Rarely Discussed Questions

While I'm sure the forum pros can ferret out threads that answer the following questions, I rarely hear them discussed, answered or even asked. So here it goes:

1) Why don't screened cages come with uv transmitting acrylic strips on the tops? Since the typical cage screen filters out up to 50% of the light emitted from our bulbs, this would seem like a no-brainer. And while I'm sure there would be more cost involved, I'm equally sure that most of us wouldn't mind paying for it given our common obsession. Moreover, with 98% transmission, it might be the case that where a 10% or 12% usb was formerly required, a 5% or 6% will now suffice. Likewise for bulb longevity: We are taught to replace our UVB bulbs every 6 months because the uvb output is significantly diminished around that time. With a standard screen top, the amount of light is already reduced by close to 50%; add to that a 25% drop after 6 months, and you have a pretty poor uvb source--the uvb reaching our beloved pets only 37% of that produced at the bulb when the bulb was new. But, if we use 98% transmitting acrylic under our lights, rather than screen, then at the 6 month mark, our bulbs should still be producing 73.5% of their effective light. Now, I'm just hypothesizing numbers here (smarter minds than my own will certainly be able to add some numerical veracity to the above), but if something like this is right, then perhaps bulbs that we would normally change at 6 months, can last 9. Both of these points--that we may need less intense uvb bulbs (a 5%uvb is cheaper than a 10%uvb), and that we may get more life out of said bulbs--might serve to offset the additional cost of the cage alteration.

2) Speaking of UVB, why does anyone buy any kind of light meter other than one that measures light in the 290nm-310nm range? I'm happy to be corrected here, but I thought the range of D3 converting UVB light was within this tiny window, and nothing more. That being the case, any light meter that is sensitive to UVB sources outside this range will, at best, give inaccurate readings, and, at worst, lull the hobbyist into thinking their light source is okay, while their cham slowly deteriorates. Again, things are probably not so dire, but i just can't think of a good reason to own any light meter other than one designed to be sensitive to UVB in the ideal range.

3) Do feeder insects need, benefit from, or suffer from a nighttime temp drop? If so, which insects do and which don't? This seems important as many of us keep our bugs in the same room as our chams. And let's face it: we probably spend as much time on our insect husbandry as we do on our cham husbandry. Indeed, though the analogy isn't perfect, I'm reminded of Adam Julyan saying that as a serious Koi keeper, he doesn't actually keep koi, he keeps water. Again, the analogy isn't perfect, as there's more to keeping chameleons than keeping bugs; but bug husbandry is a huge part of it. Since writing this particular question @jamest0o0 has, as usual, suggested some intelligent answers, as well as some good places to look for more info: https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/do-crickets-and-roaches-need-to-cool-down-at-night.172033/

4) How can people use feeders such as dubia roaches given the oft touted rule that feeders should be no longer/bigger than the space between a chameleon's eyes? Granted, everyone who feeds dubias might be feeding juveniles that fall within the abovementioned specs, but I have a sneaking suspicion that full grown dubias are often fed to e.g. panthers and veileds--a datum that stands in stark contrast to the rule. Anyways, just some food for thought...:)

5) This is probably less of an undiscussed question as it is a logical point, germane to discussions of relative humidity (RH, hereafter). Recently, I have been reading a ton of posts regarding the evolution of thinking about RH with respect to our chams. In particular, I've read several posts advocating less daytime misting for some species, and more nighttime misting--the goal being lower daytime RH and higher nighttime RH. However, the thing about relative humidity is that it's relative to the temperature of the air; in particular, it's relative to the maximum amount of water air can hold at a specific temperature. (Again, I'm going to just wing these numbers in the hopes that someone with more scientific acumen will fill in the blanks.) So, assume a cubic meter of air at 86F can hold approx. 30 grams of water--ie 30 grams of water in one cubic meter of air at 86f is 99.99999% RH. This means that if the same volume of air holds 15 grams of water, the RH will be 50%. Now, drop the temp down to 68f, at which temperature the same volume of air has a maximum water holding capacity of 17 grams. This would mean that the same amount of dissolved water (15 grams) that produced an RH value of 50% at 86f, now constitutes an RH of 88% at 68f. This, of course, is exactly what happens in the wild: hot days make for lots of water evaporation; and cooler nights make for humidity spikes and morning dew. Yeah, yeah, I know this seems pretty sophomoric, but the point is that it seems nighttime misting is unnecessary, given that the RH over night climbs up to 88% without human intervention. Perhaps the point isn't about RH at night, but rather about making sure that the enclosure's surfaces (plants, etc.) are moist. After all, leaves won't dry very much as the RH approaches 100%. But why should everything be wet overnight? Is this for chameleon hydration? Do they drink at night? I thought chams in the wild lap morning dew off the leaves, and sleep at night. Though I acknowledge that all breathing animals loose water while breathing, and that higher nightime humidity lessens this, nightime Rh values are always higher, so... To be clear, I'm not arguing for or against any particular view here. Instead, I'm raising a question that I haven't found a satisfying answer for: What is the rationale behind the more recent advocation of less daytime misting and a good misting right before lights out?

