How Much Are Chameleons: The Last Price Guide You’ll Need

Chameleons are colorful, entertaining pets that are very much popular among reptile owners. There are more than 150 species of chameleons around the world. Little care and attention would make them great pets for you. But there is a cost that comes with owning a pet chameleon. The expenses do not stop at just buying them. There are many things you need to keep in mind budget-wise before buying a chameleon. 

Well, the cost of keeping a chameleon is not too much which makes it a more lovable pet for the reptile wonders. There are some one-time expenses like buying a chameleon, setting up the enclosure, and then there are monthly expenses like cleaning, food, etc. Depending on the species you chose, you can get a chameleon for anywhere around $30-400. Here is a complete guide for you on how much a chameleon costs to a pet owner.

Here’s A List Of 8 Pet Chameleons And Their Price

The money you spend on buying a chameleon depends on which species you want to buy. The age at which you buy them and from where you buy them. 

These factors play a huge role in determining the price of your Chameleon. Baby chameleons are usually of a lower price but adult chameleons are sold for higher prices.  You can spend anywhere around $50 – $200 if you buy a baby chameleon. 

Here is a list of some of the popular species of chameleons which are kept as pets with their estimated costs:

Name of the species Price 
Pygmy Chameleon$50-$200
Veiled Chameleon$30 – $75 
Panther Chameleon$275 – $750 
Jackson’s Chameleon$75 – $95
Ambilobe Chameleon$200 – $600
Flap-Necked Chameleon$50 – $150
Senegal Chameleon$25 – $60
Parson’s Chameleon$300-$1000


You can also adopt a chameleon. Adoption costs are usually low as compared to buying them. You can adopt a chameleon somewhere between $30-$100.

But it is difficult to find chameleons that are up for adoption. You’ll have to look out for a Lizard adoption service. If you are successful in finding one, then you can have a chameleon pet for a low cost. This will cut down your initial cost of buying a chameleon. You can also ask them for any cage if they have it, this will help you further in cutting down your initial cost. 

Online Stores 

There are online pet stores from where you can buy any chameleon you want. Some store links have been attached above in the table for your easy lookout. 

Some famous stores around the US are CB Reptile, Petco, Reptile Heaven, and many more. 

Cost of owning Chameleons

The cost of owning a chameleon highly depends on what species of chameleon you are buying. Some chameleons cost too much compared to other inexpensive ones. Here is a detailed guide for you on the costs of owning a chameleon. 

The following chart shows the costs for setting up the enclosure initially: – 

One time Costs
Terrarium $75-$100
Lighting $40
Misting System/Dripper$60
Plants & Vines$50-$70
Substrate $20
Thermometer & Hygrometer $40
Total one time cost $400-$500

The following chart shows the monthly costs of owning a pet: – 

Cost on Monthly Basis
Food & Supplements $15/month
Health Insurance $15/month
Electricity Bills$5-$20/month

Total cost per year 


One time costs 

Chameleon Enclosure Setup

There are a few things that are like a one-time investment for keeping a pet chameleon. As shown above, you will have to buy the chameleon itself, the enclosure, the substrate, the misting system, and the UVB lights just once for a long-long period

Besides buying the chameleon, it will take up around $400-$700 for setting up a good enclosure for your pet. It is difficult to replicate the exact conditions they have been living in the wilds, but you can always try your best! 

Once you buy a chameleon for around $100-200, then you need to set up the enclosure with the following things.


First of all, we need a terrarium depending on the size of the chameleon you have bought. Pygmy chameleons are very small in size and therefore they need only a 5-gallon terrarium for thriving in captivity. Whereas, other chameleons like the Veiled chameleons need a 30-gallon tank size when they reach adulthood. 

On average, a 10-gallon terrarium is good for a nice setup for your pet chameleon. This will cost you around $75-$100.

Chameleons live the best life in tanks that have screens and not glasses. A glass tank would overheat your chameleon which is not good. Glasses are also not good at controlling humidity. They can also damage their tongues. So, it is best to buy a 10-gallon screen wall tank. 


The substrate is the bedding which is lined on the floor of the tank. Chameleons do not need a substrate as they spend little time on the ground. You can place a layer of paper towels on the bottom of the tank, to help absorb water. Paper towels are the best choice for this, as they are affordable and easy to clean. You can buy them in bulk for around $20.

However, if you are buying chameleons like the Pygmy chameleon, then you will have to put a substrate in the enclosure. The coconut fiber substrate which is best for Pygmy chameleons costs around $18. The Pygmy chameleons live on forest floors and in the low-level bushes, they are not one for climbing. So, again this depends on which chameleon you are buying. 

Misting System and Dripper

To maintain the humidity levels inside the cage, it is very important to set up a misting system. Depending upon the quality of the misting system, it can cost you somewhere around $60.

Besides this, to provide fresh water for drinking your lizard, you’ll need a dripper. A hand sprayer would also be sufficient for this task

Maintaining the humidity levels inside the enclosure is very important for the pet’s health. They drink water droplets from their surroundings, thus it is important to keep it moist and spray water on the screens. 


Chameleons need lighting and extra heat to maintain their body temperatures. They are cold-blooded animals. They need two sources of light. 

The first one is a simple heating lamp. This will cost you somewhere around $20. 

Chameleons also need another light source which is UVB light. This is to produce vitamin D3 which is very essential for their health. UVB lights should always be available in their tanks. These lights would cost around $20. 

Editor’s Note
The requirement of a UVB light also depends upon the species of chameleons. The Pygmy chameleons do not need any special light, they just need a normal fluorescent bulb for 12 hours a day.

The fixing of both lights will cost you around $40. 

