Climbing the screen

Could my husbandry contribute to my chameleon climbing all over the sides of the screen? He also climbs to the floor often, but doesn't stay there. Just climbing all around almost aimlessly.

He is in his 16x16x30 cage now. His 24x24x48 one is being constructed by me now; it's in the living room, just planning and gathering supplies.

I will pull up my husbandry form and tell you his approximate age in another reply. On my phone here. But he was weighed less than 2 weeks ago and was at 56g.

Could something besides his age contribute to him climbing around like this?
 

Attachments

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - He is a veiled chameleon named Khalid. I got him on 7/21/19 at a local reptile Expo. The seller told me he was 10 weeks old at the time of purchase. That would put his birthday at May 12th, 2019. It's mid September now, so he should be about 4 months old.
  • Handling - I take him out for 15min at a time maybe once every week or two. Just let him crawl around on my hands. He has a tree to sit on when I clean or re-work his cage once a month.
  • Feeding - I made a bug run bowl. He eats about 10-15 crickets spread out between two feedings a day. I add 3 wax worms, 3 super worms, and/or 3 dubia roaches to the bowl once a day depending on how hunger he seems. He has possibly never eaten a dubia roach, but goes for the worms first when offered. He's been a great eater since I got him. The crickets and dubias are gut-loaded using this frozen ice-cube method with some combo of carrots, sweet potato, apples, oranges, banana, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, and bok choy. I have Repashy Bug Burger on hand, but haven't used it yet. I'd like to write a few recipes for these that I can have on hand and rotate through. I've seen him eat pothos. I would like to experiment with feeding fruits and veges but haven't yet.
  • Supplements - I am dusting everything, every time, with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD.
  • Watering - There is a tall plastic cup on top of his cage with a small hole drilled in the bottom. I load that thing up with ice anytime I notice there isn't any in it. That is a steady drip for him, the ice is from the tap. I also have a Mist King set up with one nozzle for now. It goes off at 6:50AM, 12:30AM, 3:30PM and 7:00PM for about 2 minutes at a time.
  • Fecal Description - I've read the poop 101 post and they look healthy! :) He was tested for parasites 9/11/2019 and came back negative for all parasites.
  • History - No history on Khalid. This is my first reptile since I was an adolescent. I’m trying to learn a lot quickly. Khalid seems pretty easy-going, maybe that’s just his young age, though. I have 2 cats, one really skittish and easy going, and one year old curious, though generally well-behaved. No other pets.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Reptibreeze 16”x16”x30" screen cage for now, will upgrade to 24"x24"x48" soon. No substrate. Not using plastic on the sides now, trying to get humidity down from about 65% between spikes.
  • Lighting - He has a 24" T5-HO Reptisun placed right on top of the cage for UVB light. Currently there is a 100w Ceramic Heat Emitter and an LED/coil plant light in the dual dome. The basking bulb itself is about 4 inches away from the top of the screen and the basking branch is approx. 5 inches away from the top of the screen. His timer is set to go on at 7:00AM and turn off around 7:30PM. The CHE is on an Inkbird on/off thermostat set to 84* w/ 2* variance.
  • Temperature - I have 3 temperature gauges and 1 hygrometer in the cage. I also have a temp gun. One temperature probe is on the basking spot, another is near the basking spot, the second is in mid-lower area of cage. The probe in the middle of the cage is usually 5-10* cooler than basking temp. Between 10:00PM-8:00AM the AC in the house takes the temperature down to 68*, and during the day it would need to get up to 76* for the AC to kick on again.
    • I am having trouble getting the temp up to 85* at the basking spot. I ordered a 150w CHE today, should be here tomorrow.
  • Humidity - The humidity goes down to about 60% at the driest during the day, spiking when the mister goes on. I'm working toward following recommendations from this naturalistic hydration podcast, but I still have a ways to go in this aspect. I give the cage a 2-3 min mist cycle about 10 min before lights out to try to keep the humidity up at night, but will need to soon employ some kind of cool mist humidifier to get it going up to 80% or more. I'm also aware the humidity is too high during the day. I am still working on this aspect of my husbandry. Despite these less than ideal conditions, he hasn't shown signs of dehydration or lung infection.
  • Plants - There are 2 fake vines, a 4" and 6" pothos, and a 10" Schefflera Arboricola/umbrella plant that just about bursts out of the cage, so there is a lot of foliage for him. The soil of the 3 potted plants is currently covered in either regular (large and small) sized marbles, or garden rocks. I have aluminum mesh I plan to add over the soil at the next month's full cage cleaning.
  • Placement - It is in my dining area. My house is very small and has an open-feel. There is a busy office, the kitchen/dining room/living room (where he is, and is honestly less busy than the office), then there is my bedroom, which is dark and quiet. I could move him there, but I also like to keep an eye on him. There is a ceiling fan over the dining room, but is rarely on. The cage is about 40"off the floor now, 33” high table and 6” or so of water basins as I was focused on figuring out humidity last week.
  • Location - Minnesota

