Advice - baby panther chameleon adjusting to new home; stressed & black

RazziS

New Member
Hello everyone!

Very excited to be making my first post. The forum has been an incredible resource while we've been preparing our baby panther's new home. We just received him today and could not be more excited! Apologies ahead of time for the lengthy post - turns out being new cham parents is stressing us out more than we expected :oops: Any advice or reassurance would be very much appreciated! Thank you all.

We unboxed him, immediately took him to his enclosure and allowed him to climb in on his own. We placed feeders in his feeder cup. He was very stressed and moving around frantically. Pretty quickly he made his way up to his basking branch and climbed the wire of the temperature probe up to the mesh top of the enclosure. He stayed up there for a good 4 hours and never really stopped moving around. His colors made it clear he was staying stressed/scared. At one point, he was directly under his basking light and was nearly all black! This freaked us out - we didn't expect that color.

We may have been too worried - we ended up adding another branch that led from the temp probe (where he climbed up) to his basking branch because it seemed like he couldn't figure out how to get back down. We tried luring him with holding feeders out with some tongs. We eventually left him alone and he made his way down the branch hours later, and he seemed much better after that. His colors calmed and lightened up. He has since been leisurely exploring his enclosure which is good to see.

  1. Should we be concerned about him making his way back to the top of the enclosure? The branch we added is still there. Does the temperature probe need to be moved at some point, so that he can't use it to climb to the top? It sounds like this is just a thing that babies do though. The lights are on a wire shelf 3" above his enclosure.
  2. He hasn't paid any attention to the feeder cup. I understand they may not eat right away. At what point should we be concerned about him not eating?
  3. Is there anything we need to look out for in the next week or so? Do we just leave him be, with the exception of checking/adding feeders?
  4. Thoughts on our setup? Suggestions for how it could improve?
More information below. We've started out by following most guidance from Bill/Cham Academy.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon- The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
    • Panther, male, 3-4 months, received today
  • Handling- How often do you handle your chameleon?
    • Have not handled yet and don't plan on doing so for awhile
  • Feeding- What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
    • Dubia roaches placed in full throttle feeder; gut-loaded with Repashy Bug Burger and dusted with Repashy Calcium Plus
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering- What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
    • MistKing schedule is currently - 1AM/1 min, 5:30AM/3 min, 1:30PM/1 min, 8:30PM/2 min (will watch humidity and increase as needed); have not seen him drink yet
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? none yet
  • History- Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
    • He is a Kammerflage Kreation!

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type- Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
    • Dragon Strand Tall Hybrid 24x24x48
  • Lighting- What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
    • Fluker clamp/60W incandescent, (2) T5 HO single light strips/UVB Arcadia 6% T5 & 6400K daylight
      • UVB: 6:30AM-6:30PM
      • Daylight: 7AM-6PM
      • Basking: 7:30AM-5:30PM
  • Temperature- What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
    • Controlling temp with Herpstat 2 - temp set at 79 degrees; probe is placed at basking branch
  • Humidity- What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
    • Measuring humidity with Herpstat humidity probe; have MistKing and fogger to work with for maintaining levels. Today the humidity averaged 39% at his basking site. I also have a Flukers thermo-hygrometer in the bottom 3rd of his enclosure - reads 86% right now @ 7PM
  • Plants- Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
    • Golden pothos, spider, prayer, polka dot, rubber tree, parlor palm, croton petra
  • Placement- Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
    • Our bedroom, clear of fans/vents/high traffic, top of enclosure is 7ft from floor
  • Location- Where are you geographically located?
    • Las Vegas, NV
 

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Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
  1. Should we be concerned about him making his way back to the top of the enclosure? The branch we added is still there. Does the temperature probe need to be moved at some point, so that he can't use it to climb to the top? It sounds like this is just a thing that babies do though. The lights are on a wire shelf 3" above his enclosure.

    It's fine. Little ones often climb/walk upside down on the ceiling. Mine uses it for his "superhighway". Just make sure the lights aren't heating the screen enough that he might get burnt. Put your hand on the screen below the lights after they've been on for an hour or so; if you can keep your hand there without discomfort, it's fine, If it's too warm for you, it's too warm for him. ;)


  2. He hasn't paid any attention to the feeder cup. I understand they may not eat right away. At what point should we be concerned about him not eating?

    Can he see the food in it? It needs to be in a place where he can figure out that's where the food is. Mine figured it out within 2 days, though some may bot eat for a couple days.
  3. Is there anything we need to look out for in the next week or so? Do we just leave him be, with the exception of checking/adding feeders?

    I'd leave him be as much as possible. I know it's hard, but if he's really stressed... But you did say he's calmed down a bit & started exploring. Take everything slowly—especially moving around him (e.g. when putting food in the cup). They're all different, but mine doesn't like direct eye contact. YMMV.


    Could use more foliage for him to hide in and feel secure.
 

RazziS

New Member
Thanks so much! Relieved to hear that him being on the ceiling is nothing to worry about. He is up there again today and showing stress colors... But it isn't too hot so he won't get burnt.

For his feeder cup, it's right next to a branch that will allow him to see into it. It's this one so hopefully feeders walking up the cup will catch his eye too. Do we need to dust the feeders with the Repashy calcium again at any point? Should we put gutload in the bottom of the cup? Or maybe rotate them out with freshly gutloaded & dusted ones?
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
That's a good feeder; I made one similar, and my little guy leans over the top so he can get whatever's in the bottom. Sometimes feeders do crawl behind the mesh.

I dust before putting the feeders in the cup. No gut load in the cup. Feeders get dusted with something every day. Calcium without D3 six days a week. On the seventh day I alternately dusting with calcium with D3 or vitamins. Once dusted and dumped in the cup I leave them alone. I also clean the cup out at least once per week.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I rotate my bugs out with freshly gutloaded and supplemented ones.
They last that long? I rarely find anything left in the cup unless it's climbed behind the mesh, and eventually those get eaten too—except the crix that jump out. If I don't catch them on the floor or front screen and put them back in the cup, they find their way down to the drain pan, drown, & flush down into the drainage bucket.
 

RazziS

New Member
Hello again! We've had our boy for a little over a week now and I think he's adjusting nicely. I did have a few questions though.

1) Eating - He wouldn't eat for the first week. He finally chowed down this past Wednesday, and has been eating great since. I've read that until they're 6 months old, you can feed them as much as they will eat. He's been eating 12-14 small dubia roaches each day. Is there a max amount we should try to give him?
2) Color/basking - He stays very dark most of the time. His colors are lighter/softer when he wakes up and when he eats. But for most of the day he's dark. We haven't seen his bright and vivid colors that he showed us the day he got here. Should we be concerned? Is he just trying to absorb more heat? I've had his basking branch set at 79, but I bumped it up today to 81.
3) Humidity - The top third of his enclosure averages about 35-40% day and night. The bottom third of his enclosure averages 60% during the day and in the range of 80%-90% at night. Does this sound adequate? His urates have been white so it appears he is hydrated.
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
1. That is a great quantity of food. Be sure you're adding in other bugs besides just dubias.
2. Your enclosure has a lot of empty space which means your cham doesn't have lots of places to hide and feel safe. This will help him be more comfortable and not show his stressed/darker colors. Any empty space is unused space for a chameleon.
3. Those humidity levels are great.



 
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