Looking for a fascinating reptile that will be good enough to be your pet as a first-timer? Well, then feel free to count chameleons in as they’re surely on demand these days as an ideal reptile pet. But there are hundreds of species out there, 202 to be exact. Which one should you pick then?
Well, we’d say the veiled chameleons are the best ones for beginners. Not only they’re quiet and comparatively affordable but also live longer. But is the peaceful attitude and longer life span enough to call them the ideal pet?
Well, not exactly. They’re much more than what meets the eyes, and in this article, we’re going to reveal it all. Just stick to the end!
Pros and Cons of Veiled Chameleons
No matter which animal you’d pick, there will be some pros and cons. Guess what? Veiled chameleons are not beyond that circle as well. So, what they’ve got for you? Well, let’s start with the good side first.
Pros of Veiled Chameleons
If you think veiled chameleons are good pets only because they’re quiet and colorful, then be ready to add some more reasons to that list.
While getting a pet, this is the aspect probably most of the pet owners think of in the first place. The good news is, Veiled chameleons are the most adorable reptile you can ask for as a pet. Unlike the major lizards, they miss the aggressive vibe which prevails in the other ‘predator-ish’ reptiles.
Not Attention Seeker
There’s no way to deny the fact that the veiled chameleons require tons of attention. But that’s when you’re setting up their cage or living place. They also need attention while feeding, misting, or checking the temperature of their enclosure.
Sounding like a lot, but none of these are going to take all your time, or you’d need the whole day to pull off these tasks. But the best part is that they don’t crave attention. As they like staying alone, they’re not going to bother you for any additional attention.
We don’t know how many pets you’ve owned so far, but we can bet that veiled chameleons are the quietest and most peaceful pets you can ask for. If you’re a ‘silence’ lover, these reptiles are the perfect fit for you. The only sound they might make is while roaming through the leaves, but that’s nothing to be bothered about.
You’d hear from them only when you or something else is pissing them off. Yes, we’re talking about the hissing part. So, if you’re not stressing them out, then there’s almost zero chance of you getting disturbed by their noise.
Fascinating to Watch
It’s hard to find a calm pet unless asking for a veiled chameleon. Actually, they can land a calming effect on you as well. Probably it’s their graceful attitude and steadiness in movement that triggers that kind of feeling. You’ll never see them running in the enclosure. Even in times of stress, they hold on to that calmness, which is quite rare in any other animals.
But what most of the chameleon owners say what they find more fascinating is how they change their color, roam around calmly, grab the branches with their twisted tail and check out their surroundings with the swiveling eyes. In total, it’s an amazing experience to check them out.
Zero Odor or Mess
When you’ve got a pet at home, dealing with some unwanted odor is quite common. But thankfully, veiled chameleons don’t throw any odd odor that you might make your feel uncomfortable. And guess what? Not even their poop omits any kind of odor.
Another good thing about these lizards is that they don’t make any mess. So, when you’d clean up their enclosure, there won’t be much of a hassle you’d have to deal with. Clearly, this is what has made a low-maintenance pet.
Who doesn’t want to stick to their pets for a longer period of time? We bet you do too. Thankfully, the veiled chameleons can live for a long time, which can be something like 10 years and sometimes even longer. So, if you’d take good care of it, there’s a good chance that the friendship between you two might last for a decade.
There’s a misconception about lizards that they’re poisonous. Well, not all of them, at least not the veiled chameleons. So, if you’re getting your first veiled chameleon, then you can be sure that you won’t have to deal with any unwanted health issues triggered by any venom.
Cons of Veiled Chameleons
No living being is perfect in this world, and the same goes for veiled chameleons. Their list of cons includes –
If you’re planning to get a veiled chameleon, you better be ready to put your hand a bit deeper in the pocket. However, veiled chameleons are the cheapest among all the other chameleons. But depending on the sex, age, and color, they can cost you between $60 to $200.
Hold on a sec! That’s just the purchase price of the cham. You still need to spend on the enclosure, plants, misting system, food, etc. So, at a glance, getting a veiled chameleon is more of an expensive adventure.
Who doesn’t want to hold their pet? We bet you do too! But if you’re getting a veiled chameleon as your next pet, then you can simply forget about that as they don’t like being handled. Actually, that triggers stress in them and can lead to different health issues.
Chameleons are quite fragile on the health part. Even the stress triggered within them can lead to major diseases. On top of that, they can easily get injured when there are sharp objects around.
Female veiled chameleons lay eggs quite frequently. So for obvious reasons, they’re going to need extra care all the time. Clearly, that’ll not only eat up your time but will make you spend additional bucks on the health care of the reptile.
Are Veiled Chameleons Easy to Take Care of?
