Newbie Inspiration and hope... Yes you can do this!

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Exactly what the title says... So I am going to lay it out there for you. I have now been in this hobby for 8 months... I too was brand new and had no clue. With a Petco impulse buy and overwhelmed. I was an avid lurker on the forum searching threads and trying to process as much info as possible.

Why I decided to do this thread. Hopefully to inspire all you newbies that feel like you have gotten in over your head. While yes there is a lot to know and learn... AND BUY. I wanted to show you all how rough I started out. You will see me lining your help forms with RED BOLD. But I want you to know I was once in your shoes as well. I survived lol.

It is a process and I too am still growing and expanding.


It all started October 20th of 2018. I went to Petco to look at getting a betta fish for my desk. I work from home and the day to day gets a little well boring.. So I thought I would get a fish. I walked by the reptiles and realized that this little chameleon was following me across the front of the glass case. I went back and forth a few times to see if he was in fact following me. And he was. This was when Beman picked me. I went home trying to think up every rational excuse not to get him but after 3 days of him being my only thought and trying to find info via youtube and other sites (I had not found the forum yet) I went back and got my baby boy. He was roughly 4 months old at the time. The info I had found online was awful and the petco advice for what to buy was worse but I just did not know that yet... I spent $400 on everything they could sell me that was incorrect from the kit, supplements, all the extras, and of course mealworms. And did I mention I was told to gut load with just carrots.

This was the start of my journey... Now let me share with you my pics along with my progression from Day 1.

Here is my horrid day 1 set up. I did know that I needed more fake plants and vines... That the kit did not have enough. They had me buy a huge dish to collect the water... Oh and let me tell you how proud I was of myself :hilarious: Like everything is wrong here right? RIGHT! It sucks... It is awful and nothing good can come from this set up. But I found the forum by day 3...

day1.jpg


This is Day 5... I got pothos plants and figured out how to use the exo terra bendable vines to loop around the pots while using tiny zip ties to secure them to the screen. This worked sooooooo well for me. I also got clear acrylic panels for the back and right side to keep the over spray in. I still could not figure out what to do with water run off. I was still lurking and had no idea what to look for in the forum. I was too scared to post and get feedback. I spent so much time reading it was crazy... I found lightyourreptiles.com and Todd helped me with lighting, supplements, gutload and directed me to dragonstrand.com for enclosures. I purchased lighting, supplements, and gutload from him. Dropped another $250 there correcting this area a bit more.

day5.jpg


I built him a play area next to my desk in the window... This is the first version :hilarious: I know it is awful but I was trying and he loved it..

24 play area 1.jpg 11-27-18 copy.jpg


On November 11th I ordered a cage from dragon strand... Still learning and still too scared to post I ordered my cage for his December build... Then contacted him a month later to see if there was a way to get a larger size... I had ordered one that would not accommodate a full size Male Veiled's height needs. This put me into the position of getting a new build that would ship in January. The Medium Tall Atrium. Dropped well a lot of $ here but it was worth it. Here is my build thread. You will see I was still learning what to use and what not to use and how to work with this cage type. https://www.chameleonforums.com/thr...-side-aka-bemans-mansion.167884/#post-1459296

I built another play area that was larger he was growing and needed more room... 2nd version... Much better then my 1st attempt... But this kept changing as he grew more curious. I had to screen the sides and the top to keep him from venturing out of it. He was always supervised but still it made me feel better knowing he was safer. This was about $100 bucks to build.

playarea 2.jpg

The end of January I received my Dragon strand Medium Tall Atrium. 30 inches wide, 24 deep, and 48 tall.

This was the first run through in setting it up. I had added the mistking, fogger, and a ton of live plants but I was still using all fake vines... Not very good for chams to rub their eyes on these because they are at risk for getting pieces into their eyes which can cause permanent issues. I did not know this yet....
At this point I expanded my gutload as well including repashy bug burger into my mixture. Also I was diving into many more feeders... Silkworms, BSFL, Blue bottle spikes, dubia, and hornworms.

first buildFeb.jpg


This brings us to his current enclosure. I pulled all the fake vines and got wood branches from Michael's the beginning of March. I tore everything out and replaced it all. I also bought a Herpstat 2 dimming thermostat that controls the basking fixtures ensuring the perfect temperature. And another $250 there.

