why are chameleons considered hard to keep ?


New Member
so I'm considering getting a panther/veiled chameleon or a leachie gecko
and everywhere i read it says they are a hard species to keep but why ?

their temperatures are about average for a tropical lizard, they eat the same stuff, decoration seems pretty easy, the only issue i see is the misting but if i mist before school and then again when i come back it seems simple enough and for a jungle animal it seems normal as well
so why ?


Avid Member
Because they are fragile animals. If you start off right, they aren't particularly hard, but they do require more care than a lot of other lizards/snakes. I think the hardest part is doing all the research and getting all of the correct equipment together. After you have everything set up and have the basics down, it's not too difficult.


New Member
Well for starters.. with such a large, mesh cage it's harder to keep temps and humidity up. You're going to want to mist more than twice a day. Getting a auto-mister is the best if you're planning on keep a chameleon.


New Member
Chameleons do require a lot of time and effort.

If you're not running around town to get ingredients for a dry gutload recipe then you're keeping your feeders or misting or trying to hand feed for 20 min or tending the real plants. There's almost always something to do.

Spend an hour a day with our two geckos. Spend a couple hours on keeping one chameleon.


Avid Member
I don't spend nearly that much time on my chameleons. Maybe an hour a day max. That includes tending to thousands of roaches and other insects and grinding/mixing my own gutload.


New Member
i have had TONS of different kinds of pets.
i would say they are not a "beginner" pet, but are not a "master pet keeper" pet either.
scale of 1 to 10 i would say chams are a 4.5.
at least in my experience :)


New Member
I don't think there hard at all, maybe the parsons chams with there fussy eating patterns and a few other of the less seen chams but panthers, velids, jacksons, carpet, Pygmy chams in my opinion are pretty easy, as long as you set up correctly and get into a routine with the misting, feeding and gut loading you don't offen run into problems, you get out what you put in with chameleons


Avid Member
Chameleons do require a lot of time and effort.

If you're not running around town to get ingredients for a dry gutload recipe then you're keeping your feeders or misting or trying to hand feed for 20 min or tending the real plants. There's almost always something to do.

Spend an hour a day with our two geckos. Spend a couple hours on keeping one chameleon.
So true! There's the crickets to look after, removing the dead, feeding and watering. There's the silkworms too, cleaning out the poo, feeding them, trying to keep them sterile and alive!

Then we have to come home at lunch time to feed our Cham which can take a while depending on her mood and if we want to hand feed her.

There's plant to water/clean Cham poo off of, stray crickets or locusts to catch out of the enxlosure. All the misting and trying to make sure our Cham is drinking.

The list never ends :)


New Member

I didn't realize how much this panther chameleon would really cost. He was 1 1/2 -2 months old when we got him and have had him now for another 1 1/2 months.

16x16x20 cage - $50
Scheflera w/ pot - $30
Dome light fixture - $30
Basking light fixture - $25
UVB bulb - $35 (every 6 months)
Stand for fixture - $30
Temperature sensor - $20
Dual temp humidity sensor - $30
Pump spray bottle - $20
Little Dripper - $15
Cricket cage (built) - $30
Crickets - $5 (every 2 weeks)
Worms - $20 shipped (every 2 weeks)
Fresh Gut load - $25 (every 2 weeks)
Supplements - $15

This weekend I spent $70 on materials to build his outdoor cage and still have to go pick up a couple of pothos to hang in there with the jasmine I already bought.

This was all just to get started with a juvenile.

Next month I will be spending $100 to buy a 2'x2'x4' enclosure. That will also need a 24" light fixture ($40) and a new UVB Bulb ($35). $50 more on plants pots and vines and water catch system.

If you can't be home to spray 3-4 times a day (luckily I am) you should also spend $100 on a MistKing.

Then of course you should have $100 set aside for vet visits / fecal exams / emergencys.

