Best Terrarium size for a Veiled Chameleon

Best Terrarium size for a Veiled Chameleon

In this post, I’m going to talk about the proper size of the terrarium for a veiled chameleon(male, female, and baby). Also, I’ll share some basic knowledge about veiled chameleon and how to set up a good habitat for your veiled chameleon.

So you’re getting your veiled chameleon very soon, the very first question that pumps up in your head is what size of the cage should I order?

What is the recommended size for the veiled chameleon? 

  • For adult male veiled chameleons requires a space of at least 2 feet wide by 2 feet long, by 4 feet tall. (24x24x48-inches)
  • For adult female veiled chameleons, on the other hand, requires a space of at least 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide by 3 feet tall. (24x24x36-inches)
  • For baby veiled chameleons younger than 8 months can stay in smaller terrariums measuring about 18 inches long by 18 inches wide by 2 feet tall. (18x18x24-inches)



How big Can Veiled Chameleon get?

The veiled chameleon is a species of Chameleon that originated and is most commonly found in the Arabian Peninsula, especially in Iran and Yemen. Scientists also call it the cone-headed chameleon or the Yemen Chameleon.

Its conservation status in the wild is Least Concerned (which means the animal is in the wild in large enough numbers and is not threatened at all). Its natural habitat is along coastal hills that experience a relatively high amount of rainfall and in valleys that have a significant amount of vegetation, as opposed to the arid desserts that run across most of the Middle East.

The veiled chameleon is one of the largest of chameleon species, with males of the species growing to between 18 inches and 24 inches while the female, which has a thicker body than the male, can only grow to around 14 inches. Baby chameleons, also known as hatchlings are usually between 3 and 4 inches at birth.

  • Male:18-24 inches
  • Female:14 inches
  • Baby: 3-4 inches

Scientists have mentioned that veiled chameleons in the wild are often bigger than veiled chameleons in captivity, but no proof has been established yet. What has been established though is that veiled chameleons which have been raised in captivity often have a different coloring from those who have been raised in the wild with other individuals. This does not imply that they have any form of the disease, it is just a reaction to their environment.

Veiled chameleons also acquire a darker color when they are stressed. The name cone-headed Chameleon is gotten from a naturally occurring cone-shaped bulge present on the head of both sexes which grows as the animal matures and can reach 5 centimeters in size. The cone-shaped organ called the casque helps the chameleon collect water which then trickles into the chameleon’s mouth.

A healthy and well cared for male veiled chameleon can live for six to eight years in captivity while female veiled chameleons have lower lifespans only averaging four to six years.  This is because the process of laying eggs takes a toll on a female veiled chameleon’s body and reduces its lifespan.

Check out this video about veiled chameleon changing color!


What is the Best Size of Enclosure for the Veiled Chameleon?

It is best that the chameleon is kept in a mesh enclosure in order to ensure good ventilation. A lot of chameleon owners use glass, but it is not advisable to use a glass terrarium for your chameleon because not only are they usually expensive, they usually disturb airflow and can create stagnant air which may lead to respiratory problems in the chameleon.

The terrarium of an adult male veiled chameleon must be at least 3 feet tall. An adult male requires a space of at least 2 feet wide by 2 feet long, by 4 feet tall. An adult female, on the other hand, requires a space of at least 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide by 3 feet tall. Generally, baby veiled chameleons younger than 8 months can stay in smaller terrariums measuring about 18 inches long by 18 inches wide by 2 feet tall. The terrarium must also have climbing branches of around 2 feet long by 2 feet wide by 3feet tall. However, once they are eight months old and sexually active, they must be moved into the larger terrarium.


Overall, bigger is better.


What are the Basic Needs of a Veiled Chameleon?

In terms of housing, you should know that you can put more than one veiled chameleon in a habitat; it is not advisable to put more than one chameleon in one single enclosure after the animals reach sexual maturity, which is eight to ten months after they are born.

This is because veiled chameleons can be aggressive and territorial towards other chameleons as they mature. However there have been no signs of such aggression towards humans, so they are quite safe to handle.  In terms of location of the enclosure, you must make sure that the location of your terrarium is lighted for at least 12 hours in a day (which is why the best location of a chameleon’s terrarium is outside). Chameleons need two sources of light, in order to survive in a terrarium.

Firstly, they must have a source of light that provides Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. UVB Radiation helps the animal to better absorb calcium and the absence of UVB can cause the animal to develop Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), a condition which results from the deficiency of calcium in the animal’s body which can be fatal. The best source of UVB is the sun.


The second kind of light that the veiled chameleon needs in its terrarium are a heat source. Chameleons need to bask and regulate their body temperatures. Part of what makes a chameleon unique is that their bodies more often than not cannot regulate itself with a heat source that the animal is not familiar with.

That is why some artificial heat sources like heat rocks, heat tapes, and ceramic heat emitters might not work for the animal. It is also worthy of note that veiled chameleons like other reptiles are coldblooded and can thus regulate their own body temperature. Therefore it is best to provide a gradient temperature in their enclosure. The best temperature for a veiled chameleon, especially during the day, is seventy-two to eighty degrees Fahrenheit. Veiled chameleons aren’t inconvenienced by temperature drops at night, so far the temperature doesn’t drop below 40 degrees and they can still find a heat source during the daytime. In case the temperatures drop below 40 degrees, then you may use an artificial heat source which does not emit light (which may disrupt the Chameleon’s circadian rhythm) and which is not too close to the chameleon (otherwise your animal could get burned) heat rocks or ceramic emitters can be used in this case.

A veiled Chameleon’s terrarium needs foliage and vines for the chameleon to hide in. In the wild, chameleons not only use vines and leaves as camouflages and hiding places. They also travel around on it and bask on it while absorbing UV radiation. If you do not have access to natural flowers then you can use synthetic plants with plastic leaves. It is not advised to use silk leaves as it may have negative effects on the animals.

chameleon by eugene_o, on Flickr
chameleon” (CC BY 2.0


Another important need that the chameleon must take note of is the animal’s diet. Juvenile chameleons are very voracious pets requiring feeding twice a day. However, once they reach maturity, they do not require so much feeding. They only need feeding every other day. Chameleons of all ages are insectivores, so they can eat all kinds of crickets, cockroaches, silkworms, locusts, grasshoppers, and silkworms make good meals. However, some owners have mentioned that ants and fireflies are not good for their chameleons. It is also careful to beware of wild caught insects because they are at a high risk of exposing the animal to pesticides. Chameleons also eat some plant matter so make sure that most of the plants in the animal’s enclosure are natural.

It is also important to clean the veiled chameleon’s cage regularly to avoid mold growth. It is common for owners to line their chameleon’s terrarium with paper towels and newspapers. Those are easy to clean. However, it is not advisable to use wood chips and other substrates like textiles, metals, and plastic. These materials may be ingested and cause respiratory problems for the chameleon or some of the materials often release toxic chemicals that do long-term damage to the health of the animal. Apart from the toxic chemicals they emit which may harm the animal, they also may harbor bacteria and fungi which may spread infections to your pet.


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Hope you find this post helpful. If you find anything wrong or outdated, please leave your comment below. I’ll update it as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading.


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