Basking and Gaping

JackP308

Established Member
I have read on here and other books that it's normal for veiled chameleon to gape while basking as it's a natural defense to overheating letting the saliva or whatever evaporate. Anyways i just hooked up new spot beam light for basking and temps range from 83 early making up to the mid 90's to upper 90's and back down through day by use of a dimmer to simulate sun going down. My 6-7 month old male has started gaping often now while in full bask. I get nervous and try to cool him by spraying the cage down or dim down the light sometimes but I dont think thats what he wants and I feel Im interrupting him. So should I just let him bask and gape? Is really what I like to know. He's well hydrated and eats plenty everything else is fine other than gapeing at bask and sometimes right before sleep. If he wanted though he could find shade and cool spots but does not and stays at the top of the 4ft reptibreeze to cook. I also read they like to bask in the range of 90 -105f. I keep the humidity around 50 % with a cool mist ultrasonic humidifier.
 

PrettyInInk87

New Member
As smart as you think they might be, sometimes they aren't, lol! Well I don't know if it's laziness or what but he might not know that he can cool himself off by moving away from the basking spot. Him gaping means he's too hot... him basking temps and see if he stops doing it. If he doesn't, it can be something else like a respiratory infection. Does he have mucusy gunk in his mouth, do you hear popping noises when he breaths?
 

JackP308

Established Member
Def not respiratory its the heat its his light when he get to his spot and gets comfy when nobody is looking his mouth will open. If you interrupt that in any bit he stops. He will not do it anywhere but at his basking spot. Its a direct beam and the heat is only directed to that spot as right now i peeped and he was doing it at 88f I dont see that nearly over heating, but Ill take your word I guess. He is completely healthy and I get clear view of his mouth when I like all nice clean. Yes if I turn down he temps he'll stop but I dont think I should have basking under 87 or He would not be thrilled and try to climb on the screen.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
It sounds like your basking temps is too high and that is why he is gaping. Mine was doing the same thing and I cut back the bulb to a 45 watt and he has never gaped again while basking. how old is your veiled?. A baby should bask at about 80-82 and and Adult like 85-88 is good. High 90's is up there! You can just use an ordinary housebulb. That is all you need. If he is gaping while not basking, or gaping when the basking temp is correct, then you may have some other problem going on as the other member stated.
 

JackP308

Established Member
Nope only when basking and only when comfortable as seems like he wants to do it. I like spot bulbs i just change out a house bulb it makes more direct heat so it dont heat the whole cage and make him overheat. Its at 78f at basking right now since I sprayed and he is antsy trying to get warmer climbing to the screen. I think He likes it and really doesnt effect him and he is 7-8 month old male I said. I was just wondering if anybody else lets their chameleon gape while basking. 90-105 is what most info says for basking male adult veileds. Im well in the range from 83 -96 Id say especially when he'll do it even at 87 88. Which is on the lower end. I always make sure he has fresh greens plenty of mistings through the day and proper humidity so I think he'll be fine . Thanks for the responses though.


From this article it seems to be normal and the basking temps http://www.kingsnake.com/rockymountain/RMHPages/RMHveiled.htm
 

JackP308

Established Member
As smart as you think they might be, sometimes they aren't, lol! Well I don't know if it's laziness or what but he might not know that he can cool himself off by moving away from the basking spot. Him gaping means he's too hot... him basking temps and see if he stops doing it. If he doesn't, it can be something else like a respiratory infection. Does he have mucusy gunk in his mouth, do you hear popping noises when he breaths?
As far as I knew most chameleons thermal regulate even as babies. He definitely not the smartest in the room but may be the brightest for now though:cool:... Actually he is pretty smart Ill watch him move from basking to another limb that is more directed under his UVB to catch some rays for a while.Then back to charge up some more from the heat. I could leave the door open and he wouldnt know how to get out till Id take ceiling part off though:rolleyes:
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have read on here that the babies cannot thermoregulate. you have a juvenile now. I guess you figured it out yourself then if he is only doing it under the basking light! We are just giving you our advice from our experiences and what has worked for us. As I said, my basking spot was too hot and it was obviously uncomfortable for my cham to bask if he kept having to open his mouth to cool down. If you want to leave your temp between 90-100 and let him gape then it is up to you. :rolleyes:
 

PrettyInInk87

New Member
I have read on here that the babies cannot thermoregulate. you have a juvenile now. I guess you figured it out yourself then if he is only doing it under the basking light! We are just giving you our advice from our experiences and what has worked for us. As I said, my basking spot was too hot and it was obviously uncomfortable for my cham to bask if he kept having to open his mouth to cool down. If you want to leave your temp between 90-100 and let him gape then it is up to you. :rolleyes:
I agree, I also know this from experience. Hugh did the same when I first brought him home so I lowered his temps. and he was good. Now that he's older he can stand higher temps and when it gets a little hot for him he'll move. But again, up to you.
 