Looking pretty good right? Your thinking oh she has to be done with this cage now. Well then I had a bug chew its way out of the Michael's branches which in turn gave me a nervous break down :p

I will be working on the next version of Beman's enclosure Friday as I have collected a ton of drift wood from the beach that I washed and have been drying out.

second build march.jpg



Here is his newest free range/play area... 5 ft high and 5 ft wide but it too is still a work in progress ;) and $75 here for the tree lol

play area 3.JPG


I have spent over $2,000 from day one. With buying the wrong stuff to buying the right stuff... Now I want to make it clear. You do not need to go out and spend a fortune to have a proper set up. I just happen to be a little overboard when it comes to my boy.

So the point of my story.... Most of us start here... Level one of the I have no idea what the heck I am doing... Then we progress... progress some more... and then a bit more. This is a hobby where you will always be learning.. From massive corrections in husbandry to making slight corrections here and there. It is really a learning process.

So for all the newbies and the lurkers. We welcome you and want you to know that you can ask for help. Be open to us and open to learning. Trust me you will learn so much quicker what you need to correct and what the best options to buy are. This will save you money in the end.


The end... for now ;)
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Not gunna lie my friend, I didn't read this all yet lol. I just want to say, if you've kept other reptiles, with success, or even fish, or really any animal that takes research to be successful with, then most chams given you have the space/money will be simple. They're made out to be much harder than they are. And this is mainly due to people who get veileds as their first reptile because they look so cool and are a couple dollars at Petco. No offense to anyone that does this, I don't blame people at all... but that's just where this notion that they're so difficult comes from. I was paranoid out my mind with my first cham, after 5 of them 2 species and both genders, I've realized they're pretty damn hardy. Mine have thrived through all swings of temperatures, humidity, tons of moves, temporary living in the shower or on random trees while I redid cages that took a week, through hand misting, mistkings, foggers, different gutloading and supplement regimens, angry handling(still gently) when the chams had to be moved, etc. Not that I put my chams through hell, but they tolerated a lot. My care is still very good at the end of the day don't get me wrong, but they're just not delicate flowers that will crumble at the slightest issue.
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for posting this. I'm at the pre-day 1 stage of just researching what I want to buy to get started. I've made the same mistake in the past with other pets that costed me a small fortune in replacing the wrong equipment that I was told to get that I later found out was totally incorrect for my pet.
 

Rlc1994

Chameleon Enthusiast
Awesome post!! You have come so far where most people would of just given up once they realized how much work and care these guys really need. This is exactly where I was 6 months ago I didn’t buy a chameleon like you did, I just started researching because I was interested in getting a chameleon and well long story short it’s been MANY hours on this forum and lots of MONEY spent. I can say I’m pretty confident in taking care of a chameleon now, I’ll never stop learning though there will always be new things to learn in this hobby. Like Beman said you can do it don’t be afraid and never stop learning!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Not gunna lie my friend, I didn't read this all yet lol. I just want to say, if you've kept other reptiles, with success, or even fish, or really any animal that takes research to be successful with, then most chams given you have the space/money will be simple. They're made out to be much harder than they are. And this is mainly due to people who get veileds as their first reptile because they look so cool and are a couple dollars at Petco. No offense to anyone that does this, I don't blame people at all... but that's just where this notion that they're so difficult comes from. I was paranoid out my mind with my first cham, after 5 of them 2 species and both genders, I've realized they're pretty damn hardy. Mine have thrived through all swings of temperatures, humidity, tons of moves, temporary living in the shower or on random trees while I redid cages that took a week, through hand misting, mistkings, foggers, different gutloading and supplement regimens, angry handling(still gently) when the chams had to be moved, etc. Not that I put my chams through hell, but they tolerated a lot. My care is still very good at the end of the day don't get me wrong, but they're just not delicate flowers that will crumble at the slightest issue.
You get a pass for not reading yet lol.
 

Trailgem

Avid Member
Thanks for posting this, because I was really peed’ off at how you are treating us newbies. We might not ask the questions the right way... and it comes across dumb... but most of us do the research... we just don’t know how to phrase it correctly. (me for example... )

I’m just gonna be lurking for a while, I think.

Site note: I’m actually surprised you’re a girl. Haha
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for posting this. I'm at the pre-day 1 stage of just researching what I want to buy to get started. I've made the same mistake in the past with other pets that costed me a small fortune in replacing the wrong equipment that I was told to get that I later found out was totally incorrect for my pet.
Your welcome! So as you start putting together your list of what to buy.... Do a thread when you have it together before you go spend the money. We can then let you know what is good and what you would be wasting your money on. :)

We have wonderful site sponsors... And a few fantastic members that breed. I am getting my newest boy a Nosy Be Panther from @Matt Vanilla Gorilla. So I can highly recommend him if your still searching for a breeder. :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for posting this, because I was really peed’ off at how you are treating us newbies. We might not ask the questions the right way... and it comes across dumb... but most of us do the research... we just don’t know how to phrase it correctly. (me for example... )

I’m just gonna be lurking for a while, I think.

