Basking help

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am absolutely wrecked. I brought Charlie out to free range this morning and found a small thermal burn on at least three of his back scales. He is in the process of shedding so I really can’t tell if other scales are affected, but it is definitely limited to the crest of his back. I feel like such a failure.

Charlie was being treated for a potential URI at Christmas. His basking light had gone out for 1-2 days without being noticed and he was gaping even when not basking. So he was treated for URI as a precaution, since the vet didnt see other symptoms. I was upset that I had not noticed his basking light going out, and I’ve absolutely helicopter mom’d the whole group since. So while he was being treated I literally spent hours every day sitting in front of his cage and adjusting his basking light to get the absolutely perfect temperatures. I am not exaggerating when I say that I spent hours in front of the cage. I am double checking temperatures with a temp sensor, as well as a temp gun. I finally settled on a bulb and location when I could find that the temperature range of the branch STAYED between 85 and 90°, and I estimated that his crest would hit about 95° Max. I went through several bulbs and several light fixtures, as I found that the temperature seemed to fluctuate. That has been about a month in place, but I still check his temperatures daily.

I don’t know how it happened but there is no undoing it. These past two months have been crazy, we have had three vet visits for the Chameleons, Charlie treated for URI, three of the six having pinworm, and now Penelope with an eye infection. The two juveniles have been quarantined and are two of the three with pinworm. I am really beating myself up over all of it, and diligently hovering over each of them each day. I still just cannot believe that this happened and how.

So I need some help. I cannot trust the basking temperatures for Charlie, who needs the highest of the bunch. Everyone else is basking temperatures are around 82°, and the only risk of a burn would be if they climbed the screen. The juveniles certainly do that and it is a possibility for them. Charlie seems to suffer if his basking temperatures are not closer to 90. He will bask most of the day. But in doing that he has suffered a burn .

I am using 75 to 100 W incandescent lightbulbs. What other alternatives are there for basking lights? At what point are basking temps or basking lights no longer required? In the summer their enclosures probably get to a rather comfortable temp with out the basking light, But in the winter their ambient temps are in the 70s and so the light is an absolute necessity. I just feel like I cannot trust incandescent lights with Charlie‘s burn. I don’t understand why the temperatures are fluctuating when I initially was testing, and how he burned himself when I made sure the temps were in the range they were supposed to be. I did buy a programmable surge protector where I will put their basking lights on timers, but it was not installed yet. I was thinking of setting the time timers to turn on for two hours or so in the morning to help them warm up and then two hours or so around noon. Would this be adequate?

Any input and discussion around alternatives for basking would be greatly appreciated. I am so distraught over this, I will not be able to sleep without knowing that there’s not a chance of it happening again.

From today... since he was firing up plus shedding, it is hard to tell the difference between norma and burn... one side looks ok, but the right side you can see at least 2-3 scales affected towards the rear of his back.

A9916C13-A628-46AA-B360-AC6305089ACB.jpeg55B88B04-06F0-4BD5-9176-4C3F06C97A5D.jpeg
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
It looks like he has a few spots along his back. It has had to have happened within the past 2-3 days while shedding. Does shedding make them more susceptible to burns? I dont get it. I am so upset.
 

Reptofreak

Avid Member
Don’t really have much to offer as a solution, but the good news is that it’s a pretty minor burn and will most likely heal without and noticeable deformation.

Bill
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think you are being much too hard on yourself! Thermal burns are very common and Charlie's does not look bad at all. While it is, of course, unfortunate that it happened at all, it does not seem that he is injured in any significant way. It's just good that you noticed earlier rather than later.

My recommendation would be to raise your basking bulb up so he can't get as close to it. Or find a heat source which is less prone to fluctuating in temp (would have to look into this, I don't know anything off hand). Or getting a good thermostat to strictly maintain a temp.
 

Maggiebeas

Member
Ive thought of adding a thermastat, but Charlie lays right on the sensor rendering it inaccurate.
Mel lies on his thermostat too, all the time, it's useless when we are trying to get temperature reads. You are doing a great job taking care of your baby and I'm so very sorry he got burns. But it is so clear that you are taking every step to fix it. Best of luck to you and your Cham.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ive thought of adding a thermastat, but Charlie lays right on the sensor rendering it inaccurate.
Your supposed to put the sensor, on the screen top, an inch off to the side of the dome. then measure the temps at the basking site, to see the difference.

So you have it there, and say alright if the screen under the light is 95, and the branch is 88, then set the stat to 95 or whatever, loose example.

Point is, Your not supposed to put the sensor inside the viv :).
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
How do you ensure accuracy? If I put it on the screen under the dome it would be like 115 or more. His branch is like a foot below that. I shouldve left his setup alone. I was so afraid this would happen if I tried to raise the temps, and despite being careful, it did.

