Advice in case a respiratory issue is coming

Echoezra

Established Member
Okay guys. I know this is going to sound stupid, asking about temps now after having done so much research and having the chameleons for months, but I just want to double check the exact range I'm looking for - maximums for basking and ambient, day and night time - be specific. what my ideal normal basking temp should be, etc. what's the most I can allow it to get to..
These are panthers, faly is about 6 months, mitsio is 12 months. So, not the normal temps recommended for new babies.
See, I guess it's been a few weeks ago now, I started noticing the occasional open mouth. With both chameleons, actually, but alternating. Maybe it's been about 10 to 12 times total, between the two chameleons. Not every day, not even only by the lights, sometimes it was when they were a little lower in the plants. It had been getting a little warmer weather-wise, so I figured they were just getting hot, I'd just have to change to lower bulbs for the summer, as expected. But then the weather changed again drastically to very cold. so I didnt' change the bulbs cause it was to the point for a day or two where it wasn't even getting hot enough! Now it's been back to warm ambient temps, the last couple of days where it was a little much, so I had to turn the basking lights off completely. But then Zelig has been climbing on the top screen of his cage, right under the lights, mouth not open, so I mean, if it's too hot, why would he be doing that, right? SO I don't know. I've been monitoring the basking spots the last week or two and it hasn't been really out of hand, it does fluctuate but seems to be a good low to mid 80's range most of the time, so now I'm questioning what constitutes correct temps, and maximum temps.
We have had a fan running in our room, to keep ambient temps down, but not directed at them. There was a couple days a while back where it was changed to oscillating and blowing at a front corner portion of the one cage (i didn't realize my family had changed it, I had it originally positioned so it was directed away) but I fixed that as soon as I realized it. So now it's just blowing air from the doorway towards the bed, past the cages, but not at them. I have also had a window cracked open, which is across the room from the cages. That might have affected them as well. But it was either that or have ambient room temps too high. :( - Kind of hard to decide.
We now have an A/C going in the next room, so room temps are more under control the last couple of days (mid 70's) I still have the fan going, to bring the cooler air in the room better, but the window is now closed.

So now I want to pick out appropriate summer bulbs and closely monitor basking temps.

I would have posted my temps but it really has been fluctuating, as the weather has. Cages are flexariums, hand misting several times a day, drippers when I'm away from the house for hours. Room humidity has been usually staying about 50%, so cages would be above that as they are full of live plants and then spiking after misting, although I don't have in-cage humidity sensors.
I do have a humidifier positioned on shelf above cages in between the two. I haven't had it on constantly, have only been turning it on lately when I notice the room humidity has dropped below 50%.
I do let the cages dry out between misting. I have been misting a little more often on the really hot days, as it seems to temporarily lower temps, and I figure they're probably thirstier.
So far, no hissing or wheezing sounds, no popping, nothing like that. And I've been listening! But this morning, I did hear a sound kind of like a tiny sneeze came from Zaphod's cage, I think. He was just sitting there, mouth was not open, (neither has in a few days, except outside in the hot sun) he looked normal, so I'm not absolutely sure it came from him, but I think it did. Just now that I've heard a noise, I'm really paranoid that the open mouths were not just heat related, and might actually be the first signs of a respiratory issue.

I"d like to apologize for having to ask, I did try to do a search on both topics, but most of the temp recommendations are concerning young new chameleons, I would like specific recommendations for panthers aged 6 months and a year. Normal ideal and max temps and possibly in the case of how sometimes it's recommended to increase temps slightly when they're sick, so specify if that is recommended in this case. As far as respiratory stuff goes, most of the other threads I came across mentioned open mouth could be either, as I already suspected, or when they were far gone like already wheezing and requiring meds.

So, also any tips you could give me in regards to further or more specific symptoms to watch for, anything I can do immediately to fend off a respiratory infection, or is it already too late as soon as you see open mouth?? Will it definitely require meds, or is it a matter of if you catch it early lots of sunshine and more humidity/less humidity? maybe lots of oranges, lol?? something like that that could snap them out of it, if I am catching it early enough??

Thanks guys, I really do appreciate any advice, opinions. I know I've been very paranoid in the past, finally started to relax and not stress so much about them, now this. :( Hoping it's just me being paranoid again.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
plants and then spiking after misting, although I don't have in-cage humidity sensors.

