Veiled Chameleon

Chamaeleo calyptratus

Order: Squamata

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

  • It is best to keep veiled chameleons individually in their own enclosures after they reach sexual maturity at around 8 to 10 months of age, to avoid potential stress and fighting.
  • Veiled chameleons do best in screen-sided enclosures because of the increased airflow. Ideal size is 2 feet wide by 2 feet long by 4 feet tall.
  • Enclosure should be furnished with medium-sized, vertical vines and foliage for the chameleons to hide in. Synthetic plants or non-toxic plants such as Ficus, Schefflera, Hibiscus and Pothos can be used; the live plants will provide cover and also help to maintain humidity inside the enclosure.
  • Temperature, Humidity, & Lighting:
    • Temperature: Prefer daytime temperatures between 75-85 degrees F; basking a basking spot of approximately 85 to 95 F
    • Humidity:
    • Lighting: 12 hr cycle
  • Substrate:
  • A misting system or drip watering system should be employed to provide hydration.

Diet Requirements

  • Crickets that are as long as your chameleon’s head is wide. Should be gut-loaded and supplement your crickets with calcium (1x/week) and vitamins (2-3x/week).

Veterinary Concerns

  • Being arboreal, veiled chameleons do not typically encounter standing water such as that found inside a water dish. As a result, they typically do not recognize dishes as a source of drinking water. They drink water from morning dew and rain that has fallen onto leaves, so it is important to mist your veiled chameleon enclosure with a spray bottle twice a day for approximately two minutes, including all the leaves and branches in the enclosure.

Notes on Enrichment & Training

  • Check out the Reptelligence Facebook page and Reptelligence website for enrichment and training inspiration.
  • Advancing Herpetological Husbandry July 2018 Quarterly Newsletter- Article Environmental Enrichment for Reptiles By Charlotte James
  • On the AZA Ambassador Animal Network, one person stated that they had decent amount of success training and using individuals for in house presentations, if taken off ground they remained in the large portable habitat. They started their handling process by baiting them on their hand and feeding them there. This gradually led them to only feeding them while in hand. Over time they began to walk on to their hand on their own and eventually conditioned the animals to moving around the room.

Other

Colony or Breeding Management

Notes species is housed or managed socially or for breeding purposes.

Individual Identification

Dimorphism or practiced ways to individually mark species (such as those in colonies, like giant millipedes).

Programmatic Information

Transportation

Temperature Guidelines

 

Crating:

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Tips on Presentation

  • On the AZA Ambassador Animal Group, one person recommends doing on exhibit animal feeding demonstrations. They reported having success with guests.

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling

  • This species is known for being delicate and can have problems with over handling. On the AZA Ambassador Animal Group, one person reported success with handling when limited to 20 minutes max with experienced handlers.

Potential Messaging

Acquisition Information

 

Comments from the Rating System

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat

This species is native to the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It lives in a variety of habitats – mountains, desert plains and river valleys. They are arboreal and live in bushes and trees in preferred habitats.

Physical Description

Adult male veiled chameleons may reach a total length of 2 feet, and females can attain approximately 18 inches, making the veiled chameleon one of the larger chameleon species seen in captivity. Hatchling veiled chameleons are approximately 3 to 4 inches in total length.

Life Cycle

Male veiled chameleon can be expected to live six to eight years. Females, on the other hand, usually average four to six years.

Behavior

 

Threats and Conservation Status

 

Did you know…

Photographs

Cover Photo:CATHY KEIFER/SHUTTERSTOCK

Documents

Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.

Contributors and Citations

Reptiles Magazine