Caring for Veiled Chameleons

The veiled chameleon is native to the Middle East and has become one of the most commonly bred, sold and owned chameleons of the species. The growing popularity of this chameleon is due largely in part by its’ beauty and they are a hardy species in captivity.

Hence the name, the veiled chameleon will change colors depending upon their environment and even their mood. They are not a “handling” pet and should be considered more as a “display” pet as they will stress when being handled and have been known to bite.

HOUSING
The veiled chameleon requires a ventilated mesh-style sanctuary with a considerable amount of vertical space. Substrate should be non-toxic and should not be material that can cause impaction. Because this chameleon requires cleanliness, substrate should be changed on a regular basis.

Their environment should include non-toxic plants for hiding and branches at different levels to climb on. Recommended daytime temperatures should stay between 80-90 degrees with an area with slightly highly temperatures for basking. Night time temperatures should not drop below 65 degrees. Incandescent lighting can be used for heating but placed out of the chameleon’s reach because they can climb and burn themselves.

The veiled chameleons do require UV lighting or access to natural sunlight. UV lighting is important for the chameleon’s overall health as it helps in the absorption of nutrients. They also require a level of humidity of about 50 percent. This can be attained by misting plants or using a drip system. The misting and drip system is also a source of drinking water for the chameleon as they will not drink from a bowl.

FEEDING
The veiled chameleon enjoys a variety of insects including but not limited to crickets, cockroaches, grasshoppers and flies. As with most chameleons, these insects should be gut loaded and can be dusted with calcium. Gut loading is the process of feeding the insects a nutrient rich diet before feeding them to the chameleon. The insects are placed with nutritious fruits and vegetables approximately 24 hours before the chameleon’s feeding time. When the chameleon is fed these insects, those nutrients are passed onto your pet.

On occasion, small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables can be offered to your chameleon such as leafy greens, apples and squash. Calcium and phosphorus are critical for the veiled chameleon’s overall health. They are susceptible to metabolic bone disease which results from a deficiency in the nutrients they require.

If you have made the decision to purchase one of these magnificent chameleons as a pet, research the species and become acquainted with every aspect of their needs and care. As with most reptiles, caring for them can be challenging, costly and time consuming but the rewards can many times outweigh the challenges.

Sources:
http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=17&cat=1796&articleid=2363
http://www.the-lizard-lounge.com/content/species/veiled-chameleon.asp
http://webspinners.com/coloherp/careshts/lizards/veilcham.php