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Home > Reptiles > How Much Are Chameleons At PetSmart? 2024 Price Guide

How Much Are Chameleons At PetSmart? 2024 Price Guide

veiled chameleon

If you are on the market for a pet chameleon and you plan on checking out your local PetSmart, it is a good idea to know what kind of price you can expect to pay for this striking reptile.

Though there are many species of chameleon in the pet trade, PetSmart only sells one species in particular, the veiled chameleon. The veiled chameleon is currently priced at $79.99 per specimen at PetSmart.

If you are seriously considering making one of these beautiful creatures part of your household, there are some very important things to know about their care requirements before you make this commitment. Chameleons are beautiful animals, and they are certainly stand-out pets, but they are not for everyone.

We have put together some information about the veiled chameleon to help you decide if this species is right for you and vice versa.

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The Veiled Chameleon

The veiled chameleon (C. c. calyptratus) is also commonly referred to as the Yemen Chameleon due to its origin in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. These arboreal lizards were first imported into the United States in the 1980s.

Though very little information was known about them, their unique appearance caused them to take the pet trade by storm. Most veiled chameleons in the pet trade nowadays are captive born and bred, as the number of wild-caught specimens being imported has declined significantly.

Veiled Chameleons
Image Credit: clintonwpillay, Pixabay

Veiled Chameleon Behavior

Veiled chameleons are interesting and beautiful creatures, but they are not friendly companions that want to be handled. Veiled chameleons will do best with little to no handling at all and tend to be on the aggressive side, even when they are captive-bred and raised by humans.

This is not an animal that is going to want you to bring it out and pass it around to show it off to guests. They are something to be admired but it’s best to do so from a distance while they are in their enclosure to avoid causing them undue stress.

It is important to keep this in mind before purchasing a chameleon from PetSmart or any reputable reptile breeder. You need to understand and respect their temperament and behavior and respect their needs for minimal handling.

Veiled Chameleon Appearance

It’s no secret that veiled chameleons are so popular because of their appearance. Not only do they have a very unique look, but they also change colors and have impressive casques on their heads. Their famous, long, sticky tongues can be shot a distance that is 1.5 times the length of their bodies to catch unsuspecting prey.

They have curly, prehensile tails that serve them well on their home in the branches. Their eyes operate independently so that they can look different ways at the same time.

Veiled chameleons
Image Credit: _Cathy Keifer,Shutterstock

Male vs Female Chameleons

Males and females have some very similar characteristics but also differ in many ways. While both genders display varying coloration, males are typically larger and longer with a higher casque on the head. Males have a tarsal spur on each of their hind heels, which is absent in females.

The male veiled chameleons typically come in bright gold, green, or blue with bands of yellow, orange, or black. Females are typically green and are not as colorful as their male counterparts.

Veiled Chameleon Size

The adult size of a veiled chameleon depends on their gender. Males tend to grow to a length between 17 and 24 inches from their snout to the end of the tail while females will typically reach somewhere between 10 and 14 inches.

Veiled chameleons are light-bodied reptiles with males reaching 3 to 6 ounces and females reaching 3 to 4 ounces when fully grown.

Veiled Chameleon Lifespan

Veiled chameleons do not have very long lifespans compared to a lot of other reptiles. If captive-bred and properly cared for, females will typically live up to five years and males up to 8 years. Wild-caught veiled chameleons are not as common in the pet trade nowadays, but they typically have a shorter lifespan in captivity due to the drastic change, higher stress levels, and potential for unknown parasites and diseases.

Veiled Chameleon Care Level

While they are one of the most common and widely kept species of chameleon, veiled chameleons are best suited for intermediate and advanced reptile keepers due to their temperaments and husbandry needs. We will go over the husbandry needs in greater detail below.

veiled chameleon on a tree branch
Image By: brasssun, Pixabay

Veiled Chameleon Diet

It is ideal to do your best to replicate the wild diet of a captive chameleon. Consulting a licensed exotic animal veterinarian is highly recommended so that you can come up with a proper meal plan to ensure your chameleon is getting the nutrition it needs.

Most of a veiled chameleon’s diet should consist of insects like crickets, grasshoppers, mealworms, roaches, locusts, wax worms, and silkworms. They are not strictly carnivorous and can benefit from having some plant material in their diet as well.

Some plants that can be provided are bits of broccoli, carrots, dandelion leaves, and pieces of the hibiscus plant. It is vital to ensure any plant material is free of pesticides or any other harmful chemicals.

Talk to your licensed exotic animal veterinarian about the meal plan and quantity you need to offer your veiled chameleon throughout its lifetime.

Chameleons will not prefer to drink water from a bowl, it is recommended to mist their cage regularly and provide a drip system to ensure they can get their needed water intake and avoid dehydration.

Veiled Chameleon Supplementation

A veiled chameleon’s diet can be supplemented by dusting calcium on their food every other week or so to ensure they are getting their needed nutrients. Always speak to a licensed veterinarian before adding any supplement to your pet’s diet.

Veiled Chameleon Health

The health of a captive chameleon is very much dependent on the health of the individual you purchase. It is highly recommended to ensure you are getting your specimen from a reputable breeder who is knowledgeable and strives to produce healthy animals. If purchasing from PetSmart, it is a good idea to ask where they obtained the chameleon.