Current problem:

Don't want him to rip his toenails out on the screen sides of the cage. He is very active lately.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Some more horizontal branches toward the top of the cage may help with the screen climbing. If not, installing a lattice on the inside of the screen will provide a good, safe climbing surface. You can also use the lattice as a frame to attach branches/etc to!

I don't have time to comb through your form right now - I'll try to pop my later if no one else beats me to it. :)
 
Hi again.

I'd like to bump this thread again. Khalid has taken up the habit in the last week of just rushing at me when I stop at the screen. I open the door and he rushes out onto my hand, which he never used to do. I've only successfully hand fed him once and typically leave him alone! :p

He's still in the smaller cage, the large one at this point is about fully set up next to him, I'm just waiting for trellis for the sides and back. I've put him in the bigger cage as a trial run for 15 minutes at a time, but he still kinda goes right for the screen and crawls all over it.There is like 3 times as much room in this bigger cage for him to fall from, I've seen/heard him fall 3 times already because he hasn't learned he's too big to climb on the screen like that now. Luckily, none of the falls have been at all serious.

So 2-4 weeks left before the all-around trellis, then I'll feel OK putting him in the bigger cage full time.

Still just wondering if husbandry could contribute, or if this is his age now. He has started eating half as much, as well. Only 5 crickets and a couple super worms a day. Eats fine, just noticeably less already.

He's about 4.5 months old.
 
So I'm kinda all over the place here, but
  • he's eaten less
  • been waayy more active
  • suddenly wants out of the cage any chance he gets now
  • typically been a duller green lately (like camo-colors or true green/brown rather than the fantastic brights of angry and sleeping).


    This is adolescence? He seems healthy otherwise.

First Cham here, obviously. So just wanna check in.
 

RyanBRZ

Avid Member
I agree, you should get more horizontal branches. I also recommend you get some expandable trellis to prevent him from climbing on the screen. Not only can these lead to falls & injuries, he can also lose fingernails. I wish I would have installed this sooner, but didn't get the idea until almost a year after having him. This also gives you the ability to branches and vines anywhere in your cage, instead of relying on tacking things to the screen.

Here's a link to what I used: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GGWSKXA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Here's my setup:
20191006_142705.jpg
 
I agree, you should get more horizontal branches. I also recommend you get some expandable trellis to prevent him from climbing on the screen. Not only can these lead to falls & injuries, he can also lose fingernails. I wish I would have installed this sooner, but didn't get the idea until almost a year after having him. This also gives you the ability to branches and vines anywhere in your cage, instead of relying on tacking things to the screen.

Here's a link to what I used: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GGWSKXA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Here's my setup:
View attachment 247917
This trellis is exactly what is on the way. :) I feel like they are making it to order, though, because they said it would arrive a month after I ordered it.
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Couple of things stand out to me...

Based on his size in that first picture and changes in behvaior, he seems to be older than 4 months. 4 months would be really early to start seeing the increased active behavior, decreased appetite etc. Those are changes that are usually seen around the 1 year mark... I'm mindful that every chameleon is different but those are the trends I usually see.

Increased activity and wanting to come out is common as your chameleon gets older (again closer to the 1 year mark) as they become sexually mature and show interest in exploring to try and find a mate.

Decreased appetite is also very common to see as your chameleon gets older. Keepers will start feeding their chams every other day as they get close to 1-year old.

He'll learn eventually that he is too big to climb the screen, my cham went through this same process of having a couple of falls closer to the one year mark. He no longer tries to climb the sides.

