Taming a young/baby veiled chameleon?

reptileryan

New Member
Im getting a baby veiled chameleon for christmas. I just want my chameleon to tolerate handling so its easy for me to get it out of its cage to clean and also to show it off ever once in awhile ;) and also i firgured if the chameleon tolerated handling then it would be less stress on him when i do have to move him. Plus i dont wanna get bite.....I know he will never be tame but i just wanna know how long to wait after getting him and how often and how long should i hold him at first to get used to me.....etc. thanks
 

pssh

Avid Member
No such thing as taming a chameleon. They are who they are and that's that.

Don't hold it at all if possible until it is used to you. Handling it can make it more afraid of you and make it associate you with bad things.
 

FAIL

Member
did u even read their post? they are who they are gonna be, the dude might never want to come out and hang with u, especially if u dont comprehend someones post.
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
Here's what I did to get my newest panthers used to me a little, which has made getting them out for vet visits, giving medication, cleaning cages, etc. much easier on both of us. They obviously don't love me, but they haven't associated me with anything bad yet (except the one who I had to give oral medication to, so he still doesn't trust me to not stick a syringe in his mouth. Subsequently, he's learned not to open his mouth to gape/bite.)

I think that actually grabbing them/coaxing them out of the cage is way too scary. I think that right there gets everything started on a negative foot. If you don't have your cham yet, when you do get him try to make the process of getting to the cage as slowly and calmly as can be. Mine were shipped, so I opened up their bags and let them come out of the bad and onto a branch in their cage on their own without. So automatically they saw me, but didn't see me as a big scary thing right off the bat.

After a week or two of settling in with no contact, I began trying to get them more comfortable with me. Chameleons freeze up a lot if they're scared of you, so step one was to get them comfortable just seeing me at a small distance, as well as getting them comfortable with coming out of the cage by themselves. I bought a 6' fake ficus and put it in front of the open cage, and I sat on the floor a couple yards away (to be really much lower than them) watching TV on my laptop. One of my chameleons took 4 full episodes of Dexter to come out onto the tree! lol And after climbing to the top for 15 minutes, he then out of his own free will went back to his cage. Then I closed the cage and left him alone for the day. I kept doing this every other day or so for a few weeks until he would quickly come out and explore his fake tree calmly even if I was in the same room moving around.

Once he was comfortable with me in the room while he was outside his cage, I started putting my hand in front of him on the branch he was on to get him to walk onto it. I'd let him walk on my hands a minute or two before he showed any signs of wanting off and put him back on his tree and walked away, so the handling didn't end on a stressful note.

And this has worked really well for me, trying to apply what I learned about working with other exotics to have a better "relationship" with my chameleons. And the chameleons I got after trying this technique have been much calmer chameleons around me. Which, like I said, makes moving them for cleaning, meds, vet visits, moving, etc. much easier.

This all being said, I still don't hold them very much. But I think you understand that, you just want to be able to avoid the biting and fighting, like I still have to do with my oldest panthers. Those I have to handle with gloves or sticks, and it's super stressful for them. So I'm with you, if you can get your chameleon a little comfortable, it's a lot less stressful later. It won't necessarily work for ALL chameleons, I've just had luck with my last couple. But you can try and see how it goes. Remember to respect the signals he sends you and back off if it's just freaking him out. But best of luck!

Edit to add - Oh, and don't forget to try hand feeding. It also helps associate you with good things, so soon you're that person that means food and free time on a tree or something.
 
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reptileryan

New Member
Here's what I did to get my newest panthers used to me a little, which has made getting them out for vet visits, giving medication, cleaning cages, etc. much easier on both of us. They obviously don't love me, but they haven't associated me with anything bad yet (except the one who I had to give oral medication to, so he still doesn't trust me to not stick a syringe in his mouth. Subsequently, he's learned not to open his mouth to gape/bite.)

I think that actually grabbing them/coaxing them out of the cage is way too scary. I think that right there gets everything started on a negative foot. If you don't have your cham yet, when you do get him try to make the process of getting to the cage as slowly and calmly as can be. Mine were shipped, so I opened up their bags and let them come out of the bad and onto a branch in their cage on their own without. So automatically they saw me, but didn't see me as a big scary thing right off the bat.

