Basking heat at 105°


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the basking heat as about 105° directly below my heat light, is this too hot, Should i raise the light so it is about 95° . my cham doesnt seem to mind the temperature but doesnt really bask directly under the light, i have a powersun 160watt bulb, that is about 10" above the highest stick he can get up in the cage

Depends on what type of chameleon you're talking about.
With a veiled that is on the high end, but still within range, others need a cooler basking temp than that.

Firstly, what are you using to measure the temp with? Second, unless you’ve got some super big cage, replace that 160 with a 100 powersun ASAP. I have experience with that bulb and used it in a free range setup once. I couldn’t imagine me using it with my current veiled cage – just too, too intense.

Edit … sorry forgot to add. If the cham doesn’t perch directly under its heat bulb then its probably too warm for it. Not all that bad since the cham seems to have found a comfortable spot off to the side of it. However a serious burn could still happen so I would adjust that basking lamp by either changing to a lower wattage bulb or moving it farther away.

sorry for the lack of info, its a 11 week old nosey be panther chameleon. i was thinking about moving the light up alittle maybe a few inches. the cage is use is 120cm - 50cm -0 70cms. i can take a photo is it if it will help.
just put pics of my set up on my gallery, please take a look and feel free to comment on anything wrong. im new to keeping chamleons. only had mine for 6 days
can anyone confirm scooters answer. thats the first i've heard that the temp should not go over 90 for a 11 week old panther

You aren’t going to get an accurate temp reading with those types of gauges. Goto Lowes or Home Depot garden section and look for the digital temp gauges with an external probe - a bout $25 ish and worth it. Those gauges you have tend to absorb heat since they are plastic and don’t give an accurate reading. They are meant for ambient temps and not for basking spots.

As for over 90F for basking - probably should avoid that to be on the safe side. Never owned a panther however my veiled at that age didn’t get his basking spot that warm at the same age.

I tend not to measure basking spots but rather start off conservative and observe the cham to see how long he/she basks. If it’s under the light ALL the time that tells me it isn’t warm enough - if it’s only under a few minutes and starts to gape and/or really lighten up it’s color then it is too warm.

Know thy critter ... best advice I can give anyone.

I don't keep Panthers but everything I have read says to provide them with a gradient of 70's to 80's with a basking temp of 90 to 95.
I know with other species of chameleons, young ones are not great at thermoregulating and it is often recommended that their environment be kept slightly cooler.
If it was me I would shoot for a basking spot with a temp of 85 to 90.

and it is often recommended that their environment be kept slightly cooler.

That's good advice that I kept on hearing when I began resaearching chams -when in doubt keep it on the cool side.

Your getting some great advise regarding temps and thermometers... take it ;)

I was wondering however, after looking at your photos... do you have a UV light as well? I didn't see one in your pics. If you dont have one you will want to get one, the reptisun 5.0 is great.

Hey Mike,

The advise is sound, maybe you just need some clarifications of why...

Here's the deal.

You know that reptiles are exothermic. They are dependent on the surrounding temp to modify their own. This is important for digesting food and increasing their metabolism if they are sick.

Heat and lighting are tied together.
A gradient is necessary in the cage. (Smaller cages are harder to create a gradient in.) There needs to be a optimal ambient temperature in the cage like 80F (sorry, my conversion to Celsius is horrible). Then there needs to be a range of temperatures for your chameleon to modify its temp so it can get hotter or cooler in the cage.

Is 105 too hot? Not necessarily. If the cham has multiple branches and levels of temperature it will often move to the optimal one. This would be for a much larger cage than what was in your picture.

However in these small cages you have other issues to deal with. 1) height of the cage- if your little one is trying to keep high and out of site, it might get closer to the bulb than it should and get thermal burns. Or have to get too close to the light to eat. 2) UVB lighting from a tube needs to be 6inches from the basking spot. If the spot is too hot, either the cham is not getting UVB or it sits in an area that is too hot (again, thermal burns). 3) If the ambient temp is too cold in a small cage the thermal gradient will be steeper (more dramatic change in temp in a shorter amount of space) and the cham will have to choose being too hot or too cold. 4) Smaller chams (more surface to body ratio) are more dramatically affected by these issues- like a little kid going outside without a jacket versus a much bigger adult - the core body temp changes faster with the little one. 5)and so on

So, in a smaller cage and a younger chameleon, it is better to not exceed something like 90-95 for the basking (maybe less.)

Good luck,

Thank you very much for your help!! some very useful answers. I'm going to go buy a digital thermometer tomorrow, and im also gonna extend the top of the cage so the light will be slighty higher, till i get a basking temp of around 90, And BethG I am using a powersun 160watt bulb which provides the necessary UV rays as well as the heat... also quite often i see my cham at the top of his cage , not necessarily directly under the bulb but to the side and hes very dark green/brown,. Is this normal?? And when i go to mist the cage he really doesnt like it he normally climbs quickly to the top corner of the cage where he will get least wet and will stay there no matter how long i spray for and not drink, Im tend not to see him drink much at all. I have set up a small dripper from a large bottle and some soft tubing, this drips about a drop every 1 - 2 seconds, and havnt seen him drink from that either, However his poo is dark and solid and the white bit was very white this morning, which was the last time i have seen him poo, is that a good sign?

thanks again guys, I spend hours and hours each day reading info on chameleons. but it doesnt compare to gettting relavant answers from you guys. i appreciate your help alot!!
Hey Mike,

The powersun mercury vapor bulb might be too much for your small cage. Instead of the six inches away, it should be around 1 foot for UVB. It also might be just too bright as well for your chams eyes. Obviously up to you.

A website that might help explain things like burn-out and UVB range and zones is For the most part it is good information.

As far as misting and drinking, my ambanja panther hates to be misted with any water or mist. Warm, cold, hot--doesn't matter, he always runs. For the first 3 months I had him I never saw him drink so I monitored hydration by eyes, mouth, body condition and fecal matter. I found that if I just misted the cage (and not him) and kept the humidity up for his skin (shedding) and had a dripper, he would drink from the leaves. The only time I would directly mist him there after is if he had an incomplete shed on the tip of his tail or feet. (Only happened once). I do see him occasionally drinking from the leaves after he comes out once the mister has gone off.

Turning dark while basking is normal. Dark absorbs better. As long as he is turning normal shades when he is not basking, your probably golden.


Really consider getting rid of that 160 - I forgot to mention that for a panther that's a bad idea. I really think its going to cause some issues for the eyes. The tried and true method for panther in regards to UV is the repti-sun 5.0.

Also, I am not a big fan of the all in one package lights (UV and heat in one) being used as a heat and UV source. Many keepers including myself feel that chams regulate UV the same way they do heat. So if your cham wants heat but no UVB then that really isnt an option with an all in one bulb like that. I do use a powersun 100 for my veiled but I also offer seperate basking bulbs.

This thread has been very helpful, I have a veiled that is about 4-5 months old. I have her basking spot at about 90-95 most of the time and she spends all day in her basking area. I felt that I shouldn't increase the temp but after reading this it sounds like it will not hurt for me to increase it slightly as long as I watch her behavior.

Anyways thanks for the information Roo, Brad and Matt.

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