@cyberlocc what do you use for basking? What is most confusing is why the temps are fluctuating. I would think that once the bulb got warmed up it would be steady. Marylands weather does fluctuate quite a bit lately, but this seems bulb fluctuation and not caused by the ambient temps.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh nm I see what youre saying cyberlocc... interms of the thermostat. Gotcha
Yep so if it takes 115 at the screen (I'd raise the basking branch, haha) then that's fine, your stat would be set to 115, but you know 115 at the screen equals 90 at the branch. Or whatever your trying to set.

So like my roaches Heat tape, the stat is set to 100, that's because the probe is on the stat. The roach enclosures don't get anywhere near 100, they are 80 on the hot side, but to get 80 on the hot side, on a normal 70 degree day (inside temp) the heat tape temp has to be 100.


The reason you out the sensor, an inch to the side of the dome is so that the light itself isn't hardcore blasting the probe, which will increase it's tempature instead of reading the air temp, surface temp vs air temp as it were.

That could the issue your having right now. If the probe is right under the light, it's being artificially heated, your not measuring air temp, your measuring the temp of the probe, which absorb heat and get hotter as the light hits it. Which means your air temp will be 87 at the start of the day, but as the sensor sits in the light, and continues to heat up, it will reduce the bulb, which will cause a reduction in air tempature. However that sensor isnt reading the tempature of the air, it's reading the tempature it is at, from sitting under the hot light.

Basically the same thing the Cham is trying to do. Except when the Cham is done, he will move when he reaches his desired temp. The sensor can't, so it will continue to increase in tempature, and lower the bulb.
 
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mkeBob

Avid Member
The simple way would be to purchase a temp gun, 10-15 dollars on ebay or amazon. Then you can shoot the temp right on your cams back.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
The simple way would be to purchase a temp gun, 10-15 dollars on ebay or amazon. Then you can shoot the temp right on your cams back.
I have one and have been using it. I check his back and several areas in the cage regularly.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
The simple way would be to purchase a temp gun, 10-15 dollars on ebay or amazon. Then you can shoot the temp right on your cams back.
Simple way to what?

That doesn't really solve her issue with the stat, I don't understand why everyone in the Cham world is super against stats, when the rest of the reptile hobby are super you need them.

At the very least, you should have a cheap STC-1000 to prevent mishap. Depending of course where you live.

I live in AZ, up in the mountains these days so more CO weather, but even still it can get well over 90. So what happens when your at work, and the AC can't keep up, or even worse quits? That's okay? To expose your Cham to 115f when your house hits 90 and you have a basking bulb raising the temps?

I really don't understand why alot of the cautious keepers, that dont want bio, or plants without rocks on top. Refuse to recognize the requirement for a thermostat for any animal that has heat.

Eating some soil will probably be fine, the temp going up to 120 for 8 hours while your at work, less so.
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
Could it be fungal?
Your supposed to put the sensor, on the screen top, an inch off to the side of the dome. then measure the temps at the basking site, to see the difference.

So you have it there, and say alright if the screen under the light is 95, and the branch is 88, then set the stat to 95 or whatever, loose example.

Point is, Your not supposed to put the sensor inside the viv :).
sorry for stealing your thread Nat but I have a question for cyber. I’m looking to get a thermostat for my cages witch do you recommend. I currently have a zoomed one for my Leo and wanted to know if I could get the same one for the chams. The thermostat came with my Leo so I have no idea about it really lol

Zoo Med ReptiTemp RT-600 Digital Thermostat Controller https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYXX9L3/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_3p4pEbKW5PJ3Q
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Could it be fungal?

sorry for stealing your thread Nat but I have a question for cyber. I’m looking to get a thermostat for my cages witch do you recommend. I currently have a zoomed one for my Leo and wanted to know if I could get the same one for the chams. The thermostat came with my Leo so I have no idea about it really lol

Zoo Med ReptiTemp RT-600 Digital Thermostat Controller https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYXX9L3/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_3p4pEbKW5PJ3Q
No worries. Dont think its fungal, it appears to be a burn along his back spikes that shed was hiding for a few days (or acquired in last few days).

I will be adding a thermostat. i’ve had 2 senors plus the temp gun but as cyber stated... they wont help me when im not home to notice an issue.
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
No worries. Dont think its fungal, it appears to be a burn along his back spikes that shed was hiding for a few days (or acquired in last few days).