Please feel free to contact me with additional questions that are often undiscussed--even ones that seem obvious. Again, I am not an expert (nor, indeed, even all that experienced), and I do not propose to answer any questions here. The point of this particular blog is to bring these questions to the forefront in hopes of collecting data.
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Possible answer to 5: By providing a very humid environment during the night, we mitigate the loss of water that chameleons experience by normal breathing.
3) I've wondered this too, as we've talked about, but you won't find the answer here, or probably anywhere. Your best answer will be someone that has studied them long enough to say 'x' worked better than 'X' so for example, someone who had success breeding a species with a night drop vs no night drop.

Also, you should be asking, what are you trying to achieve? Do you want to breed as many as you can?(then probably not helping by giving a night drop for most species) are they pets that you want to live for a longgg time?(night drop may be beneficial here) are you trying to mimic their natural habitat as much as possible? Etc...

4) because the rule isn't clearly worded by most. It is not length, it is width. If it was length even a superworm would be too big. I fed my Panthers many adult roaches. It's more of a guideline for newbies too. IME after knowing my chams, they wouldn't go for an insect that was too large.

5) I don't know a whole lot about this(or the light meters for that matter), but according to petr necas they can actually absorb water through their lungs, rehydrating that way. He claims to have chameleons living only through nighttime fogging(no mist) with success.
4) I feed dubia nymphs to my chameleons but my species tops out at about 60 grams not at 100+ like the more common species. My larger dubia are just breeders at this point.
I find my chams have no problem chomping and turning bugs so they go down the narrowest orientation.
2) Speaking of UVB, why does anyone buy any kind of light meter other than one that measures light in the 290nm-310nm range?

According to Solarmeter, the meter I believe you are referring to (Solarmeter 6.2) "is ideally suited to determine if UVB lamps are performing to manufacturer's specifications, gauge their intensity, and measure their aging over time." You are correct in that it is not a perfectly accurate gauge of UVB in the D3 synthesis range. I assume it does provide some general idea about effective UVB but most people probably purchased this vs. Solarmeter 6.5 because they don't know better or because the 6.5 wasn't available.

By contrast, the Solarmeter 6.5 displays results corresponding with UV index and "measures UV irradiance in the wavelengths that enable D3 synthesis in reptiles."

Here is a good video by Solarmeter that explains the differences:

Which Solarmeter Do I Need For Reptile Husbandry? 6.2R vs. 6.5R
1. Because the acrylic that would be needed, is 650 dollars a sheet.
For that, we split it in half, and get 2 24x96 pieces, so it would be an extra 20 dollars per cage for a 6 inch strip. Plus the cost of cutting the pieces, and that doesn't take into account loss, and its another object to break.

Then again, we would have issues with people throwing their UVB into 180 degree reflectors, and blowing their bulbs when they get no ventilation.

And for all that, only 80% of the UV light in the 290-310 spectrum pass through. Vs the 35-50% lost, with the screen, your still losing 20% or more anyway.

2. I ask that myself all the time, still dont know...

I know and have seen Solarmeters, bull crap explanation. The 6.2, measures light from 250 to 320. It is the UVB solely meter. The 6.5 measures 280 to 400, so not only does it cover the UVB spectrum, but also the entirety of the UVA spectrum.

The reason thats the new used product, is Ferguson zones I think. Ferguson zones take into account the UVA aspect in the UVI. As are the bulbs when they are made. For instance the Arcadia, which has 6% UVB, and 30% UVA. They wanted to more so, cover the entire index of light that makes it through our atmosphere. Reptiles, use and can see UVA, so its important too.

The 6.5, no matter how that video tries to explain it, measures UV Index, which is B and A, not just D3, not Just B. the 6.2 does that.

Insert conspiracy theory on wanting to sell people with 6.2s new meters, to make money, because they built a solid product that doesn't need replaced often.

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