Dark Cham

Hero3265

New Member
Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon – 9-month-old male panther chameleon. I have had him for approx. 1 and a half months
  • Handling – Recently it has been once a day to let him out to the window. We have slatted blinds that he seems to enjoy looking out. His color brightens nearly immediately when we let him out. He stays out for no more than an hour and is put up.
  • Feeding – He is fed every day or every other day with dubia roaches and sometimes 1-2 meal worms. They are gut loaded with carrots and mustard greens 4-6 hours prior to feeding.
  • Supplements – Dusted with Fluker’s Calcium every feeding. Reptivite with D3 once every ~15 days. Bee pollen added roughly once a week.
  • Watering – Using MistKing system and had mister at times. Misting at 0630 for 5 min, 1300 for 1.5 min, and at 2000 for 5 min. I have seen him drink at times off of the live plants.
  • Fecal Description – Looks like perfect chameleon feces. Urate is bright white and feces is fully formed.

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type – 2x2x4 screen cage.
  • Lighting – 150 W basking bulb that is lifted off the cage 2 inches, for a total of approx. 8 inches from top of chameleon. 22-inch T5 6% UVB spread vertical across the cage. LED grow lamp used for plants. 12 hours on and 12 hours off.
  • Temperature
    Daytime – Basking spot 88-92. Mid cage 76-78 F. Floor 69 - 71. What temp range Overnight – Lowest recorded was 66 for now.
    All measurements come from 2 different temp sensors.
  • Humidity -
    Daytime – Ranges from 45-55% throughout the day. If I see it drop below 45 I typically mist the cage for a couple minutes.
    Overnight – Upwards of 96% humidity after misting. I have seen it drop to 78% once when I awoke in the middle of the night from the sensor.
  • Plants – Mainly Potos are spread throughout the cage. I have also included a nerve plant, a bromeliad, a calathea dottie, and swiss cheese plant.
  • Placement – In our front room. It is typically a low traffic area and there are only two of us in the household. We do have a dog that the chameleon obviously does not like, so we keep her out as much as possible. Top of cage measures 6 ft 4 inches. \
  • Location – Georgia USA.

Current Problem – We have had this chameleon for approx. 1.5 months and his color has not improved. We did initially have him in a glass enclosure that did not work out for him, so we changed it to a screened enclosure on 10-13. His color did not improve, and I am concerned I am still not doing something correctly. He runs to the door of the cage at times, seemingly requesting to be let out. I bring my hand under him, and he runs on my arm. I place him in the window nearly every day and he typically just sits and watches outside. His colors become more vibrant without him becoming irritated. Once placed back in the cage he becomes dark immediately and runs to the bottom of the cage, scratching to get out. He calms down shortly after and returns to a normal sitting position. He shed after we got him from a chameleon breeder, so I don’t believe his dark colors are stemming from a future shed. I have scoured the internet for solutions, but I don’t feel that I have been doing anything incorrectly in my care.

The pictures include his current cage setup, his mid-day colors in the cage, and his colors after removing him from the window. He was only in the window for approx. 20 minutes.
 

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Morpheo's Mom

Avid Member
Hi and welcome to the forum. In looking over your health form I see a couple of things you could change that may improve your cham's overall health.

Feeding- he is old enough to where you want to cut back to 3 feeders every other day. Mealworms are not recommended due to their little nutritional value. However variety is strongly encouraged. Here is a feeder/gutload graphic:
chameleon-food(1).jpg
chameleon-gutload.jpg
Humidity- Also, your humidity is a little low for panthers (50-70%). Consider getting a shower curtain to wrap around some of the sides to convert in into a hybrid and keep humidity in. Here is a link to the site's panther care sheet: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/panther/

Your Cham is beautiful, I hope this helps. I'm no expert so I am going to tag some more experienced people to make sure I have given you the correct information and if there is anything else to add. @Beman @kinyonga @MissSkittles
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your basking branch is pretty toasty, which can contribute to darker colors. Try using a lower wattage bulb, and getting a basking temp of 80-85F. But honestly even his darker colors still look good to me. It’s important to remember that chams will change colors for a variety of reasons and that their base level color is likely darker than what you think it’d be and darker than what people typically post pictures of.

