5 Best Pet Chameleons for Handling: Expert Picks for Beginners

Do you know how many species are out there of chameleons? More than hundreds. And how many of them are the best for beginners, especially for those who believe that handling them is a tough nut to crack? Well, we bet you don’t. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have come here searching for them. So, which one are they exactly?

Well, there are 5 chameleons considered best for beginners as they’re comparatively convenient to handle. The names are Veiled, Jackson’s, Panther, Oustalet’s, and Carpet Chameleons. So, if you’re simply a rookie with chameleons, you’ll surely find them perfect for you because they’re not only easy to handle but also great in coloration.

But what has made these five the toppers of this game? Well, that’s what we’re about to reveal in this article of ours.

Top 5 Best Pet Chameleons for Beginners

There’s no way to deny that these color shifters know how to impress anyone with their unique features. But it’s also their uniqueness that has made them a tough pet to keep up with. Hold on! That doesn’t mean you can’t pick them as your new pet, even if you’ve got zero experience with them. All you have to do is just pick one of the following chameleons.

Panther Chameleons

If you’re asking for a name that you can grab as your first pet chameleon, then we’d say you can go for panther chameleon with closed eyes. Like lots of the major species of chameleons, this one too, comes from Madagascar.

When it comes to variety in colors, this reptile can easily catch your eye with its beautiful colors and patterns. By the way, you might see some changes on that part, which actually depends- on their geographic location.

You’ll usually see the male ones in colors like vibrant blue, green, red, or orange. But the coloration of females, on the other hand, is often brown and tan with undertones of orange, pink, or peach.

One of the best things about Panthers is they’re good eaters and don’t have a lot of pickiness in terms of food. And yes, most of them are captive-bred. But that’s what has made them one of the best reptiles at tolerating handling. After all, they take the interaction easily compared to most of the other species.

What else you’re going to love about them is they’re not only easy to take care of but also active. By the way, color patterns aren’t the only that makes the males of this species different from the females.

Actually, Males can be distinguished from females by their much greater size and more vivid coloring. Due to the fact that they are quite territorial and would rather live a solitary existence, it is not recommended to house two male panther chameleons in the same enclosure.

Carpet Chameleon

If you’re asking for a chameleon that actually enjoys being handled, then here it is. You might be wondering how a chameleon coming from Madagascar got a name like that. Actually, the unusual and striking color markings of the carpet chameleon are said as it replicates the designs seen on the majority of oriental carpets.

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But that’s not the only name it’s called with. Because of the colors and patterns on its body, this species is sometimes referred to as jewel chameleons, and at times, they’re known as the white-lined chameleons, thanks again to their markings and coloration.

The carpet chameleon is widespread over Madagascar, except in the island’s northern region. This is likely due to the animal’s remarkable ability to adjust to its surroundings, which include rainforests, mountainous regions, and even deserts. However, they show a preference for a heavily vegetated, forest-like enclosure when kept in captivity.

The average adult carpet chameleon only gets to be around 10 inches long, So you won’t have to get it a vast habitat at least. Plus, due to its low maintenance requirements and ease of care, this reptile is ideal for first-timers.

And if you’re thinking about skipping them just because of their size, then know this, they’re amazing on the color part. Isn’t it what you’ve been looking for too? Although male and females come with circles, spots, and stripes, but it’s the female’s markings that are often more vibrant and noticeable.

Oustalet’s Chameleons

Do you have a thing for large chameleons? If yes, then we bet you’re going to love the Oustalet’s chameleon, which you possibly know by the name the Malagasy Giant chameleon.

From this name, you can probably assume that they’re among the largest chameleons on this globe. And why shouldn’t you? After all, they can turn into 27″ long gigantic lizards once they get mature.

In spite of the fact that their coloration can vary, the vast majority of Oustalet’s chameleons are either gray or brown. But one of the interesting facts about the females of this species is they’ve got more vibrant coloring compared to the males.

As these reptiles are humongous by size, the one thing you can’t skip while getting one of them is a decently big enclosure. So, whenever you’re making or buying one for them, make sure that the enclosure is at least 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

By the way, are you wondering what else you need to do ‘exceptionally’ for these chameleons? Well, Oustalet’s chameleons are no different from any other color shifters out there in terms of diet or water, and the only real difference in their care is the bigger habitat they need to live in.

You’ll also have to keep the temperature of their enclosure at roughly 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And make sure it doesn’t go below 70 percent since this is the ideal condition for this species.

