Determining gender in Veiled Chameleon's
is very easy right from birth. Males have a small, triangular
lump on their back legs, right at the base of their foot.
This is called a tarsal spur. You can also tell from their
casque (the crest on their heads). This is a more difficult
way of determining gender, and can only
be seen later on in their development. The male casque
is much straighter, pointing upwards, and can reach 4"
high. The females are more curved, and does not reach
as high. Males will also display more prominent colours;
reds, blues, oranges and yellows. Females take on softer
colours; shades of green, brown and often times oranges.
Food & Water
You want to offer your Veileds a wide range of foods,
to provide a varied diet. Crickets
are the staple food and should make up most of their diet.
You should also feed them mealworms,
superworms. Waxworms are very high in fat so limit this
feeder insect. Veileds will even eat earthworms. Not all
Veiled Chameleons will eat the same insects, so try different
ones to find out which ones your pet likes. Some Veileds
will eat plant matter, so offer some lettuce greens, spinach
and other green leave vegetables. It is imperative to
offer a calcium supplement with the food. Calcium aids
in the growth of their bones, and without it they will
be weak and in pain. Dust the insects with a powdered
calcium supplement every second feeding
while they are young, and 2 - 3 times a week for adults.
You should switch to a multivitamin supplement when they
are around 6 - 8 months old. Make sure this multivitamin
supplement contains calcium.
Chameleons do not like standing water, and will
very rarely drink this way, if at all. Water should be
either sprayed into leaves twice a day, or seen dripping
into the enclosure. To do this, place ice cubes on the
screen and let the water drip onto plants. Some Veileds
will hardly ever drink, and some will always drink when
you spray. It is imperative for young Chameleons that
you spray a heavy mist once a day.
Lighting, Temperature & Humidity
During the day it is important to offer lighting which
creates a heat gradient of 80 degress F to 95 degrees
F. The Chameleon will find its own comfort level by
basking at different levels within the habitat. Do not
use heating pads at the bottom, as this can seriously
burn your pet. Chameleon's heat-sensors are on their
backs, not their stomachs. At night, the lights should
be turned off. You can also use a night time bulb, which
creates the illusion of a tropical nightime atmosphere.
The heat gradient at night should be from 70 degrees
F to 85 degrees F.
Humidity should be kept to a minimum for Veiled Chameleons.
Flourescent lighting should be offered to provide the
Chameleon with needed UVB rays. Specialty UVB
bulbs can also be purchased from your local
pet store. A broad-spectrum heat bulb should also be
used at the top. At night time, use a night blub, either
a blue or red light, which still offers the Chameleon
a heat source.
A full-screen enclosure is a must for Veileds. Glass
aquariums can lead to respiratory diseases due to the
stagnant air not being circulated, and they will be
stressed if they can see their reflection. These Chameleons
also need a large enclosure to climb around in; and
smaller enclosures will stress them. A 3' x 3' x 3'
habitat is best, but larger is better. Offer lots of
vines to walk on and leaves to climb. Try to place some
foliage between the outside and the Chameleon,
as the activity in the room can stress them. For the
bottom, use either a reptile carpet, or a digestible
forest substrate from your local pet store. In the summer
months, you should bring your Chameleon outside. The
sun provides natural vitamins for them that they can
not get otherwise. To help keep stress to a minimum,
place the Chameleon in a wire cage (a bird cage works
great), with places to walk and climb.
Veiled Chameleon Diseases
1. Metabolic Bone Disease: This is one of the most
important diseases to pay attention to and to prevent.
It occurs when your Chameleon is not receiving enough
calcium and Vitamin D for their bones to grow properly.
You will see stunted-growth, soft bones, and possibly
Treatment: Provide full-spectrum lighting, gut loading
the feeder insects with healthy foods, and dusting the
insects with a calcium/multi-vitamin powder.
2. Vitamin A Deficiency: This results in eye problems,
respiratory problems, neurological dysfunction and difficulty
Treatment: Give a solution orally (usually by the veterinarian),
dusting with multi-vitamin powder (2 times a week),
gut load insects green leafy vegetables, carrots and
Excessive Vitamin A: This interferes with their metabolism
in conjunction with Vitamin D3, which will result in
metabolic bone disease. Excessive Vitamin A supplementation
leads to toxicity of their organs.
Excessive Vitamin D3: High levels of Vitamin D3 and
calcium combined will lead to toxicity of their organs.
Also leads to metastatic calcification or gout, which
usually appears as irregular, firm swellings over joints
in limbs, or on ribs.
4. Renal Disease: This is a common cause of death in
Veiled Chameleons. It is due to chronic dehydration,
low humidity, and inadequate watering. Symptoms include
anorexia, weight loss, depression, weakness and sunken
Treatment: Monitor their water intake, making sure
they are getting enough. Shower your Chameleon with
a misting system, or provide a wooden perch in your
bathroom shower. (20 - 30 minutes twice a week)
5. Respiratory / Sinus / Ocular Infections: Bacterial
infections of this type are common. Symptoms include
increased mucus, noise while breathing, open mouthed
breathing, over inflation of lungs, sinuses involved
with bumps and swelling on top of head or between eyes,
eye problems, discharge, swelling, holding eye closed,
sneezing, or a discharge of clear / white fluid.
Treatment: Treatment is aggressive and must be initiated
early. An antibiotic treatment should be administered
for 21 - 30 days (see your veterinarian). Give Vitamin
A, more water, better ventilation (do not use a glass
aquarium), and check all environmental temperatures.
6. Abcesses / Cellulitis / Osteomyelitis: These are
caused by damage to skin from sharp corners in cage,
sharp materials or from bite wounds from insects, damaged
nails from screen, pulling off branches while climbing,
trouble shedding skin off toes. All these will eventually
lead to bone infections.
Treatment: Medical treatment is needed, please see
your veterinarian. Surgical intervention may be needed,
possibly even amputation. In some cases an antibiotic
treatment for 4 - 6 weeks is all that is needed.
7. Parasitic Infections: Intestinal parasites, resulting
in weight loss, anorexia, vomiting, or malformed stools.
Treatment: Treatment is very simple, keep their cage
clean. In severe cases, medical attention will be needed,
so please see your veterinarian.
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