Taming Cham?


New Member
Hi, I own a veiled Cham. I was having some issues with him not eating often, but that is solved now. When he wasn't eating that often, I could take him out and move him around no problem. Now that he is bigger and eating (this is about 2days after I last held him) he is hard to take out. I don't necessarily want to be able to hold him and have him sit on me, but it is making it hard for me to take him out to clean the cage or move him out in the sun among other things. It is a rather sudden change from compliant to hissing and will lunge at me if I try to get him. I even tried putting a stick out for him to climb on to and he still lunged at me.
Does anyone have any tips for taming him? He is almost 7 months old right now. He is kind of a crabby guy, which I am ok with, I just want to be able to transport him. Anyone else have this problem? Any tips would be great, thanks Danielle
unless he needs to be transported badly. I would let em be. They sometimes hiss or lunge like that when they are in bad mood or simpily don't want to be handled. If its possible I would say to leave him for a week or so and see if he relaxes a little. Don't handle em as much as possible. I kinda got hint you handled him often.
Most male chameleons (veiled especially) that I have kept get an attitude around that age. They are now sexually mature and their behavior changes. A lot of color begins to show at this age too. In the wild these new changes are needed to compete for females and defend their territories.

Taming might be asking too much. With patience and proper care though, he can learn to become more comfortable with you. All you can really do is try to act as less threatening as possible. The few steps below might help him over time become more comfortable and relaxed with you.
  • He will feel less threatened if he is above your eye level. Try raising the height of your cage.
  • Move slowly and be patient. Always come from underneath him instead of above him. Never grab your chameleon, let him walk onto your hand. If need be, have one hand positioned in front of him without moving. Use your other hand to gently make him want to go towards your non-moving hand. When he climbs onto your hand, slowly lift up and away from the cage. If he has a good grasp onto something with his foot or tail do not try and force him off, that could cause an injury.
  • Let him watch you put the food in his cage(following the above steps). He might even get curious and surprise you by eating out of your hand. Be consistent.
  • The colors your wearing do make a difference. Try lighter clothing.

An angry cham can be difficult to get out of their cage. One thing you might try is to just let the cham come out on his own. This has worked for me in the past when I had a really dificult cham. Open the door and put a plant within reach. His curiosity could get him to come out on his own. You could also use heat to attract him. Other people might have some advice too.
As ChamFreak said, try to keep the handling down to a very minimum. I only handle my chams very briefly when transporting them to a temporary plant or cage. Usually only when cleaning their cage, giving them a shower, or taking them out for some sun :) I think you already mentioned this, but I just wanted to be sure.
In agreement with brad. I really think it has alot to do with territory and sexual maturity.
Herbie he was more aggressive when he was younger now he's mellowed out. but it's weird, every few month he'll become very territorial and strike at anything that comes in the room.
I think it has to do with instinct for mating seasons because he will puff up, rock back and forth, and do the wave with his body which I believe are mating gesture.
The dark colors are also true. we have a black dog, herbie chases her out of his room also if we are wearing anything black he feaks out.
Most of the time herbie wants to be aound us. It started by him letting explore out side of his cage, interacting with him during feeding time, over all being patient and letting him warm up on his terms.
I'm sure personality has a lot to do with it but I think if your cham once was friendly he probably will be again. I know Herbie really loves being an active part of our family.
I have tried to handle him around 3 times a week- I used to transport him to different plants around the house for some variety since his cage isn't the biggest right now (24x18x20) - he also could eat the flies that were buzzing around then. He is only 6 months so he hasn't outgrown it yet. A new cage is in the making though. It is 24x24x48 plus on a stand so he can sit about 6ft high if he wants to. He is still crabby about getting out of the cage, but once he is on my hand he is completely compliant and the stress dots fade away. What I have been doing is putting a stick in there to see if he wanted to climb on it. Well now he decides to attack the stick and then climb on my hand to get away from it. It will work. I think he has been in a better mood though since I have been able to put him outside in natural sunlight again.
I have accepted the fact that I just have a pissy chameleon :) I have had 2 African flat rock lizards and a corn snake along with caring for other various reptiles and I have to say the chameleon has the most varied personality (or should I say moody? :) )
A new cage is in the making though. It is 24x24x48 plus on a stand so he can sit about 6ft high if he wants to.
Sounds great. He will like his new setup. By the way, what is his name? Maybe he is 'crabby' because he wants a name ;)
Well his name is Herb. I just read somewhere that too big of a cage could be a bad thing for a youngster. He is only about 4 inches long right now.
How long do they take to reach their mature length?
I just read somewhere that too big of a cage could be a bad thing for a youngster.
The main reason for this is that a young cham might have problems finding his food items in the larger cages.
hmmm I might keep him in the smaller cage then. He doesn't look stressed in it or anything. I will be gone for 5 weeks to Europe soon and my younger sisters (soph in HS) are taking care of him as well as my other pets. He moves around a bunch but it is more back and forth on this one vine, he doesnt travel higher or lower that often. I will wait until I get back so I can keep an eye on him. Thanks for the help.

One other thing, his legs were kind of crooked when I bought him as a baby- didn't know about the bone disease and thought a breeder would be knowlegable...anyways if I am feeding him supplements now (herpivite and repcal mix) can I assume that it would not get any worse? He can move fine on them, his back legs are just a little twisted looking.
You might want to tell your sister about this site in case she has any questions. A lot can happen in 5 weeks. That being said, I am jealous and wish I were going on a euro vacation ;)

MBD (bone disease) or other problems with similar symptoms can be caused by multiple things. Lack of calcium in the diet is a main cause. Chameleons also need vitamin-D3 to absorb the calcium from their intestines. Vitamin D3 is created naturally by chams when under uvb light exposure. This means if your lighting is not what it should be, your cham could develop bone problems. There are other causes of similar symptoms as well.

If your chameleon is getting everything it needs at the proper levels, the condition should not get worse. However, it might not improve much either.
Update: Herb is doing fine- still on the scrawny side, but he wasn't eating much for that month when he was younger. Still won't let me touch him most of the time, but every once and a while he is ok. He also loves the new cage- roams around it constantly knocking things over looking for crickets. One thing I noticed which I did not know chams did was if he wanted to get somewhere, he would hit the pothos vine with his tongue, pull it over, grab it with his feet and climb up. Is this just laziness to crawl up the wall or does anyone else notice it in theirs?
One thing I noticed which I did not know chams did was if he wanted to get somewhere, he would hit the pothos vine with his tongue, pull it over, grab it with his feet and climb up. Is this just laziness to crawl up the wall or does anyone else notice it in theirs?

I have never seen or heard of this before. I assume it was unintentional. Have you seen him do it more than once?
I have seen it at least 4 times. He does it with the fake plastic vines as well but doesn't do it, from what I saw, on unmovable objects...but after some thought, it could be an adaptation b/c of his back legs. I believe he wasn't supplemented before I got him- I thought the shaking was normal walking behavior and now think he has MBD in lower stages....I have been supplementing him since I got him, but his back legs have always been a little bowed and sometimes he loses his grip with them. They can support his weight and are muscled, though the muscle grouping is weird and a little twisted and odd shaped. He is doing fine now though- loves exploring his enclosure and eats like crazy....and occasionally lets me hold him :)
Top Bottom