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If you’re asking for another reason why you should grab one of these reptiles, let us get you another one. They can simply live for 12 years, which is quite high compared to most of the other chameleons. So, you should be prepared to take care of your Oustalet’s chameleon for more than a decade if you decide to have one as a pet.

Jackson’s Chameleons

If there’s any that’s going to catch your eyes right after looking at Jackson’s chameleons, we bet it’s going to be the horns on their head. There are three horns in total; two are on top of their head, and one protrudes from the nostril. But the interesting fact is the horns that make Jackson’s chameleons so easily recognizable is a male-only feature.

The Jackson’s is a species of chameleon that is indigenous to the woodlands and jungles of northern Tanzania and south-central Kenya. It may reach a length of around 10-12 inches. Nevertheless, despite their small size and horns, they are an incredibly popular pet that we’re sure you’d find in lots of pet stores around.

In spite of the fact that Jackson’s chameleons are typically green in color, they can be found in a wide variety of green hues. Some of them are green with a bit of dark green mottling. Some of them come up with bright green and some yellowish. Interestingly, some of them have brilliant blue tones, and the others got yellowish crests to highlight their coloration.

These chameleons do very well when kept in captivity. Plus, they don’t distinguish much on the feeder insects and can survive on any of them.  But it’s the crickets that are one of the most prevalent components of their diet. Hold on a sec! That doesn’t mean they’ll reject the flies, grasshoppers, mealworms, and roaches that you’ll offer them.

By the way, Chameleons are notoriously territorial, and we all know that fact. But when it comes to Jackson’s, they’ve shown signs of being less territorial compared to the other species.

Veiled Chameleons

It’s true that most of the chameleon owners believe that veiled chameleons have come from the island of Madagascar, just like most of the chameleons. We’re kind of sure you’re on their team too. But it’s not Madagascar but Saudia Arabia and Yemen that are considered as the origin place of these color shifters.

You’re probably wondering why we’ve put them in the last slot. Well, that’s because compared to the species of chameleons we’ve mentioned earlier, they’re less tolerant of being handled. So, lots of the chameleon owners keep them at the bottom of their choice list.

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But still, it’s one of the best species for beginners as they’re quite easy to take care of. On top of that, its skin too has specialized colored cells that allow the reptile to change colors rapidly, much like those of other chameleon species.

When at repose, males catch a lighter shade of green with various shades of blue, brown, and yellow accents. On the other hand, females go for a paler shade of green with a touch of white markings.

By the way, if you too are holding on to the common misconception that chameleons must alter their coloration to fit in with their environment,  then let us tell you something. Veiled chameleons change their hues to signal to possible mates or, when it comes to males, to assert dominance.

When it comes to keeping veiled chameleons as pets, one of the best things about this species is that it can nearly always be produced in captivity, which is a tremendous advantage.

In addition to being one of the chameleons that requires the least amount of effort to care for, these chameleons can adapt to a variety of environments and is fuss-free eaters that will devour any insects that are offered to them.

Why Handling Your Chameleon Too Much is a Bad Idea?

We can totally understand if you want to play with your whenever you get home, just the way you do with your cat or dog. But you need to understand that chameleons are nothing like cats and dogs. We mean, unlike regular pets, they’re not a big fan of handling. Still, some of them will let you handle them, but that’s for a brief period of time. Now the question is why you should not handle it for too long. Well, here’s your answer.


Clearly, chameleons are timid and submissive animals; nevertheless, if they’re bothered in any way, even a little, they are prone to becoming irritable. Because of the annoyance, the reptile can react by huffing, hissing, or even biting.


If there’s anything you should fear the most for the sake of your chameleon, we’d say it’s the stress. Even the modest traumatic experiences, like being handled without their will, are sufficient to entirely deplete them.

Not only that, but even the most harmless of cues, such as a running dog, a staring cat, or even a flying bird, might be enough to set off an anxious reaction in these reptiles. So. if you can’t help the urge to handle it too often, it might lead the reptile to its death.

Before You Go…..

Hold on a second! We don’t know if you’re planning on gifting your kid a chameleon or what. If that’s the case, you better be handing them over such a delicate reptile right after getting some clear idea on whether you should go for it or not.

Don’t worry! If you’re looking for something like that, we bet our next blog can help. All you need to do is just click on Is Chameleon A Good Pet For A Child?

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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