With their beautiful colors, exciting patterns and unique features, veiled chameleons are quite the sight to see. They have tall, helmet-like headpieces and crested ridges above their eyes that look like veils—hence their name. Their bodies are primarily green and have dynamic patterns in combinations of oranges, yellows and browns. Learn proper veiled chameleon care and feeding tips below.
Meet the Veiled Chameleon
Veiled chameleons are relatively large compared to other reptiles, and they are tree-dwellers, spending most of their time among branches and vines. Veiled chameleons are very active during the day and sleep at night.
Also known as the Yemen chameleon, the veiled chameleon is originally from the mountain ranges and valleys in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Their natural habitats within the coastal mountain ranges receive a great deal of rain, and the slightly drier valleys in which they reside have plenty of water and vegetation all year. Lately, the veiled chameleons have established wild communities in Florida and on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
Average Size and Life Expectancy of Veiled Chameleons
One of the largest types of domesticated chameleons, fully-grown adult male veiled chameleons can reach lengths up to 2 feet long from the head to the tip of the tail. Mature adult females grow to around 18 inches long, and the hatchlings are about 3 to 4 inches long.
A well-accommodated and very healthy male veiled chameleon can potentially live 6 to 8 years. The female veiled chameleon lifespan averages 4 to 6 years.
Housing Your Veiled Chameleon
Territorial by nature, veiled chameleons can get stressed when housed with others, so once they reach adulthood at 8 to 10 months of age, it is best to keep only one per cage. If your budget allows, larger cages are better for adult veiled chameleons—something around 2x2x4 feet would be perfect. For a smaller adult female chameleon, a slightly smaller cage would be fine.
When the chameleon is young (under 6 months old), the cage should be small enough for it to catch prey with ease. A 16x16x30-inch cage would be excellent for young veiled chameleons.
Chameleons need plenty of air. Use a cage with at least two side screens to provide optimal airflow for your veiled chameleon. Stay away from glass terrariums because they lack the necessary airflow, causing stagnant air which can lead to dangerous upper-respiratory infections.
A Simple Floor Makes for Easy Cleanup
Special substrates are not recommended for the veiled chameleon’s habitat. The chameleon will spend its days lounging in the plants and vines above the floor, so particle substrates are not needed. Plus, feeder insects may try to bury in them, making them more difficult for your chameleon to hunt and harder for you to clean.
Some people choose to leave the floor uncovered, as this provides effortless cleanup. You can also select something simple like newspapers or paper towels. Just remember to change them at least once a week.
Temperatures for your Veiled Chameleon
Like other reptiles, veiled chameleons are ectotherms, meaning they require both warm and cool places in the cage to properly regulate their temperatures. This is called thermoregulating. Place two thermometers—one on each end of the cage—to ensure the temperature ranges are sufficient for your veiled chameleon. The temperature on the opposite end of the cage from the basking spot should be between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the night, veiled chameleons are fine with a temperature drop, as long as the temperatures stay above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not necessary to purchase a separate heat source for nights as long as you turn the basking lamp on in the morning for your veiled chameleon.
Help Your Veiled Chameleon Bask
Having a heat source in one corner of the cage will provide the veiled chameleon a spot to bask. Create the basking spot with a heat lamp positioned about 6 to 8 inches above a branch or vine so the chameleon can climb as close to the heat as it likes. Place the heat lamp over the screen or suspend it from the top of the cage. The temperature under the heat lamp should be between 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Give Your Veiled Chameleon Plenty of 'Sunlight'
A UVB light that runs the length of the cage is essential for indoor veiled chameleons to get necessary vitamin D, to promote calcium absorption and to prevent metabolic bone disease. Basking in the glow of the UVB light is similar to perching on a branch under the sun in the wild. Purchase a full-spectrum UVB light, place it on top of the screen and position a branch about 6 inches under the light.
Veiled Chameleons Will Not Drink from a Dish
Since veiled chameleons are habitually in the vines all day, they do not understand how to drink water from a dish. Instead, chameleon water sources are found in dew and droplets of rain that glisten in the sun. Replicate these droplets by misting the chameleon’s cage two to three times a day. Always leave time for the shelter to completely dry between misting periods and don’t let excess water gather on the floor.
Live plants will also provide moisture in the enclosure. Install an automatic drip or rain system to add more water. You can run the drip system during the day twice a week. This will give the chameleon big, juicy droplets of water to drink and also keep the plants watered. Veiled chameleons enjoy humidity levels of around 50 percent. To ensure these levels are sustained, measure the humidity inside the cage with a hydrometer.
Veiled Chameleon Diet
A major aspect of learning how to care for a veiled chameleon is knowing how to feed them. Most chameleons are insectivores, meaning they prefer to eat only insects. But due to its natural habitat, the veiled chameleon's diet includes vegetation as well. Veiled chameleons still love to eat crickets & dubia roaches, however, so you can use them as a primary staple in the chameleon diet!
What Do Chameleons Eat?
A big question new pet owners have is, "What can chameleons eat?" Veiled Chameleon food choices include a variety of insects and worms as well as fruits and vegetation. Here is a list of things you can include in your veiled chameleon diet:
|Dubia Roaches||Dark leafy greens|
How Often Do Chameleons Eat?
Chameleon feeding schedules vary based on the age of the reptile. Young veiled chameleons need to be fed twice a day, and you can gradually work up to feeding them every other day as they grow to adulthood. Veiled chameleon food is the same for young and adult chameleons.
Make Dubia Roaches Even Healthier for Veiled Chameleons
When preparing crickets and dubia roaches for chameleons, which should always be on your chameleon food list, the insects should first be dusted with calcium and a vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure proper nutrition. This is especially important for baby chameleons to get the nutrients they need to develop. Put the insects in a container with the powder and shake gently to cover them.
Always Gut Load Feeder Insects
Gut loading, or feeding the insects a nutritious diet before serving them to the veiled chameleon, provides optimal health benefits for the animal. Feed the insects either a vitamin-packed powdered diet or go natural with squash and dark leafy greens such as mustard or collard greens.
Veiled chameleons make great pets for anyone who appreciates observing fascinating- looking creatures as they interact with their natural habitat. You will have a great time watching them hunt as their eyes move 180 degrees to find prey and their tongue shoots out across the cage to catch a tasty meal. Good chameleon care involves correct temperature range, a proper-size habitat and a nutritious, mineral-filled diet. Provide these things, and your veiled chameleon will thrive as a healthy reptile guaranteed to entertain you.
Feed Your Chameleon With TopFlight Dubia Roaches
TopFlight Dubia sells only top-quality dubia roaches for chameleons. We can provide bulk quantities or ship smaller orders for your specific needs, and we offer a variety of options, including 3/16" - 1/4" dubia roaches, to ensure your veiled chameleon gets the care it needs. For the healthiest and liveliest feeder insects, shop TopFlight Dubia today!