After a week or two of settling in with no contact, I began trying to get them more comfortable with me. Chameleons freeze up a lot if they're scared of you, so step one was to get them comfortable just seeing me at a small distance, as well as getting them comfortable with coming out of the cage by themselves. I bought a 6' fake ficus and put it in front of the open cage, and I sat on the floor a couple yards away (to be really much lower than them) watching TV on my laptop. One of my chameleons took 4 full episodes of Dexter to come out onto the tree! lol And after climbing to the top for 15 minutes, he then out of his own free will went back to his cage. Then I closed the cage and left him alone for the day. I kept doing this every other day or so for a few weeks until he would quickly come out and explore his fake tree calmly even if I was in the same room moving around.

Once he was comfortable with me in the room while he was outside his cage, I started putting my hand in front of him on the branch he was on to get him to walk onto it. I'd let him walk on my hands a minute or two before he showed any signs of wanting off and put him back on his tree and walked away, so the handling didn't end on a stressful note.

And this has worked really well for me, trying to apply what I learned about working with other exotics to have a better "relationship" with my chameleons. And the chameleons I got after trying this technique have been much calmer chameleons around me. Which, like I said, makes moving them for cleaning, meds, vet visits, moving, etc. much easier.

This all being said, I still don't hold them very much. But I think you understand that, you just want to be able to avoid the biting and fighting, like I still have to do with my oldest panthers. Those I have to handle with gloves or sticks, and it's super stressful for them. So I'm with you, if you can get your chameleon a little comfortable, it's a lot less stressful later. It won't necessarily work for ALL chameleons, I've just had luck with my last couple. But you can try and see how it goes. Remember to respect the signals he sends you and back off if it's just freaking him out. But best of luck!

Edit to add - Oh, and don't forget to try hand feeding. It also helps associate you with good things, so soon you're that person that means food and free time on a tree or something.
Thank you, this was the answer i was looking for. And i dont plan on holding him much so yes i understand that.
 

reptileryan

New Member
Okay? pretty sure i did read their post? and i comprehended it just fine. I was looking for someone to tell me how to get my chameleon to tolerate my handling. i completly understand that they all have different personalities and that mine could hate me and never wanna be touched. But i wanted to know how to start handling a young one so it would maybe tolerate handling.
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
You're welcome. I never had any luck with "taming" my chameleons if I first had to fish them out of their cages, because you can imagine how terrifyng that is for an animal. So it didn't matter how great the experiences outside the cage were, we'd started off on a bad foot. So for me this method of trying to touch them when they aren't cornered in a small cage seems to have worked much better. I wish I'd thought to do it with my first panthers because they're both so aggressive, who knows if it would have made the difference.

Best of luck!
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
When Luie & Camille had babies I started taking them out of the baby bins everyday to change the paper towels in their baby bin and clean the bin. I started this when they were 3 days old. They would hang on a small plant while their bin got cleaned. They loved coming out of the bin and then later their cage. It only took about a week until they reached and grabbed for me to get them out....not just for cleaning but anytime they saw me they would beg to get out. To this day almost all the babies (now almost 9 months old) remain very friendly. Most are free ranged but a few are caged and still most of the caged ones remain friendly. Maybe it's not taming but they love being free and they like all people. I'm attaching some pics and videos below so you can see for yourself.

Of course the baby you might buy will probably come from a large breeder that has not interacted at all with the babies but if you have a safe area you can allow your baby to free range in a tree when you are home to supervise, it would defiantly help you to have a friendlier chameleon. Then later you will probably love your little guys so much you'll want to set him up a "real" full time free range.

Video of one week old babies free ranging on a tree outside under VERY CLOSE supervision
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DBagWM-2ZE


19 day old babies video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY5tNIrr9V0


6 week old babies video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MzulorMdTE


Babies one month old





 

pssh

Avid Member
Did you bother to read the second half? That is my advice, and it works for me. Only my veiled hasn't responded to generally just leaving them alone. That is also how my 'friendly' panthers decided they wanted to hang out on my arm and go for a ride.

If you want a more detailed answer, then ask. I was genuinely trying to help.
 
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