If I had to rate the difficulty level of keeping chameleons on a scale of 1 to 10 then my rating would be 10. Chameleons are a lot of work and very fragile. So, keeping them as pets and on top of that keeping them healthy can be pretty challenging.
I strongly advise that you do not attempt on keeping one if you do not have any previous experience with keeping reptiles. Chameleons should only be kept and handled by experienced reptile owners.
If you are thinking about getting a veiled chameleon then there’s a lot that you should know beforehand. And that is exactly what this article is about. Here, I’ve provided a detailed veiled chameleon care sheet that should cover most of what you need to know.
What Should You Feed Your Veiled Chameleons?
Veiled chameleons are primarily insectivores. But they also eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. This is less for nutrition and more for enhancing their digestive system to better process food.
Insects will be the primary source of nutrition for your veiled chameleon. You can feed them a variety of insects such as –
- Dubia roaches
- Super worms
Always make sure you gut load your feeders before presenting them to your veiled chameleon. If the food of your chameleon does not have proper nutrition, your chameleon won’t have proper nutrition as well.
Some people have a tendency to feed their reptiles the same insects over and over again. This is a seriously bad practice.
Not only it bores out your chameleon (who doesn’t have much to do inside its tank in the first place) but also it limits the amount of nutrition the chameleon receives. So, always remember to mix up your chameleon’s diet from time to time.
Also, use wax worms as a once in a while treat. You shouldn’t use it to feed your veiled chameleon every day. They have a lot of fat in them. And too much fat intake is not good for any animal.
Plants, Veggies, and Fruits
You can chop up some fruits and veggies and mix them with your chameleon’s insects to ensure better nutrition and digestion. They might also eat some plants and flowers as well. Here are some plants, fruits, and vegetables that are good for veiled chameleons –
- Bell peppers
- Sweet potato
- Butternut Squash
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
There is a possibility of these having pesticides on them. So, wash raw fruits, plants and vegetables thoroughly before feeding them to your chameleon and also before using them to gut load your insects.
There are some fruits and veggies that can be toxic to your chameleon. Such as – Avocados, Tomatoes, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc. So, do proper research before adding something new to their diet.
Supplants for Veiled Chameleons
Your veiled chameleon needs to have proper vitamin and mineral supplements. All reptiles do in captivity.
You are going to need –
- Vitamin supplements
- Calcium Supplements
If you are using calcium supplements please do not provide calcium supplements with D3. You should provide a UV light source in your chameleon’s tank and it will produce D3 for itself. This is the best and natural way to allow your chameleon to have enough D3.
D3 is important as it helps with the absorption of calcium. But providing D3 on top of UV light can cause too much calcium absorption. This can lead to calcification of organs and cause death.
So, only provide calcium supplements without D3 unless deemed necessary.
How to Feed Veiled Chameleons?
- Properly gut load feeder insects.
- Make sure the insects are no longer than the space between your chameleon’s eyes.
- Take a small bowl.
- Put the live insects inside of the bowl.
- Shred some fruits, veggies, and plants into tiny pieces and mix them well with the insects.
- Sprinkle necessary supplement power on them.
- Shake the bowl so that the insects are well coated.
- Finally, let them loose inside the tank and allow your veiled chameleon to hunt them down.
- You are also encouraged to hand feed newly brought veiled chameleons to form trust.
How Often Should You Feed Veiled Chameleons?
|Maturity||Age (Months)||Feeding Schedule|
|Baby||0 – 6||Everyday|
|Juvenile||6 – 12||Every day but 1/3 as much|
|Adult||12+||Every other day|
How Much Should You Feed Veiled Chameleons?
Every chameleon is different. So, there is no standard portion of food that I can recommend for you to feed your veiled chameleon.
But you can follow the 15 minutes rule. Take a bunch of insects and other foods and feed them as much as they will eat for 15 minutes. This should be enough for your veiled chameleon.
The tank is not just a container for your veiled chameleon. It is the chameleon’s home. So, you have to do what it takes to make it as comfortable and natural as possible for your veiled chameleon. Here are some things that you’ll need –
- Heat bulbs
- UV light
- Misting Device
The tank for your veiled chameleon should be at least 4 ft in height and 2 ft in width and depth. They are arboreal which means they like to climb a lot. So, a tall tank is necessary to mimic their preferred habitat conditions.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the perfect type of tank for veiled chameleons.
According to some, glass tanks are better as they retain heat and humidity better. But they don’t provide much airflow which can be fatal for your chameleons. This can be solved just by attaching some ventilation fans to the tank.
Others say that screened tanks are better as they provide more airflow. But they don’t retain heat or humidity as well. Well, this can be a good thing or a bad thing based on where you live. Like, if you live in a very hot and humid climate then this disadvantage can actually be an advantage.
So, we can say that they both have some pros and cons. There are also various ways to make up for the cons that they have. So, based on your living conditions and personal preference you can choose either of them.
As we’ve mentioned before chameleons are arboreal. They’ll spend 99.99% of their lifetime on branches and trees. So, there’s no need to go out and buy any expensive substrate. You can just leave the floor of the tank as it is.
But adding some sort of cheap absorbent material like tissue or easily washable material such as a plastic sheet will make cleaning up a lot easier.
The decorations inside your reptile tank are not just for show. It is also there to keep your pet reptile cozy and healthy. So, you’ll need a good amount of decorations for your veiled chameleon.
They are going to need plants and branches to climb on. They’ll also need plenty of leaves to hide.