JackP308

Established Member
I have read on here that the babies cannot thermoregulate. you have a juvenile now. I guess you figured it out yourself then if he is only doing it under the basking light! We are just giving you our advice from our experiences and what has worked for us. As I said, my basking spot was too hot and it was obviously uncomfortable for my cham to bask if he kept having to open his mouth to cool down. If you want to leave your temp between 90-100 and let him gape then it is up to you. :rolleyes:

actually 83 - 96 f were my temps. never mentioned 100's.He was gaping at 88f if read what I said. I appreciate the help but to say to just lower my temps or he has respiratory issue maybe, really isn't helping or reassuring.
 

JackP308

Established Member
I already knew if I cut back temps he wouldnt gape.I wouldnt of even posted this if that was the issue. More less I think he wants to and I would like to see if any other members let their veileds basking and gape or would they advise to lower temps to under 83 to 85 which seems way low for basking so he wont gape. Im not going to let my baby panther sit there at 2months and gape. But from reading its normal for veileds and especially closing in on 8months.


you're comparing your panthers to my veiled which I think may differ slightly.
 

JackP308

Established Member
hugh is a panther right? my Chameleon im talking about is a 8 month veiled chameleon. I would be worried if my baby panther was gapeing at all, which is not the issue at hand. Wasnt sure if I was clear i write so much mubble jumble. From my understanding panthers dont gape usually, but veileds not unheard of.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
hugh is a panther right? my Chameleon im talking about is a 8 month veiled chameleon. I would be worried if my baby panther was gapeing at all, which is not the issue at hand. Wasnt sure if I was clear i write so much mubble jumble. From my understanding panthers dont gape usually, but veileds not unheard of.
Jack Panthers will gape just like a Veild if they are overheated. I sent you a pm.
 

JackP308

Established Member
I know panthers gape when overheating as other species as well. From reading articles and other references its not odd to find a veiled chameleon in the wild gape while in bask that so gaping in this case does not necessarily be considered overheating from my understanding.Even though he is not in the wild though:rolleyes: I have not read the same for a panther or other species at all. So from that Im not to alarmed since It seemed to be spot on with articles. I do have panther as well and would feel uncomfortable if I seen the same situation since I havent really found it to be normal, and they have slightly lower basking temps anyways. I did lower the temp a bit as I usually have been doing, but I felt I was annoying him by doing that. Like he get finally in the groove and bam im there to keep it cool.
 

PrettyInInk87

New Member
I know panthers gape when overheating as other species as well. From reading articles and other references its not odd to find a veiled chameleon in the wild gape while in bask that so gaping in this case does not necessarily be considered overheating from my understanding.Even though he is not in the wild though:rolleyes: I have not read the same for a panther or other species at all. So from that Im not to alarmed since It seemed to be spot on with articles. I do have panther as well and would feel uncomfortable if I seen the same situation since I havent really found it to be normal, and they have slightly lower basking temps anyways. I did lower the temp a bit as I usually have been doing, but I felt I was annoying him by doing that. Like he get finally in the groove and bam im there to keep it cool.
That's fine. I'll just let someone who does have a Veild take over. I gave my opinion and advice. ;)
 

fluxlizard

New Member
If your chameleon can move away from the basking light and still warm up or cool down then gaping from time to time while basking is normal and fine.

In other words, when properly set up a basking light should be providing a true thermal gradient in the cage where it is warmest directly under the light, and then there should be basking opportunities here and there at various distances from the light. So the temp right under the light might be 90 (or warmer), might be 87 a little further away where your cham has another branch, might be 85 a little further away where another branch is located and so on down to room temperature far away from the bulb.

