Are you looking into getting the veiled chameleon for a pet?
Do you want to know how long to expect your pet to stay alive?
Whether you’re afraid of getting into too long of a commitment or you want to know how many years left you have of fun with your reptile friend, you may ask:
How long do veiled chameleons live?
The lifespan of a veiled chameleon depends on its gender and environment. Wild chameleons have a life expectancy of 2-4 years as females and 3-5 years as males. In captivity, they can live up to 5 years for females and 8 years for males.
Read the rest of the article for more details and ways to help your chameleons live longer.
How Long Do Veiled Chameleons Live In The Wild?
In the wild, there are many factors to limit the overall life expectancy of the veiled chameleon.
They don’t live as long on average as they do when in captivity.
A female veiled chameleon will usually only live for 2-4 years, and a male will only live for 3-5 years.
This makes sense if you stop to think about it. What are the factors in the wild, limiting their lifespan?
Inconsistent diet – As insectivores living in tropical environments, you’d expect the chameleon to have no shortage of insects to eat.
And it doesn’t really, but the reptiles do have to find them.
Chameleons don’t travel far from where they spend their time, so if the insects aren’t around, they just don’t eat.
In most cases, they’ll survive a food shortage fine, but the stress over time will still limit their body’s life potential.
Unstable weather patterns – Veiled chameleons love the humid and rainy weather of their tropical homes, but what happens if a colder snap comes through?
Their cold-blooded bodies adapt to these changes and slow down.
But if this happens too often, then their bodies are stressed.
Too much stress, less life.
Dry weather is another weather element hard on the veiled chameleon.
It doesn’t often happen, but there are times when the rain doesn’t fall as much as it should.
This means they won’t get the water they need to drink, and they may also end up with skin issues.
Predators – This may go without saying, but being attacked or eaten by a predator will shorten their lifespan.
Your cage (hopefully) doesn’t have any predators in it, so this is a big plus on their life expectancy.
Disease – While many of the diseases in captivity, such as metabolic bone disease and upper respiratory infections, aren’t as common in the wild, there are some to watch for.
And when the veiled chameleon gets sick, there’s no one there to save it.
Even if they recover, their body is never quite the same.
All these reasons have a part in lowering the life expectancy of the veiled chameleon.
How Long Do Veiled Chameleons Live As A Pet?
As pets, veiled chameleons have a longer lifespan if they’re cared for correctly (more on this below).
If all is well with your pet, a female veiled chameleon will live up to 5 years, and a male veiled chameleon will live up to 8 years.
There have been owners who claim to keep their chameleons up to 7 for females and 9 for males, but 5 and 8 years are more realistically what to expect.
However, if you look at what most veiled chameleons live with new or careless owners, you may be surprised by what you find.
In such cases, it’s tough to find any veiled chameleon living beyond two years.
This is saddening, and it goes almost entirely to blame on poor care.
Veiled chameleons aren’t dogs or cats.
They’ll bug you when they need something such as food or water, and they’re warm-blooded nature allows them to regulate their temperature.
Veiled chameleons aren’t like bearded dragons whose tough natures allow them to adapt to environmental changes for some time.
All chameleons, but especially the veiled chameleon, are locked into their environment and very sensitive to any change.
If it’s not in the right range, your pet will have a limited life.
3 Ways To Help Your Veiled Chameleon Live Longer
Sounds scary, right?
But there are three ways to help your cham live longer you should be doing anyway.
Correct Cage Setup
The first and most important with the veiled chameleon is the proper cage setup.
For more details, check out our dedicated article on what you need to set up a chameleon habitat.
At its basics, you’re looking for the following:
- Cage size of 2 ft (0.61 m) long, 2 ft (0.61 m) wide, and 4 ft (1.22 m) tall
- Good circulation of air (use mesh sides)
- Basking temp = 85° – 95° degrees Fahrenheit (29° – 35° C)
- Overall temp = 72° – 85° degrees Fahrenheit (22° – 29° C)
- Nighttime temp = >60° degrees Fahrenheit (15° C)
- Humidity = 50 – 75%
- UVB light = 12 hours per day (5-10% output)
- Climbing plants both real (non-toxic) and fake
Fortunately, the diet part of caring for veiled chameleons is simple.
As adults, they should be fed cricket every other day.
Pick a mealtime and put in a few crickets smaller than the length between their eyes.
When they eat these crickets, put a few more in.
Repeat until 10-15 minutes have passed.
Once the time is up, stop feeding and remove the crickets left in the cage.
This should be enough for most veiled chameleons.
For babies, check out how to care for a baby chameleon.
You’ll also need to sprinkle a powder calcium supplement on the crickets every meal.
We also suggest gut loading the crickets at least once per week as well.
Watch For Diseases
Veiled chameleons are more prone to disease than other reptiles.
Be on the lookout for abnormal behavior, which may be a sign of illness.
When you see a few of these signs, take your reptile to the exotic vet:
- Lack of movement
- Lack of appetite
- Visible injury
- Dark stress colors over a long period
- Foaming at the moth
- Dark-colored urate
- Film over eyes
- Bulges on body
- Loose skin
Fortunately, the main diseases a veiled chameleon will catch are related to its environment, so if you set the cage up correctly and monitor it, you won’t have to worry about this as much.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how long veiled chameleons live.
With proper care, you’ll get five years out of your females and eight years out of your males.
Just make sure you provide the correct cage setup, a proper diet, and watch for the disease.
Then, your pet will stick around for a long time!