Chameleons in the winter...

So I just got my sub adult veiled. It's my first animal in the hobby and I'm really enjoying him.

First off, thanks to all the pros on here who answer all the newbies questions.

Does anyone here keep chams in the Northwest, or colder areas of the country? I'm in Seattle so I'm not worried about the temperature for the summer (we have pretty hot humid summers) but the winters are cold. :confused: And so is my house. He's in the office, the warmest room in the house, but it still get's into the high 50's at night. brrrrrr

Anyone do anything special? I know I'll at least have to get a night bulb heat lamp in addition to my day lamp and UVB, but I was also looking at heating coils, porcelain heat bulbs, something to leave on 24 hours. My chams cage is sunken into the office closet, so at night I can close the door half way which helps keep light out (so I can regulate his schedule) and heat in, to keep him happy.

I'm also concerned about fire hazards.

Any winter methods out there?
I had the exact same concern as you for the Michigan winters.

I bought a cage with solid walls. The top is a stainless steel mesh with 1/2" openings. Each side has 2 - 4" x 12" vents that can be opened or closed and the back has 4 - 3" vents that can also be opened or closed. The front of the cage has sliding plexiglass doors.

In Michigan in the winter, it would be near impossible to have the correct climate for a cham in a screened enclosure. This doesn't mean that it cannot be done but the room would have to be pretty much climate controled as well and the room my cham is in is far from that.

The vents allow me to open or close them as I need. In the summer, I run the vents wide open with a fan blowing toward the cage for circulation. I also leave one of the sliding doors cracked about 2-3 inches. In the winter I can close the vents keeping in the heat and humidity. I have a small comuter fan hooked up to one of the vents for circulation in the winter when the rest of the vents closed. It works perfect as it is weak enough to not cause currents or blow the leaves but it is strong enough to keep the air circulating.

You can see pictures of my set up in my gallery.
Hi and welcome! There are Canadian, PNW and other northern cham keepers on here so you will get replies. I live on the other coast in NH and it gets colder and drier in the winter here than where you are and I have developed different things over the years.

First I have never used any sort of heat at night. Interestingly, my cham is in my office which is the warmest room in the house AND, like you, the cage is sort of inset into a closet! We have mirrored setups 3000 miles apart! My closet is free standing. It was a cabinet that I took the doors and top off so I have no door to close. At night (in winter) I usually cover the cage with a fleece blanket. (just be sure to take it off before your lights go on!).

50? brrrrr??? :rolleyes: We often have below freezing temps and it's typically 20-50 degrees - New England is VERY unpredictable weather wise - our saying is: Don't like the weather? Wait 5 minutes! :D Anyway, I live in a very old house that does not hold the heat in well and I prefer a cool house at night.

I would suggest getting a digital thermometer for in the cage. I have one from home depot that has a Max/Min feature so you can see how low the temps are going at night. Middle of winter mine have never gone below 60, and usually only go down to 65. Keep in mind that you do want a 10-20 degree drop at night - it doesn't stay warm all night year round in the jungle ;)

The bigger problem, at least here, is humidity in winter. THAT can very difficult to attain. You did not mention the type of cage he is in. Mine is in a 2x2x4 all screen. Three sides have plastic shower curtain liner on them and there is about 3" of space on either side between the "closet" wall, but it is open on top and front so gets plenty of ventilation, but also looses moisture. I use a humidifier (even now) with PVC piping directing it into the cage. Many of use this methods and there are a variety of ways to set it up.

The other thing that helps with humidity is have a lot of live foliage in the cage. I have one large schefflera and then alternate smaller plants if needed.

I don't have time to upload a lot of pics, but if you go here you can see how I had my veiled set up (think some pics might have the laying tub in bottom) Luna's setup. I'll try to post some of Cyrus' (panther) current setup.

Btw, being in the closet now, be careful that it does not get too humid and end up with mold growing. If you are spraying/misting a lot into would and have humid summers it could be a problem - but you may have worked all that out.

