Baby chameleon questions!

Thelifeofabel

New Member
Hello everyone, I know this is going to sound bad but I bought a 12 day old panther chameleon at a reptile expo this past weekend not knowing that that is way too young because I didn’t know any better but I am doing the best that I possibly can to give him the what he/she needs because it’s too late and I already own him. My main concerns are tempatures during night and day considering it is so very young. I keep reading all these different opinions and need to know what the tempatures can range from at night and day while it is so young.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome! :) You won’t get any judgement from me and most here. The breeder selling them so very young on the other hand…:cautious: I’m just happy that you found your way here, are asking questions and want to give your little one it’s best life.
There is a lot of outdated and just plain wrong info out there and it’s difficult to know what’s right and what isn’t. The best place for correct husbandry guidelines is https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/ After you read thru all of that, then check out https://chameleonacademy.com/panther-chameleon-care/
There are some critical things to have right immediately….
Correct uvb is a linear T5 fixture with either ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6%. The distance between light and basking area needs to be around 8-9”. This is the type you need. https://www.pangeareptile.com/colle...r/products/arcadia-prot5-6-uvb-bulb-with-hood The only chain pet store that I know to sell T5s is PetSmart. Do get the 24” one.
Food needs to be the correct size. Tiny babies need fruit flies, bean beetles or pinhead crickets. He’ll need to be fed as much as he can eat, twice a day.
You’ll need supplements. Daily you’ll lightly dust with a phosphorus free calcium without D3. You’ll also need a calcium with D3 and a multivitamin, each to be used one feeding every other week and alternating so that they aren’t given the same day. OR, you can get a combined D3 and multivitamin such as ReptiVite with D3 or Repashy calcium plus LoD, which will be used one feeding every other week.
Temps for babies need to be lower, around 78 with 80 at the max. You may not even need a basking light. If you do use one, you’ll want to raise it off the screen by at least a few inches. Babies screen walk upside down along the top and can easily get burned. At night it’s best to have a good drop in temps.
Humidity for panthers during the day is between 50-70%. I keep mine at the lower end.
You’ll need to provide lots of branches and plants (live ones are always best) - lots of little chameleon roads to travel and places to hide or take some shade.
Misting the plants for at least 2 minutes, 2-3 times a day will provide adequate drinking opportunities and allow the enclosure to dry out in between.
Of course there’s more, but I’ll let you read and learn from the links I’ve provided. Once you’ve read all, do ask as many questions as you need. 🙂
 

Thelifeofabel

New Member
Hi and welcome! :) You won’t get any judgement from me and most here. The breeder selling them so very young on the other hand…:cautious: I’m just happy that you found your way here, are asking questions and want to give your little one it’s best life.
There is a lot of outdated and just plain wrong info out there and it’s difficult to know what’s right and what isn’t. The best place for correct husbandry guidelines is https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/ After you read thru all of that, then check out https://chameleonacademy.com/panther-chameleon-care/
There are some critical things to have right immediately….
Correct uvb is a linear T5 fixture with either ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6%. The distance between light and basking area needs to be around 8-9”. This is the type you need. https://www.pangeareptile.com/colle...r/products/arcadia-prot5-6-uvb-bulb-with-hood The only chain pet store that I know to sell T5s is PetSmart. Do get the 24” one.
Food needs to be the correct size. Tiny babies need fruit flies, bean beetles or pinhead crickets. He’ll need to be fed as much as he can eat, twice a day.
You’ll need supplements. Daily you’ll lightly dust with a phosphorus free calcium without D3. You’ll also need a calcium with D3 and a multivitamin, each to be used one feeding every other week and alternating so that they aren’t given the same day. OR, you can get a combined D3 and multivitamin such as ReptiVite with D3 or Repashy calcium plus LoD, which will be used one feeding every other week.
Temps for babies need to be lower, around 78 with 80 at the max. You may not even need a basking light. If you do use one, you’ll want to raise it off the screen by at least a few inches. Babies screen walk upside down along the top and can easily get burned. At night it’s best to have a good drop in temps.
Humidity for panthers during the day is between 50-70%. I keep mine at the lower end.
You’ll need to provide lots of branches and plants (live ones are always best) - lots of little chameleon roads to travel and places to hide or take some shade.
Misting the plants for at least 2 minutes, 2-3 times a day will provide adequate drinking opportunities and allow the enclosure to dry out in between.
Of course there’s more, but I’ll let you read and learn from the links I’ve provided. Once you’ve read all, do ask as many questions as you need. 🙂
Thanks for everything! Sorry I didn’t reply sooner, have learned a lot and just put him in his enclosure I finished yesterday. He’s a little over 2 weeks old now. I’ve been giving him fruit flies and bean Beatles but I’m now swapping the fruit flies for these small black soldier fly worms because they stay in the feeder cup and I can watch what he eats now that he’s in his new enclosure
 