Bottom line is that it looks easier and cheaper than it is. :cool:


Established Member
Chams are difficult because many folks purchase wild caught animals from their local store and wonder why they die a few days/weeks later. With the right care a CB animal should live a long and healthy life, but they still do pose the risk of strange ailments that can (and often do) take them out for the count.

If you do go with a cham, do yourself the favor of purchasing an automatic mister from one of the sponsors. The Exo-Terra Monsoon does great for just a few cages and isn't too expensive.

Caring for a leachianus is worlds less difficult than a cham, just FYI. :)




Avid Member
Well I think they are called hard to care for because there require such specific, sustained and unusual needs.
Also, to really do it right will cost ou some money.

I hate it when people (mostly kids, sorry kids, I dont mean to pick on you!) buy on impulse; Oh! he is sooooo cute! I always wanted one. They get an earfull of bad advise from the pet store sales person, spends more money buying the "recommended" supplies (this is where the pet store really makes money) and home they go with their cool new pet which will probably not live 1 year!!

The whole thing boils down to commitment, love and determination.

You have to be ready to pay for expensive vets, replace UVB's every 6 months, maintain several kinds of live feeders, maintain the feeders, be prepaired for having to handle a nurse, swabbing eyes, tube/dropper feeding, pulling weird objects out of their butts, etc etc!!!!

I think if 90% (just made that number up!!) of the people who impulse buy just spent an hour doing research on the net, they would forget about it.


New Member
I agree with the above, a lot of people do impulse buy!! I read for months and months non stop about caring for chams and I'm still reading now and have had mine for about 2 months! I read up on all animals I buy especially my chams and marine fish! But once uv done the research, and got yourself into a routine I think they are a lot easier than they make out! I work nights so it works quite well for me as i am home when he needs all of his attention :)


New Member
The biggest issue I've run into in describing chameleon husbandry is that there is a lot of wrong information out there. People assume they can treat a chameleon like a gecko or snake and get away with it. Or they might have one piece of information correct, but not another. For example, I have seen the screen cage enclosure used - but with tons of substrate, a running waterfall for humidity, and heat bulbs that bring the temps at the top of the cage close to 95-105. So the owner had one good thing (screen cage), but had read that waterfalls were perfect for keeping humidity up in a screen enclosure and that sand substrate was great as well.

Chameleons are unlike many other lizards or reptiles, which makes them so difficult. so if you own a gecko, you can use a few things from them, but you will have to learn a heck of a lot more.


New Member
To sum it up I think they are considered "Hard to keep" because of the misting, UVB and dusting - creating the correct phosphorus to calcium ratio. They are not that hard to keep though... if you do everything correctly. There is just really no error for mistake or cutting corners. If your Ball Pythons heat source breaks you have a grace period where the snake will "be okay" and you can wait until you get your pay check to buy a new one... with Chams you can't. Everything has to be done correctly and expensively. If you take the time to do your research and invest money into the proper equipment, they are actually quite easy to care for only requiring 15-20 minutes of care a day for feeding and misting... even less if you have electronic misters and free range feed. Personally I give me chams well over an hour of attention a day each... but the difficult label comes from doing proper research and how expensive they are to keep not the actual care required once you have done that research and invested into proper supplies.


New Member
thanks everyone, well Im really glad I asked this question it helped decide that i don't think i want a chameleon :) jaja

I travel maybe about once every year or two and as Im getting older Im getting into more things and hobbies , and i travel once every year or two..

. so I think i'll go with the leachie gecko since is a bit lower maintenance and I have someone willing to come in and feed it, while im away 1 or 2 weeks a year or so. I wound't be comfortable knowing that if anything went wrong with the chameleon It could get horrible so quickly like temps, misting, lighting, but the leachie barely needs any of this things on a daily basis so misting and feeding twice a week should do it.

I think i'll eventually get 2 chams a nosy be and and the red-est cham i can find but that's for another day

thank you cham forum
you guys are great !!

and good bye for while
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