Veiled chameleons are not that aggressive, and they easily adapt to new environments. Their life span is not only longer than other chameleons; it is the longest of all. If you are a beginner, you should definitely buy a Veiled chameleon!
They have a protrusion like a shark fin on their head, and for this reason, they are called Veiled chameleons or cone-head chameleons. This protrusion is called a Casque.
Why are they called Yemen Chameleons?
Veiled chameleons fall under the classification of Reptilia of the Order Squamata and the Suborder Iguania. Veiled chameleons originated in the deserts and mountains of Saudi Arabia and Yemen. They are also called Yemen chameleons since they originated from Yemen.
Veiled chameleons will survive extremely high temperatures and low humidity compared to other species. This is the type of chameleon most frequently recommended to have as a pet.
Veiled Chameleons are the Best Pets
Veiled chameleons can recognize their owners like dogs, and other pets do. When they notice their owners, they change to a bright color to reflect that they are happy to see their caretaker.
These chameleons will also crawl on the owner’s shoulders and change the color of their skin to match the owner’s clothes. When an unknown person attempts to handle them, they turn dark colors to reflect their disinterest or fear.
Do Veiled chameleons bite?
Veiled chameleons have strong jaws compared to other chameleons. They bite their owners when they are stressed, so it is not recommended to handle them repeatedly. There is no need to worry about the chameleon’s bite as it is not toxic or poisonous.
Features of the Veiled chameleon
- Changing color: Veiled chameleons can change their skin color within 20 seconds. The males change color faster than females in all species. Chameleons can also glow under UV light!
- Tail: Veiled Chameleons have strong prehensile tails that act as a fifth foot when climbing trees.
- Tongue: Unlike any other species, a chameleon can stretch out its tongue twice the size of its body. When the tongue is inside the chameleon’s mouth, it is folded in a coiled manner around the hyoid bone.
- Teeth: They have tiny teeth that are difficult to see with the naked eye. Though they are tiny, the teeth are very sharp.
- Nose: The chameleon’s sense of smell is not well developed. They have a poor sense of smell, and they rely on their other senses to survive.
- The Eyes: Chameleons can rotate their eyes at almost 342 degrees, and their eyes move independently from each other. They have a blind spot at 18 degrees.
- The Ears: Veiled chameleons can hear you if you speak at a specific frequency of 200-600 hertz. The membrane on the side of their head helps the chameleon to hear low-frequency sounds.
- The Feet: Veiled chameleon feet are zygodactylous, meaning two toes point inward and three toes point outwards. Because of the divided feet, they can crawl on branches and can balance without falling.
The protrusion on the Veiled chameleon’s head is made up of muscles and fat. They are supported by bone as well, which provides stiffness to the structure. It is not visible in newborns. Once the chameleon reaches a certain age, the casque starts to develop.
Since Veiled chameleons are from desert regions where the rainfall is low, the casque conserves water. When the chameleon requires water, the water stored in the casque drips into the chameleon’s mouth.
These Casques are also used to attract females during mating season. Female Veiled chameleons also have casques, but it is not big and strong as a male chameleon’s casque. The stronger and more prominent the male chameleon casques, the easier it is to attract female chameleons.
Dietary requirements of Veiled chameleons
All chameleons eat live crickets, worms, snails, cockroaches, and locusts. A few chameleons like fruits and vegetables, but it differs according to the type of chameleon and their nature. Out of all the insects, only a few are good and nutritious for chameleons. They are:
- Dubia Roaches
It is suggested to provide these insects as the main course, and there are some other insects that you can feed your chameleon occasionally to maintain adequate fat content in their diet. They are:
You can provide water for your Veiled chameleon by misting the leaves in their terrarium with a plant mister or spraying water on leaves. Veiled chameleons can’t drink water from still/standing water sources. Mist/spray the leaves around two times a day. If you don’t have time to do this regularly, you can buy a dripper.
Size of the veiled chameleon
Veiled chameleons are the biggest chameleon species. Males can grow up to 2 feet measured from head to tail, but female Veiled chameleons will only grow to 18 inches.
The male Veiled chameleon will weigh between 0.1 – 0.2 kg, and the female Veiled chameleon will weigh between 0.9 – 0.12kg. Using their size and weight, we can differentiate between male and female Veiled chameleons.
Shedding in Veiled Chameleon
Shedding is a standard process for all reptiles. Young chameleons shed once every 3 to 4 weeks, and adult chameleons shed once every two months.
This process helps them to stay clean, and it also indicates that your chameleon is growing. Apart from shedding their skin as a part of growth, Veiled chameleons shed their skin when stressed.