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Thelifeofabel

New Member
His basking light is about 8 inches from the highest point which is that small branch in the back. Should I still raise the light off the screen a couple inches so he doesn’t hurt himself. And he likes to sit directly under the uvb on the top screen, is that normal?
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, I would still raise the light at least a couple of inches off of the screen top to prevent burns. As long as the distance between uvb and basking branch is about 8-9”, it’s fine for baby to sit under it. Just soaking up the ‘sun’. :)
 

Thelifeofabel

New Member
Yes, I would still raise the light at least a couple of inches off of the screen top to prevent burns. As long as the distance between uvb and basking branch is about 8-9”, it’s fine for baby to sit under it. Just soaking up the ‘sun’. :)
So update, I saw him gaping, while he was under his basking bulb. Like I said he chooses to go directly under it on the top screen. The basking branch is in a good spot and sits around 82 degrees but he chooses to stay under it on the screen. I even put some pvc pipe between the lamp and the screen cage so he wasn’t near the metal. And his bulb is a 40w. Once I just saw him gaping while he was there I drew the line and put him back in his small tent.
 

Uri

Avid Member
So update, I saw him gaping, while he was under his basking bulb. Like I said he chooses to go directly under it on the top screen. The basking branch is in a good spot and sits around 82 degrees but he chooses to stay under it on the screen. I even put some pvc pipe between the lamp and the screen cage so he wasn’t near the metal. And his bulb is a 40w. Once I just saw him gaping while he was there I drew the line and put him back in his small tent.
I’d probably go a little colder I’m not experienced with panthers at all but generally babies do better with less heat as they can dehydrate very fast with such tiny bodies
 

Thelifeofabel

New Member
I’d probably go a little colder I’m not experienced with panthers at all but generally babies do better with less heat as they can dehydrate very fast with such tiny bodies
Yea In the small tent he’s in now hes farther away from it and it’s a good temp, but it doesn’t really fix my problem that he’s sitting there under direct heat when he’s in the cage, basically overheating himself on purpose what it seems like. I guess I’ll keep him in his tent for another 1-2 weeks. If you have any ideas or anything what I should do please let me know.
 

Uri

Avid Member
Yea In the small tent he’s in now hes farther away from it and it’s a good temp, but it doesn’t really fix my problem that he’s sitting there under direct heat when he’s in the cage, basically overheating himself on purpose what it seems like. I guess I’ll keep him in his tent for another 1-2 weeks. If you have any ideas or anything what I should do please let me know.
A new chameleon will not follow the rules of perching on their branches they will explore their territory all around and sit under the lights babies especially do this from what I’ve seen every video with a group of baby Jackson’s they are always in the top of the screen
 

Thelifeofabel

New Member
A new chameleon will not follow the rules of perching on their branches they will explore their territory all around and sit under the lights babies especially do this from what I’ve seen every video with a group of baby Jackson’s they are always in the top of the screen
Okay just saw another user saying it should be 8-9” away from the screen top not the branch other wise they will cook themselves because they don’t know any better at that age
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
Most breeders do not put heat on the babies... It can be dangerous for them and will kill them off.

UVB should be used. With a T5HO fixture and a 5.0 or 6% bulb you want 8-9 total inches to the branch. HOWEVER babies screen climb... So with that said you have to lift this fixture up off the screen 4 inches. Then the branch would be 4-5 inches down below the screen so that the total distance to branch puts the baby in a 3 uvi level and then the screen would sit at a 6 uvi level which is the top exposure level they should be under.

TONS of tiny feeders. If your doing fruit flies take an egg carton put a piece of banana in it and then pour the feeders in on the banana. Then place this carton in the plants or on the branch so baby can easily get to it. The banana will keep on the flies in that area rather then them spreading out.
 

Thelifeofabel

New Member
Most breeders do not put heat on the babies... It can be dangerous for them and will kill them off.

UVB should be used. With a T5HO fixture and a 5.0 or 6% bulb you want 8-9 total inches to the branch. HOWEVER babies screen climb... So with that said you have to lift this fixture up off the screen 4 inches. Then the branch would be 4-5 inches down below the screen so that the total distance to branch puts the baby in a 3 uvi level and then the screen would sit at a 6 uvi level which is the top exposure level they should be under.

