both pet stores recommended wrong cage?

My wife bought me a jackson chameleon as a gift. She said both the pet stores recommended a glass enclosure with a screen top. From what I have read so far, everyone uses a screen enclosure where all sides but the bottom are screen. I am thinking about replacing my enclosure. However, I live in Vegas where humidity is 10% if that. How am I going to keep humidity levels high enough in a fully screened cage?

Also, the store recommended a reptile bark, which from what I have read is not the correct substrate. Any help I would appreciate.
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
More screen on your enclosure is better.
Circulation of air is extremely important to these animals.
Frequent misting will help with humidity.
No substrate is the best substrate.

-Brad
 

Marc10edora

Avid Member
yeah, I agree. No substrate is the way to go. I put substrate in during the first week I got my cham and all it did was create a huge mess. Especially with all the misting sessions. The substrate turned into quicksand. It also can cause alot of health problems for your cham if it is swallowed. Now I just use a plastic bottom with a drain hole cut out.
 

John33871

New Member
you can always get a humidifier to increase the humidity, im looking for a site to show you but i cant find it, lol. when i do ill post it if someone already hasnt
 
More screen on your enclosure is better.
Circulation of air is extremely important to these animals.
Frequent misting will help with humidity.
No substrate is the best substrate.

-Brad
Ok thanks. So do you recommend replacing my enclosure with a fully screened one? I have a fogger that stays in the waterfall that makes it very humid inside, so I could use that in the screen enclosure. Also, since it is a glass bottom, after a week there as much water at the bottom as bark, and there is no drain so I have to empty it out every week just to get the water out. Maybe the screen enclosure is best so I can have the water drain out every day?
 

Gizmo

New Member
Well, the good news is that your spouse is likely to support your new hobby -- which is good, because chameleon keeping quickly becomes a very engrossing time sink, if not full blown addiction....
You are not alone -- many many many of us started off with an animal and the same advice (and same product) from a pet store. For my first cham (also a Jacksons), in less than two weeks that advice resulted in a $150 vet bill for an upper respiratory infection and a very challenging climb back to health. These guys need good airflow to keep all that humidity from becoming a bacterial breeding ground. In addition, many Jacksons sold in pet stores are wild caught, so as we've also learned, it's also a good idea to ask a vet to check a fecal sample for parasites.
Good luck. You'll find great help here. You're also fortunate to have some experts nearby in Vegas.
 

Marc10edora

Avid Member
I'm sorry to tell you this, but you really need to get rid of the waterfall. It builds up bacteria really fast and can be a huge health hazard to your cham. If you search the threads on this subject, you will find the same answer repeated over and over. Besides, your cham won't drink out of it and if they do, they can get sick. Maybe you should post a pic and list of your set up and supplies.
 
I'm sorry to tell you this, but you really need to get rid of the waterfall. It builds up bacteria really fast and can be a huge health hazard to your cham. If you search the threads on this subject, you will find the same answer repeated over and over. Besides, your cham won't drink out of it and if they do, they can get sick. Maybe you should post a pic and list of your set up and supplies.
I understand that the water is not filtered, but I figured that because I use the waterfall as the water source for the fogger, I am using up water that otherwise would be stagnate and collecting bacteria, so I replace the water every couple of days because I need to replenish the water supply for the fogger.

I have seen people using waterfalls in their screen enclosures. . .?
 
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Well, the good news is that your spouse is likely to support your new hobby -- which is good, because chameleon keeping quickly becomes a very engrossing time sink, if not full blown addiction....
You are not alone -- many many many of us started off with an animal and the same advice (and same product) from a pet store. For my first cham (also a Jacksons), in less than two weeks that advice resulted in a $150 vet bill for an upper respiratory infection and a very challenging climb back to health. These guys need good airflow to keep all that humidity from becoming a bacterial breeding ground. In addition, many Jacksons sold in pet stores are wild caught, so as we've also learned, it's also a good idea to ask a vet to check a fecal sample for parasites.
Good luck. You'll find great help here. You're also fortunate to have some experts nearby in Vegas.
Here is a picture of the enclosure.
 