I will be adding a thermostat. i’ve had 2 senors plus the temp gun but as cyber stated... they wont help me when im not home to notice an issue.
I want to get ready for summer, we get 100+ here so I want to make sure my cages are ready for the summer months. I don’t want cooked chameleon, well I already have half a cooked one

Also with Larry’s current problems I want to ensure he’s getting warm enough. My Halogen bulb gets really hot and I worry about him burning
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Could it be fungal?

sorry for stealing your thread Nat but I have a question for cyber. I’m looking to get a thermostat for my cages witch do you recommend. I currently have a zoomed one for my Leo and wanted to know if I could get the same one for the chams. The thermostat came with my Leo so I have no idea about it really lol

Zoo Med ReptiTemp RT-600 Digital Thermostat Controller https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYXX9L3/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_3p4pEbKW5PJ3Q

Depends heavily, on your needs and use case.

If your house, gets hot ALOT, because you don't use AC or your AC can't keep up frequently, then I would use a Dimming stat. Like a habistat or a herpstat.

These are better for controlling the heat. When they get close to the desired temp, they begin to dim the light to hold it there. As it gets past the point you wanted, they dim it substantially to lower the temp.

This is great because it maintains the spots tempature, and keeps the basking light avaible and pushing out light. In this situation you would set the stat, to your desired temp, or a degree or 2 higher again, when it's on the screen, that temp will be vastly different then actual basking temp.

So you should test accordingly, usually the bulb is good for what the bulb is good for. So when your house is 70, and the bulb raises the temp to 90 at the basking, and 110 at the screen, that's what the bulb is good for. 20 at the basking spot, and 20 higher at the screen. It may vary a couple degrees, as the temp rises, but in general this is a pretty good bet it will be close to the same.


If you just want an emergency situation, then that Zoomed will work great. So will the STC-1000.

The STC-1000 has the added benefit of having a cooling option as well. So it's a little digital module box, it requires some wiring but it's not too bad, just cut up some extension cords, and it's easy, I think they sell prewired models as well, if your scared to do that, but they cost a bit more.

The beauty of those, like I said is the cooling mode. So it's an on off stat, with a temp swing setting. So it has the ability, to say shut off the basking lamp, if the probe hits 120. Then you can wire an ac Fan (or a PC fan on a wall wart) to the cooling, and set that to come off if the temp hits 120, then you can tell it, if it hits 120, turn the fan on until it reaches, whatever temp, let's say 100 then re enable the basking light.

This is a great fail safe option for that reason, as not only does it shut off the basking if ambient raises too high, it will allow cooling of the cage, if the ambient keeps getting higher. This one, would be an emergency situation type stat, it will completely shut off the basking light, and you can set a swing, for when it will come back on. This is where you set it, a few degrees over basking, so it turns off the light in an emergency only.

The Herpstat can do the cooling as well, but you need a Herpstat 2, which is a great unit, I believe Becca has one. But they are pretty pricey.

I think the 2 or 4, and the 6, also has the ability to use a humidity probe, and with that you can set either scheduled timer (for like a mister) or make it come on, when humidity drops below a threshold it comes on, and then turns off when it reaches another level (or that level), or a mixture between the 2. That's great for Foggers, as you can set it to turn on the fogger, between X and Y time, if the humidity falls below Z, say 80% and run until it reaches 100 again. Then turn it off, till it hits 80 again. Great for conserving water :).

The Herpstat is the Lexus of thermostats, but the price reflects that lol.

Oh @snitz427 I thought you had a stat, by the comments. My apologies to @mkeBob I misunderstood the thread.
 
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JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
Depends heavily, on your needs and use case.

If your house, gets hot ALOT, because you don't use AC or your AC can't keep up frequently, then I would use a Dimming stat. Like a habistat or a herpstat.

These are better for controlling the heat. When they get close to the desired temp, they begin to dim the light to hold it there. As it gets past the point you wanted, they dim it substantially to lower the temp.

This is great because it maintains the spots tempature, and keeps the basking light avaible and pushing out light. In this situation you would set the stat, to your desired temp, or a degree or 2 higher again, when it's on the screen, that temp will be vastly different then actual basking temp.

So you should test accordingly, usually the bulb is good for what the bulb is good for. So when your house is 70, and the bulb raises the temp to 90 at the basking, and 110 at the screen, that's what the bulb is good for. 20 at the basking spot, and 20 higher at the screen. It may vary a couple degrees, as the temp rises, but in general this is a pretty good bet it will be close to the same.


If you just want an emergency situation, then that Zoomed will work great. So will the STC-1000.

The STC-1000 has the added benefit of having a cooling option as well. So it's a little digital module box, it requires some wiring but it's not too bad, just cut up some extension cords, and it's easy, I think they sell prewired models as well, if your scared to do that, but they cost a bit more.