Well, if you’re asking about the kind of ease you get at having a dog or cat as a pet, you’re probably not going to get that in the case of veiled chameleons. After all, there are tons of other facts involved which are not only difficult to sort up but also expensive to a certain extent. But you can ease things up by doing them in the right manner, and you need to start with –
Chameleons are not any fish that you’d put into an aquarium. You need to give them the right kind of home to live in, which are meshed enclosure with maximum ventilation. Don’t even think about going for fiberglass or metal mesh. But if you’re thinking about PVC-coated hardware cloth, then we must say that’d be a good choice.
The material isn’t the only thing that you need to take care of, but cage size is on that list as well. Make sure that the cage you’re getting is vertical in size with a dimension of 18″ X 18″ at least. And on the taller side, it has to be at least 36″ to 48″. Remember, bigger cages are better than smaller ones. After all, these lizards love to climb higher.
If you are looking for a budget cage, I’ll recommend ReptiBreeze from Zoo Med. It’s a 18 x 18 x 36 dimension cage, bare minimum for one chameleon. However, if you have the budget, please upgrade to a larger cage, like the ReptiBreeze LED Deluxe cage. Trust me, your chameleon will be happier!
If you prefer outdoor cages, you can try them as well but make sure that you’re eliminating the chances of overheating. And no matter whether you’re keeping it in the house or outside, you need to keep it clean all the time unless you want the reptile to deal with mold growth or bacteria. You can use newspapers or paper towels with a reptile dirt mixture as the topping.
By the way, don’t forget to install enough branches and plants, the non-toxic ones, of course. You can try the ones like hibiscus, pothos, and dracaena. Artificial ones are good options as you won’t have to take the additional hassles of keeping the plants alive. Some of the veiled chameleons might take a bite on the plants too. So, don’t even think about putting any toxic plant in there.
Light and Heating System
When it comes to taking care of a veiled chameleon, keeping the temperature right on point is more than important. We’d say you better keep the number between 72° to 80° F, during the daytime. When it’s night, you can let it drop to 65°-70° F, but not less than that.
We’d suggest using a basking light to reach the right basking spot temperature. But try keeping it outside the enclosure as keeping it in might cause burns to the cham. Along with that, you better ensure that the cham is getting proper UV coverage. For that, you’re going to need the right UVB light. It’s better to give something like the Zilla T8 Strip Light a shot here.
When it comes to the duration, the lizard needs UV light continuously for at least 10-12 hours every single day. You should put the light at a distance of 6″-12″ from the veiled chameleon, where it won’t have to struggle to climb. Don’t forget to change the bulb every six months. And yes, you can let them have the natural sunlight too, as that’ll also fill up their need for UV rays. But you need to be careful about the heat outside as well.
Hydration & Humidity
If you’ve already researched about the required humidity in chameleons, then you should know that the level has to be around 50%. This is where the need for misting regularly pops up, and it has to be done twice a day at least. Along with that, it’s better to install a dripping system there as well.
The purpose of the drip system is to keep the lizard hydrated as, unlike the other pets, they don’t drink water from any bowl or cup. What they do is drink the water droplets off the plans. When you’re misting the cage regularly, there will be enough water on the leaves for the cham to drink from. To keep track of the humidity level, buy a hygrometer as well if you can.
Food & Water
Just like you and us, the chameleons need the right food to stay healthy. Veiled chameleons like insects more than anything as their food, and there’s a wider variety on that. But among all of them, crickets are their favorite. And why shouldn’t they be? After all, they’re rich in protein and calcium, the two elements in food that a chameleon needs the most to survive.
Don’t worry; if you’re trying other insects like locusts, butter worms, roaches, flies, silkworms, and grasshoppers, they won’t refuse to have a bite. You can also try worms like super worms, mealworms, and waxworms – none of them will let your reptile fall short on nutrients. You’d get more detailed info here on that.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t have to be cautious at all. For example, if you’re feeding them wild-caught insects, there’s a high chance of them getting infected with the parasites, and that won’t be a nice experience for sure. And also, stay away from feeding them insects like ants and fireflies.
By the way, are they only fans of insects? Well, not exactly. You can try different fruits and vegetables, including collard greens, diced zucchini, dandelion leaves, blueberries, butternut squash, kale, and red pepper. And don’t neglect to monitor the lizard’s required food amount and adjust as per need.
There’s no way to deny that chameleons are tough pets to take care of and nothing like regular pets. But that doesn’t mean with enough research, you can’t ensure their proper care. Once you know what you need to do, you won’t have to step back from getting a veiled chameleon, even if you’re a beginner. So, don’t let the lack of experience hold you back from getting this mesmerizing reptile.