This will be a mostly opinion blog post, but a recent conversation inspired me to write a little on this. And by this, I mean the value that veiled/yemen chameleons have in the hobby.
Anyone who has looked into purchasing a chameleon has probably noticed that while panther chameleons are in the range of $200-300, and other species are in the range of $100-200, poor veileds start as low as $20. Essentially, supply and demand has made the price of veiled chameleons drop dramatically (it was at a more reasonable amount, about $150, a decade or two ago) while they still cost about as much as other species to raise.
|Charlotte, my 7 month old veiled chameleon female.|
I'm not really going to talk about what they should cost, what I want to do is to get people thinking about the value of veiled chameleons in a different regard. We know that veileds and panthers are the most commonly recommended species for beginners, but the low price of veileds usually means that people choose this species over another. When people come to the cham forum looking for advice most members will recommend a veiled, because they're cheaper so it'll be a better animal to get experience with.
The implication being, that if you kill it you're only losing about $40 or so. I get that not everyone can shrug off $300 if your new, baby panther tragically dies but veileds shouldn't be the disposable first-try chameleon that they are.
Veileds are great chameleons; they get large as far as chameleons go, they are not bland or color-less, and they have a tremendous amount of character. I hate seeing them thought of as the throw-away "tester" chameleons they are. Or as the chameleon you get to gain experience, although what you really want is a panther (and then end up re-homing the veiled when you finally get that panther.)
So what I would like people to do is to try to change about how they think about veileds. If you don't really love them, don't get one. Go for the species you really want, you'll be much more proud of yourself when you do the research and raise the species you want. If someone's looking for advice, don't tell them to get a veiled because it's not the end of the world if it dies.
Whether or not they're your favorite species they deserve a little bit of respect, because, after all, a great part of this hobby was built on what people discovered while keeping and breeding this hardy species.