Chameleons are better at thermoregulation than some of you guys are giving them credit for. In a properly set up terrarium, the chameleon has more choices than cook or cold. And in a properly set up terrarium, if he is choosing to cook, he is doing that probably for a reason. For example, lizards have been shown to give themselves fevers to fight infection, or for another example, according to ferguson in his 2004 book on panther chameleons which I was just re-reading last night, in the lab they found that chameleons allowed to warm up to higher temperatures produced more d3 from uvb than chameleons kept at lower temperatures.

Someone said that baby chameleons cannot thermoregulate- this is not true in my experience. I raised lots and lots of baby veileds under identical conditions to adult veileds. In those days these conditions in my care included basking sites of around 100 degrees (and I was not the only one- I'm pretty sure the literature in those days recommended temps like this). The babies did not fry or get skin burns, they thrived and grew with "normal" appearing bone and body type. Keep in mind that they had plenty of other basking site choices, so they were able to choose what temp they wanted to bask at and weren't forced to bask at 100 all the time (but they did use the hottest sites, especially in the morning after the lights came on, or after a misting, or after a meal, most of the day though, when returning to bask they chose the sites further from the light where the temps were not as high).

Now, an improperly set up terrarium might be one with a basking branch close to a basking light and no other basking opportunities nearby so no thermal gradient is available. Especially in a low wattage basking light situation where there might be only warm on the branch near the light or cold everywhere else. In a case like that, if a chameleon is basking and gaping, yes, he might indeed be frying rather than freezing.

But in an enclosure such as I described where the lizard is free to choose- occasional gaping while basking wouldn't bother me at all, unless it is constant gaping while basking which would make me wonder about temps being too cool at other basking sites in the enclosure, or if gaping away from the basking site, I would then think I had things too hot all around (could use body coloring and posture for clues on this one as well) or maybe a respiratory infection.

Also keep in mind that there is more than one way to skin a cat- if lower temps are leading to longer lifespans nowadays, I think that is great. If a low watt bulb is able to meet the basking needs of a lizard, and the lizard isn't sitting all day under the light trying unsuccessfully to warm up like an old man huddled next to a fireplace in the middle of a drafty house in the winter, but active and moving in and out of the basking site and not gaping, then I think that is great too.

I've bred many different basking lizards- gaping occasionally while basking whether they are indoors or out is as "normal" as a dog lying in the sun panting even though shade is available to him. Doesn't make the dog stupid either.
 
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JackP308

Established Member
If your chameleon can move away from the basking light and still warm up or cool down then gaping from time to time is normal and fine.

In other words, when properly set up a basking light should be providing a true thermal gradient in the cage where it is warmest directly under the light, and then there should be basking opportunities here and there at various distances from the light. So the temp right under the light might be 90 (or warmer), might be 87 a little further away where your cham has another branch, might be 85 a little further away where another branch is located and so on down to room temperature far away from the bulb.

Chameleons are better at thermoregulation than some of you guys are giving them credit for. In a properly set up terrarium, the chameleon has more choices than cook or cold. And in a properly set up terrarium, if he is choosing to cook, he is doing that probably for a reason. For example, lizards have been shown to give themselves fevers to fight infection, or for another example, according to ferguson in his 2004 book on panther chameleons which I was just re-reading last night, in the lab they found that chameleons allowed to warm up to higher temperatures produced more d3 from uvb than chameleons kept at lower temperatures.

Someone said that baby chameleons cannot thermoregulate- this is not true in my experience. I raised lots and lots of baby veileds under identical conditions to adult veileds. In those days these conditions in my care (and I was not the only one) included basking sites of around 100 degrees. The babies did not fry or get skin burns, they thrived and grew with "normal" appearing bone and body type.

Now, in an improperly set up terrarium might be one with a basking branch close to a basking light and no other basking opportunities nearby so no thermal gradient is available. Especially in a low wattage basking light situation where there might be only warm on the branch near the light or cold everywhere else. In a case like that, if a chameleon is basking and gaping, yes, he might indeed be frying rather than freezing.

But in an enclosure such as I described where the lizard is free to choose- occasional gaping while basking wouldn't bother me at all, unless it is constant gaping while basking which would make me wonder about temps being too cool at other basking sites in the enclosure, or if gaping away from the basking site, I would then think I had things too hot all around.

I've bred many different basking lizards- gaping occasionally whether they are indoors or out is as "normal" as a dog lying in the sun panting even though shade is available to him.

