How to Take Care of a Veiled Chameleon
Thu, April 22, 2021

How to Take Care of a Veiled Chameleon

The veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus), also known as the Yemen chameleon, is originally from Yemen and Saudi Arabia and is found in coastal mountain slopes that experience significant rainfall / Photo by: davemhuntphotography via Shutterstock

 

The veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus), also known as the Yemen chameleon, is originally from Yemen and Saudi Arabia and is found in coastal mountain slopes that experience significant rainfall, wrote Michael Monge of Reptiles Magazine. Veiled chameleons can also be found in arid valleys “with year-round water and vegetation.”

Before, it was difficult to obtain veiled chameleons that were not caught in the wild. It was also a struggle for them to “acclimate to captivity and often did poorly.” Fortunately, more experienced, reputable, and dedicated chameleon breeders are producing high-quality chameleons that can adapt well in captive environments when raised properly or provided with a suitable environment. 

Don’t worry about catching a wild veiled chameleon because they are now available in pet stores or from breeders! Before taking your wallet out, you’ve got to be prepared for what you’re signing up for. 

 

A Brief Profile of the Veiled Chameleon

Adult male veiled chameleons may grow up to 2 feet, while mature females reach 18 inches in length. Hatchlings are approximately 3 to 4 inches long. Males have an average lifespan of six to eight years. On the other hand, females usually live an average of four to six years. When females are not breeding, they are still producing “infertile clutches of eggs,” which can wear them out over the years. 

Adult male veiled chameleons may grow up to 2 feet, while mature females reach 18 inches in length. Hatchlings are approximately 3 to 4 inches long. Males have an average lifespan of six to eight years / Photo by: Jan Bures via Shutterstock

 

Taking Care of a Veiled Chameleon

1. Housing

Monge suggested owners should keep veiled chameleons individually in their own habitat after reaching sexual maturity in 8 to 10 months to keep them from being stressed and to prevent them from fighting with each other. Opt for a screen-sided enclosure for increased airflow. The enclosure should be furnished with medium-sized vines and foliage for your reptile to hide in. Vines serve as a perch for your pet. It will also use them for resting and basking. Plastic plants can be placed alongside non-toxic flora such as ficus, hibiscus, pothos, and schefflera, helping the enclosure maintain its humidity and providing your pet with cover. 

It is not recommended to use a substrate for the enclosure’s bottom, as it may cause impaction when accidentally ingested or they may harbor bacteria. Uneaten feeder insects may also use it as a hiding place. Keep the enclosure’s floor bare or place a layer of paper towels that should be changed regularly. 

It is better to find a more spacious enclosure for adult veiled chameleons. For males, its screened enclosure should be about 24 inches feet wide by 24 inches long by 48 inches tall. On the other hand, the females’ enclosure should measure 18 inches long by 18 inches deep and 36 inches tall.

You can keep hatchlings and juvenile veiled chameleons in smaller enclosures measuring 16 inches long by 16 inches deep and 30 inches tall. You can move them to a larger habitat once they are 8 to 10 months old. Purchasing an appropriately sized glass aquarium is not a viable idea as this type of enclosure creates stagnant air, which can lead to upper-respiratory infections. 

2. Heating and Lighting

Your chameleon needs a UVA/UVB light source. Keep it on for 10 to 12 hours a day, wrote Lianne McLeod of The Spruce Pets, a website dedicated to publishing content about pets. Install the bulbs at least 6 to 8 inches above a perch. Replace the bulbs every six months. The light source will allow your veiled chameleon to bask and regulate its body temperature. 

You don’t need a lighting source when night falls as long as the enclosure’s temperature is “above 40 degrees F (4 degrees C). In case the enclosure needs another heat source, it is important to use one that does not emit light such as a ceramic heat emitter.  It’s okay if you let your veiled chameleon spend time outdoors in natural sunlight. Make sure that the temperature is warm enough for your reptile. Beware of overheating and ensure that there is shade available. 

3. Humidity

Humidity levels should be moderate or around 50 percent. Mist the plants twice each day as your veiled chameleon will be using the droplets as a water source. To measure the enclosure’s humidity, you can invest in a hygrometer. 

4. Diet

Chameleons are insectivores. You can feed them crickets, locusts, roaches, butterworms, flies, and grassworms. Mealworms, superworms, and waxworms should be fed in limited quantities due to high fat content. Let your chameleon consume a variety of insects every other day. Dust the insects with a calcium or vitamin D3 supplement two or three times every week. 

Don’t feed your chameleon with fireflies or lizard ants. Watch out for wild-caught insects because they might have been exposed to pesticides. You can offer fruits and vegetables like slices of apple or pear, blueberries, kale, and red pepper. Monitor your chameleon’s behavior. If there are leftover insects and your pet is too full already, reduce the amount of food. Don’t leave live feed insects in the cage for extended periods of time. They may attack your chameleon, causing infection.

Be sure to purchase a healthy veiled chameleon from a reputable breeder. Veiled chameleons are cool and exotic animals. Be prepared to invest time and money in breeding and taking care of one. 

Chameleons are insectivores. You can feed them crickets, locusts, roaches, butterworms, flies, and grassworms. Mealworms, superworms, and waxworms should be fed in limited quantities due to high fat content / Photo by: EWStock via Shutterstock