What You Need to Know About Chameleons - Old

Chameleon Basics for New Owners

Getting your first reptile pet can be daunting. You probably have questions. What’s the right pet for me? What kind of enclosure and accessories do I need to have for them? How do I take care of my pet? Zen Habitats spoke with Tricia Koczor, one of our gurus and creator of Reptilian Garden on YouTube, about chameleons and what you need to know so your pet can be happy and healthy!


What kind of enclosure do chameleons need?

Tricia: “It is important to consider the size and species of chameleon before you start making decisions on an enclosure. The requirements for a chameleon enclosure vary in some cases depending on the species. Chameleons are solitary animals and should always be housed alone. Even seeing another chameleon in a separate enclosure in the room can cause stress.

Enclosures for the more common species:
  • “The most common species we see like Veiled Chameleons, Jackson’s Chameleons, and Panther Chameleons have a requirement of a minimum of a 2’x2’x4’ enclosure. Bigger is always better though, so another great option would be a 4’x2’x4’.”



(As examples, check out the 2’x2’x4’ and 4’x2’x4’ enclosures from Zen Habitats) 




What are the heating and lighting requirements for more common chameleons?

Tricia: “They all need a heat bulb reaching around 85 degrees Fahrenheit, a 5.0 t5 UVB, and a misting/drip system. It is important to also keep in mind that chameleons need a high humidity while also allowing a lot of ventilation. Screens are a very important aspect of the enclosure when setting it up for a chameleon since they allow proper ventilation.” 

What else can you do to keep your chameleon healthy?

Tricia: “Be careful with any plants. Chameleons do eat plants in the enclosure occasionally, so they should be completely safe if this does happen.”

Plant tips:

  • No mossy vines - “Avoid mossy vines as they can lead to issues if the chameleon accidentally consumes it.”
  • Specific live plants: “Live plants are great so long as they are nontoxic and do not have chemicals or pesticides on them.”

Do chameleons need a lot of stimulation?

Tricia: “Chameleons mainly need to be left alone to reduce stress. Stimulation is something that should be kept to a minimum other than the necessary stimulation of food. They are stimulated by feedings and become very excited. Other than that, they will just want to feel safe in their enclosure.”

There are some things they do like, including:

  • Hiding places - “If they can hide in foliage that will help them feel safe and reduce stress.”
  • Climbing space - “They do like to climb. If you have a few places they can do this it will give them natural stimulation and allow them to feel safer by giving an option to get away from potential stressful situations.”

(Examples of a Zen Habitat accessories for a chameleon includes MagNaturals Magnetic Rock Ledge for climbing)

Do you care for baby chameleons different from adults?

Tricia: “Babies and adults have the exact same care requirements. Babies are more prone to stress and feel more threatened and vulnerable, so it is important to really fill out their enclosures with plants and foliage so that they can hide and feel safe to reduce stress.” 





So, what’s the bottom line for chameleons?

Tricia: “Chameleons are happiest if given healthy gut loaded insects, proper supplementation, quiet living space (away from busy areas of the home or other pets), proper hydration, places to hide, and a clean environment.”

Check out Tricia’s YouTube channel for more on reptiles! 


Zen Habitats offers a variety of enclosures and accessories to suit your chameleon. We would love to help you select the right enclosure setup for you and your petEmail support@zenhabitats.com or call (978) 763-3035