TONS of tiny feeders. If your doing fruit flies take an egg carton put a piece of banana in it and then pour the feeders in on the banana. Then place this carton in the plants or on the branch so baby can easily get to it. The banana will keep on the flies in that area rather then them spreading out.
Okay thank you so much, and when do you recommended that I put the basking lamp there and also when do you recommended I can put both lights directly on the cage without worrying about him doing this anymore?
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
I never use basking lights on babies. Their bodies are small and can overheat easily .

No matter what age the chameleon is, you have to make sure the basking light is not hot enough where it sits, to burn it...so test it, when the time comes to use a basking light, by holding your hand back side up as close to the screen as you can get it. If you want to move it, it's definitely too hot.
 

Thelifeofabel

New Member
Okay, thank you! if there is no basking light though does that mean it’s fine for him to be at ambient temperature all the time? It’s usually 68 to 70F at night and 72-76 during the day while I’m gone. And around how long should I wait and what age till before I give him a basking light
 

Uri

Avid Member
Dont let the difficulty and scrambling discourage you chameleons are incredible and you’ll get to see this little one develop its colors and explode in size which is an amazing experience once you get past the 3 months as long as your setup is correct your little one will be pretty hardy
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
Okay thank you so much, and when do you recommended that I put the basking lamp there and also when do you recommended I can put both lights directly on the cage without worrying about him doing this anymore?
Basking lamps are not used until they are older than the 3 month mark... They also are still lifted off the cage top and ensuring temps are no hotter than 80.

You will not want to put any fixture on the top until the cham is done screen climbing... Some will continue this behavior until they are 6 months old. It just depends on the cham. Babies do it because it is the highest (safest) place. As they mature they will do it if the cage does not have enough plant cover to feel safer. I would however still lift the heat fixture up off the top a few inches. Thermal burns are very serious.

Take note on the details I gave on the UVB... This is extremely important.

If you go to this link it is a podcast. His latest episode is on hatchlings. You can also search the podcast to find other episodes he has done on babies https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-academy-podcast-2021/
 

Thelifeofabel

New Member
Basking lamps are not used until they are older than the 3 month mark... They also are still lifted off the cage top and ensuring temps are no hotter than 80.

You will not want to put any fixture on the top until the cham is done screen climbing... Some will continue this behavior until they are 6 months old. It just depends on the cham. Babies do it because it is the highest (safest) place. As they mature they will do it if the cage does not have enough plant cover to feel safer. I would however still lift the heat fixture up off the top a few inches. Thermal burns are very serious.

Take note on the details I gave on the UVB... This is extremely important.

If you go to this link it is a podcast. His latest episode is on hatchlings. You can also search the podcast to find other episodes he has done on babies https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-academy-podcast-2021/
This really helps thanks a lot, so just to conclude everything , do not use a heat lamp at all until he is at least 3 months old and after that I can add one that’s 8 inches away from the screen? and just keep a uvb 3 inches away from the top of the screen? Also should I be worried about him being too cold at all since there is no heat lamp?thanks again
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
This really helps thanks a lot, so just to conclude everything , do not use a heat lamp at all until he is at least 3 months old and after that I can add one that’s 8 inches away from the screen? and just keep a uvb 3 inches away from the top of the screen? Also should I be worried about him being too cold at all since there is no heat lamp?thanks again
So just copy and pasting from my prior comment. Keep in mind this info for placement is for use with specifically a T5HO fixture and a 5.0 or 6% strength uvb bulb. If you use any other linear fixture and bulb I would need to know what it is to assist with placement.

UVB should be used. With a T5HO fixture and a 5.0 or 6% bulb you want 8-9 total inches to the branch. HOWEVER babies screen climb... So with that said you have to lift this fixture up off the screen 4 inches. Then the branch would be 4-5 inches down below the screen so that the total distance to branch puts the baby in a 3 uvi level and then the screen would sit at a 6 uvi level which is the top exposure level they should be under.

Once it is safe to add a basking fixture. With a baby screen climbing it has to be lifted quite a bit to avoid thermal burns.

I am just guessing that your house does not get all that cold at night.... I mean if your talking below 60 I would maybe be concerned for a cham that young. They are different than adults in what they can handle. If your house is staying in the 60's and 70's then no it would not be too cold for baby.
 
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