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  1. #1
    Registered User Reptile$ 4 Life's Avatar
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    Best "starter" Chameleon?

    Let me start out by saying I AM NOT getting a Chameleon. One of my friends wants a chameleon and I am having a really difficult time convincing him to go a different route like a crestie. This isn't the first time people have asked me about getting a chameleon and I have always pointed them to better starter lizards, but my friend is pretty much set on a chameleon. I will continue trying to convince him to go a different route, but if I can't, what would be considered the best "starter" chameleon or what's the hardiest chameleon?

    Again this animal is not for me! Just trying to do what's best for my friend and any animal he potentially gets. Please know that I wouldn't suggest a chameleon as a first lizard to ANYONE. I can't make decisions for my friend otherwise this thread would not exist.
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  2. #2
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    Make sure your friend researches them a lot. They are not easy, and mistakes kill them fast. Plus they don't live very long and stress easily when handled. I'd recommend veiled or panthers. Jackson's are awesome but are a little more difficult to care for, plus they are often wild caught. Any other species is probably wild caught. What ever your friend decides make sure it is captive bred. Getting an adult animal with a five year lifespan is never good.

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    Reptile$ 4 Life (06-08-2020)

  4. #3
    Registered User Reptile$ 4 Life's Avatar
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    Re: Best "starter" Chameleon?

    Quote Originally Posted by AzJohn View Post
    Make sure your friend researches them a lot. They are not easy, and mistakes kill them fast. Plus they don't live very long and stress easily when handled. I'd recommend veiled or panthers. Jackson's are awesome but are a little more difficult to care for, plus they are often wild caught. Any other species is probably wild caught. What ever your friend decides make sure it is captive bred. Getting an adult animal with a five year lifespan is never good.
    Thanks for the advice! I will make sure to push him to do as much research as possible. I will do my best to make sure it is CB.
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  5. #4
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    I had the luck of living in Hawaii in the late eighties...I was bummed there weren't any snakes to observe but I did get to interact with Jackson's chameleons that had established themselves at Nuuanu Pali Lookout.

    Over the years I've kept a couple Jacksons and a couple Veiled chameleons. I'll skip the husbandry details that are in every care sheet and just cover some things I found important.

    Most care sheets suggest taller enclosures but I found they liked a long enclosure with a couple levels of horizontal branches mixed with fake vine like plants for cover. I kept the enclosures dry and only lightly misted every day when young and every couple days when they were fully grown...it is important that the enclosure dries. I kept the UVB and heat lamp on the same side. Really cool to watch them elongate from belly to back and turn their side to the lamp in order to gain heat in the am. Nothing on the floor of the enclosure...lots of poop to clean up on a regular basis.

    I had a separate enclosure for crickets...I did this so I could control what the crickets ate before being fed to the chameleons. I fed the crickets collard greens/kale/spinach/broccoli/etc. This cricket enclosure will also keep you from going to the store everyday because they eat an incredible number of crickets and need them everyday while growing. As adults you can skip a day or two. They don't like crickets crawling around their enclosure or on them...it's best to feed just what they will eat at the moment...for young chams that means feeding a couple times a day. Veiled chams like veggies and some fruit.

    They prefer not heavily traveled areas and I didn't touch them unless I was removing them to clean the entire enclosure.

    IMO both species are easy to keep but they require specific care that takes time and effort with as little interaction as possible. I found them fascinating to observe.







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    Reptile$ 4 Life (06-09-2020)

  7. #5
    Registered User Reptile$ 4 Life's Avatar
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    Re: Best "starter" Chameleon?

    Thanks bns!
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