Veiled chameleons require spacious enclosures to thrive. Adults need a minimum of 36″L x 36″W x 48″H, while juveniles can be housed in smaller enclosures. Ideally, the cage should be taller than it is wide, as chameleons are arboreal and need plenty of vertical space.
- Screen enclosures: These are the most popular choice, as they provide good ventilation and allow light and heat penetration.
- Glass enclosures: These can be difficult to maintain proper humidity and temperature gradients, but they offer a good view of your chameleon.
- Planter tanks: These can be a good option for creating a naturalistic environment, but they require careful planning and maintenance.
- Substrate: Coconut coir, cypress mulch, or a combination of both are good options for substrate. Avoid using sand or gravel, as these can be impaction hazards.
- Branches and climbing structures: Provide a variety of branches and climbing structures, such as vines, cork bark, and ladders. These will allow your chameleon to exercise and climb.
- Live plants: Live plants not only add beauty to the enclosure but also help to maintain humidity levels. Choose non-toxic plants such as pothos, ficus, and hibiscus.
Temperature and Lighting
Veiled chameleons need a temperature gradient in their enclosure, with a basking spot of 85-90°F and a cooler area of 70-80°F.
- UVB bulb: UVB light is essential for chameleons to synthesize vitamin D3, which helps them absorb calcium. Choose a UVB bulb that emits UVB rays in the 5.0% range and replace it every 6 months.
- Basking light: A basking light will provide heat for your chameleon and help them regulate their body temperature. Use a basking bulb or a ceramic heat emitter.
Diet and Hydration
Veiled chameleons are insectivores and their diet should consist primarily of live insects. Crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and silkworms are all good options.
- Juveniles: Feed 2-3 times daily.
- Adults: Feed 1-2 times daily.
- Dust insects with a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement 2-3 times per week.
- Offer leafy greens, such as collard greens and kale, a few times per week.
- Chameleons will not usually drink from water bowls. Mist the enclosure with water 2-3 times daily to allow them to drink from the leaves.
Health and Handling
Veiled chameleons are generally hardy reptiles, but they can be susceptible to stress-related illnesses.
Signs of stress:
- Loss of appetite
- Color changes
- Discharge from the eyes or nose
It is important to avoid stressing your chameleon by:
- Handling them excessively
- Housing them with other chameleons
- Making sudden changes to their environment
If you notice any signs of stress, consult a veterinarian experienced with reptiles.
Q: How long do Veiled chameleons live?
A: Veiled chameleons can live up to 5 years with proper care. Some individuals have lived even longer.
Q: Are Veiled chameleons good pets for beginners?
A: While Veiled chameleons are relatively easy to care for compared to other chameleons, they still require specific care requirements. They are not recommended for beginners unless they are willing to do their research and provide their chameleon with the proper environment.
Q: Can I house two Veiled chameleons together?
A: No, Veiled chameleons are territorial and should not be housed together.
This care sheet provides a basic overview of Veiled chameleon care. It is important to do your own research and consult a veterinarian if you have any questions.