A chameleon is an interesting choice of pet, and many people are opting to keep them at home instead of common household pets such as cats and dogs. Chameleons might be small, but they are not the easiest pets to have; you must be ready to take good care of them. As a beginner, there are a few things you need to know about chameleons before you make that trip to the pet store.
So, do chameleons make good pets for beginners? Chameleons are good pets for everyone, beginner or experienced. However, it will not be an easy experience for a beginner when taking care of a chameleon. Just a few mistakes and your chameleon will become stressed, which can cause health complications. However, there are various ways through which you can make your experience of keeping a chameleon as a beginner easy. They include picking the correct species to choose a captive-bred species.
How long your pet stays with you depends on how good you are taking care of it. As a new owner, you need to research chameleons before taking one home. Read on to find if chameleons are friendly, if they like being handled, and if they are good for beginners.
Chameleons are beautiful pets and developing a close relationship with them is a dream of every owner. When you take that chameleon home from the pet store, you might be thinking of developing a strong friendship with your new pet right away.
Chameleons are not friendly animals. They prefer to live alone, far away from other animals and human beings. In the wild, you will not find two chameleons spending time together unless it is mating season. However, most chameleons are not aggressive and will not go out of their way to fight other animals.
When you pick a chameleon at the pet store and take it home, do not expect it to warm up to you immediately. If you are looking for a pet that would greet you every time you walk by, you will need to manage your expectation if your pet is a chameleon.
Chameleons are territorial animals, and they prefer to keep their space. When you take a chameleon home from the pet store, it will treat its cage as its territory and will show aggressiveness to any animal or person that goes near it.
Veiled chameleons are the most territorial and will hiss and puff up their bodies anytime you go near the cage. Panther chameleons are the least aggressive but will still show aggressiveness if someone goes near their cage.
However, there are exceptions, and you can find a friendly chameleon. Like humans, Chameleons have personalities, some are social, and some are loners. It is down to luck on which chameleon you will take home. You might choose one that will like to spend time with you, or you might choose one that would not allow you to go near its cage.
You can tell a chameleon is friendly by observing its color. If it’s dark colors, then your chameleon does not like being around people. You can also tell a chameleon is friendly by taking it out of its cage. If the chameleon remains calm, then it is friendly. If the chameleon freaks out by hissing and puffing its body, then it is not friendly.
However, the best method of checking a chameleon’s friendliness is holding it, and if it remains calm, you might have a friendly chameleon. If it tries to get away from you, you b should choose another chameleon.
There are ways to make your chameleon more friendly. You can try to feed it from your hand. Hand-feeding builds trust, and the chameleon will start to associate you with food every time you go near its cage. You should also avoid moving too fast when near the cage. You should avoid picking your chameleon from above. That movement frightens them because their predators usually attack from above.
Do Chameleons Like To Be Handled?
Sitting on the couch together with your pet can be nice. It is easy if you own a dog or cat, but is it the same case if your pet is a chameleon?
Chameleons do not enjoy being handled. Chameleons prefer to be left alone, and physical contact is not something they yearn for. As long as you feed them and provide a conducive environment, they will be happy. If you approach a chameleon to pick it up, it will show some resistance. Chameleons are like goldfish; you can keep them in your home and enjoy their presence, but you cannot touch or hold them.
Chameleons are very cautious, and they treat human beings as a threat. Chameleons lack the agility and speed to move away from a threat. They use other means to protect themselves. They can hiss, puff up their bodies or bite to protect themselves. Years of evolution have made chameleons cautious, and they cannot lose this trait even if they are kept in a cage for a long time.
Some chameleons will let you handle them, but their change in behavior is not permanent. At any moment, a chameleon might start being aggressive when you want to hold it. You should not force to handle your chameleon, and if it does not want to be held, you should let it be. Forceful and too much handling can be stressful for your chameleon. It might stop eating and drinking water, which is detrimental to its health. Keep the handling at a minimum until your chameleon changes its mood.
Your chameleon has several ways of letting you know it does not like being handled. One of them is walking away, it will start to walk away, and, sometimes, it will walk all over your hand. People mistake this for friendliness, and your chameleon sees your stretched hand as a means of getting away from their cage. Your chameleon will also change its color to dark. The dark color indicates they are in a bad mood. If you get too close, it will start to hiss, puff, and lunge at you.
5 Tips For Beginners Rearing Chameleons
Pet chameleons are popular, and many are heading to pet stores to buy chameleons. However, many do not have experience handling chameleons, and without accurate information, your chameleon might not live long. Here are some tips for beginners.
