Where are Veiled Chameleons from?
If you are interested in Veiled Chameleons, in particular where they come from, you are in the right place. Let me get straight to it.
Where are veiled chameleons from? The Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) is a species of the Chameleon and native to Saudi Arabia and Yemen. It is also known as the conehead or Yemen Chameleon
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Now that you know where the Veiled Chameleon is from. Let me explain more about them. Such as if they can be kept as pets in captivity, what they eat, what supplementation they need, lighting requirements and more.
Can a Veiled Chameleon be Kept as a Pet in Captivity?
Yes, it can and it is also quite a popular pet. For that reason, in this article, I’m going to give you some tips and details of the best practices to keep them.
What do veiled chameleons eat?
Veiled Chameleons mainly eat crickets in captivity. However, if you are going to be feeding them you need to make sure that you get the sizing correct. A general rule for most lizards is to only feed them food which is no longer than the distance between each of their eyes. The reason for this is to avoid choking.
When they are young, such as baby or juvenile, is important to feed them on a regular basis. When I say on a regular basis, I mean at least once or twice a day. However, as they get older you can reduce this frequency to every other day.
In addition to this, because they do not have other sources of nutrients and calcium, you will need to supplement their food. This is done by providing a calcium and vitamin supplement. This can easily be achieved by dusting the insects with the supplement.
For females, this is even more important. Because there is a good chance that they will breed during their lifetime.
Gut-loading Insects for Nutrition
To improve their nutrition, it is a good idea to also gut-load the insects that you feed them. This is done by simply pre-feeding the insects, such as crickets, with nutritional food.
The ideal food for this is:
- Collard Greens
- Mustard greens
What water requirements do they have?
Veiled chameleons are arboreal, which means that they live most of their lives in trees. Therefore, they do not expect to see water handed to them a water dish.
What they are used to is getting their water supply from the dew off plant leaves. To emulate this in captivity, you have to mist the leaves in their enclosure.
To achieve this simply water spray the enclosure (Misting) at least a couple of times a day to make sure that the leaves and plants are well covered.
Another option is to provide a dripping system. This dripping system will allow you to automate the misting of the leaves. Using one of these gizmos, it will drop in water on a regular basis to make sure that the leaves stay misted.
What is the ideal housing for the veiled Chameleon?
Generally speaking, you shouldn’t really provide a glass terrarium for a veiled chameleon (Click here to see how often chameleons shed). This is mainly because of their need for ventilation.
Ideally, you should provide them with a mesh enclosure. Ideally made from PVC. You can avoid the metal or fiberglass versions PVC is adequate.
Verticle Enclosure Is a Must
Whatever you choose just make sure that it is a vertical enclosure. This is because chameleons really like to climb. So, a vertical enclosure is an absolute must.
The ideal size of this enclosure is 36x24x36, but obviously the larger (or taller) you can get it the better.
You can also consider providing an outdoor enclosure for your chameleon. However, if you do this, you need to make sure that they do not get overheated. So you will need to regulate the temperature to ensure that this is not a problem for them.
Cleaning, maintenance and substrate requirements
Regular cleaning and maintenance of the enclosure are very important. If you neglect to do this, you could notice bacteria and mold growing in the enclosure. This can lead to unfortunate health conditions.
To help make cleaning and maintenance easier it is recommended to use newspaper or paper towel substrate.
However, you should avoid using wood chips or any other particle-based substrate. This is because they could easily be ingested by your chameleon and cause impaction or any other related health conditions.
Plants and accessories
To keep them happy make sure that you have a good supply of plants and climbing branches. Just make sure that they are non-toxic. You can also consider artificial plants & vines if you do not want to invest in natural ones.
In addition to this make sure that there is a good selection of branches at different levels. As discussed earlier, the chameleons like to climb.
Heating and lighting requirements?
Chameleons require two forms of lighting:
- Heat source
- UVB light
It is important to provide a heat bulb in a basking area with incandescent fixtures. However, you should avoid heat rocks or tape. Or any other similar heating items.
As discussed earlier they also need UVB lighting. This is important because it helps them absorb calcium and avoid health conditions such as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), caused by calcium deficiency.
If you are in the position to provide natural sunlight then this is obviously preferred but in captivity, this is usually not possible.
One thing to note, these UVB lighting tubes cannot penetrate glass. So, you need to position the UVB lighting at the top of the enclosure with the nearest perch approximately 6 to 8 inches away.
To maintain these UVB bulbs you need to make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and change them on a regular basis. This is because they can be deceiving at times. Even if they still show a form of light, it may not be providing UVB rays, which is the whole purpose of the tube.
It is also important to provide gradient lighting inside the enclosure
This means that you have a contrast of a cool area and a basking area in the ambient area you would best to provide the temperature of approximately 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the basking area, you need to provide a temperature of at least 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This is best produced by having a heating lamp approximately 6 to 8 inches away from a Perch in the enclosure.
How Big do Veiled Chameleons Get? The adult male can grow up to 2 feet in length. The female is typically smaller at 18 inches. Their hatchlings are usually anywhere from 3 to 4 inches in length. They are one of the biggest Chameleon species.
Is a Veiled Chameleon Similar to Piebald? Yes, a Piebald Chameleon is effectively the same as a Veiled Chameleon but has a different color scheme. They eat the same food and have the same requirements.
Do Chameleons recognize their owners? Yes, they do. However, there are some things that effect this. This can be achieved in as little as one week.
But this will vary a lot depending on how you bond with them. How you treat them also makes a big difference in how they respond to you. Ultimately if they see you as a threat, then they will not. But if they associate you with a positive part of their day, such as feeding them, they will love you.