You can use both live and plastic plants. But if you go with live plants make sure that the plants you use are safe. Use plants like Hibiscus, Pothos, and Ficus. Pothos are most popular.
I primarily use heat bulbs to provide heat from the top of the tank. The tank should always have an ambient temperature of 72° – 80° Fahrenheit (22°C – 26°C).
There should be a hot spot in the tank providing 85° – 95ۜ° Fahrenheit for the chameleon to bask. These heat bulbs will also work as light sources.
Veiled chameleons need UV lighting in captivity. Outside the sun is a rich source of UV rays that help all sorts of living animals produce Vitamin D3 which helps in the absorption of calcium.
But inside in the closed enclosure chameleons don’t get much sunlight. For that, we have to provide them with artificially produced UV light.
If you’re going to buy a UV light then go for the long ones and avoid the coiled ones. The light from the coiled ones often doesn’t reach the bottom or in some cases even the middle of the tank. But the long ones are powerful enough to send UV rays to every corner of your tank.
You can use a spray bottle to mist inside the tank for maintaining optimum humidity. Also, the water droplets formed on the leaves are going to be the only source of water for your veiled chameleons.
So, without the help of other equipment, you’ll have to mist multiple times a day with small intervals to allow drying. You can reduce the amount of misting required by installing a water drip system. But the best investment would be to buy an automatic misting device.
You can just set a timer and it will do all the misting for you. And if you have a busy schedule this could be your best or even only option.
Handling Your Veiled Chameleon
Chameleons, in general, don’t like to be handled. It can get a lot more difficult as they get older. This is because the older a veiled chameleon gets the more defensive it becomes. Without proper training, you are just a potential danger from the chameleon’s perspective.
The best thing to do would be to spend as much time as possible and interact with them when they are young. Do not force or rush while handling them. This will just make them more nervous around you. Let them come to you.
Hand feeding can make some difference and allow them to stay chill when you touch them. But, even after that some chameleons may still not like being touched.
If that happens don’t let it bother you. It’s just how chameleons are. They are solitary creatures who only meet with another of their species to mate. Throughout most of their lives, they just want to keep to themselves.
If you want to cuddle then you should look into getting a bearded dragon. Chameleons are better left alone and enjoyed from a distance.
Taming Veiled Chameleons
If you really want your veiled chameleon to remain calm at your presence then you can surely do that. But it’s going to take a lot of persistence and patience from your part. You should also be prepared for all of your efforts to not work at all as that can happen.
Here, are some things that you need to do to tame your veiled chameleons –
- Learn the stress signals
While training, your chameleon may become stressed or afraid. Letting them get too stressed can cause distrust and even health problems. So, the first thing you need to do before trying out any form of taming routine is learning all the stress signals of veiled chameleons.
Here are some signs that tell your veiled chameleon is stressed –
- Puffed chin
- Front legs are held close to the body.
- Coiled tail.
- Opening mouth as if wanting to bite.
If you see any of these signs please refrain from making any sudden movements. If you are training your chameleon then don’t pull back or move in. Keep your hands where they are and allow your chameleon to slowly calm down.
- Hand feeding
Hand feeding will allow your veiled chameleon to relate your presence with positive experiences.
Veiled chameleons like wax worms. It’s their version of junk-food. So, you can try luring them onto your hand by tempting them with wax worms.
- Place your hand inside its tank
Slowly put your hand inside the tank and wait for your veiled chameleon to investigate. Do not touch it or grab it. Let it come to you.
- Keep hands below the chameleon
Make sure none of your hands go above the chameleon’s head while handling. This is because in the wild birds are their number one predator.
So, they are tuned to be afraid of anything coming at them from above. So, reaching down to them can freak them out. Instead, present the palm of your hand from below and allow the chameleon to climb on.
- Keep open palms
Keep your palms open while handling so that your chameleon doesn’t feel constricted. This will make them feel safe while on your hand.
Sexing Veiled Chameleons
Telling a male from a female veiled chameleon is a piece of cake as the differences are very easy to spot.
Male chameleons have a larger body and a larger sail. The most prominent difference is that the males have a toe like structure called the tarsal spur sticking out of the back of its feet.
The females are smaller and do not have the tarsal spur on any of its feet.
Common Health Issues
Veiled chameleons are prone to the same sort of diseases most other lizards are in captivity. Here are some of the most common ones –
- Respiratory infection
- Mouth Rot
- Vitamin deficiency
- Calcium deficiency
- Weakened immune system due to stress
How to Keep Your Veiled Chameleon Healthy?
Here are some tips on keeping your chameleon healthy –
- Do not keep more than one chameleon per tank.
- Maintain their feeding schedule. Most importantly when they’re young.
- Gut load the feeders before feeding.
- Dust with vitamin and calcium supplements.
- Maintain variety in their diet.
- Provide a spacious tank.
- Maintain proper temperature and humidity.
- Provide adequate UV lighting.
- Make sure they have things to climb and places to hide.
- Do not handle them too much.
- Keep them away from kids and pets.
- Keep them away from loud noises.
- Be alert for stress signals.
- Let them walk on you. Do not hold them.
- Keep their tanks clean.
If you’ve read through this veiled chameleon care sheet from top to bottom then you now know almost everything there is to know about keeping veiled chameleons. I hope this article was helpful and actually benefits any new chameleon owners out there.
If you’ve kept chameleons in the past then please let me know what you think about this little guide in the comment section below. Also, if you have any questions, leave them down there as well.