Cham eating Hibiscus stem... what am I doing wrong?

Hi guys, I figure something must be wrong with my husbandry if I keep catching my cham trying to bite and eat the stems of his hibiscus.

I should probably note the bark on them comes off really easily because it doesn't ever get dried out completely. It's always kinda moist since I have the humidifier going 24/7 for humidity. Even with life plants and shower curtain on two sides of the cage, I can only keep it at about 40 at night.

Anyways, he bites voraciously at the bark trying to rip it to shreds it seems.

Chameleon Info:
• Your Chameleon - Male Nosy Be Panther Chameleon, 6 and half months old. Have had him for 4 months.
• Handling - minimal to allow him to roam around on plants inside.
• Feeding - Fed a few bugs (crickets, superworms, roaches, flies,mealworms) every day. Gutloaded always with either kale, collard greens, carrots and apple.
• Supplements - Repticalcium w/ D3 every other week (2x/ month), Herptivite multivitamin every other week (2x/ month), REP- CAL calcium w/o D3 every day (too often) Take note that he eats about 3 bugs daily.
• Watering - Use a little dripper when I can. Will occasionally hand mist, Mistking goes off 3 times a day, for 6-8 minute intervals. Use a cheap dial thermometer/ hygrometer from petco, not sure if the hygrometer on humidifier is accurate
• Fecal Description - Poops every other day or two.. used to be every day. Urate is mostly white.
• History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. NA

Cage Info:
• Cage Type - 18x18x36 screen cage, drainage below
• Lighting - 2 Flukers lamp fixtures for household basking bulb (75w) and compact UVB, as well as 18" fixture (for 18" reptisun 5.0)
• Temperature - Basking spot temp: 84, ambient / bottom: 70
• Humidity - Ambient: 15 but during day with mister and humidifier: 40-80
⁃ Mistking mists 4 times a day for 6-7 minute intervals
⁃ IDYLIS humidifier from Lowes (not sure what type? Black $75 model?)
• Plants - Hibiscus and Pothos
• Placement - Cage in bedroom, which is located within the basement... Corner of bedroom... a bit of traffic in order for me to get to my closet and get to the bathroom. I am 5' 10'' and the cage is raised so that the basking branch is at eye level with me.
• Location - Midwest- Omaha, Nebraska... can get VERY cold and DRY

ANY suggestions for me?
 
What I am thinking right now is that there are too many hard-bodied bugs and no soft ones like silk or hornworms. I would purchase these online but I don't want to keep shelling out 20-30 every 2 weeks for worms. I heard about silkworm eggs but they only eat mulberry leaves and chow right? I'm not sure if I have access to leaves so that would be a problem.

According to Sandrachameleon's feeder list, I would think my variety is wholesome enough. I took suggested % multiplied by days a week to figure out approximately how many times a week I should primarily feed each bug.

Crickets: up to 40%= 3 days
Roaches: up to 40%= 3 days
BB flies: up to 30%= 2 days
Supers:up to 20%= 1 day and mealworms for treats

I think something softbodied would help with more regular poops, and perhaps give my guy more nutrition/hydration so he will stop gnawing on practically moldly hibiscus stems. Any thoughts are great appreciated. Thanks!
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
Both my panthers went through a "chewing" phase when they were about that age. I don't know why they did it. Otto would almost look like he was attacking a branch, I haven't seen him do it in a long time. Oscar would do it, too, but not as much or with as much gusto as Otto. My supplement schedule was what is considered the norm around here, and I used various hard and soft bodied prey. I don't have an answer to why they do it, but I've read here about other panthers have done the same thing.
I'd definitely try the silkworms and hornworms for your guy. Mine looove them. I've noticed if I keep the hornworms in the basement they don't grow as fast. It's easier than putting them in and out of the fridge, and the family doesn't get grossed out when they're looking for a snack, lol.
 
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