Tutorial: How to handle and tame a chameleon

Gingero

Avid Member
Learn some tips and tricks for how to tame your chameleon and make them comfortable with handling.



***This is advice I’ve learned from my own experiences. No guarantee these tips will work. Also, chameleons are solitary animals and it’s not in their nature to try and bond with humans. If a chameleon walks on you it’s because they trust you enough not to eat them.***

1. Be patient

It took consistently working with Neptune for 5 months before he showed any interest in handling. And the first time he walked on me I held my arm out for 20 minutes.

2. Work at your cham’s pace

Don’t force or rush your chameleon to be handled. Make baby steps and move at the pace they’re comfy with and recognize that some days they just need their own space.

3. Don’t pull away if they get defensive

If you pull back/give up when your cham starts to get defensive, you’re conditioning and rewarding them for that behavior. Pulling away will train them to believe aggression will get them what they want... Away from you. Leave your hand there until they calm down.

4. Leave their enclosure open

Let them have the chance to explore. Soon they’ll associate you with getting to come out. Try placing a plant, branch, or tree to encourage them to explore outside the cage on their own.

5. Give them treats

Hornworms did the trick for Neptune. I started with putting them on a branch, then tongs, then my hand, then my forearm, and then my elbow which forced Neptune to have to climb on me to get the worm.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think when people talk handling, it would help to be species specific. There are many species, that no matter what, will not ever climb on someone. Others, like panthers, can be 'tamed' from aggressive behavior overnight sometimes with almost no effort. I believe it is due to their natural tendency to explore, search for mates, and new territory more so than other species. Can't say for certain though.

Not taking anything away from you OP, just putting it out there.
 

The Wild One

Chameleon Enthusiast
Quick question, Coda doesn’t get defensive very often and whenever I open her enclosure whether it’s feeding or building trust like you mentioned, she gets really dark toned and does the fastest leaf walk I’ve ever seen to her favorite hiding spot. Do you have any tips on this, I blame it on pet store PTSD lol. Great video!
 

Gingero

Avid Member
Quick question, Coda doesn’t get defensive very often and whenever I open her enclosure whether it’s feeding or building trust like you mentioned, she gets really dark toned and does the fastest leaf walk I’ve ever seen to her favorite hiding spot. Do you have any tips on this, I blame it on pet store PTSD lol. Great video!
Sounds like it might be a good idea to have her enclosure open and just hang out by it. See if she will come out onto a plant or something similar on her own. I spent a few months doing that with Neptune before working on approaching him. He had to get the courage to explore the big scary world before getting the courage to not wrap himself around a branch when I looked at him.
 

Thatwizard420

Avid Member
Uncle sneaky used to come out his cage and onto my hand (That was when set up was all wrong)
Now if I get near his cage he dips and hides. Sometimes he'll try to bit me when I try to grab him,
sometimes he just tries to flee.
 

The Wild One

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sounds like it might be a good idea to have her enclosure open and just hang out by it. See if she will come out onto a plant or something similar on her own. I spent a few months doing that with Neptune before working on approaching him. He had to get the courage to explore the big scary world before getting the courage to not wrap himself around a branch when I looked at him.
ThankYou! We have some huge branches for her build that I can prop up from the bottom of her cage to the foot of my bed, so you think that would work or do I need it to have coverage?
 

Gingero

Avid Member
Uncle sneaky used to come out his cage and onto my hand (That was when set up was all wrong)
Now if I get near his cage he dips and hides. Sometimes he'll try to bit me when I try to grab him,
sometimes he just tries to flee.
Yikes! That's why I don't recommend trying to grab a chameleon. Stressful for them, and stressful for you haha.

ThankYou! We have some huge branches for her build that I can prop up from the bottom of her cage to the foot of my bed, so you think that would work or do I need it to have coverage?
Hmm that should work. Just be veryyyyy patient and give her some supervised privacy. (Don't want you having to watch my What to do when you loose a chameleon? video lol)
 

Thatwizard420

Avid Member
Yikes! That's why I don't recommend trying to grab a chameleon. Stressful for them, and stressful for you haha.


Hmm that should work. Just be veryyyyy patient and give her some supervised privacy. (Don't want you having to watch my What to do when you loose a chameleon? video lol)
well not grab as in cose hand, more like put my flat hand under him and try to scoop him.
 

The Wild One

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yikes! That's why I don't recommend trying to grab a chameleon. Stressful for them, and stressful for you haha.


Hmm that should work. Just be veryyyyy patient and give her some supervised privacy. (Don't want you having to watch my What to do when you loose a chameleon? video lol)
Yea that would not be good lol
 

Deejay

New Member
Please more videos. They are awesome. Your Chameleon looks so smart and even looks likes he loves you. I knew it was possible! Nice work.
 

PabloTheCham

Established Member
My cham used to not like getting handled, and I handled him anyway, against advice. Now he never hisses, even if I come from above. He also climbs on my arm at every chance, even when I put feeders in. Guess he is just an exception to the rule. (he is a male veiled)
 
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jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
My cham used to not like getting handled, and I handled him anyway, against advice. Now he never hisses, even if I come from above. He also climbs on my arm at every chance, even when I put feeders in. Guess he is just an exception to the rule. (he is a male veiled)
Your guy is still a juevenile? Not that it's unheard of for adult veileds to be pleasant, but there's a chance this will change in several months. May have a grumpy guy as his hormones start pumping. Then again, may luck out with a nice veiled!
 
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