Basic Care: Veiled Chameleons

The veiled chameleon, Chamaeleo calyptratus, make interested but delicate pets. These solitary, slow moving lizards prefer to live alone and capture insect prey using their very long tongues.  They can change colors from bright green to nearly black based on their mood and temperatures.

Natural History:

Veiled chameleons originate from the sandy deserts and dry grasslands of Yemen, Aden, and southwestern Saudi Arabia.
Special Characteristics: Adult males can be distinguished from females by their large casques or crests on their heads. As juveniles, the best way to tell the sex is to look for small "spurs" located at the back end of the hind feet, which are only found on males. 
Size: Up to 24" in length

Captive Care Requirements:


Veiled chameleons do best kept alone, especially males who will become quite aggressive with one another. Glass aquariums are discouraged for this species because they don't provide enough ventilation and the glass often causes the animals a lot of stress. Screen cages are preferred. 

Cage Size

Babies:  16"x16"x30"
Adults: Minimum 18"x18"x3'


Coconut fiber or Cypress Mulch approx. 3-4 inches in depth kept semi-moist.   

Cage Furnishings

Branches for climbing, live plants such as ficus provide excellent climbing and leaves are edible.  A fishbowl with a branch suspended above it makes an excellent way to contain feeder insects so they cannot escape into the cage or hide from the chameleon. 


80-90 degrees F, with a basking area of 95-100 degrees F. For more information on heating, click here


UVB lighting require. For more information on UVB lighting, click here


Veiled chameleons are for the most part insectivores, meaning the bulk of their diet is insects. However, this species is known to nibble on foliage from time to time. Providing a live ficus tree within the enclosure will give them the opportunity to eat greenery if they wish. Otherwise, these lizards should be fed a variety of feeder insects daily.  Select a variety of the following: Crickets, Mealworms, Superworms, Phoenix Worms/Calciworms* (Black Fly Larvae), Waxworms, Horn Worms, Silkworms*, and Feeder Roaches*.
* - highly nutritious


Supplementation with both a calcium supplement and Multivitamin with Vitamin A (Retinol) are required. For more information, click here

Disinfection and Cleaning

Droppings should be removed as soon as possible. Disinfect enclosures regularly using a mixture of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 cup of water, make sure to rinse thoroughly after. Bowls should be disinfected at least weekly. Disinfect the entire habitat every 1 to 2 months again rinsing it thoroughly with water and allowing it to air out for at least an hour before returning your pet to the enclosure.