Below is a video that goes into detail the various reasons why a chameleon may be a darker color.

 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
Hi There welcome to the forum, see my feedback in bold.


  • Your Chameleon – 9-month-old male panther chameleon. I have had him for approx. 1 and a half months
  • Handling – Recently it has been once a day to let him out to the window. We have slatted blinds that he seems to enjoy looking out. His color brightens nearly immediately when we let him out. He stays out for no more than an hour and is put up.
  • Feeding – He is fed every day or every other day with dubia roaches and sometimes 1-2 meal worms. They are gut loaded with carrots and mustard greens 4-6 hours prior to feeding. mealworms I would replace with a different feeder. BSF, superworms, or crickets.
  • Supplements – Dusted with Fluker’s Calcium every feeding. Reptivite with D3 once every ~15 days. Bee pollen added roughly once a week. Make sure the flukers calcium is without D3 version. Otherwise this rotation and schedule is fine.
  • Watering – Using MistKing system and had mister at times. Misting at 0630 for 5 min, 1300 for 1.5 min, and at 2000 for 5 min. I have seen him drink at times off of the live plants.
  • Fecal Description – Looks like perfect chameleon feces. Urate is bright white and feces is fully formed.

Cage Info:


  • Cage Type – 2x2x4 screen cage.
  • Lighting – 150 W basking bulb that is lifted off the cage 2 inches, for a total of approx. 8 inches from top of chameleon. 22-inch T5 6% UVB spread vertical across the cage. LED grow lamp used for plants. 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Drop the bulb wattage back. This is an intense bulb strength to use for a cham. Your looking for a basking temp of 80-85 max. Most of us keep basking right about 82-83 max. How are you checking the temps with a probe? With your T5HO fixture and the 6% bulb your looking for 8-9 inches from the bottom of the fixture to the branch. This should run parallel to the branch below it so they can easily bask in the correct UVI level.
  • Temperature
    Daytime – Basking spot 88-92. Mid cage 76-78 F. Floor 69 - 71. What temp range Overnight – Lowest recorded was 66 for now.
    All measurements come from 2 different temp sensors. Basking and mid ambient is a bit warm. Looking for 80-85 max at basking. Low 70's ambient mid rest of cage range. At night your looking for a temp drop below 68. If you can at least get it down to 65 that is fine. But they need the cool down at night.
  • Humidity -
    Daytime – Ranges from 45-55% throughout the day. If I see it drop below 45 I typically mist the cage for a couple minutes. Make sure you are not over misting either the cage should fully dry out between mistings. You want the humidity to fluctuate but looking for a stable 45% daytime level. It may help you to cover the back and left panel of the cage to see if you can get your levels more stable. This can be done with everything from corrugated plastic sheets or duct window film.
    Overnight – Upwards of 96% humidity after misting. I have seen it drop to 78% once when I awoke in the middle of the night from the sensor. Overnight temps become important with higher humidity. THey need cool moist air not hot moist air.
  • Plants – Mainly Potos are spread throughout the cage. I have also included a nerve plant, a bromeliad, a calathea dottie, and swiss cheese plant.
  • Placement – In our front room. It is typically a low traffic area and there are only two of us in the household. We do have a dog that the chameleon obviously does not like, so we keep her out as much as possible. Top of cage measures 6 ft 4 inches. \
  • Location – Georgia USA.