Site note: I’m actually surprised you’re a girl. Haha

Ok while I get your frustration... You need to understand there are those of us that are more patient and those that are not... We see some horrible things here. So you brush off the snippy comments... and you go for the ones where you get feedback.

So, If you have a question just ask it. In the end you will be better informed.. One thing that is always good is looking at the threads where there are help forms. You will see where we red bold them... This is a great way to get more info.

While we are wonderful at laying it all out there unfortunately we do not have the ability to totally teach. But we do in our own ways individually.

Did you get the care images or the care sheet links? What about this podcast www.chameleonbreeder.com it is a fantastic way to learn.

And yes everyone thinks I am a dude lol. I am Becca and I am a cham mom to two. :)
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
Great post as we have all been brand new at some point.

The problem with some of the people on this forum is they come off as abrasive because they are so passionate about these animals and find it hard to believe someone would buy an animal on an impulse. Obviously this happens and thats ok as long as the person is ready for some criticism. I have seen people who start out with their cham on bedding in an aquarium to eventually build a great enclosure and overcome MBD.

One reason people get upset is that they get asked the same questions over and over and then people will ignore it or just leave and never respond so they feel like they are wasting their breath. With a cham you just need to stick with it and understand that these guys are an investment of time and money. They are so very rewarding and worth the time. Some of the people who give advice are still new themselves and do not repeat the information correctly and this can also cause problems.

There are countless people on this forum that will make a huge difference in your cham life and when you find those people its a wonderful thing. I tend to have a circle of trusted advisers for each species.

I have been at this for a year now this month and I would not be here with out the veterans who helped me learn and grow. For new people they need to not be sensitive and just take the advice get it done and prove to the vets that your here for the long haul. You will find the more time you put in here people will warm up and become very supportive.

Thanks for sharing your story Beman. I will not look back and see how much I have spent... money well spent and honestly I don't want to know hahaha.
 

Trailgem

Avid Member
Ok while I get your frustration... You need to understand there are those of us that are more patient and those that are not... We see some horrible things here. So you brush off the snippy comments... and you go for the ones where you get feedback.

So, If you have a question just ask it. In the end you will be better informed.. One thing that is always good is looking at the threads where there are help forms. You will see where we red bold them... This is a great way to get more info.

While we are wonderful at laying it all out there unfortunately we do not have the ability to totally teach. But we do in our own ways individually.

Did you get the care images or the care sheet links? What about this podcast www.chameleonbreeder.com it is a fantastic way to learn.

And yes everyone thinks I am a dude lol. I am Becca and I am a cham mom to two. :)
I get it... but I work as a tech expert for a mobile phone company, I have to listen to people yelling at me all day long. So, understand where I’m coming from. I just want a drink and relax without getting an attitude. Ha!

I’m not a dummy, I used to have sugar gliders and all the reptiles you can imagine. (My son took over... actually I used him as an excuse to own them)

I’m also German, and I’m at the stage where my German sucks, and my English sucks as well. Phrasing some of my thought isn’t always coming across like it should.

But this is not just about me, I was lurking and I really really got upset at how some of you are treating the newbies. (Besides the crazy one, that was nuts) I mean, like you said, you all started at some point, and I’m sure you all made the same mistakes.

We are so used to the Facebook layout, it takes time to find everything on a “old fashioned” forum . Yes, i finally found the podcasts and the images last week. Also, sometimes you really just want a “real” answer directly addressed to you. Not sure why... but that’s how it is, at least for me.


Anyway, I’m cool :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I get it... but I work as a tech expert for a mobile phone company, I have to listen to people yelling at me all day long. So, understand where I’m coming from. I just want a drink and relax without getting an attitude. Ha!

I’m not a dummy, I used to have sugar gliders and all the reptiles you can imagine. (My son took over... actually I used him as an excuse to own them)

I’m also German, and I’m at the stage where my German sucks, and my English sucks as well. Phrasing some of my thought isn’t always coming across like it should.

But this is not just about me, I was lurking and I really really got upset at how some of you are treating the newbies. (Besides the crazy one, that was nuts) I mean, like you said, you all started at some point, and I’m sure you all made the same mistakes.

We are so used to the Facebook layout, it takes time to find everything on a “old fashioned” forum . Yes, i finally found the podcasts and the images last week. Also, sometimes you really just want a “real” answer directly addressed to you. Not sure why... but that’s how it is, at least for me.


