Your thoughts on how to make chameleon feel comfortable around you

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have had Eustis for about a month now. When I first got him he was wary of me but he would bask every day and stay out where I could see him. After a couple weeks he started gaping sometimes. I made the decision to take him to the vet to make sure he was alright. I really had a hard time getting him out of his cage. He spent several hours at the vet then I brought him home with a clean bill of health. Since then he won’t eat unless I’m not in the room, he hides all the time in the back of his cage, he doesn’t bask as much. He is in the process of shedding but I don’t know if this has anything to do with it. His cage is in my living room because that’s the only place I had to put him and I live alone. My question is, how do I regain his trust again. I need to clean his enclosure because it’s been 2-3 weeks since I last did it but I’ve been putting it off because I don’t want to traumatize him any more than I already have. I love this little guy so much. I even sit in the evenings with no light so as not to disturb his sleep! I just play on my iPad for entertainment, no tv or anything! he’s so different from the other two Jackson’s that I had years ago. They would reach out to get on my hand if I were near them. I don’t expect him to be tame, I just don’t want him to be so afraid he won’t come out and do the things he needs to do. Any suggestions?
 
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ElliotG

Avid Member
I have had Eustis for about a month now. When I first got him he was wary of me but he would bask every day and stay out where I could see him. After a couple weeks he started gaping sometimes. I made the decision to take him to the vet to make sure he was alright. I really had a hard time getting him out of his cage. He spent several hours at the vet then I brought him home with a clean bill of health. Since then he won’t eat unless I’m not in the room, he hides all the time in the back of his cage, he doesn’t bask as much. He is in the process of shedding but I don’t know if this has anything to do with it. His cage is in my living room because that’s the only place I had to put him and I live alone. My question is, how do I regain his trust again. I need to clean his enclosure because it’s been 2-3 weeks since I last did it but I’ve been putting it off because I don’t want to traumatize him any more than I already have. I love this little guy so much. I even sit in the evenings with no light so as not to disturb his sleep! I just play on my iPad for entertainment, no tv or anything! he’s so different from the other two Jackson’s that I had years ago. They would reach out to get on my hand if I were near them. I don’t expect him to be tame, I just don’t want him to not be so afraid he won’t come out and do the things he needs to do. Any suggestions?
I have a young veiled chameleon like that. Super terrified of me and won’t eat when I’m in the room, he goes hiding when I walk in to check on them or just watch them. What I’ve noticed though is that being around them a bit seems to really help, but also giving them breaks. Which sounds stupid, just hear me out.

I have a padded mat in the room they’re in and I’ll just sit and watch them at different times of the day. I don’t stare them down per-say. But I’ll watch their enclosures or be on my phone while on the mat and I’ve noticed it’s helped a bit. He doesn’t run right away now when I go into the room and peak at him, or go to sit down on the mat. He’ll still sit and bask. It’s a really slow process but it does take a lot of work.

I’ll also handle him sometimes, not everyday and not for hours. Maybe 5-10 minutes to check up on him probably 1-2 times a week and then I’ll put him back. I believe that once your chameleon understands that you’re not there to harm them then they’ll be a bit more at ease. Taking them out for a bit to say, check up on them and see how they’re doing, and then putting them back and leaving them alone. Has helped me with my bonding.

I don’t expect a full on cuddly relationship, and I know you exactly don’t either. Just slowly work it up once more and keep trying. Sometimes chameleons (any reptile really.) need a bit of a breather before you try to bond with it once more.

As for the cage cleaning. I’ll put him in a critter keeper with a stick and clean his cage. I think it’s best for them to get a little bit use to the container and cleaning, and having him out of the way and contained makes sure he doesn’t get hurt.

It’ll take a bit I’ve noticed, I’ve barely had my chameleons for two months and I’m still trying with the younger one. Just keep trying and keep it consistent.
 
My male chameleon,Iggy, is now 11\2 years old and when he came to me he had been traumatized by neglect. I knew nothing about chams but he was fearful so i started talking to him softly everyday at his cage.With any animal to gain trust you must go slowly. I didnt know they dont have ears at that point after two weeks i took him out of his cage and all he wanted to do was climb up high. So be it. I got him a good safe spot. Then while handling him i notice he calmed right down when i hummed or sang to him. so I made up an Iggy song. Today we walk around the block together. I thaught him to come to the cage door when he wants to come out. No more old lady clutching her purse like your going to steal it. BTW when molting they can get very aggitated so give him space during all molts.
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you both so much! I did have him calmed down for the first couple of weeks I had him but I think having to take him out of his enclosure against his will and leaving hI’m at the vets and having that exam then bringing him home has traumatized him. He’s been different ever since. I won’t loose hope and I don’t expect him to want to be picked up or anything but I dont want him hiding all the time.
 
Traveling makes most animals upset and chameleons tend to retreat. Give space and offer treats either from tongs or your hand. Give him time to focus each eye on it. If he turns and walks away hes not interested but keep trying. Soon he will know you are friend not foe!
 

ElliotG

Avid Member
Had the same thing happen to a leopard gecko of mine. It’ll take time. Treat offering is a pretty good start.


My male chameleon,Iggy, is now 11\2 years old and when he came to me he had been traumatized by neglect. I knew nothing about chams but he was fearful so i started talking to him softly everyday at his cage.With any animal to gain trust you must go slowly. I didnt know they dont have ears at that point after two weeks i took him out of his cage and all he wanted to do was climb up high. So be it. I got him a good safe spot. Then while handling him i notice he calmed right down when i hummed or sang to him. so I made up an Iggy song. Today we walk around the block together. I thaught him to come to the cage door when he wants to come out. No more old lady clutching her purse like your going to steal it. BTW when molting they can get very aggitated so give him space during all molts.

Happens if I came to steal your purse but my weapon was… A chameleon!
 
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