Hope this has helped you out and I am sure you will get lots of tips.
I think a cage with solid sides and some extra heating in the room would be fine.
It gets cold here in the UK in the winter but i have so many set ups in my room that the room stays a nice temperature in the winter with no heating...But when i only had one or two i used an oil filled rad to warm the room,there pretty cheap to run and do a good job in most rooms,

solid vivs like this are warmer in the winter

Nice setup koabich. I've got a 24"x24"x36" screen cage that set me back 90 bucks, so I don't really want to switch it up now. That might have been a good choice though.

side note - I'm from Canada and I'm a whimp - I hate winter. Snow should be a thing you visit to ski in and then go home. :cool:

Thanks lele,

Funny we've got such similar setups! The mold issue was high on the wife's priority list. So I lined the two walls that the cage is against with painters plastic that runs down under the cage. So any excess spray should be trapped and pulled away from the walls and floor and held in the plastic under the cage.

Fleece blanket eh? That's the kinda thing I never thought of and knew I could trust this forum for. :D

I'll upload Otto's (wife named it) cage setup into my gallery after I post this. But note that it was already pointed out to me that there wasn't enough foliage, it's doubled or more since this photo. The closet is a double that has slider doors so there's lots of air movement. His last shed was bad though, lot's of left over skin on him still, so I may need to up the humidity even more.

I still think I'll need and extra bulb at some point, but I'll see.

Thanks guys. Looking forward to more ideas.
i had the same problem in the uk, trying to maintain ambient temperatures with a screen cage, this is what i have built last weekend. I use pc fans at the top for ventilation. its not fully set up but you get the idea.


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Nice setup unbreakable! Pc fans - great idea.
Do you keep the fans running at night? or just during the day?

lele - If you're using a humidifier, do you no longer need to mist him? I'm also thinking about a setup to maintain things when I'm away. I'll need to get someone to come feed him, but if I can eliminate the misting, that would be helpful.

Do you put your humidifier on a timer or anything?
thank you, im new to the pc fans aswell! i have a very good temperature gradient with the fans off but i intend to use them when the weather is hot and perhaps just put them on a cycle to clear the stagnant air, i have one blowing air out and one blowing air in!:)
Nice setup unbreakable! Pc fans - great idea.
Do you keep the fans running at night? or just during the day?

lele - If you're using a humidifier, do you no longer need to mist him? I'm also thinking about a setup to maintain things when I'm away. I'll need to get someone to come feed him, but if I can eliminate the misting, that would be helpful.

Do you put your humidifier on a timer or anything?
I don;t put it on a timer only b/c he is in my office and I am at his beck and call "excuse me, mom, I'd like some mist." :D haha! I also don;t go away much, but when I do I would fill it up completely and put it on a time for maybe 1/2 to an hour 3x /day (depending what time of year.

I still spray/mist him to get his drinking stimulated. I mist gently and once he gets what it is - duh - he goes to one of his two favorite drinking spots and I st the dripper above him. He tends to drink for nearly 1/2 hour (well at least sits under it) right before bed time! I have a jungle gym set up so he is out of the cage much of the day (roaming the ceiling) so I make sure he get enough water in pm. he also routinely drinks from his dripper after basking in the morning. So don't completely depend on the humidifier. I know some folks prefer misters b/c they produce bigger drops of water, but for me they are a lot more messy. If you went to Luna''s setup link i gave you before you can see how it is set up. I still am using the same humidifier for Cyrus (the thing has to be 4 years old!) and it works out great. I guess once you find out what works best for your cham you just stick with it.

I like some of the vented and more solid enclosures - I know they are common in UK, but since you have hm in the closet you may have trouble keeping the humidity down in summer.

Can you post a pic of your setup - or did I miss that??:rolleyes:

Oh, one other cool thing is that sunbeam makes a very small "personal" humidifier (not as easy to find) that I will sometimes put it right in the cage with him on a stand (so mist goes up high enough). I also use it for my beardie and you may know they live in much more arid conditions, but in the dead of a dry, cold NH winter it helps! Remind me if you want the model, I have it bookmarked somewhere, or can post pics.

i am still on the look out for a decent mister, they seem to be a little harder to come by over here. However hand misting and a dripper seems to work for me:)
Thanks unbreakable, I need to set up a dripper it sounds.

lele - you can see a poor picture of my setup in my member gallery. Taken as I was getting it setup. Thanks for all the info. I'm thinking that I need to somehow increase his misting times.

Do you guys purposely spray right on the cham when you mist? Or do you just get him if he gets in the way? Mine heads for cover the instant I start spraying.

thanks guys.
mine doesnt like being sprayed directly either so just spray the foliage around him/her. Or if you are going to spray the cham just avoid its head and make sure its warm water, hth
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