Thank You that is what I was thinking. That is exactly why I like to use spot bulbs for basking. incandescents house bulbs and other basking bulbs seem to heat the top and cannot regulate a good thermal gradient in comparison.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
If your chameleon can move away from the basking light and still warm up or cool down then gaping from time to time is normal and fine.

In other words, when properly set up a basking light should be providing a true thermal gradient in the cage where it is warmest directly under the light, and then there should be basking opportunities here and there at various distances from the light. So the temp right under the light might be 90 (or warmer), might be 87 a little further away where your cham has another branch, might be 85 a little further away where another branch is located and so on down to room temperature far away from the bulb.

Chameleons are better at thermoregulation than some of you guys are giving them credit for. In a properly set up terrarium, the chameleon has more choices than cook or cold. And in a properly set up terrarium, if he is choosing to cook, he is doing that probably for a reason. For example, lizards have been shown to give themselves fevers to fight infection, or for another example, according to ferguson in his 2004 book on panther chameleons which I was just re-reading last night, in the lab they found that chameleons allowed to warm up to higher temperatures produced more d3 from uvb than chameleons kept at lower temperatures.

Someone said that baby chameleons cannot thermoregulate- this is not true in my experience. I raised lots and lots of baby veileds under identical conditions to adult veileds. In those days these conditions in my care (and I was not the only one) included basking sites of around 100 degrees. The babies did not fry or get skin burns, they thrived and grew with "normal" appearing bone and body type. Keep in mind that they had plenty of other basking site choices, so they were able to choose what temp they wanted to bask at and weren't forced to bask at 100 all the time (but they did use the sites, especially in the morning after the lights came on, or after a misting, or after a meal).

Now, in an improperly set up terrarium might be one with a basking branch close to a basking light and no other basking opportunities nearby so no thermal gradient is available. Especially in a low wattage basking light situation where there might be only warm on the branch near the light or cold everywhere else. In a case like that, if a chameleon is basking and gaping, yes, he might indeed be frying rather than freezing.

But in an enclosure such as I described where the lizard is free to choose- occasional gaping while basking wouldn't bother me at all, unless it is constant gaping while basking which would make me wonder about temps being too cool at other basking sites in the enclosure, or if gaping away from the basking site, I would then think I had things too hot all around.

I've bred many different basking lizards- gaping occasionally whether they are indoors or out is as "normal" as a dog lying in the sun panting even though shade is available to him.
Well said! I was the one that said that about the babies, but I did state that I had read it on here (from another experienced member), so i just took for granted they knew what they were talking about. I have no experience whatsoever with babies, as do you so you obviously have the experience and know what you are talking about. I just always felt if my chameleon looked hot and uncomfortable then I want to change that if possible.
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
I have read on here that the babies cannot thermoregulate.
Someone actually said that and it didn't get immediately smashed by other members? Sorry, but that just isn't true. If it were, how exactly have chameleons ever been able to survive in the wild?

Smaller chameleons have a lower thermal inertia than larger chameleons due to their body size and as a result, it is easier for the body temperature of a small chameleon to fluctuate. As a result, smaller chameleons are more prone to overheating under inadequate thermal conditions, but that has nothing to do with their ability to thermoregulate when proper gradients are provided.

Jack - What wattage bulb is you basking bulb? How far is it from his basking perch? Do you have additional basking perches slightly further away so he doesn't have to be right under the light? What type of UVB bulb do you have and how old is it?

Chris

Edit: Looks like flux beat me to it and said it quite well.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
Someone actually said that and it didn't get immediately smashed by other members? Sorry, but that just isn't true. If it were, how exactly have chameleons ever able to survive in the wild?

Smaller chameleons have a lower thermal inertia than larger chameleons due to their body size and as a result, it is easier for the body temperature of a small chameleon to fluctuate. As a result, smaller chameleons are more prone to overheating under inadequate thermal conditions, but that has nothing to do with their ability to thermoregulate when proper gradients are provided.

Jack - What wattage bulb is you basking bulb? How far is it from his basking perch? Do you have additional basking perches slightly further away so he doesn't have to be right under the light? What type of UVB bulb do you have and how old is it?

Chris

Edit: Looks like flux beat me to it and said it quite well.
yes Chris. I don't want to name names but when I read it, I figured that person knew what they were talking about. That is why I stated it the way I did, that I had read it. This is why I enjoy the forums so much, because you learn something new everyday. Well, maybe not you Chris (LOL!) but I know I do!!!! You da man!!!!!
 
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