Current Problem – We have had this chameleon for approx. 1.5 months and his color has not improved. We did initially have him in a glass enclosure that did not work out for him, so we changed it to a screened enclosure on 10-13. His color did not improve, and I am concerned I am still not doing something correctly. He runs to the door of the cage at times, seemingly requesting to be let out. I bring my hand under him, and he runs on my arm. I place him in the window nearly every day and he typically just sits and watches outside. His colors become more vibrant without him becoming irritated. Once placed back in the cage he becomes dark immediately and runs to the bottom of the cage, scratching to get out. He calms down shortly after and returns to a normal sitting position. He shed after we got him from a chameleon breeder, so I don’t believe his dark colors are stemming from a future shed. I have scoured the internet for solutions, but I don’t feel that I have been doing anything incorrectly in my care.

The pictures include his current cage setup, his mid-day colors in the cage, and his colors after removing him from the window. He was only in the window for approx. 20 minutes.

I would get some better branches for his enclosure or even flukers fake vines. The dowels all being the exact same dimension and grip may become uncomfortable for him to continue to stand on. Also he has no way to work his grip with them all being the exact same.

I would look at solid panels to put on the back and sides. This not only will help to stabilize your temps and humidity but they will offer more security. Especially with the dog being there. If he is feeling insecure in the cage which what your describing by him becoming dark and going to the bottom. Also they can decide when they have been let out frequently that they like a place better then their enclosure. This is pretty common so we have to then make sure the enclosure is fitting all of the husbandry needs along with security needs. Things like temps being too hot in a cage will also make them go down low.
 

Hero3265

New Member
I have replaced the bulb with a 100 W and redid his cage today. I removed all the dowels and placed dragon ledges on all the sides with new different-sized branches. I have searched the forums for ways to retain humidity and found this: https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/alternate-clearside-diy.168320/
I will attempt to install this tomorrow once I get my hands on the film. I am also considering a fogger for the night. It's nearly winter and I can foresee it being fairly dry in the house soon.
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
I have replaced the bulb with a 100 W and redid his cage today. I removed all the dowels and placed dragon ledges on all the sides with new different-sized branches. I have searched the forums for ways to retain humidity and found this: https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/alternate-clearside-diy.168320/
I will attempt to install this tomorrow once I get my hands on the film. I am also considering a fogger for the night. It's nearly winter and I can foresee it being fairly dry in the house soon.
Yep that window film works. If you want a solid side to give him more privacy. Then home depot or lowes sells corrugated plastic panels. You could use command strips to stick them to the outside of the cage.
With fogging at night you do want that temp drop. Otherwise you can create an environment where a respiratory infection is possible.
 

Hero3265

New Member
I haven't seen any improvements in his colors just yet. His tail, extremities, and eyes have not shown any color unless he is in the window, or if he has his pajamas on. The sides have been wrapped for a couple days and a fogger was also added. The fogger runs for 5 hours at night. Just wanted to make sure there was nothing else for me to be worried about.
 

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Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
I haven't seen any improvements in his colors just yet. His tail, extremities, and eyes have not shown any color unless he is in the window, or if he has his pajamas on. The sides have been wrapped for a couple days and a fogger was also added. The fogger runs for 5 hours at night. Just wanted to make sure there was nothing else for me to be worried about.
How are the temps now? Is he eating and drinking normally?
 

Hero3265

New Member
I added a dripper this morning and he took to it nearly immediately. He didn't eat yesterday, which is abnormal, but I added the roaches back to the cage this AM. The middle of the cage temps are around 71-76 F. Basking temps range from 81-86 F. The lowest temp recorded at night was 64.3 F.
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
I added a dripper this morning and he took to it nearly immediately. He didn't eat yesterday, which is abnormal, but I added the roaches back to the cage this AM. The middle of the cage temps are around 71-76 F. Basking temps range from 81-86 F. The lowest temp recorded at night was 64.3 F.
I would keep a dripper on him since he took to it that way. How many feeders is he normally eating? Since he is 9 months old this could be a natural curb down in eating. He is the right age for it.
 

