Bearded Dragons and Chameleons are both popular, pleasant reptiles to own as pets. Since you have landed on my website, you are probably considering adding a new addition to your family. I’ll simply assume you narrowed the options down to Bearded Dragons or Chameleons.
But having to choose one over the other may prove to be a really daunting task. How do you know which one will have the right price, temperament, and characteristics that will suit you and your lifestyle.
Luckily, I’ve put together what I believe to be the ULTIMATE guide of the Bearded Dragon vs Chameleon smackdown. I’m only going to direct my focus on cold, hard facts about each one of them that are solely meant to help you make a responsible and informed decision.
Here’s a quick look at the KEY topics we will approach in today’s post:
- Difference In Cost
- Difference In Size
- Difference In Life Expectancy
- Difference In Diet
- Difference In Behavior
- Difference In Cage Set Up
- Bearded Dragon vs Chameleon: What Are The PROS For Each?
- Bearded Dragon vs Chameleon: What Are The CONS For Each?
Let’s get started.
Difference In Cost
The #1 advice I give to aspiring bearded dragon owners is to buy their reptile from a reputable bearded dragon breeder instead of buying it from large pet stores. There are a few aspects that should be taken into consideration such as the price and health of the animal when deciding where to buy it from.
These ones are usually better cared for and since health is a BIG thing when choosing a bearded dragon, it should always come first. Generally, when buying a Bearded Dragon from a certified breeder you should expect to pay a bit more than you would pay if you were to buy one from a pet store.
With that being said, expect to pay for a bearded dragon anywhere from $30 to $150, with baby bearded dragons being less expensive.
Chameleons are also quiet inexpensive pets to buy. A Veiled Chameleon can be purchased for anywhere between $30 to $100. I have used the Veiled Chameleon and will continue using it as an example a few more times mostly because it is one of the most popular pet chameleons in the US.
Key Takeaway: It is important to realize that while the initial price of buying a Bearded Dragon or a Chameleon is fairly decent, it nothing compared to the lifetime costs of a pet.
Difference In Size
Bearded Dragons are small, manageable lizards that make great pets for both adults and kids. They can grow anywhere between 18 to 26 inches, and can weigh on average anywhere between 450 to 600 grams.
Veiled Chameleons vary greatly in size depending on their sex. However, a Veiled Chameleon can grow anywhere between 10 to 24 inches, making it pretty similar in size to a bearded dragon.
Difference In Life Expectancy
Healthy, properly cared for Captive Bearded Dragons can live anywhere between 8 to 14 years, whereas an equally well cared for Captive Chameleon can live up to 10 years and as little as 3 years.
The lifespan of a reptile pet – or any other type of pet for that matter – it is an important aspect you should be aware of and consider before going forward. For some people, 10 years can be an extremely long time to own and care for a reptile, while others believe that the long lifespan of a pet constitutes an advantage. They’re both right.
Difference In Diet
Bearded Dragons and Chameleons are omnivores creatures, meaning they eat both animal protein such as insects and worms, and plant protein such as vegetables and fruits.
However, some Chameleon species are known to be more carnivorous than omnivores, while other are exactly the opposite. Bearded Dragons, regardless of species, have complex dietary needs as well, but most of them will require more animal protein while they are still young and then, they will mostly feed on plant protein.
Key Takeaway: It is also good to know that both animals require vitamins and supplements to live a long and healthy life.
Difference In Behavior
Bearded Dragons are quite docile and pleasant pets. They are fun to watch, low maintenance, kid friendly, and the list could go on. As any pet would, the require quite some time to adjust to a new home with new people and new surroundings, so you will have to allow a brand new Dragon enough time to adjust to its new home before trying to handle him.
Once they get used to your scent, you can start the process of bonding with your Bearded Dragon. The good news is that they are easy to handle reptiles – quiet fragile though – and they deal just fine with regular handling. They are diurnal creatures, meaning that they will sleep at night and become active during the day.
Chameleons, on the flip side, are quite territorial and aggressive, but only toward other chameleons, meaning that they should be housed alone. Other than that, Chameleons are docile, pleasant pets as well.
The BIGGEST difference between Bearded Dragons and Chameleons when it comes to their behavior is that while Bearded Dragons have no problem with being handed regularly, Chameleon is the kind of pet more suited to being watched than handled.
Difference In Cage Setup
The PERFECT tank size for an adult Bearded Dragon is 120 gallons. This will give your pet enough space to roam around and get those muscles going. They can live just fine in 75 gallon tanks [NO Smaller Than 75 Gallons For Adult Dragons], but bigger is always better.
Chameleons require different size based on their age. Same thing can be told about Bearded Dragons. But my recommendation is that you invest in a larger cage right from the beginning since that will save you some money on the long run.
Apart from the size of the enclosure, Chameleons and Bearded Dragons are pretty similar when it comes to cage setup.
Key Takeaway: Chameleons need to be housed in tanks that are more taller than wider. They like to climb a lot and they need enough space to do so.
Bearded Dragon vs Chameleon: What Are The PROS For Each?
Now that you hopefully have a better understanding of what are the KEY differences between a Bearded Dragon and a Chameleon, is time to go on and see some PROS and CONS for each one of them:
Bearded Dragons PROS
- Easy To Handle
- Live Long Lives
- Kid Friendly
- Great First Pets
- Manageable Size
- Great Appearance
- Live Long Lives
- Low Energy Pets
- Manageable Size
Bearded Dragon vs Chameleon: What Are The CONS For Eat?
And since no pet is perfect, let’s also take a look at some CONS for both the Bearded Dragon and the Chameleon:
Bearded Dragons CONS
- MUST Be Fed Live Food [Bugs, Insects]
- Live Long Lives [For Some People That May Constitute a Disadvantage]
- Body Odor
- MUST Be Fed Live Food
- Quite High Maintenance
- Don’t REALLY Enjoy Regular Handling
- Susceptible To Stress
- Don’t Make Good FIRST Pets
- Don’t Make Good Pets For Kids
As you can see, there are quite some more CONS on a Chameleons’ side, but that’s mostly the case because they are a ‘bit’ more high maintenance than Bearded Dragons.
Hopefully, you now have a BETTER idea which pet is best for you. The whole idea of this article was to provide you with a facts-based comparison between Chameleons an Bearded Dragons.
I hope that I have reached my goal and helped you make an informed and responsible decision. Remember only that the PROS and CONS listed in this article are subjective. Have your opinion about each aspect of each reptile before making a decision.