I'd decrease the amount of misting sessions you have especially if you are experiencing humidity levels that are too high during the day. One in the morning and one at night is usually best practice.

I'd also get him into that 2x2x4 enclosure ASAP.
 
Couple of things stand out to me...

Based on his size in that first picture and changes in behvaior, he seems to be older than 4 months. 4 months would be really early to start seeing the increased active behavior, decreased appetite etc. Those are changes that are usually seen around the 1 year mark... I'm mindful that every chameleon is different but those are the trends I usually see.

Increased activity and wanting to come out is common as your chameleon gets older (again closer to the 1 year mark) as they become sexually mature and show interest in exploring to try and find a mate.

Decreased appetite is also very common to see as your chameleon gets older. Keepers will start feeding their chams every other day as they get close to 1-year old.

He'll learn eventually that he is too big to climb the screen, my cham went through this same process of having a couple of falls closer to the one year mark. He no longer tries to climb the sides.

I'd decrease the amount of misting sessions you have especially if you are experiencing humidity levels that are too high during the day. One in the morning and one at night is usually best practice.

I'd also get him into that 2x2x4 enclosure ASAP.
I'll cut back the misting to twice a day and see how that goes.

I'd put him in the bigger cage right away, but then I'm afraid he'll climb the screen and fall 4 feet. Should I do it anyway? In 2-4 weeks I will install the trellis as soon as it arrives either way.
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'll cut back the misting to twice a day and see how that goes.

I'd put him in the bigger cage right away, but then I'm afraid he'll climb the screen and fall 4 feet. Should I do it anyway? In 2-4 weeks I will install the trellis as soon as it arrives either way.
Keep me posted on how your humidity levels balance out.

Personally, I would… the only way he is going to learn he's too big to climb the screen is by falling a few times. What you can do to help prevent injury is make sure it is full of vines and plants on the bottom to break his potential fall. My cham Neptune would fall and catch himself on the vine that was nearby. Why he didn't just use the vine to climb is beyond me... but he would be able to catch himself before hitting the ground. Also keep in mind, that they fall in the wild and still survive. Ideally, we don't want our chams to fall, but their bodies are built to handle the ocassional oopsie.
 
Keep me posted on how your humidity levels balance out.

Personally, I would… the only way he is going to learn he's too big to climb the screen is by falling a few times. What you can do to help prevent injury is make sure it is full of vines and plants on the bottom to break his potential fall. My cham Neptune would fall and catch himself on the vine that was nearby. Why he didn't just use the vine to climb is beyond me... but he would be able to catch himself before hitting the ground. Also keep in mind, that they fall in the wild and still survive. Ideally, we don't want our chams to fall, but their bodies are built to handle the ocassional oopsie.
Thank you. This makes sense. I'll put him in his bigger cage instead of waiting.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
You said..."I am having trouble getting the temp up to 85* at the basking spot. I ordered a 150w CHE today, should be here tomorrow"... Were you able to get the basking temperature up to the mid to high 80's?
If he can't get warm enough it may slow down his metabolism and if it's the basking light that he's trying to get under that may be what's going on.

If he's climbing e screen all,over the cage then it's something else going on.

If he's trying to get under the UVB light then he may not be getting enough UVB. I recommend using the long linear reptisun 5.0 tube lights because they give him more area to sit under to get UVB.
 
You said..."I am having trouble getting the temp up to 85* at the basking spot. I ordered a 150w CHE today, should be here tomorrow"... Were you able to get the basking temperature up to the mid to high 80's?
If he can't get warm enough it may slow down his metabolism and if it's the basking light that he's trying to get under that may be what's going on.

If he's climbing e screen all,over the cage then it's something else going on.

If he's trying to get under the UVB light then he may not be getting enough UVB. I recommend using the long linear reptisun 5.0 tube lights because they give him more area to sit under to get UVB.
Thanks for checking out my form!

The 150W has achieved the right temps. I hooked it up to an on/off ink bird thermostat, too. So the temps haven't been worrying me lately.

I use a t5ho 5.0uvb tube bulb as well.

I'll incorporate more branches under the bulbs in the big cage he's moving to ASAP.

He lost a toenail :'(
I'm going to have to keep an eye on it. It looks painful.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
If the toe swells up then you will need to see a vet because it will mean it's likely infected...so keep an eye on it.
 
Top Bottom