7 Steps to Tame Your Veiled Chameleon

Have you recently bought a veiled chameleon? Are you struggling to tame your new pet?

You could build a pleasant and healthy relationship with your pet chameleon and it all starts with taming them and making them ready for regular handling.

In the process, you are also making sure that the chameleon does not become stressed while they are near you.

In this article, we discuss the exact ways you could make your veiled chameleon domesticated. But before we jump into that section, we need to understand why veiled chameleons attack you or show dissent when you go near them.

Steps to Tame Your Veiled Chameleon

Veiled chameleons are not “aggressive,” but rather “defensive,” which means they defend their territory. Hissing and “fake striking” are examples of this behavior.

They will react in a way that makes you think that they are going to bite you, but that is all just a deception. This is just a technique used by your intelligent pet to scare you when you are invading their space.

If this behavior works (you scream and back away), they’ll keep doing it and put on a greater display. If the conduct is ineffective (you don’t flinch and you still handle them), it is a waste of energy, and they will stop putting on such a display.

Chameleons generally are not meant to be interacted with, and they would be very happy if they are left on their own. However, we humans crave for interactions and will find comfort in knowing that our chameleons are happy to be a part of our human world.

Here are 7 steps you could follow that would help you to tame your chameleon!

1. Give them time and space

The first thing you should do is let them get acclimatized with the new surrounding, their new home. They would need some time for that, and giving them the time and space would help them to come to terms with their new environment.

As we mentioned earlier, they are defensive creatures and may become stressed with the whole change in their territory.

While setting the first building blocks to your relationship with your new pet, you must remember to follow at their pace and realize that your relationship vision, whatever it may be, may take a long time.

2. Let Them Recognise You!

Chameleons are wired in such a way, through years of evolution, to categorize any creature physically bigger than them as a threat to them. That is how they survive in the wild.

So naturally, they see you as a predator and will go into a fight or flight mode around you the first few times. Thus, it becomes even more important that you establish yourself as not a threat to them.

Chameleons are an intelligent species and they will over time learn to recognize you, although they might get a little confused when you wear certain color clothes or caps.

You will even notice some behavioral changes when one of your friends, foreign to them, enters the room or come near their cage.

So, remember that you’re dealing with an intelligent creature when you’re trying to handle or tame your chameleon, and treat them with respect.

They can learn to trust you over time, and their natural fear stemming from their survival instincts can be reduced with time.

3. Symbolize yourself with Food

Now that the chameleon recognizes you, you will have to personify yourself with food. Start feeding your veiled chameleon yourself, making sure that your pet understands that you are the one that brings him food.

Eating is the one moment those constantly roving eyes take a break from their job of looking for danger and focus solely on the task of eating. Your chameleon is at a vulnerable point right now.

A chameleon will not eat in front of you unless it is willing to let down its guard and engage with the food. Once they do that, they have finally put their trust in you and you have reached a major milestone in taming your pet.

If you put the food in the opposite direction to where you are, and the chameleon still goes on to eat, then that is a positive sign, as it indicates that they have become more comfortable near you.

You can start off by feeding the chameleon through the cage and make sure that it slowly starts eating in your presence. After that, you can move to the next stage of feeding, which is feeding by hand directly.

4. Picking Your Chameleon

Allowing your chameleon to walk onto your palm rather than pulling him from the branches is the key to picking up your chameleon.

A chameleon has 5 gripping points – the four feet and one fantastic tail – that will be reaching for something to cling on to at all times. Snatching a chameleon from the branches is a risky move because of this.

Even after you believe you’ve got all five off the branch, they’re all flailing around in the cage, hunting for something to cling onto (especially the tail).

This is when it gets quite easy for your chameleon to break bones. Move slowly but confidently and put your hands on the branches and slowly follow it by bringing it closer and closer.

Once your hand is within touching distance from the chameleon, gently herd him into your placing hand using your other free hand.

They might be resilient during the initial collaborations, but after some time your chameleon learns that there is no harm, and will eventually give in to this practice.

Also never approach a chameleon from above, since it has been trained to view all movements from above them as predatory moves and this might cause them to become defensive or nervous around you.

5. Handling the Chameleon

Now when you are handling a chameleon you have to be very careful. You might have heard that stress kills chameleons, which scientists have found to be true.

Handling at first may cause them stress, but it is a ‘stress spike’, stress that goes up and comes down quickly, and not long-term stress – which is usually dangerous for chameleons.

Handling the Chameleon

Short stress spikes will not lead to long-term damage, and your handling will not cause any health problems to your veiled chameleon.

Because chameleons are not social creatures, handling them is stressful for them. However, with positive reinforcement and bribes of delectable insects and warm sunlight, they can learn to be tame and withstand these sessions.

See also: Are Veiled Chameleons Nocturnal? 3 Interesting Sleeping Habits Decoded!

6. Giving them space to roam around

The finest chameleon handling session is one in which they crawl out of their cage on their own while you supply climbing choices. While they’re out, give them a little treat.

You want them to have as much control over this encounter as possible. If you see them making attempts to come out, they will also be willing to crawl onto your hand or a stick.

Make the cage in such a way, with branches or small ladder-like structures, that they could climb up and come out of the cage.

This would mean that they are much less stressed and have actually become quite comfortable in their new home. They do not always crave the attention that you give other pets like cats and dogs, so know your limits when handling them.

7. Establishing Special Treats

It is important that you establish special treats for your chameleon. This would work as a reward system, wherein they are rewarded every time they come onto your hand.

This would make them more motivated and will eventually understand that coming out of the cage will only bring good things.

Your treats should be something that is not a part of their regular staple food. You could try something like green grasshoppers and walking sticks or you could also go a little extra and get them worms like waxworms, silkworms, and hornworms.

Each chameleon is different and it is important to know what your chameleon likes the most. This way your chameleon will be more motivated to spend some time outside the cage and maybe even with you.


If you have followed through on these steps then you have achieved your goal and established a pleasant relationship with your pet chameleon.

Remember that you have to be patient throughout the whole taming process and make sure that you are building a healthy relationship with your pet, acknowledging his intelligence and desire to spend time alone. Your chameleon will go at its own pace and you have to follow his lead.

If you follow these steps you will be able to tame your veiled chameleon without causing it any unnecessary stress. Hope this article helps you in handling your veiled chameleon!

Susan R Elliston

I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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