So far, no hissing or wheezing sounds, no popping, nothing like that. And I've been listening! But this morning, I did hear a sound kind of like a tiny sneeze came from Zaphod's cage, I think. He was just sitting there, mouth was not open, (neither has in a few days, except outside in the hot sun) he looked normal, so I'm not absolutely sure it came from him, but I think it did. Just now that I've heard a noise, I'm really paranoid that the open mouths were not just heat related, and might actually be the first signs of a respiratory issue.

So, also any tips you could give me in regards to further or more specific symptoms to watch for, anything I can do immediately to fend off a respiratory infection, or is it already too late as soon as you see open mouth?? Will it definitely require meds, or is it a matter of if you catch it early lots of sunshine and more humidity/less humidity? maybe lots of oranges, lol?? something like that that could snap them out of it, if I am catching it early enough??
I think you are overthinking this. You are never going to keep your cage temps exactly the same from day to day, season to season and don't need to be that exacting. After all, a cham in the wild has to have the ability to tolerate short term changes in temp. As long as your cages permit the chams to thermoregulate themselves by moving closer or farther away from the lights, that is the key. The cage should offer a range of temps so they can choose where they need to be at any specific time.

Get good humidity gauges and use them. Guessing can backfire. I prefer gauges that are not permanently mounted in the cage. I don't trust that a gauge constantly exposed to higher humidity is going to stay accurate over time due to corrosion or saturation of the sensor. There are "portable" types of humidity gauges you can put anywhere you want...they react to the humidity level fairly quickly. Read the level and move the gauge somewhere else you want to check.

Catching a respiratory infection super early can't be done very reliably because chams are so good at hiding their problems. There are probably mild RI we never even notice but a healthy cham can fight off easily (such as a cold). Chams do make occasional clicks, a sneeze, etc. just like any animal. If it is really sick, the symptoms become more and more common, and progress. Here's what I think are SIGNIFICANT syptoms to watch for:

Loss of appetite, not drinking.
Tends to sit unmoving under the basking light longer and longer, even if the general temp in the cage is normal. The cham also tends to be darker colored but isn't really acting like it is basking (arching from side to side, flattening itself).
Generally not very aware or reactive to things it would normally watch.
Sleeping in the day for longer times.
Sleeping with it head tipped almost vertically
Deep gulping and flaring the gular pouch area over and over, labored breathing.
Gaping, with abnormal amounts of cloudy or colored mucous in the mouth.
 

Echoezra

Established Member
Lol! I do tend to be accused of overthinking things. :eek: I guess it's better than underthinking!! haha.
Thanks.
I know what you mean, I guess what I wasn't actually concerned about the fluctuation, but more about specific goal ranges and especially maximums - so that it's not SO hot that they wouldn't be getting any uvb cause the basking area near it was too hot. Or that if the ambient room temps themselves were too hot, that might be weakening them in some way.

As far as the humidity goes, I realize you're right, I had bought one originally and it was faulty and I know last year I had bought a weather thingie that I was pretty sure had humidity as well as temps, I've just been trying to find it. In the winter my issue was not enough humidity, so I figured as long as I kept the room levels right next to the cage at an acceptable minimum, the cage would definitely be higher than that. I will go look for some humidity gauges again on monday. I just guess I don't know exactly what to look for, for a "good" one, to know if it will work well or not.

As far as the other symptoms you mentioned there, none of those apply so far. Still move around a lot, appetite always good, always alert. No day sleeping, although the one does move to his sleeping spot early, he's always done that.
Not sure about the mucous, as I've never really been able to get a good look inside their mouths - whenever they see me looking at them when they have their mouth open, they close it right away. When they're eating it's always too fast to get a look. lol.
So I honestly wouldn't know a "normal" mouth from a "sick" mouth even if I did get an extended view. Maybe some example pictures, if anybody's got any??
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
I will go look for some humidity gauges again on monday. I just guess I don't know exactly what to look for, for a "good" one, to know if it will work well or not.

So I honestly wouldn't know a "normal" mouth from a "sick" mouth even if I did get an extended view. Maybe some example pictures, if anybody's got any??
Check herp supply sources such as LLL Reptile, Pro Exotics, HerpSupplies.com for humidity gauges. There are quite a few types. Digital, electronic types tend to be more accurate and durable than the analog or stick on strip types.

A "sick" mouth will show bubbling along the lips and when the cham holds its mouth open to gape and gulp in some air you'll easily see mucous. It will be pretty obvious, especially for a worry wart like you!:D:p
 
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