1. Choose Captive Bred Chameleons
You should select a captive-bred chameleon. Captive-bred chameleons are those born and raised in captivity, usually by a breeder. Most chameleon breeders will train the chameleons to live next to people, and it will be a little easier for them to adapt to living in cages. These chameleons will also live longer compared to chameleons caught in the wild.
2. Handle with Care
You should handle your chameleon with care. Chameleons do not trust human beings, so how you handle it will make them trust you or fear you. Keep your chameleon in an elevated position above your head, and never pick your chameleon from above.
Do not keep your chameleon out of its enclosure for a long period. Observe your chameleon and try to learn its signals for when it is happy or angry.
3. Safe and Comfortable Environment
Provide your chameleon with a good environment. Ensure the cage is big enough with plants to provide a hiding place if your chameleon is scared. You should include features that make your chameleons comfortable such as basking lights, UVB lights, and a misting system. Chameleons do not like stress. If their environment makes them stressed, they will not live a long time.
4. Proper Diet
You should also provide your chameleon with a proper diet. Give your chameleon living insects and also include fruits and vegetables in their diet. Make sure you give them food they can finish within a short time.
“Live” insects moving around the cage can be bad for your chameleons. Some insects can bite the chameleon’s skin, causing discomfort and could also lead to skin infections. You should also provide them with water to keep them hydrated.
5. Keep One at a Time
Chameleons are territorial and will not entertain other chameleons living in their cage. If you keep two or more in one cage, they will continuously fight each other, which can be stressful.
The weakest chameleon might not get enough food, and the stress from constant bullying will negatively impact its health. If you must keep two or more chameleons, make sure they stay in different cages away from each other.
Why do chameleons hiss?
Different animals have different ways of communicating with other animals. Some use sound while others use actions to communicate. Therefore, if you have a chameleon as a pet, you might be interested in learning why chameleons hiss.
Chameleons hiss to show their various emotions. Chameleons are very territorial, and if another chameleon or human being intrudes into their space, they will hiss. Hissing is one way of warning other animals to stay away. There are other reasons why a chameleon would hiss; it can be due to stress, fear, illness, temperature, and anger. You can use the hissing to figure out what is bothering your chameleons. If the hissing continues, you can take it to a vet.
Most common house pets like cats and dogs can communicate well with their owners. On the other hand, reptiles have poor communication skills, making it hard to tell what your chameleon wants. Keep on reading to find out if chameleons can hiss, how to calm down your chameleon, and when chameleons hiss.
When you walk towards your chameleon’s habitat, you might notice it huffing and hissing on numerous occasions. Hissing is a mode of communication for all chameleons use. Most of the time, it is nothing to worry about because chameleons are solitary animals, and it is just a simple way of telling you to keep away.
Chameleons can hiss to convey different types of messages. All species of chameleon can hiss. It is their primary method of warning other animals. The veiled chameleon is among the most common species of chameleon that people keep as pets.
Veiled chameleons are the most territorial, and if you keep one in your home, you should expect to see it hissing every time someone or another pet approaches its cage. Panther chameleons will hiss the least because they are less territorial.
Chameleons do not like to be handled, and when you try to touch or pick them up, they will hiss. Some of them will stop hissing at you after getting used to your presence, but others may stick to that behavior until they die.
If you want your chameleon to get used to being touched, you have to put up with the hissing for some time. If the chameleon does not stop hissing, you have to accept that you cannot pet it, and you will have to enjoy it from a distance.
Hissing is usually the first step when a chameleon wants to warn another animal or human being. A chameleon will hiss for a certain amount of time, and if you do not heed the warning, they might puff up their bodies. Puffing up their bodies is a way of making themselves appear bigger and scare away other animals. Chameleons rarely bite their owners or other animals, but they usually resort to biting if their warnings go unheeded.
How Do You Calm a Chameleon Down?
At times, chameleons do hiss when angered and anxious. As a pet owner, you have to find ways to calm down your chameleon if it has been hissing for some time.
One thing you should do to calm down your chameleon is to provide it with a safe and comfortable environment. Fear and discomfort are things that will make your chameleon hiss, and you have to ensure that its habitat is safe and comfortable.
Make sure the cage is large enough for the chameleon to roam around. Ensure that the habitat has a comfortable temperature and other helpful features such as water ponds and branches to make the chameleon feel at home. Keep the cage in an elevated position in an area of the house with less human traffic and away from other animals.
