Bradypodion thamnobates

fluxlizard

Avid Member
So, as many of you probably already know, there are some CB thamnobates coming from a private breeder(s?) in south africa to the USA with cites paperwork in order in mid-December.

I'm super excited because after 20 years, I'm finally getting some. Back in the day, I read the article Bert Langerwerf wrote about his first successes them in the British Herpetological Society's journal but when I reached him he had sold out. A couple of years later when I tried him again, he had lost his breeding group and at least at that time, he was pessimistic about their future in south africa also.

So, for those who have gotten some of these in the past few years, I'm wondering what your experiences, good and bad have been, and would be very interested in hearing what you have tried that seemed to work well and not so well. It seems this species is still a big challenge for us here in the USA and maybe we could all learn from everyone's collective experiences.

I've spent the past several days browsing German sites using google translate and I haven't found anything there that indicates that these are especially difficult or unusual in husbandry. Really most of the reading makes them sound like they are kept there a lot like jacksons but with only a couple of short mistings per day. In later years, Bert felt like his groups of Bradypodion died out because he had too much rain for a few years in a row in the mid 90s, and he heard from someone in south africa that these lizards numbers are greatly reduced on rare rainy summers.

If anyone would care to share experiences and advice, no matter where in the world (not USA keepers only I would be interested in learning from) or climate info from south africans, etc, I would be very grateful and interested in seeing what others have to say.
 

CarlC

Established Member
Check out Rob Pilleys B. Thamnobates article in the latest issue of the chameleon e-zine.

Carl
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
Thanks!

Yeah- I did, and also Chris Anderson's brief article on them. It was really good and I am excited to try similar brumation with mine. Interestingly- the german websites don't seem to do true brumation, yet are successful with these lizards. They just cool things down some and reduce daylight hours from 13 to 10.

One thing I haven't figured out about that article- if these guys are brumating- how long does Rob Pilley keep his down for (weeks? months? several months?) and do they stay hydrated? I use a similar technique for other temperate lizards, but many need- a small dish of water available for drinking if they become thirsty, and also a little light during the day (ambient room) to get up and drink if they feel the need. Some species appear to rarely or never drink, even when down for several months of brumation (my bearded dragons). Others in my care absolutely must have access to water or they dehydrate fairly rapidly (2-6 weeks and they really look thirsty) species like australian water dragons and jewelled lacertas.

It looks like maybe he's using dry earth covered with leaves for his brumation substrate- I only use leaves- piles several inches thick in clear plastic storage tubs with screen lids. I used slightly damp earth for a while on species that dehydrated rapidly with bad results each time, also slightly damp peat and also slightly damp mulch- every time bad results after a few months. So I developed a thick layer of hay or leaves and a water dish off to one side and it works perfectly for many years now for many species. I don't think I've ever tried dry earth. Maybe that helps trap a bit of humidity around the lizard and slows dehydration.

Or maybe when he wakes them on warm days he gives them a bit to drink? Obviously a water dish won't work with chameleons. It's kind of wierd to think of this with these guys as I've read they dehydrate rapidly under normal activity- needing water every day for brief periods. And from what I can gather, south african winters are wet and summers dry.

Trying to figure this out because I would like to go the true brumation route if possible.

And then wondering about dry summers and how people are handling that outdoors in areas with a fair bit of rainfall.

These seem like they would be sooo easy in parts of California. But I don't live there.
 
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CarlC

Established Member
Rob is a pretty busy guy. I think he is a member here so maybe he'll chime in if he gets some time.

Carl
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
Anyone care to share experiences of failure with this species and symptoms over the long term?

Maybe we can turn negatives into positives if we are able to examine and learn from the collective experiences?

There was so much enthusiasm on the forums when these came in a couple of years ago, but I'm guessing from lack of babies for sale and lack of threads over time about them, that nearly everyone's experience was not so great over the long term...
 

wdjames00

New Member
Hey,

I'm actually getting a pair from that same group. I'm super excited! I think the biggest difference between this new crop as opposed to past animals is this group is captive bred. The previous ones (a high percentage) from my understanding, is that they were mostly wild caught and in poor health.

Hopefully CBB are more hardier and we can find success in keeping these guys.
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
Hey,

I'm actually getting a pair from that same group. I'm super excited! I think the biggest difference between this new crop as opposed to past animals is this group is captive bred. The previous ones (a high percentage) from my understanding, is that they were mostly wild caught and in poor health.

