There are many different species of chameleons in the world. Among them is the veiled chameleon, which is one of the most popular species of chameleon kept as a pet. Veiled chameleons are known for their easy care and low temperament. However, this species of chameleon has a very short lifespan when compared to other Old World lizards.
What is the Veiled Chameleon lifespan? Females usually live an average of 5 years, while males live an average of 8 years.
For veiled chameleons, 5 to 8 years is the average for this species of chameleon. However, there are some that can even live longer than that! Like with most living things, the better that is cared for, the longer they will live. Here are some tips you can help them live longer. Keep reading to find out more.
Preventing Metabolic Bone Disease
If you already own or planning to own a veiled chameleon, the metabolic bone disease is something to be concern about. Veiled chameleons are prone to this deadly disease.
Veiled chameleons require vitamin D3 in their body to process calcium. The calcium is what makes their bones throughout their body stay solid and strong.
The problem most chameleon owners face is that they do not know the source to get the optimal vitamin D3. Without vitamin D3, calcium supplements are useless and won’t be able to be processed in the body.
With most chameleon owners, especially beginners, they will buy a chameleon from a pet shop. The problem is that most pet shop sellers don’t have much knowledge about a chameleon. All their job as a seller is to make the sale. For this reason, you should educate yourself first before owning one.
What happens next is the new chameleon owner will bring their pet home and place them in the enclosure that’s unfit for a veiled chameleon. This is where the problem begins.
In order to prevent metabolic bone disease, there are two things required. The first one is a good UVB light. UVB lights are needed for chameleons in captivity. In the wild, chameleons get all the UVB lights from the sun.
Some chameleon owners, especially beginners get confused with UVB lights and basking lights. These two lighting elements are not the same. UVB lights are needed for the body to absorb and process the calcium from the food they eat. On the other hand, basking lights are needed to help the veiled chameleon regulate their body temperature.
These two products are available on the market as separate lighting or a combination of both in one product.
Remember, veiled chameleons must have UVB light to survive!
The second one is a good calcium supplement. To keep veiled chameleon in their best health, it should get calcium supplementation every day. A simple way is to feed the chameleons crickets or roaches. Before feeding the chameleon, the feeder insects can be gut loaded with food high in calcium. These foods include healthy greens and fruits.
Another way is to dust the insects with calcium powder. Make sure that the powder does not brush off the insects before the chameleon gets to eat it. Get this calcium supplement here, which is available on Amazon.
Increase Their Lifespan With The Correct Enclosure Size
The enclosure or cage that the veiled chameleon is in can affect their lifespan. In the wild, chameleons have no barrier to prevent them from going places. When they are free to roam, they are less stressed.
The enclosure should be big enough for them to move around, especially vertically. Veiled chameleons tend to stay closer to the ground during the day. During the evening, they tend to move higher up to find a resting place for the night.
Veiled chameleons usually reach their adult size at about 1 year. For this reason, you should prepare the enclosure where they will spend most of their life. Since they will be spending most of their time in the enclosure, it should be big enough for them to move freely about. The enclosure should have plants and trees for them to climb as well.
For adult veiled chameleons, the bigger the enclosure is, the better it is for them. The ideal cage size will be determined by the sex of the chameleon. Male chameleons should be in a screened enclosure measuring about 2 feet wide by 2 feet long and 4 feet tall. For females, the cage will be smaller measuring at about 18 inches wide by 18 inches long and 3 feet tall.
For a baby or juvenile veiled chameleons, they can be kept in a small enclosure. The ideal enclosure should be a screened enclosure measuring 16 inches wide by 16 inches long and 30 inches tall. When the veiled chameleons reach the age of about 8 to 10 months old, they will need to be moved to an adult-sized enclosure.
Increase Veiled Chameleon Lifespan With Supplements
In their natural habitat, veiled chameleons get all of their vitamins and minerals by eating a large array of insects. In captivity, there are not a lot of different types of insects available to meet the veiled chameleon’s vitamins and minerals requirement. For that reason, they will get their vitamin and mineral through supplements.
Vitamins and minerals are an important element for the health of the veiled chameleons. Vitamins help promote metabolic activity and growth. Minerals are what is needed for the development of bones and muscles.
Vitamins and minerals are usually given to the veiled chameleons via insects. However, only a few of chameleon owner can supply the chameleons with all the different types of insects found in their natural habitat.
To help give the veiled chameleons all their required vitamins and minerals, supplements are used. Veiled chameleons require calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B sources, vitamin D3, vitamin K, Iodine, and Magnesium.
Supplement use should be supplemental to a good diet. They shouldn’t replace the insects that they eat. For veiled chameleons, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D3, and vitamin A are the most important vitamins and minerals for the health of the lizard. These vitamins and minerals can be bought multi-vitamin supplements or single vitamin supplements.