Hero3265

New Member
Hi There welcome to the forum, see my feedback in bold.


  • Your Chameleon – 9-month-old male panther chameleon. I have had him for approx. 1 and a half months
  • Handling – Recently it has been once a day to let him out to the window. We have slatted blinds that he seems to enjoy looking out. His color brightens nearly immediately when we let him out. He stays out for no more than an hour and is put up.
  • Feeding – He is fed every day or every other day with dubia roaches and sometimes 1-2 meal worms. They are gut loaded with carrots and mustard greens 4-6 hours prior to feeding. mealworms I would replace with a different feeder. BSF, superworms, or crickets.
  • Supplements – Dusted with Fluker’s Calcium every feeding. Reptivite with D3 once every ~15 days. Bee pollen added roughly once a week. Make sure the flukers calcium is without D3 version. Otherwise this rotation and schedule is fine.
  • Watering – Using MistKing system and had mister at times. Misting at 0630 for 5 min, 1300 for 1.5 min, and at 2000 for 5 min. I have seen him drink at times off of the live plants.
  • Fecal Description – Looks like perfect chameleon feces. Urate is bright white and feces is fully formed.

Cage Info:


  • Cage Type – 2x2x4 screen cage.
  • Lighting – 150 W basking bulb that is lifted off the cage 2 inches, for a total of approx. 8 inches from top of chameleon. 22-inch T5 6% UVB spread vertical across the cage. LED grow lamp used for plants. 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Drop the bulb wattage back. This is an intense bulb strength to use for a cham. Your looking for a basking temp of 80-85 max. Most of us keep basking right about 82-83 max. How are you checking the temps with a probe? With your T5HO fixture and the 6% bulb your looking for 8-9 inches from the bottom of the fixture to the branch. This should run parallel to the branch below it so they can easily bask in the correct UVI level.
  • Temperature
    Daytime – Basking spot 88-92. Mid cage 76-78 F. Floor 69 - 71. What temp range Overnight – Lowest recorded was 66 for now.
    All measurements come from 2 different temp sensors. Basking and mid ambient is a bit warm. Looking for 80-85 max at basking. Low 70's ambient mid rest of cage range. At night your looking for a temp drop below 68. If you can at least get it down to 65 that is fine. But they need the cool down at night.
  • Humidity -
    Daytime – Ranges from 45-55% throughout the day. If I see it drop below 45 I typically mist the cage for a couple minutes. Make sure you are not over misting either the cage should fully dry out between mistings. You want the humidity to fluctuate but looking for a stable 45% daytime level. It may help you to cover the back and left panel of the cage to see if you can get your levels more stable. This can be done with everything from corrugated plastic sheets or duct window film.
    Overnight – Upwards of 96% humidity after misting. I have seen it drop to 78% once when I awoke in the middle of the night from the sensor. Overnight temps become important with higher humidity. THey need cool moist air not hot moist air.
  • Plants – Mainly Potos are spread throughout the cage. I have also included a nerve plant, a bromeliad, a calathea dottie, and swiss cheese plant.
  • Placement – In our front room. It is typically a low traffic area and there are only two of us in the household. We do have a dog that the chameleon obviously does not like, so we keep her out as much as possible. Top of cage measures 6 ft 4 inches. \
  • Location – Georgia USA.

Current Problem – We have had this chameleon for approx. 1.5 months and his color has not improved. We did initially have him in a glass enclosure that did not work out for him, so we changed it to a screened enclosure on 10-13. His color did not improve, and I am concerned I am still not doing something correctly. He runs to the door of the cage at times, seemingly requesting to be let out. I bring my hand under him, and he runs on my arm. I place him in the window nearly every day and he typically just sits and watches outside. His colors become more vibrant without him becoming irritated. Once placed back in the cage he becomes dark immediately and runs to the bottom of the cage, scratching to get out. He calms down shortly after and returns to a normal sitting position. He shed after we got him from a chameleon breeder, so I don’t believe his dark colors are stemming from a future shed. I have scoured the internet for solutions, but I don’t feel that I have been doing anything incorrectly in my care.