Supplements for Veiled Chameleons
It is not enough to provide tasty food for your chameleon; you have to keep your pet healthy as well. In this case, you would require additional vitamin and calcium supplements. The essential supplements required for your chameleon are:
- Calcium without D3 – 3 to 4 days a week for a male and 4 to 5 days a week for a female
- Calcium with D3 – Once a month
- Multivitamins – Once a month
Which cages are suitable for Veiled chameleons?
Chameleons are sensitive reptiles. We need to keep their surroundings comfortable for them. Chameleon cages should be taller than wider because chameleons like to climb. They won’t spend any time on the ground.
Veiled chameleons won’t pass the mirror test, which means they get aggressive by looking at their reflection on the mirror. It is because of this reason a glass cage is not suitable for the Veiled chameleon.
Apart from glass cages, any other type of cage is suitable for them. But a hybrid cage is most recommended for a Veiled chameleon with a combination of glass(minimum) and screen(maximum).
Male and female veiled chameleon
Male Veiled chameleons are more colorful than female chameleons. Both the male and female chameleon are green in color, but they have few spots on them.
The colors of the spots on the male Veiled chameleon are brown, orange, white, purple, and sometimes yellow. The color of the spots on the female chameleon is white.
The female Veiled chameleon is more colorful during mating season than the male in order to attract them. During the gestation period, female chameleons are usually dark green with yellow and blue spots.
Only the male Veiled chameleon has tarsal spurs behind their hind leg. Even male hatchlings have spurs. Using this feature we can differentiate between the male and female Veiled chameleon.
Veiled Chameleons are the breed most frequently associated with hissing. Hissing is a way of expressing their mood. Below are a few reasons why chameleons hiss.
- Feels threatened
- When they see other chameleons
Male chameleons hiss more often than female chameleons. Female chameleons often hiss when they are pregnant and want to protect themselves from others.
It is normal for all reptiles to hiss, but when your pet hisses, the only thing you should do is back off!
Reproduction in Veiled Chameleon
Most Veiled chameleons will be sexually mature after five months, but it is always recommended to breed after 9-10 months.
If the male chameleon is ready to mate, it will change to bright color while the female chameleon will be a subdued color. During mating season, their color will remain consistent.
When the Veiled chameleon is not ready to mate, and a female chameleon is placed in its territory, the male will threaten the female to leave his territory.
The male won’t mate without the female’s willingness. When the female signals her willingness, the male will mount the female chameleon and insert one of the two hemi-penises into her.
Female Veiled chameleons lay eggs by digging a tunnel in the sand. The number of eggs a female Veiled chameleon can lay is between 20 and 200. The baby chameleons take 6 to 9 months to hatch.
Breeding of Veiled Chameleon
Don’t breed chameleons too often. It is not good for your female chameleons since they become weak during pregnancy, and it reduces their life span. Breed your chameleons every 3 to 4 years. Pregnancy is one of the reasons why female chameleons have a shorter life span than male chameleons.
Pregnancy is an important phase for female chameleons where they frequently become protective and stressed. If you are attentive and take care of her properly, your chameleon and the babies will live healthy lives.
The disease which affects female Veiled Chameleon
Chameleons reproduce by laying eggs. Sometimes, chameleons have a problem with being egg bound or egg retained. This is a situation where the egg is stuck inside the female chameleon.
It can also occur when the chameleon lays a clutch of eggs, but not all are released. This is a rare and dangerous situation. It may lead to death for your pet chameleon.
If you suspect your female chameleon is egg-bound, take her to your vet immediately.
The most common diseases that chameleon get affected are
- Metabolic Bone Disease
- Thermal burns
- Egg retention
- Parasitic Infections
- Tail rot
- Respiratory infections
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Skin diseases
The life span of the Veiled chameleon
Usually, male chameleons have a greater life span compared to female chameleons. This is because females undergo pregnancies, and if not taken care of during that period, it will affect the female chameleon’s life span.
If you take care of them properly, by maintaining the cage temperature in a range of 75 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 27 degrees Celsius) and providing proper gut-loaded food, the life span of the chameleon increases. The life span of the male Veiled chameleon is about 8-10 years and for females is 4-5 years.
Is it legal to have a Veiled chameleon?
Yes, but you need permission to own a chameleon. It is illegal to take a chameleon from the wild. But they are allowed to be kept, bred, and sold.
To own a chameleon, you need permission or CITES papers. But some breeds of chameleons are still not allowed to be bred, bought, and sold with CITES papers. They are illegal to keep as a pet. CITES lists all the types of chameleons on endangered lists, which means you won’t be able to keep them. But the IUCN states that these chameleons are stable in the environment, and chameleons are the least concerned.