A Pet Chameleon: All Important Things You Need to Know About Getting One

Last Updated on December 16, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

Chameleons are fascinating creatures capable of doing amazing things. They also make for great pets. You would be wrong if you thought they don’t require much work. These little creatures need their fair share of care and commitment.

Want to prepare for getting a chameleon and want to know the best ways of taking care of your pet chameleon? Keep reading this article to learn all you need to know about getting a pet chameleon.

A Little About Chameleons

Chameleons are lizards of the old world, with about two hundred species detected and described. They can change to different hues and brightness, further reinforcing their position as magnificent creatures. They also have independent round eyes that let them see everything around them.

Knowing the best ways of taking care of your pet chameleon is essential. These creatures are known to spend their time alone and are quite shy. Although they are not known to be aggressive towards humans, when kept as a pet, the owner must be able to know when they feel threatened. They can bite you and discard your affection if you do not treat them right.

Their ability to camouflage by changing colors is an integral part of all you need to know about getting a chameleon, as their emotional state can influence their color changes. The brighter the color, the happier the chameleon is! Besides their emotions, changes in lighting conditions, temperature, etc. are also variables that can prompt them to change color.

What do Chameleons Eat?

Chameleons come from several species, so it is not a surprise if their eating habits are a little different from one another. What they eat is crucial when caring for your pet chameleon, as all pets deserve to be kept well-fed and cared for.

These reptiles are stealthy and have a massive tongue that can be longer than their entire body! This tongue is a lethal weapon that lets them catch insects. Apart from insects, chameleons may also eat green foods. As for what they eat, you should keep a steady supply of mealworms, crickets, waxworms, and supplements to keep them healthy as well.

If your chameleon shows signs of a lack in protein and hydration, then feeding them hornworms will serve as a great fix! Speaking of hydration, chameleons typically get their water from leaves. This requires condensation, which makes regular misting essential.

Housing For Your Pet Chameleon

A Chameleon is an arboreal creature, meaning they spend most, if not all, their lives sitting on trees. The cage you use for them should have a good amount of foliage so that they can climb and have privacy when wanted. This makes your job of giving them a good living space much more complicated.

It is also important to remember that the living space must be large enough to meet the chameleon’s needs. Large species of chameleons need cages about three or three feet and four feet in height. The containers are the best for your little friends. The more the foliage, the more secure.

As mentioned before, knowing your pet’s nature is essential to taking care of your pet chameleon. Chameleons love to hide and reduce stress. Furthermore, they need branches inside their homes, and you should place their home in a place with a high vantage point. The plant you place inside the cage should also be non-toxic as you don’t want to harm the chameleon.

Taking care of your pet chameleon would be a lot more difficult if not for the technologies that make the life of pet owners easier. Chameleons need several areas of different temperatures. This varies from species to species, as some prefer warmer temperatures and others prefer colder temperatures. Thermometers, humidity gauges, and different light sources are all useful tools to care for your little reptile.

Chameleons will not drink water from regular mugs or dishes as they want their liquid in drops. Hence, You need a drip system to give your chameleon its desired water level for hydration. Apart from dripping systems, you can also use ice cubes for the job, as placing some on top of the cage will let drops fall over time. A misting system will also be a great addition as the humidity levels can be controlled.

Creating the perfect home for your pet chameleon is not an easy task and requires you to spend quite a bit. This makes chameleons a hefty investment of both your time and money, so make sure that you can provide before, as this is another part of all you need to know about getting a chameleon.

Cleaning Their Living Space

Keeping any animal in an enclosed space means you must clean the place up every now and then. If you are committed to taking care of your pet chameleon, you should maintain a simple cleaning routine that you follow regularly.

When creating a daily cleaning routine, you should prioritize removing any unwanted debris and waste left behind by the lizard. This includes dead insects, feces, etc., and you should also wipe down areas to give the container a clean look.

However, this simple clean-up procedure will not cure all problems, and there will be a need for more thorough deep cleaning every week. The plants and the entire cage should be cleaned up so that anything you might not have had the time for regularly can now be taken care of.

Furthermore, every year, you should take the cage apart and clean every single part, including all the plants, accessories, and equipment being used. Taking apart the cage and cleaning each part separately will mean that you must keep your chameleon away from the cage, so be sure to find a safe spot for them.

Possible Health Issues and What to Do

Even after having all the bugs and greens in their diet, Chameleons can still encounter some health problems. A vitamin or calcium deficiency is quite common and results from a poorly maintained diet. In addition to that, chameleons can succumb to stomatitis or mouth rot. This infection around the mouth causes excess drooling of saliva and the areas around the mouth to become red.