The pictures include his current cage setup, his mid-day colors in the cage, and his colors after removing him from the window. He was only in the window for approx. 20 minutes.

I would get some better branches for his enclosure or even flukers fake vines. The dowels all being the exact same dimension and grip may become uncomfortable for him to continue to stand on. Also he has no way to work his grip with them all being the exact same.

I would look at solid panels to put on the back and sides. This not only will help to stabilize your temps and humidity but they will offer more security. Especially with the dog being there. If he is feeling insecure in the cage which what your describing by him becoming dark and going to the bottom. Also they can decide when they have been let out frequently that they like a place better then their enclosure. This is pretty common so we have to then make sure the enclosure is fitting all of the husbandry needs along with security needs. Things like temps being too hot in a cage will also make them go down low.
I somehow just realized you placed recommendations after my statements in bold. I will review them and make sure I'm following them appropriately.
PS: Your replies have been fantastic and thank you for reaching out to help!
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
I somehow just realized you placed recommendations after my statements in bold. I will review them and make sure I'm following them appropriately.
PS: Your replies have been fantastic and thank you for reaching out to help!
Oh yes, I put them in bold. Let me know if you have any questions about them. Double check UVB distance as well.
 

Hero3265

New Member
I would keep a dripper on him since he took to it that way. How many feeders is he normally eating? Since he is 9 months old this could be a natural curb down in eating. He is the right age for it.
He has been changing his feeding habits over the month. He was eating upwards of 10 feeders a day initially, but he's cut back to 4-7 every other day within the past 2~3 weeks. Also, I put mealworms as a feeder, I meant super worms. They are given sparingly.
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
He has been changing his feeding habits over the month. He was eating upwards of 10 feeders a day initially, but he's cut back to 4-7 every other day within the past 2~3 weeks. Also, I put mealworms as a feeder, I meant super worms. They are given sparingly.
Ok and by chance did you have a fecal run on him? Where did you get him from?
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
I have not had a fecal run on him yet. I got him while we were at a reptile convention. I cannot say if they were a reputable breeder or not.
Ok so with this info I am going to say you want to get him tested for parasites... Do you know if he was wild caught?
Where do you live? We might be able to recommend a good vet near you.
 

Hero3265

New Member
I don't believe he was wild caught, they did seem like they bred chameleons since they had quite a few.
I live east of Atlanta Ga.
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
I don't believe he was wild caught, they did seem like they bred chameleons since they had quite a few.
I live east of Atlanta Ga.
Ok I am going to tag @jannb for vets that may be near you in Atlanta Georgia area.

I am not saying there is a parasite issue but it is something that should be ruled out since you got him from a reptile show. Some of these breeders can be iffy in how they raise chameleons. So it is a good thing to rule out to insure the decline in appetite is normal aging and not an issue related to parasites.

Per the color... Panthers are very different in their colors and what they show. It is hard to nail down for me. I have much more experience with Veileds but starting with husbandry being on point and health being good would be important. Then work from there to define if the lack of showing color is related to health or a husbandry issue.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok I am going to tag @jannb for vets that may be near you in Atlanta Georgia area.

I am not saying there is a parasite issue but it is something that should be ruled out since you got him from a reptile show. Some of these breeders can be iffy in how they raise chameleons. So it is a good thing to rule out to insure the decline in appetite is normal aging and not an issue related to parasites.

Per the color... Panthers are very different in their colors and what they show. It is hard to nail down for me. I have much more experience with Veileds but starting with husbandry being on point and health being good would be important. Then work from there to define if the lack of showing color is related to health or a husbandry issue.

Dr. Brad Wilson in the Atlanta area has years of chameleon experience.
https://www.theveterinaryclinic.net/our-veterinarians
 
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