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Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
Marc is right, the waterfall needs to go.
It is impossible to keep it clean enough for a chameleon, he will
poop in it and you'll end up drowning feeders etc.
Whether or not the cham drinks out of it, it is a health hazard.
Do search the topic and do remove the waterfall.
By the way filtering re-circulated water wouldn't make it any
better for a cham anyway. Only fresh clean pure water from a mister
and or dripper will suffice.

-Brad
 

Jordan

New Member
Real plants will probably make the biggest effect to the standing humidity in the cage. Evaporation from the soil after mistings. Plants do release water in their respiration process. The thick leaves and designs of some plants allow for water to stand on the lower levels of leaves allowing for a more gradual drop in humidity after misting. I would think that real plants could give you 10-40% boost in humidity in comparison to what you have outside.

Mistings and schedule that you do them in can help out alot in this area. I do two long duration mistings with my jackson. One at the beginning of his day and one towards the end. I have varied from three to five short duration mistings in between that help to maintain the humidity. I guess the main problem here may be that hand misting can be a pain at times. I would honestly recommend a automister with a jackson but of course this is not something that has to be bought right away, or if you ever even decide to get one at all.

While we are on this subject I guess I should say my spill on automisters. There are many that are high dollar. They offer things like run dry protection and the ability to run for long times without overheating. Cheaper systems will only be able to run for five minutes at a time. My buddy actually use a cheap one. He has set a timer to go on for four minutes and then off for a minute. Do this a couple times and you got a good misting at an affordable price. Mixing a couple four minute burst in the middle parts of the day and you have something to help out the humidity. To set mine up I kind of watched the cage and how long it would take to dry and then set-up the next burst a little after that time frame.

Humidifiers are something to look into too. I used one this past winter. Really it just being in the room for awhile made a signifigant bump up in my humidity. You can also attach some PVC piping to make it dump straight in the cages. This will bring you your biggest yeiled for the humidifier. How long you run and that kind of stuff will be something you kind of have to figure out yourself it is one of those case by case things.

To some degree the cage design can play a role. I have not really seen any pre made ones that are built with these things in mind but there are several memebers from Canada on this site that have made there own to help humdity. Three solid wall and bottom. A full screen door and top. I know it does not sound to different then what you have but remember these are custom. They are built with drainage systems that get rid of water very quickly. Additionally some but not all chameleons can get aggressive when seeing a reflection in glass. It can also confuse them as they simply do not reconize it as a barrier.

I think there is a place for waterfalls and foggers in the reptile world. A chameleon really is not one of them. They will in most cases never drink from them, almost all chameleons love to take dumps in things like this (or similar target practice) and even without the worry of bacteria it really will not do much for humidity in an open air cage. With other reptiles that can make due in aquariums the seem to make the biggest impact.

For the time being if you have to your jackson can survive in the cage you already have. If this is the case I would suggest getting the new one, setting it up, allowing it to go in use so to speak and see what you have. Test it with some misting, the temperatures....etc.. before you even put the chameleon in. This way you can set up a plan of attack and try some stuff without stressing you guy out by doing something to the cage everyday for a week.
 

angus310

New Member
check the forums under misc. supplies for sale. Tyler Stewart from Blue Beast Reptiles (in Las Vegas) has some used cages for sale. You can even pick yours up and I am sure he can give you some advice for keeping up the humidity. He is great to deal with. This is honestly the best way for you to go. Just return the cage they sold you.
 

FL Chams

Established Member
Site Sponsor
I would definitely get a screen cage from Tyler from Blue Beast Reptile. He does have some used one's available and can get you new one's too if you wanted to go that route.
 

Dyesub Dave

New Member
I have a question about the substrate issue mentioned earlier. I currently have 3 veiled enclosures. The larger two have no substrate ... except for a few dead leaves that have fallen off the plants. My smaller enclosure has a thin layer of coconut fiber bedding.

However I do remember reading somewhere ... perhaps it was suggested for crested geckos ... that peat moss be used as a substrate as it has properties that will help break down the feces. It was suggested that any messes in the peat moss simply be covered up and this should allow for less frequent substrate changes.

If I find this article I'll post the link here but was just wondering if anybody else had ever heard of this before?

Dyesub Dave. :D
 
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