Anyway, I’m cool :)
I understand... But while we can direct you we can not teach every aspect... There is just too much to it. When people ignore our advice or ask the same question repeatedly it gets really old. We are the ones that are on here every day trying to help people. Kinda like your tech support we are Cham support... So reverse it to what we do. It is the same frustration you feel when someone just does not get that they tossed their phone in the toilet and that is why it does not work.... Like how many times can you explain it while trying to be nice. :)

While some come off abrasive they are also some of the most experienced members. They are the ones we tag in when the issues are above our knowledge. They are the ones we lean on and count on. And yes we have experienced members that pop in make a comment enter the monthly contests and disappear for another 3 weeks. It is our community... We nurture it and we support each other.

Most newbies come and go. They come they learn and they leave... Very rarely do they stay here and pass on their knowledge to others. We love it when they do but I only know of one that is now doing this. It is rare.

It is easy to take offense to the written word. There is no emotional inflection to it. I hate that I get lumped into the "I can't believe your a girl" It hurts my feelings that people would automatically think I am a man. But I have learned to brush that off. We have quite a few women on here that are very experienced keepers. While I am not a very experienced keeper, when it comes to basic husbandry for Veiled's and Panther's I know my stuff.


Anyways... We could go back and forth all day on this. I respect your position and I do hope you respect mine. I created this thread to show the Newbies that I may know my stuff now but 8 months ago I was just as much a disaster and can totally relate to where they are at in their Cham experience.
 
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jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I get it... but I work as a tech expert for a mobile phone company, I have to listen to people yelling at me all day long. So, understand where I’m coming from. I just want a drink and relax without getting an attitude. Ha!

I’m not a dummy, I used to have sugar gliders and all the reptiles you can imagine. (My son took over... actually I used him as an excuse to own them)

I’m also German, and I’m at the stage where my German sucks, and my English sucks as well. Phrasing some of my thought isn’t always coming across like it should.

But this is not just about me, I was lurking and I really really got upset at how some of you are treating the newbies. (Besides the crazy one, that was nuts) I mean, like you said, you all started at some point, and I’m sure you all made the same mistakes.

We are so used to the Facebook layout, it takes time to find everything on a “old fashioned” forum . Yes, i finally found the podcasts and the images last week. Also, sometimes you really just want a “real” answer directly addressed to you. Not sure why... but that’s how it is, at least for me.


Anyway, I’m cool :)

I'm curious where these newbies are getting attack for harmless questions? I don't have a problem at all with that, my issues are with the people that ask for help and then throw it in your face. Or ignore any hard advice. Blow off the help form. Anything of that nature....
 

Rlc1994

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm curious where these newbies are getting attack for harmless questions? I don't have a problem at all with that, my issues are with the people that ask for help and then throw it in your face. Or ignore any hard advice. Blow off the help form. Anything of that nature....
Yeah This is what I see. It’s usually the people asking for help that are the ones that get smart and rude with the people trying to help and give them advice.
 

Trailgem

Avid Member
I'm curious where these newbies are getting attack for harmless questions? I don't have a problem at all with that, my issues are with the people that ask for help and then throw it in your face. Or ignore any hard advice. Blow off the help form. Anything of that nature....
Okay, I shouldn’t say “all”... some, I agree, ask stupid questions or get offended about very little... but maybe... some of us don’t understand what you are talking about. Cham lingo isn’t anything we newbies are familiar with. I have to be honest, some of the words you are throwing around... I don’t know what the heck you are talking about and I have to run to google, and I don’t always get an answer. I would never feel comfortable asking you... what does “XYZ” mean...

Seriously, I get where you all coming from. I feel the same if someone asks me a dumb question about backpacking or mobile phones... but I always try to be nice. I’m probably the most patient person you’ll ever talk to, but I’ll be pulling my hair while trying to explain a logic issue to someone... but not to the other person.

Again, I get it. I was pissed off when that guy or girl asked a question... and someone went of on him/her. They did a lot better than other new Cham owners, but the light issue was a problem. You’re right, he was debating with the forum about it, and I agree, he could’ve handled it differently... but give him a break. A lot of people trust the chain pet stores and just don’t know what to believe.

I’m always willing to learn, I know about chain pet stores (still bought mine at a chain) but not everyone does. Btw, I learned a crapload by lurking. Personally I ordered a new light source the same night, ordered a bigger cage, added all the things you find necessary. Lol however, I am sure, someone will find something that’s wrong, but at this point I am “scared” to even ask.
 
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