Chameleons are fun pets and provide hours of enjoyment as they go about their daily lives.
They are inexpensive little animals unless you decide to buy an exotic one.
However, you need to acquire the right equipment to keep them happy and healthy too and that adds to the expense.
How Much Does a Chameleon Cost?
A chameleon costs between $35 – $550. Baby chameleons cost between $35 and $250. Juvenile chameleons will set you back $60 – $550 and adults cost $80 – $550. How much a chameleon cost depends on which species you buy, its age, and what equipment you require. Their food, enclosure, plants, and lighting add to the initial cost.
The Cost of Buying a Chameleon
The initial cost of buying your chameleon varies quite a bit. It all depends on its age and which species you prefer.
There are various chameleon species you can choose from, but the 3 most common ones are the Veiled, Panther, and Jackson chameleons.
The more exotic the species, the more you can expect to pay.
But beginners will do well to start with one of the better-known species that are easier to care for and tolerate handling without becoming stressed.
You can expect to pay slightly more for male chameleons as they have brighter colors and they live longer than the females.
Females are also more difficult to look after as their health is affected by their egg-laying. Even females who do not come into contact with males lay eggs.
For this reason, females are cheaper to buy and not as popular as pets.
Chameleons that are caught in the wild are more expensive than captive-bred ones as the cost of catching, transportation and relocation add to the final price.
The Cost of Baby Chameleons
Baby Veiled Chameleons are the easiest to look after and you can expect to pay anything from $20 – $35.
As they are easy to breed, the cost is low and you can expect them to grow to adulthood with very few problems.
They do not like too much handling as it is stressful for them. So, you need to provide them with a comfortable enclosure with plenty of plants to keep them happy.
They love to eat live insects and will live about 5-6 years.
Baby Panther Chameleons are more delicate and can be more difficult to look after.
As they’re more colorful compared to the Veiled Chameleons, expect that you’d have to shell out more for them. You can pay between $250 and $350 for a Baby Panther chameleon.
Their price is highly dependent on their markings. These markings are determined by the geographical location from which the chameleon has come.
Baby Panther chameleons bred in captivity are generally healthy and tolerate handling a little better than Veiled Chameleons.
They are also fairly slow-moving and docile, making them easier to pick up.
Baby Jackson Chameleons cost about $50.
The males live for up to 10 years, while the females can live for 4-5 years. They are also quite easy to care for and are not too difficult for beginners to look after.
You can identify this species by the horned protuberances on their heads.
The Cost of Juvenile Chameleons
Juvenile Veiled Chameleons are naturally a little more robust than hatchlings and will cost you $40-$60.
They prefer to be left alone and thrive in environments rich in water and food. If you’re looking for a chameleon that’s a little extraordinary, you may consider buying a “morph”.
Juvenile Panther Chameleons cost between $350 and $550. Their markings will be more pronounced and colorful than the veiled chameleons. This accounts for their higher prices.
Juvenile Jackson Chameleons can cost as much as $120.
These chameleons can grow up to 25 cm (10 inches) long. The juveniles are generally easy-going and make excellent pets.
The Cost of Adult Chameleons
Morphs are chameleons that show a certain variation in color or structure. For instance, a translucent veiled chameleon has a particularly beautiful see-through skin tone.
Morphs can also be particular to a specific region or area where local conditions induce certain patterns or colors on your chameleon’s skin.
All of these factors will play a role in deciding the chameleon’s value and what you will eventually pay for it.
Adult Veiled Chameleons cost between $80 and $100.
You can buy them from a breeder or pet shop. Although they do not like being handled, chameleons bred in captivity are less likely to bite you.
They are also more used to humans and do not become too stressed when living in your home.
Adult Panther Chameleons
sell for $350 to as high as $550. They make great pets as they will tolerate you handling them without getting stressed.
They won’t run away from you and are quite docile.
With gentle handling, they become used to you and are unlikely to bite you.
Adult Jackson Chameleons
cost $120 – $150 or more for particularly interesting-looking specimens.
With the males lasting for up to 10 years, these chameleons will provide many years of enjoyment and companionship.
Other Popular Chameleons
Other popular chameleon species are Ambilobe Chameleons, which cost between $200 and $600, and Flap-Necked Chameleons, which cost $50 to $150.
Chameleon Setup Costs
You should have your chameleon’s enclosure ready for them before bringing them home.
There are a few essential items that you must have in place so that your chameleon is safe and secure.
A properly equipped enclosure will reduce the stress your chameleon feels when introduced to its new home.
These are average costs that you can expect to pay for the equipment, lighting, and food your chameleon needs.
- Chameleon enclosure – Screened cage at $50 – $150 (avoid glass tanks)
- Lighting – UVB light/heating lamp at $80 – $150
- Digital Thermometer – $6 – $35
- Plants and Vines – $100 – $120
- Watering – Misting system at $8 – $150 and plant dripper at $60
- Digital Timer – $25
These prices are for new items, but you can obtain used equipment online or at markets for much cheaper.
Chameleons can become stressed and sick if their living quarters are not properly set up.
You must ensure that the temperature, humidity, and lighting are appropriate for your new pet. They also require a reasonable amount of space to climb around in.
Chameleons are pretty active in the wild and their quality of life will suffer if you don’t provide plants that mimic their natural habitat.
The costs incurred in outfitting your chameleon’s enclosure will repay you many times over in years of enjoyment observing your pet.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Much a Chameleon Costs
1. What Type of Cage is Best for Chameleons?
Screen cages are best for your chameleon. Try to avoid glass enclosures as they stress your chameleon and don’t allow good airflow through the enclosure. As chameleons love to climb and hide amongst the foliage, get the biggest cage you can afford.
2. How Do I Know If My Chameleon is Happy?
Happy chameleons tend to have muted colors, a good appetite, round eyes, and a confident walk. They will be curious, exploring, and looking around their enclosure slowly. They’ll do this while usually holding their tail out strongly with a gentle curl.
3. Do Chameleons Get Sick Easily?
Chameleons can also get sick like other animals and humans. They’re highly susceptible to infections (bacterial, fungal, or viral) and can harbor various parasitic infections as well. You can take out an insurance premium on your chameleon for around $10 a month to mitigate costs.
The cost of buying and keeping a chameleon may be a little higher than you expected.
However, your chameleon may be with you for up to 10 years.
So, the cost is minimal when extended over that length of time, compared to the enjoyment you will get from your pet.