Yemen – Veiled Chameleon

Fast Fact

Name: Veiled Chameleon
Other names: Yemen chameleon
Scientific name: Chamaeleo calyptratus
Size: Female; 8–12 inches (20-30cm) Male; 16–20 inches (40-50cm)
Life Span: 4–8 years
Appearance: yellow, white, green, blue, black, etc.
Food: grasshoppers, crickets, strawberries, pears, lettuce
Temperature: 68–86°F (20–30°C)
Terrarium Size: 24x24x40"(60x60x100cm)
Sleep-wake rhythm: active day
Number of Eggs: 30-60
Ease of Care: Easy

 

Veiled Chameleon
Veiled chameleon closeup

The Veiled Chameleon, also known as the Yemen Chameleon is a quite large chameleon and in nature, they span Southern Europe, Spain, Portugal, North America, many Mediterranean Islands, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

 

Since the veiled chameleon is relatively easy to care for, it is a favorite chameleon species suitable for beginners. In some countries, you will require proof of origin upon purchase.

 

Size & life expectancy

Veiled chameleons belong to the larger breed of chameleon species. Males can grow up to 20”(50cm) and females 12”(30cm). They will reach full size after 12 months.

If properly cared for, this species of chameleon can live in captivity anywhere from 4 to 8 years.

Characteristics

As already discussed, the veiled chameleons are one of the largest species. As with most chameleons, colouration is very versatile and depends on the surrounds and the mood of the animal. This species has A vast variety of colors can be seen from yellow, white, green, blue, yellow and black.

The first noticeable feature of the Veiled chameleon is as the name suggests is the large veil on its head. Also, they have spurs on their hind feet.

Chamaeleo calyptratus
Chamaeleo calyptratus walking

Behavior

The veiled chameleon is day active and a strict loner. Keeping several animals together whether male/female or mixed sex will put them under stress without showing noticeable symptoms.

yemen chameleon
sleeping chameleon

Although it is not noticeable, it will lead to considerable stress related illness and even death. Therefore, it is important that you keep them separate.

Except for hissing in extremely stressful situations, these chameleons are mostly mute. Their natural way to communicate is through their body language and coloring. Also, they have excellent eyesight and can see potential prey from several feet away. Little is known about the sense of smell but, they also have good hearing.

In nature, the veiled chameleons will spend most of their day at lower levels (about 10’, 3 meters above the ground). When sleeping, they will seek out the highest branches (or plants) they can find.

Nutrition

The veiled chameleon is an omnivore, which means they eat both meat (grasshoppers, crickets, and cockroaches) and vegetables (bananas, strawberries, pears, melons, lettuce, cucumbers, and peppers).

They tend to have joint problems, so the insects require vitamin powder before feeding your pet. It is important to feed your chameleon only once every two days as adults tend to become overweight when fed more often. It is important to ensure a well-balanced diet of 30% meat and 70% vegetables for good health.

Proper fluid intake is also important, frequent spraying or direct water source works well. It is important to use standard water and not distilled water to increase vitamin intake.  Vitamins should be given once a week in addition to the vitamin powder that is added to the live feed.

Diseases

Worm infestation: there is a possibility that your chameleon can get infected with worms from the insects it eats. If there are noticeable bowel problems, a stool test for worms is recommended and treated by a veterinarian.

Mite infestation: will be noticeable by seeing small mites on your chameleon, will need to consult a vet for treatment.

Skin problems: the two most common reasons for skin problems are vitamin A deficiency or incorrect temperature/humidity levels.

Egg Binding: occurs in females even with a male is not present, symptoms include constantly on the ground and digging. If you notice no eggs after a couple of days, a veterinarian needs to be consulted as the eggs will rot in the abdomen and the infection will lead to organ failure and death.

Ingestion: there are many possible causes but is a potential high risk. Symptoms include reduced appetite, organ problems, and fluid deficiency.

Care and handling

Terrarium

The size for a veiled adult chameleon should be at least 24x24x40″(60x60x100cm). Since they require a very humid environment (60% for an adult, 80% for young chameleons) a glass terrarium is required.

Lights are also essential, a 100W for an adult and 40W for the young. In the summer, they

should be times for 9 hours of light in the summer months and 4-6 hours. An HQI spotlight or a fluorescent tube is recommended and replacement at least once a year is required. Otherwise, it will not provide enough UV. Also, UVB lamps should be present for 3 hours for adults and 12 hours for young chameleons. The lights should be installed in such a way that the animals will not burn themselves.

The temperatures in the summer should be 77-86°F(25-30°C) (directly under the lamp), 65-72°F(18-22°C) at night. And in the winter 68-77°F (20-25°C), 59-83°F(15-28°C) at night. The change from summer to winter should be slow, and in the case of young animals, the maximum temperature should be 77°F(25°C).

An earth sand mixture of (1:3) should be used for the soil and can be bought at specialty stores. Recommended plants for the terrarium include weeping fig and devil’s ivy. They will provide protection and a food source. There should also be lots of climbing possibilities, such as branches.

Breeding

Yemen Chameleon
Baby yemen chameleon

The veiled chameleon is sexually mature at 6 months of age but should not be bred at least until the 12th month. Otherwise, the female’s life expectancy falls. When the male is

presented to the female, it will display beautiful colors and flatten its body to present itself as large as possible. It will also slowly approach the female in rocking movements. If the female does not accept him, she will turn brown and hiss at the male. Also, if the male follows it can be bitten by the female and injured, therefore it is important to separate them.

If mating is successful, after approximately 30 days, the female will lay 30 to 60 eggs. She will dig a hole and then cover it after laying. After 5 to 9 months, depending on temperature, the young chameleons will hatch. Once they eggs are laid they should be removed quickly and put inside an egg incubator for best results. The optimum temperature is 79-83°F(26-28°C) with high humidity.