Hopefully CBB are more hardier and we can find success in keeping these guys.
Yeah, no I don't think so. I hate to be a downer, but these were protected now for decades. Virtually all available have been captive bred only.

But maybe the gene pool has been too small as they have been virtually unavailable as wild caught, so inbreeding *might* have been the problem.

These coming in are unrelated to current gene pool, so maybe they will be stronger. I suspect though, that husbandry misunderstanding may be as much to blame as genetic weakness in the past.

Which is why I'm digging for clues. Unfortunately, for whatever reason (probably embarrassment at failing) nobody is sharing experience. Which is a shame- we can all learn from failure as well as success.

If everything seemed right with husbandry, there should be no embarrassment. But maybe they just need a little different husbandry than the standard chameleon thing. Strong winter seasonal change not given is probably the culptrit would be my guess, as this is kind of a foreign concept for most chameleon breeders unless they have worked with parsons, but nobody is giving additional data to confirm or disprove my guess.

So I guess my thamnobates are going to have to be something of an experiment. Which is a bit of a shame. I feel like I'm re-inventing the wheel in some ways.

I plan to confirm mine have good body weight, ensure they are well hydrated, and then begin cycling for dormancy almost immediately, have them down completely by Jan 1 and keep them asleep the remainder of the winter until very early spring (probably late march or early april) when they can be taken outdoors here. I guess with lack of additional information, I'll give them a light spritzing on warmish days when they become active so they can hydrate, and then watch for dehydration the rest of the time carefully.

Kind of an anticlimactic start after waiting 20 years for them, what with them just sleeping away the first few months, but hoping I am doing something a little different than others have tried the past several years and what should have been done in the past. I would try a pair in a cold sunroom or basement like the germans seem to be doing for overwintering, with temps at night in the 40s and 50s and lights reduced to 8-10 hours per day, and day temps reduced a bit, but I do not have such accommodations at the moment, so I'll do what langerwerf and the gentleman who did the writeup in the last chameleon news and go full on brumation 24/7 as I do have a cold floor area that keeps my boxes in the 50s where I hibernate other temperate lizards on. If it doesn't go so well, I'll put up a wall in my lizard building and make a cold room and try the german thing the remainder of the winter. I had a cold room there once, but didn't replace it during the rebuild.

I keep thinking keeping and breeding these outdoors year round would be as easy as falling off a log in the right part of California. But I'm on the opposite side of the country, so no luck for me on that.

We should keep in touch and compare notes along the way. Which morph are you getting?
 
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SMCNARY

Established Member
Brady's

If I didn't send you the detailed care info just send me a email and I will get it out right away for you.
Steve
Ps I will bring in several new species of these this year so stay tuned :D
 

Guido101

New Member
u know any treatment for black and white grey fungus please find me on face book Guido Castro. I also want to know where can i get it and what is the name of the treatment.
 
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Action Jackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I've kinda followed the threads over the last few years regarding these chameleons. It's a shame people haven't had more success with them. I always feel that there are people that don't post on the internet that may be having success with some of these rarer species but who knows?

Has there been ANY offspring born in the US and of so have they lived to adulthood?

Fluxlizard, I hope you have success. I like that you are thinking outside the box. That's what it takes to advance the science of keeping these species.
 

leedragon

Avid Member
I don´t have personal experience with them but they have pop up here for some years now, what I have read about them it that they are actually quite easy to care for, if I remember correctly they should be kept close to mountain species way watching out for high temperature, I can ask around and see what pops out about them
 

eisentrauti

Avid Member
The more recent exports to the US were all CB animals. And with the price level of thamnobates in Europe it doesnt make any sense to even think about getting WC ones.
So if there's a line which produces for several generations now in Europe but fails in the USA it might be a better idea to ask the people who kept them what went wrong then spreading rumors like this one.
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
I know that I found it frustrating with the last import that no one else wanted to necropsy their dead Bradys to find out causes of death. So I know what my female died from (seemed like a congenitally bad heart), but it seems like no one else (that I know of) investigated. So, I don't know what anyone has to contribute from their faliures without just guessing, unfortunately.
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
If I didn't send you the detailed care info just send me a email and I will get it out right away for you.
Steve
Ps I will bring in several new species of these this year so stay tuned
I got it thank you Steve.

