Chameleons are sought-after pets and I really have to interview people long and hard to make sure they know what they're getting into. Because of all the animals in the pet world, chameleons are certainly the hardest to stay alive. By nature, they're extremely skittish.
You see this one doesn't want to be out in the limelight here he doesn't like the bright lights that are on him. He wants to be in a tree and he wants to hide. But that's not possible today, so he'll be okay for a few minutes.
As a keeper, he needs a couple of things to keep him alive. First, they really don't do well in a glass enclosure. Chameleons like airflow so a screen is much better for them. A screened enclosure where the air can flow through is great. They can also grab on to the screen with their nails and climb all around, it which they can't do with glass.
Worse than that, though, in order to keep them happy is they will need a water source to drink from and that is not a bowl. Chameleons like this do not drink from standing water. They drink drips. When it rains they drink as much water as they can. But the only other water they get is basically dew in the morning that will form on the leaves and will start to drip off of it. And we will often see them licking the leaves inside their enclosures to get their moisture.
If we forgot to mist them and forget to put that moisture on, put a bowl of water and go away for three days, they will die of thirst. They do not know enough to go down to a standing body of water and take a drink. Some species yes, Veiled chameleons, no.
So, you really have to be a diligent keeper and keep your animal watered as best as possible. There are a number of devices on the market to do that automatically. But there's nothing like an old plant Mister that you use with your hand to make sure your lizard is drinking every day. As they get to know you they will take it right out of the end of the bottle in order to get their much needed water source.
Chameleons are really an advanced lizard keepers pet. You cannot be a beginner and keep a chameleon happy. They have very fragile legs and arms. They need to be totally camouflaged and have places to hide inside or they become very short-lived. Even in the best of conditions chameleons are not long-lived creatures. Some only a couple of years. Some, five, six, seven years is about as much as you're going to get as chameleon pet. So, a wonderful, "Wow, what is that?" type of animal, but extremely fragile and you have to think twice whether or not you want to buy a chameleon.
Of all the chameleon species veiled chameleons are absolutely the most hearty. The males actually this beautiful crest on top of their hand. And they can actually be taught to eat out of your hand by holding the food item here. They'll shoot it out of your hand. He's a little bit too nervous to do it today, but he'll eat it right out of your hand and that's a wonderful thing to observe in captivity. So there's the veiled chameleon, one of the best chameleons on the market.