Where To Purchase Your
Chapter 1:
Getting Started

Chameleons find their way to your local pet stores through various paths. Even though pet stores may display the animals in attractive settings, you must not only closely examine your potential chameleon physically, but you should inquire as to where it came from.

Remember … you not only have the RIGHT, but you have an OBLIGATION to ask where your new chameleon came from! Don't support pet stores that do not take care of their animals or do not deal with reputable sources. Keep in mind that few stores use only one source and they usually combine good and bad methods of acquisition.

Common Sources:

  • Professional breeder
  • In my opinion, this is the optimal source to acquire your chameleon. Professional breeders can be found at reptile shows, contacted directly, as well as supply large pet store chains. Connie, who owns "Arboreal Exotics" in Waterdown is an example of an excellent breeder who I have had the pleasure of meeting, who supplies many chameleons to large stores, as well as selling privately and exporting Internationally. If you are interested in purchasing a chameleon from Connie please call her at (905) 689-2916.

  • Adoption

    Adopt from an organization that works with people who no longer want their reptiles. Many reptiles are dropped off at local pet stores, by owners who are tired of them, hoping to make some money off them, or who want to trade them in for something more novel, or because they have no where else to drop it off! Although some of these reptiles may be healthy, usually they have been neglected, hence they are no longer wanted and find their way back to the pet stores. You will also be unaware of any health complications or behavioral traits. I see countless chameleon with severe MBD (calcium deficiency) dropped off at pet stores, where the managers try to resell them for $150 and up! If that was not irresponsible enough (selling a sick animal) some actually take them home to breed them. I would recommend offering to adopt an animal in this state, but would not offer to purchase it. It will simply add momentum to a market that supports this kind of behavior. For more information about adoption please contact Reptile Rescue or the Chameleon Enthusiast.

  • People who breed their chameleons with no knowledge

    People often breed their own pet chameleons for "fun" or to try to make a few fast bucks off them or it happens by accident!. Generally speaking, they have no idea of how to care for chameleons and are not conscientious of bloodlines. Most pet stores will readily offer to purchase reptiles from ANYONE, which is a practice which perpetuates breeding chameleon for "sport" and "quick cash".

  • Wild caught

    Most wild caught chameleons are illegal. Professional breeders sometimes have to use them to "freshen up" their blood lines, however, we are now cultivating a large enough supply of captive bred chameleons to prevent this practice (except with the more exotic species). Imagine the stress a chameleon would go through being captured and transported out of its natural environment. Only a professional should even deal with a wild caught chameleon, as they must be treated for parasites and various diseases.


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Things To Consider Before Acquiring a Chameleon