I can give you TRUE information on MY chameleon.
He's a 2 year old veiled chameleon. I have had him since the beginning of February THIS year.
In the time that I have had him, he has had TWO back to back respiratory infections, and has not eaten on his own since March, 2003. I have been force feeding or syringe feeding him since then. Same with his water.
When I got him, he had been abandoned by his previous owner...so he was an 'impulsive" decision on my part.
His previous owner kept him in a glass tank, with peat moss substrate...no thermometre or humidity gauge....anyway...what I CAN tell you, without a doubt...is you need to be prepared for the UNEXPECTED with chameleons. The hunger strikes, the URI's, etc, etc.
I have spent well over $1000 since February, correcting the previous owners mistakes, and changing everything about his enclosure and surroundings.
It's not for sure that you would run into this type of thing...but it IS something you need to be prepared for!!
Chameleons require a <u>high</u> SCREEN cage...at least three sides. Live plants, that are pesticide free. temperature and humidity gauges, a varied diet of live insects. UVA and UVB lighting. Temperature guages are NOT optional and they require gradients of....85-95 in the basking area. With temps dropping to about 65 degrees at night, vit. and mineral supplements....the list goes on and on.
You must maintain proper humidity levels as well.
The other key factor is, typically chameleons don't like to be handled. They are NOT social animals, and must be kept ONE per cage.
If you get a very young cham, they can be fragile....so get one that is well established.
I LOVE my cham dearly...but I had NO idea what I was getting myself into when I brought him home.
The initial cost of a cham that you have to buy (I got mine and his "tank" for free) is a verrrry small fraction of what you will spend to keep him healthy.