Should you handle a baby chameleon?

Pierce21

New Member
I have recently purchased a baby Jackson's Chameleon. It is about a month old and still pretty tiny. Of course I know it is not good to handle chameleons too much in general, but I was wondering how much (if it all) should I handle the baby chameleon? I do not want it to be overstressed or risk shortening its lifespan.
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
Honestly at that age I would keep it to a min if at all.

As for handling your chameleon. Once it gets older you will get very different opinions on this as it's a heavily debated topic. Some people such as @Matt Vanilla Gorilla will handle them from birth but he is an experienced breeder.

Another thing to consider is the body language of the chameleon. I have been working with my female a lot since I got her and she is barely starting to get more comfortable (tolerant) at 7 months. While my male panther has been fine with it since I got him. He was from Matt so that is why he is so comfortable with it. My veiled will hiss at my hand to show who's boss and then climb out on it even when I'm not trying to hold him. Sometimes he will climb on me while I'm cleaning or feeding. With him it was a matter of not backing down when he postures because if you do it will make it worse.

This is all down the road though as babies can be VERY jumpy and can hurt themselves trying to escape you. Just go at your chams pace and pay attention as even if they are nice one day they can have bad days.
 
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JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
^ agree with Matt on Panthers but I feel like most Jackson's internalize their stress so you have to wait for them to come to you. Definitely start with hand feeding.

I heard Bill Strands say the same thing in one of his podcasts that it's much harder to tell with Jackson's. He said body language is much more important since they don't seem to posture as much.

Seems like them internalizing the fear and stress is what makes people think they "like" to be held.

I'm sure it still comes down to personality and knowing YOUR chameleon. Spending time can change a lot of things.
 

Calypratus

Established Member
I had a friend who handled her newborn chams every other day to get them used to humans. Makes sense getting bit by a chameleon can really hurt.
 

Franquixote

Established Member
After almost 2 years I HAD to handle my panther to bring him to the vet. to my surprise he was super chill, letting the vet futz with his mouth even.
My attitude has changed, I now am not afraid to let him climb on me a bit, but they are still unpredictable reptiles and should be handled little. They don't have human emotions and are not particularly social animals.
A little familiarity is a good thing, having them free roam and cuddling with them is a bit shortsighted and even selfish.
You are a colossus to them, if a giant kept me in a cage I'd appreciate some choice in when I got manhandled.
 

amfire125

Established Member
I finally had a day [today] to listen to SEVERAL of Bill's podcast episodes on handling. I did learn a few new things (would have learned a lot more if I hadn't already researched this topic to death, tbh). The podcast is pretty great on answering these questions! Now I've got the panther chameleon fever and I'm definitely considering adding a new member to the household, haha!
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
I finally had a day [today] to listen to SEVERAL of Bill's podcast episodes on handling. I did learn a few new things (would have learned a lot more if I hadn't already researched this topic to death, tbh). The podcast is pretty great on answering these questions! Now I've got the panther chameleon fever and I'm definitely considering adding a new member to the household, haha!

Haha Do it!! Then be like me and have 2 panthers. Then add....
 

amfire125

Established Member
@JoshD49 :LOL: Yeahhh, you know... in this community we like to be responsible... so admittedly I'm going to have to wait for a few life changes to happen... and I'm incredibly off topic of this thread at this point... but PANTHER FEVER is real! I also have bearded dragon fever...definitely stems from my veiled being completely unhandable at this point. I can read his behaviors enough to know that he has definitely realized I'm the one feeding him and keeping him. Yet he still hides and walks away from me if I just look at him and I'm 15 feet away... I know everyone says to be patient but some chams just aren't interested! lol. Twice now I've opened the cage to put his feeders in and he's hissed and lunged my direction... but he will eat if I'm in the room (just not looking at him). He knows his routine. I knew his name Pepe would be fitting...anyone? Anyone?
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
I love my daughters bearded dragon and that the kids can play with him. It kills their nagging to play with the chams. I love all 3 of my chams and their own personalities all the same. I know I'm not done though. I want another panther and a Jackson someday. My veiled will get cranky but I don't back down and he gets it now. He climbs out on me all the time. Honestly the time he is most upset is when I am trying to get him off free range and back home haha.
 

amfire125

Established Member
That's awesome! I'm considering a few things at this point. A free range setup/project is on the list of ideas, but would be pretty tricky with my environment here, haha. I love a good challenge, though. So many ideas and options to get my veiled to warm up a little more. I'm on hold for a bit, but I'll let you know what I decide in about 6 months :p. #research
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
No problem at all. You are my starting teamate since we started the same time. Anything I can help you with or advise on, just let me know. If you do get a panther check to see what @Matt Vanilla Gorilla has when your ready. Maybe I'll have some babies by then. Haha.
 
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