Plants and Vines

Almost all the species of chameleons except a few are arboreal. Which means that they require plants, sticks, and vines to climb on. They also have a habit of hiding in their enclosure, to have some privacy. 

Therefore, you need to place some plants, whether real or fake, into the enclosure to help them grow and feel at home. Real plants will be cheaper than fake plants. It is up to your choice. 

The cost of setting up foliage will be around $50. 

Thermometer and Hygrometer 

It is important to keep a thermometer and a hygrometer in the enclosure at all times. The chameleons are very specific about their climatic conditions. The humidity level shall never go up above 80% in the enclosure. 

The same goes for temperature. The temperature shall never rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be dangerous for the chameleon. 

Therefore, buying a thermometer and a hygrometer is necessary. It will cost you around $20 depending on different brands and quality. 

Chameleon’s Maintenance Costs 

After the initial setup and the cost of buying a pet chameleon. The other expenses are going to be a lot less. Every month, you are just going to spend around $50 on your pet. 

This includes food bills, electricity bills, vet bills, and Insurance. 

Food and supplements 

The most consistent expenditure after buying a pet is on food. Chameleons are fed a combination of live and dead insects. However, it is important to ensure that you are feeding your chameleon gut-loaded, high-quality feeder insects. Some chameleons also love crickets. 

Chameleons also need vitamin and calcium supplements as part of their diet. Most importantly, during pregnancy. You also need to dust their food with vitamin and calcium powder now and then to make sure they are getting a nutrient-rich diet. 

In a year, you can expect to spend $150 in total on their food. 


Usually, the cost of electricity is so low, that the owners do not feel like including it in their budgets. However, depending on the cost of electricity in your city, it might vary from $5 to $20 each month.

You install heating lights, a dripping system, and a mister in the enclosure.  This does not cost you a very significant amount. But if you take an average for a year it might cost you around $50-$100. 


To reduce the cost of healthcare, you can take insurance for your pet. There are many pet insurance schemes available. This will cost you around $10-15 / month. 

Chameleons need frequent checkups. To make sure that your chameleon has a healthy weight and also to check up for other possible problems. They also have the capacity of falling sick real quick. If health problems are detected early, it can prevent your chameleon from dying.

Some symptoms for regular check-ups also include Lack of appetite, weight loss, undigested insects, and difficulty in shedding. Taking your pet to the vet for all these problems will cost you a lot more if you haven’t taken up health insurance for your pet. 

It is recommended to get insurance as soon as you buy a pet. 

Total costs per year

chameleon enclosure

Well, as lovely as chameleons are as pets you will have to spend a fortune to maintain these pets. They require a high level of care as they are not used to having stress from poor husbandry. Including initial costing, you will spend around $1400 in the first year of your pet keeping.

However, the cost of chameleons greatly depends on their species. Because as per species, the cost of chameleons differs a lot and as per their sizes, the size of the enclosure also differs. 

On average, the initial expense of one-time investments will cost you around $600 in total including the Terrarium, Substrate, Lighting, Plants & Vines, and Thermometer & Hygrometer.

Then comes the regular maintenance costs which will be around $700 a year. This is inclusive of food, vitamin supplements, electricity bills, and healthcare.

Factors that affect the price of Chameleon


Parson Chameleon on tree branch

Different species of chameleons come at different prices. As illustrated at the beginning of this article, many species of chameleons are very good pets. Such as the Parson chameleon, Pygmy chameleon, Jackson chameleon, Senegal Chameleon, etc. 

They all come at different prices. Some are as low as $25, whereas some are as high as $500.


Veiled Chameleon on tree branch

Many species of chameleons are specially bred to have brilliant and unique colorations. Such as the veiled chameleons have a translucent morph. They have blue skin which is almost see-through. Because of these unique colorations, veiled chameleons are quite expensive.  

Breeding these different traits takes a long time because these are to be passed and mixed through many generations of chameleons. This process is very expensive and that is why chameleons bred through this process are expensive to buy. 


Juvenile Chameleon

Baby chameleons are cheaper than Juvenile or Sub-adult Chameleons. This is because the breeders can prove that they are healthy and growing according to their species charts. 

Hatchlings are very fragile and therefore cheaper because of their higher chance of dying without proper care.

However, adult chameleons are also cheaper than juvenile ones because they have lived most of their life.  

Editor’s Note
Buying a chameleon of Juvenile age will give you a lot more time with your lovable pet!


Male Chameleon

Generally, male chameleons live longer than female chameleons. That is why they are valued more. Male chameleons are bigger and have bright coloration. 

Female chameleons live shorter lives because they spend a lot of energy while laying eggs. The process of reproduction takes a heavy toll on their bodies. Some chameleons even die in this process. 

All these factors play a crucial role in determining the price of the chameleons.


Are Chameleons Too Expensive To Pet?

Chameleons are quite expensive pets. If you have a low budget for a pet, it is not suggested to go for a chameleon. As you have understood after reading this piece, it is going to cost you around $600 per year to maintain a chameleon pet. And in the initial year, it will go up to $1500. 

Other lizards like Geckos are less expensive and will fit into your budget easily. Take a moment to think before making a decision. 

Is It Okay To Buy A Baby Chameleon?

Buying a baby chameleon will be budget-friendly. And you will get more time with your is a good idea to buy a baby chameleon, but it is also dangerous as hatchlings are fragile They might die within a few days if not given proper care. But if you choose to buy a hatchling, do give proper care and diet to the chameleon. 


Chameleons are wonderful pet lizards. They are fun pets. Their style of hunting food and climbing in their enclosures is a treat for the eyes. Although, they need a high level of care. They are not used to stress and want to live their life peacefully. After the initial cost of setting up the habitat, monthly expenditures are quite low to $50. You will be able to manage it if you love your pet! 

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