Another disease that you might encounter while taking care of your pet chameleon is metabolic bone disease. This makes the bones spongy, and they may also look lethargic and lose their appetite. This disease can be fatal for them so finding appropriate treatment is a must! Live insects left inside their homes can also attack them and cause infections.

Chameleons are stress-prone creatures, and experts have said that sickness and diseases have a higher chance of infecting them when they are under extreme stress. For this very reason, you should learn about understanding their anxiety levels. One way of controlling this is by minimizing the changes in their environment. After all, everyone is afraid of new things at first.

The best solution available to you when being faced with any medical condition is to see a doctor. Similarly, for chameleons and all reptiles in general, it is the best course of action to take them to a veterinarian who is well trained to treat reptiles.

Before talking to a professional, you should not try any home remedies. Otherwise, you might do more damage by accident. This, too, will be quite expensive as seeking a veterinarian who is an expert with chameleons may not be found as frequently as those who treat other animals such as dogs and cats.

That being said, you need to make an effort to register your chameleon to a doctor as quickly as possible, regardless of the cost and the distance you may need to travel, as you never know when danger can strike. You should also take them for a regular check-up every once in a while.

Choosing the Right Chameleon to Bring Home

As mentioned before, there are several different species of chameleons, so doing extensive research is an essential measure before bringing one home. These creatures stress very quickly, so knowing the best ways of taking care of your pet chameleon should be a pre-requirement.

Chameleons are not the boldest of creatures by a mile, so they don’t like much change. This is precisely why you should choose a chameleon that has been bred in captivity. If a wild specimen is brought in, it may carry parasites and be highly stressed in the entrapped environment, regardless of how generous you are with spending. Any animal brought in from the wild will struggle to adapt to its new environment.

If a chameleon is captured and shipped, the entire process will be an extremely stressful experience, even if the process is regulated strictly. This can even result in the death of animals before they can even arrive at the pet stores.

After you have confirmed that the chameleon is bred in captivity, you should ensure they are healthy. Check how active they are, if they can change colors often, and have a strong physical body. Furthermore, the chameleon should have a good grip, straight limbs, bright eyes, and a healthy patch of skin. After all, the worst can happen when you bring in a lizard who was poorly taken care of.

Recommended Types of Chameleons

Chameleons are beautiful creatures people wish to take home with them and make a part of their family. However, a simple wish to do so will not automatically teach you how to take care of your pet chameleon.

Chameleons in general are not completely beginner friendly and have a lot of complex needs. This is another incredibly large part of all you need to know about getting a pet chameleon. However, some are known to be the better choices for beginners and experts alike, so let us take a look a some of the options.

The Veiled Chameleons

These are common recommendations for beginner reptile owners as they can adapt to their new living space without much problem. Chameleons will always be hard to take care of due to their intense complexities, especially when managing stress.

This is why the veiled chameleons are recommended as adapting quickly can cause fewer problems for you later on. These reptiles live for eight years or so, depending on how well they are cared for.

Senegal Chameleons

These are known as the easiest chameleons to take care of at home. Senegal chameleons live for about five years and are susceptible to changes in their environment. That being said, it is a recurring theme here that these reptiles are also not a complete breeze to take care of. They also don’t like to be handled, so you might want to avoid playing with them.

Panther Chameleons

These chameleons are massive in size (about a foot in length) and are known for their incredible display of vibrant colors in their skin. Panther chameleons do not live that long and are known to be territorial creatures. Regardless of the struggles, people still enjoy caring for them as they are often mesmerized by the outstanding visuals.

In Conclusion

The key takeaway is that chameleons are not easy pets to take care of. They need constant help with all their activities and will look to you for it. If you are still keen on getting a chameleon, then learning the best ways of taking care of your pet chameleon is an absolute necessity, which is what this article has aimed to accomplish.

We hope that we have fulfilled our purpose by educating you about all you need to know about getting a chameleon. Here’s hoping that you and your pet can both prosper!


What are the Favorites in a Chameleons Diet?

Most chameleon species commonly love crickets, mealworms, and roaches.

How to tell if My Cameleon is stressed?

If you notice the chameleon rapidly changing colors and switching to darker ones, it is a sign that they are stressed.

Can I Keep Two Chameleons Together?

You must not keep two chameleons together in a house, even in separate tanks. Chameleons are creatures that prefer living on their own.

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Jason is a respected home and garden expert and a well-established figure in the digital media industry. He is the founder of KKMediaGroup.com, a leading online platform providing high-quality content on home improvement, DIY projects, gardening, and more. His passion for creating engaging, value-driven content has made KKMediaGroup.com a go-to resource for home and garden enthusiasts. In addition to his work with KKMediaGroup, Jason co-founded FarmFoodFamily.com, a website dedicated to offering practical advice and innovative ideas on farming, food, and family. His entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to sharing knowledge and expertise have played a significant role in the success of both platforms.