Another thing to do is keep handling to a minimum. Chameleons are not friendly animals; they prefer to live alone in the wild and in captivity. A chameleon will start to hiss when you pet it a lot. Too much touching and petting can lead to stress and poor health, and the chameleon will always be in a bad mood if you approach its cage.
Only handle your chameleon when necessary, like cleaning the habitat or taking it to the vet. If your chameleon appears calm when you touch it, you can hold it but do not overdo it.
You can check and treat injuries and illnesses. Sometimes, an injury or illness can cause your chameleon some discomfort. Your chameleon might keep hissing until the pain or illness goes away. If you suspect that your chameleon is sick or injured, you should take it to a veterinarian immediately. You should also clean the chameleon’s enclosure and replace the water bowl to prevent it from getting infected with diseases.
Another thing you can do to calm your chameleon down is providing it a means to bask. Chameleons are cold-blooded animals and require an outside heat source to keep their bodies warm. Without basking, your chameleon will have difficulty digesting its food and might develop the metabolic bone disease.
Also, indigestion can cause your chameleon discomfort. It will keep hissing every time you go near it. You can take the chameleon outside to bask in the sun or install a UVB light source in its cage.
You should also keep your chameleons away from each other. Chameleons are territorial and cannot keep more than two chameleons in one cage, especially males. Chameleons will hiss at each other, and the stronger one will bully the weaker one for space and food.
Constant bullying might lead to stress and depression, and your chameleons might not feed properly, which could lead to health complications. If you want to keep more than two chameleons, make sure their cages are far away from each other.
One easy thing to do to calm your chameleon down is to move away. If your chameleon starts to hiss any time you approach its cage, you should try and move away. Also, you should always move slowly when approaching the cage since fast movements tend to make chameleons uneasy. Most chameleons will begin to hiss when people they do not recognize approach their cage. Therefore, you can tell your guests not to approach your chameleon’s enclosure.
When Do Chameleons Hiss?
It is important to know what triggers your pet. Most pets will produce various sounds if threatened or put in an uncomfortable situation. There are several instances when a chameleon will hiss.
A chameleon will hiss as a show of aggressiveness. Male chameleons become aggressive during the mating season. A male chameleon will hiss, puff their bodies and curl its tail when aggressive. They will also turn their bodies flat and change to bright colors such as orange and red. Hissing together with the other signs is a way to send a message to the rival male that they are ready to fight.
Another instance when a chameleon will hiss is when they are under stress. Chameleons prefer to live in solitude, and once they are denied that opportunity, they might get stressed or frightened. Chameleons will hiss a lot when they are taken out of their comfort zone, for example, taking it from the wild and keeping it in a cage.
Before the chameleons get used to their new environment, it will hiss at anyone who approaches their cage. You can choose to buy chameleons bred in captivity. Some breeders take time to train the chameleons, making it easy for them to get used to living in captivity.
When a chameleon is sick or in pain, it will hiss a lot. If your chameleon is sick or injured, it will become more aggressive even if it were a social pet. It will decline to be held until it gets better. Most common injuries and illnesses include hurt feet and toes, eye infections, skin infections, and metabolic bone disease. If you think your chameleon is hissing because of a disease or injury, you should take it to a veterinarian for treatment.
Another instance when a chameleon will hiss is when it feels threatened. When scared, a chameleon will try to move away from the threat as fast as possible. If the chameleon feels cornered, it will begin to hiss. If your chameleon backs into a corner and hisses every time you approach the cage, it is sacred of you. If you reach in and try to pick it up, it might bite your hand. In such instances, it is best to leave it alone and move away from the cage.
Chameleons Make Good Pets
Chameleons are as friendly as they want themselves to be. However, forcing them to be extra friendly will cause them a lot of stress. The best chance of getting a friendly chameleon is getting a captive bred panther chameleon.
They are docile and can be calm compared to other chameleons, such as the veiled chameleon. There is no guarantee that you’ll get a friendly chameleon, so it’s best to accept the fact that you might enjoy your pet from a distance.
It is disappointing that chameleons do not like being handled. It could be fun holding them near you and watching them change colors. As a beginner, you should research chameleon traits and behaviors before getting one.
Hissing is a common mode of communication for a chameleon. It will use it when stressed, sick, in pain, aggressive, or threatened. It is important as an owner to know why your chameleon is hissing and come up with ways to help it calm down. If the reason why a chameleon is hissing is not solved, it could negatively affect the chameleon’s health in the future. Remember, most chameleons are calm and quiet pets, and when they start to hiss, there is something wrong.