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If you have carefully considered whether a lizard pet is the
best pet for you and then checked out all the various types
of pet lizards you might choose, and you are very sure that
the Veiled Chameleon is the lizard for you, the next step is
to learn as much as you can about the Veiled or Yemen
Chameleon and its needs before you actually go to purchase

When you do finally go to buy one, make very sure that the
one you buy was captive born and bred. Because the Veiled
Chameleon has become very popular, large quantities of
Veiled Chameleons are bred each year, especially in the
United States, so it shouldn't be hard to find captive-bred

The reason it is so important that your chameleon was
captive-bred is that importing wild-caught reptiles not only
depletes the wild populations but the wild-caught animals
usually have a large number of internal and even external
parasites that not only will cause illness in your reptile
but may be spread to other pets. Also wild-caught reptiles
are usually dehydrated and stressed from the way they were
transported, and consequently the health of imported wild-
caught reptiles of any type is usually severely compromised.
Unless you are a breeder who is deliberately seeking
different genetics to improve your stock, don't buy wild-
caught reptiles.

As you should already know from your research, Veiled
Chameleons live singly in the wild and are very territorial
and aggressive to other chameleons as well as greatly
sensitive to environmental stresses. To avoid stress-related
illnesses, individual chameleons should be kept in private
cages out of eyesight of other members of their species, and
probably away from snakes or other animals that the
chameleon may perceive as a predator. Even a mirrored
aquarium wall can bring on territorial stress and attempts
to fight in a Veiled Chameleon.

Choosing the Right Individual Chameleon as a Pet

When you go to purchase your chameleon, you will need to
proceed somewhat differently than with some other types of
pets. Chameleons are shy, slow, and dangerously stressed
when handled, so you shouldn't expect to handle or pet your
potential purchase.

Simply watch the Veiled Chameleon(s) and examine its body. A
healthy Veiled Chameleon should have straight legs and a
well-shaped back and head. Crooked backs and jaws or bowed
or crooked legs indicate metabolic bone disease from a poor
diet, and aren't fixable.

Watch the chameleon's eyes carefully. Does it keep its eyes
open? A healthy chameleon will be watching its environment
carefully if it is daytime. The eyes should not be sunken (a
sign of dehydration) and should rotate properly. (A
chameleon can look back and up with one eye while looking
down and forward with the other, so don't be taken aback by
that if you see it.)

Check the color of the chameleon in which you are
interested. Healthy chameleons will have a bright color. If
the lizard is dark or muddy colored, it is cold, sick, or
highly stressed.

Finally, check the chameleon for signs of mouth rot or other
problems. Put your hand in front of the chameleon and let it
walk onto your hand. Put your other hand gently onto the
chameleon's back and lightly restrain it and it will
probably open its mouth and hiss at you. When it does so,
check for greenish patches or cheese-like matter in its
mouth. Those are signs of mouth rot. If the chameleon does
not hiss when you grasp it, it is possibly sick, especially
if it has other signs of illness.

If an otherwise healthy Veiled Chameleon is stressed or
frightened it will hiss loudly, puff itself up with air and
possibly change color. If a Chameleon does this, don't try
to pick it up or move it until it calms down. Then simply
put your hand in front of it and let it walk onto you. Don't
grab it by any part of the body unless it is absolutely
necessary, because Veiled Chameleons are terribly stressed
by being grasped, to them is it a sign that a predator is
preparing to eat them.

In summary, don't buy a Veiled Chameleon unless you have
researched its needs and know that you can provide them. You
should also not mind that a chameleon is not a pet that you
can "pet" or play with, but a beautiful, challenging and
dramatic animal that will always be interesting to watch.

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