The beauty of those, like I said is the cooling mode. So it's an on off stat, with a temp swing setting. So it has the ability, to say shut off the basking lamp, if the probe hits 120. Then you can wire an ac Fan (or a PC fan on a wall wart) to the cooling, and set that to come off if the temp hits 120, then you can tell it, if it hits 120, turn the fan on until it reaches, whatever temp, let's say 100 then re enable the basking light.

This is a great fail safe option for that reason, as not only does it shut off the basking if ambient raises too high, it will allow cooling of the cage, if the ambient keeps getting higher. This one, would be an emergency situation type stat, it will completely shut off the basking light, and you can set a swing, for when it will come back on. This is where you set it, a few degrees over basking, so it turns off the light in an emergency only.

The Herpstat can do the cooling as well, but you need a Herpstat 2, which is a great unit, I believe Becca has one. But they are pretty pricey.

I think the 2 or 4, and the 6, also has the ability to use a humidity probe, and with that you can set either scheduled timer (for like a mister) or make it come on, when humidity drops below a threshold it comes on, and then turns off when it reaches another level (or that level), or a mixture between the 2. That's great for Foggers, as you can set it to turn on the fogger, between X and Y time, if the humidity falls below Z, say 80% and run until it reaches 100 again. Then turn it off, till it hits 80 again. Great for conserving water :).

The Herpstat is the Lexus of thermostats, but the price reflects that lol.

Oh @snitz427 I thought you had a stat, by the comments. My apologies to @mkeBob I misunderstood the thread.
Ok just to make sure I’m looking at the right one. Is this what your talking about?

Herpstat 4 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006IMPRNE/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_R35pEbE1GWKW9


As for the wiring I think I can get my husband to do it for me. He’s the electrical one in the family
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok just to make sure I’m looking at the right one. Is this what your talking about?

Herpstat 4 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006IMPRNE/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_R35pEbE1GWKW9


As for the wiring I think I can get my husband to do it for me. He’s the electrical one in the family
Depends heavily what you want to do.

The Herpstat 4 has 4 outlets. So with that, you could control your Basking bulb, and your mister, or fogger (the humidity probe is sold separately) and cooling, and your lighting or night heat or something.

Or you could do the basking lights on 4 cages, or any combination of above.

If you just want to control a single basking light, on a single cage, then a Herpstat, or Herpstat + would be fine. But as you may have seen, the more outlets you buy the cheaper the price per outlet. So if you have 4 cages, it's cheaper to buy a 4 instead of 4 Herpstats. Alot of the snake guys do that, they will get like a Herpstat 4 or 6, and control an entire room of racks. Or like above, if you want to control all kinds of stuff (check out the manuals on the site, the Herpstat can do a TON of stuff)

The Herpstat is plug and play, a HS4 has 4 probe ports (probes use a headphone jack) and 4 outlets, 1 probe for each outlet. No DIY needed for that.

The DIY would be the other device, the STC-1000, it's a cheap on off stat that's great for emergency turning off the bulbs, it has no wires so you have to do the wiring yourself.


And yes, that's the Herpstat I was talking about, here is there website, with all the info and setup guides ect. https://www.spyderrobotics.com/ Like they say, it's more of a vivarium brain then just a stat. It's the best thermostat on the market, but it does alot more too.
 
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JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
Depends heavily what you want to do.

The Herpstat 4 has 4 outlets. So with that, you could control your Basking bulb, and your mister, or fogger (the humidity probe is sold separately) and cooling, and your lighting or night heat or something.

Or you could do the basking lights on 4 cages, or any combination of above.

If you just want to control a single basking light, on a single cage, then a Herpstat, or Herpstat + would be fine. But as you may have seen, the more outlets you buy the cheaper the price per outlet. So if you have 4 cages, it's cheaper to buy a 4 instead of 4 Herpstats. Alot of the snake guys do that, they will get like a Herpstat 4 or 6, and control an entire room of racks. Or like above, if you want to control all kinds of stuff (check out the manuals on the site, the Herpstat can do a TON of stuff)

The Herpstat is plug and play, a HS4 has 4 probe ports (probes use a headphone jack) and 4 outlets, 1 probe for each outlet. No DIY needed for that.

The DIY would be the other device, the STC-1000, it's a cheap on off stat that's great for emergency turning off the bulbs, it has no wires so you have to do the wiring yourself.


And yes, that's the Herpstat I was talking about, here is there website, with all the info and setup guides ect. https://www.spyderrobotics.com/ Like they say, it's more of a vivarium brain then just a stat. It's the best thermostat on the market, but it does alot more too.
I have four cages to control and one cage can not go over 80, that’s the one I’m the most worried about. I guess I have a few more months to figure out what one I should get
 
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