The supplements are given to them via the feeder crickets. To give them their supplements, dust the supplements on the crickets and feed the crickets to the veiled chameleons.
Buy Quality Food To Increase Veiled Chameleon Lifespan
There’s nothing better than quality food for your chameleon. The better the quality of the food, the better the veiled chameleon health will be. Good health will increase the veiled chameleon lifespan. For that reason, only buy high-quality food.
The preferred food for veiled chameleons will be live crickets. You should only buy crickets from a reputable seller or store. These places have high-quality crickets for your veiled chameleons.
Around the home, especially during the summer months, crickets are plentiful. However, these crickets may contain parasites and other diseases due to them being outdoors. The crickets might not exhibit any signs of disease when you catch them, but they may cause your veiled chameleon to become ill when they eat them.
To be on the safe side and avoid any health issues for your chameleon, always buy them from a pet store or a reputable seller. These places usually breed crickets exclusively for feeding chameleons and other lizards.
Don’t Overfeed The Veiled Chameleon
Veiled chameleons are known to eat a lot of food. Due to their eating habit, this is one of the reasons why they are one of the largest species of chameleon. Veiled chameleons eat a lot as a baby and they grow fast too during that time. However, as they become an adult, they should not be fed a lot of food anymore. The veiled chameleons can actually survive without food for a couple of days.
When it comes to feeding, most chameleon owners will feed their veiled chameleons twice per day, which is recommended. However, during each feeding, they should only be fed a small portion of food. For adult veiled chameleons, they should be fed 5 to 6 medium size crickets per day. This means you can give them 3 crickets in the morning and 3 more crickets in the evening.
Then there are others who will free-range feed them. Free-range feeding is when the insects are dropped in the enclosure and have the veiled chameleons catch and eat them throughout the day. Feeding this way can cause overfeeding for the chameleons because you won’t know how much they have eaten.
The problem with overfeeding the veiled chameleons is that they get fat from the inside. Their organs will get fat and that will usually result in fatty liver disease. Crickets as being their main diet tend to have a lot of fats in them.
Stress-Free Environment Helps Increase Veiled Chameleon Lifespan
If the veiled chameleons are in an environment that is less stressful, the longer they will live. Veiled chameleons are one species of chameleon that get stressed easily. For that reason, you should provide them an environment with as little stress as possible.
Veiled chameleons need plenty of fresh air to be healthy. The enclosure should be a screen type. This will allows air to move in and out of the enclosure. In addition, avoid keeping the enclosure in a cramped area of the house. It’s best to keep the enclosure at least 2 feet away from the sofa and other furniture.
Pet is another thing that could give the veiled chameleon stress. If you have other pets in the house, they can scare your pet chameleon. Veiled chameleons see other creatures as a threat. When they feel threatened, they will turn black. Turning black is a sign they are scared or stressed. The enclosure where the veiled chameleon is located should not be accessible for your other pets.
Handling the veiled chameleon is another stress factor for the lizard. These lizard does not like to be handled or touch. They like to be left alone and watched instead. If they are handled too much, they can become severely stressed, which ultimately lead to illness and even death.
Why Buy Captive Born And Bred Veiled Chameleons?
Buying captive born and bred veiled chameleons will have a better chance at a longer lifespan that wild-caught chameleons. Captive born veiled chameleons are already used to the environment and the people around them. Once you take them home, they will have less stress on them.
On the other hand, if you choose to buy wild-caught veiled chameleon, there’s no guarantee that it will live to its life expectancy. Wild-caught veiled chameleons are already stressed from being caught. Then as they are flown to their destination, they endure stress again. Some veiled chameleons don’t even make it to their destination due to being too stressed.
In addition to stress, they may have parasites and diseases on them. Most of them are captured without any health check so it’s unknown what type of pathogen they carry. Veiled chameleons are usually captured and sent on a plane to be sold almost immediately.
When you buy wild-caught veiled chameleons, you are taking a chance on it. The chances for them to live to their life expectancy is very low. In worse cases, the veiled chameleons might only live for about a week and become ill and die. Not only will you lose a pet, but your money as well. For this reason, buying a captive-born veiled chameleon should be the only option.
As you can see, you can a lot to help your veiled chameleon life to their full life expectancy. Above are 5 ways to help increase the lifespan of your veiled chameleons. Just remember, veiled chameleons will live a long and happy life with the right care and love from you.
Dan got started with his first reptile, which was a green iguana, at the age of 10. From there, he has raised many different species of reptiles. Besides caring for reptiles, he enjoys woodworking, playing basketball, and spending free time with my 4 wonderful kids.