Proper care, husbandry, and a balanced nutritious diet will play the most vital roles in your chameleon’s health. These lizards will be most likely to get their most common health conditions from unclean living environments and/or a diet lacking the proper nutrients they need to thrive.

It is important to have a licensed veterinarian that has experience with various reptiles. If your veiled chameleon were to display any unusual symptoms, it’s best to have them checked out by a professional and properly diagnosed and treated.

Some of the most common health conditions you may run into when owning a veiled chameleon include:

  • Dehydration – Keep an eye out for the skin getting a wrinkled appearance, it is a telltale sign of dehydration. Other signs of dehydration include lethargy, loss of appetite, and sunken eyes.
  • Respiratory infection –  Wheezing, straining to breathe, and/or changes in regular breathing, excessive mucous discharge from the nose or mouth, and changes in eating habits can be signs of a respiratory infection. This is typically a result of an unclean environment, cleaning the enclosure regularly is essential to avoid this potentially fatal condition
  • Eye infection – Eye infections are a treatable condition that can have many underlying causes. Symptoms include loss of appetite, one or both eyes appearing swollen, fluid discharge, eye rubbing, and one or more eyes remaining closed during the daytime.

Veiled Chameleon Housing

There’s a list of things you will need to prepare for your new pet veiled chameleon to ensure they are housed properly. Exotic animals are not your typical dog or cat, they need much more specific care requirements and it is so very important to do your research on the type of environment they live in so that you can best replicate their needs in captivity.

List of Essentials for Veiled Chameleon

  • Secure enclosure
  • Adequate lighting
  • Adequate heating
  • Water bottle for misting
  • Paper for the bottom of the enclosure
  • Branches and perches
  • Hiding spots for shelter
  • Thermometer
  • Hygrometer

Veiled Chameleon Enclosure

Veiled chameleons are solitary animals and must be housed alone and do best in larger enclosures. Keeping more than one chameleon in an enclosure can result in injury and death due to their aggressive tendencies. As a general rule, an adult chameleon should be housed in an enclosure at least 24 inches long x 24 inches wide x 48 inches high.

Veiled chameleons will need proper humidity for their health and well being. Too much humidity can be harmful due to causing a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. The air must be kept clean and well-ventilated with reptile-friendly screening. The screening is also necessary for the proper lighting to get through.

Substrate for the bottom of the enclosure is not required, paper such as newspaper or paper towels will work just fine. The substrate can become a breeding ground for mold, especially with the frequency of misting. If a chameleon owner were to keep substrate at the bottom it would be highly recommended to find one that does not retain too much moisture and check it frequently

Veiled Chameleon Branches and Hides

Veiled chameleons are an arboreal species, which means they spend their time in the branches of trees and tend to hide under leaves. If your chameleon’s enclosure does not have branches and leaves that can shelter them, they are likely to become very stressed and potentially ill.

Broad-leafed plants such as Ficus and Hibiscus are great choices for the enclosure but many different types of plants can do the trick. Remember to ensure that any live plants need to be pesticide-free. You can supplement the enclosure with some artificial plants as well.

Branches for perching should be larger than their overall grasp diameter but you will want to avoid any textures that could be slippery, as they need to get a firm grip. It is recommended to place them diagonally across the enclosure to give the chameleon room to roam. A perch branch needs to be placed under one of your basking lights as well.

Veiled Chameleon
Image By: brasssun, Pixabay

Veiled Chameleon Heating and Lighting

Veiled chameleons tend to bask every morning. These cold-blooded lizards have to utilize the sun and other natural heat sources to maintain a healthy body temperature. As an owner, you need to ensure you have the proper heating and lighting to best replicate their needs.

Incandescent and fluorescent lights are needed in addition to thermometers to ensure proper temperature settings. The fluorescent lights are needed for the main light source and the incandescent light will serve the basking area. Make sure to keep the basking light at least two inches from the cage to prevent burning.

The ambient temperature in your veiled chameleon’s enclosure should be somewhere between 74 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not allow temperatures to drop any more than 10 degrees during the night.

Chameleons require UV rays to convert inactive vitamin D into active vitamin D for the body to properly absorb calcium. Lack of UVB lighting can result in devastating health effects such as metabolic bone disease.

Veiled Chameleon Water and Humidity Requirements

You will need to mist the plants within the enclosure and provide a drip system for your veiled chameleon’s hydration. It is necessary to ensure you only use fresh, clean water. Doing this daily not only provides the needed hydration but also helps keep the proper humidity levels within the enclosure.

Ideal humidity levels are approximately 50 to 65 percent for veiled chameleons and this can be checked by purchasing a hygrometer.

Veiled chameleon on a tree trunk
Image By: zoosnow, Pixabay

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A veiled chameleon will cost you $79.99 for a single specimen from PetSmart. Not only are they available at this pet store, but there are also reputable reptile breeders that provide captive-born specimens for pets.

Veiled chameleons are interesting and have a striking coloration and overall appearance. While they may look amazing, they are not the pet for everyone. They have some pretty specific care requirements and are not a pet that wants to be handled.

You need to ensure your needs are compatible with the needs of these incredible little creatures and that you can provide the proper home for them to thrive.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

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