But even if they cost more up front you save in the long run

What ever your choice best of luck, and I'm sure you'll love the little guy/girl.
 

imcurt

Avid Member
Welcome to the forums.Its good to see you doing your research prior to getting your chameleon.Many dont and end up here looking for help. One thing about veileds is that as they get a bit older they love to eat plants and veggies. I attached a aquarium lettice clip in with my male veiled.as long as i give him veggies every other day he will leave plants in his cage alone for the most part.There are lots of nontoxic plants to choose from.All my past issues with veilds started with humidity proplems.My biggest recomendation is to get some sort of misting system. Have fun with your research and i hope to see pics of you cham soon
 
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