Unfortunately, the info was kind of chameleon generic and nothing was mentioned about seasonal cycling.

Not being too critical- it is more than most importers would provide.
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
The more recent exports to the US were all CB animals. And with the price level of thamnobates in Europe it doesnt make any sense to even think about getting WC ones.
Are these pretty inexpensive there then?

Have you kept them?

If so, any suggestions for overwintering?
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
I know that I found it frustrating with the last import that no one else wanted to necropsy their dead Bradys to find out causes of death. So I know what my female died from (seemed like a congenitally bad heart), but it seems like no one else (that I know of) investigated. So, I don't know what anyone has to contribute from their faliures without just guessing, unfortunately.
Thank you Olimpia.

Guessing is OK with me at this point. I really don't expect people to understand what went wrong, but if we can get an idea of husbandry patterns, we could at least start to make educated guesses and try tweaking a few things. Information like that which people provide when they want help on the forums along with any seasonal changes in environment and how long the animals lived and what time of year they died and whether death was sudden or their condition gradually worsened over time could prove valuable for providing clues, if enough people provided such information so that patterns could be found.

In your case, this wouldn't provide much, but might for others.

My total shot in the dark guess is that most people kept these sort of like they would jackson's chameleons, maybe with less humidity, and without seasonal changes but that they need seasonal changes to thrive.

Did you have yours long? Did you do anything in the way of environmental changes over the seasons with temperature, light duration, or watering?
 
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eisentrauti

Avid Member
Are these pretty inexpensive there then?

Have you kept them?

If so, any suggestions for overwintering?
I've seen juveniles for 100€ and even below and that's inexpensive in my opinion. Yes and breed them and I was involved in those exports and that's what makes me quite angry when I'm reading things like WC as CB and so on.
I reduce temps, especially during the night and light hours, but that's it, nothing like Rob Pilley does (but I'm planing a greenhouse for next year so I might be able to experiment here too)
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
I've seen juveniles for 100€ and even below and that's inexpensive in my opinion. Yes and breed them and I was involved in those exports and that's what makes me quite angry when I'm reading things like WC as CB and so on.
That's much cheaper than we have here yet.

I apologize, but I'm not understanding all of what you are saying. I think I am missing some bit of information.

If you are referring to my original comment about possibly the gene pool being to small up to this point- I guess I should have been more clear that I was addressing a comment I got in a PM from someone who was speculating that might be the problem. I was guessing others probably felt the same way. Notice that as soon as I wrote that, I hurried to add that I believed that husbandry weakness (or ignorance really) was probably to blame.

That said- olimpia is a (biologist? vet? sorry olimpia I don't remember now) and says hers died of congenital heart failure. I guess such a condition could be a random problem and not necessarily a pattern of inheritance, though I do not know a lot about it.

As for WC as CB- I immediately cleared that up with the comment that only CB have been available for decades.

If your anger is aimed at me, please understand this thread is evidence of my opinion which it sounds like is in agreement with yours- that somehow we in the USA have been failing in our husbandry of this species, and that the overall failure is ours. That is why I am trying to dig for answers- I don't want to add my soon to arrive chameleons to the list of failed attempts over the past several years. I've waited 20 years for these- I really really want to succeed.

It is an interesting paradox that what little info I've found on them always claims that these are very easy- in the early 90s they were said to be easier than veileds by some, yet in the USA we have failed miserably overall with this species, with only occasional exceptions.

If your anger is aimed at the current group coming in, I was worried also when I learned these were coming out of South Africa, and almost backed out. But after a phone call from steve and an e-mail from the breeder in South Africa, I feel confident these are legit CB individuals. They have the proper paperwork for CITES, etc. Steve would be able to explain better situation that has been set up.

I would not hesitate to add your animals to my project, if they became available at a time when I can afford them (we are paying a few times 100 Euro per animal). If I understand correctly that yours are the source of some that have come into our country the past few years, I think I missed out on yours because I could not swing some financially when they were available here, but believe me when I say my heart ached to have them at the time they were being sold.

How low are your winter nights and day temperatures? Do you reduce hours of daylight also?

Thank you much for participating in this thread. Also thank you to olimpia for sharing.
 
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I didn't know what we were talking about here so I had to Google it.

These guys are amazing.

Best of luck to all of you breeding these they are something else.
 
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