Does Winston hate his cage?

Hi all! So lately Winston has been spending more and more time climbing on the screen walls and screen ceiling of his cage. I'm pretty sure its because he wants to get out and explore but unfortunately I don't speak chameleon so I can't say for sure. He has never let me handle him but I have left the cage door open before with a little bridge for him to get to my ficus tree but instead of going in the tree he just climbs onto the outside of the cage and wanders around on top of it and the sides and refuses to go back inside. I know climbing on screen isn't good for them so its starting to worry me that he is doing it more and more often. The only thing that has recently changed about the cage is that I bought a jungle dawn LED bulb that is on for most of the day to help the plants grow. Is there something wrong with my setup or do I just have a chameleon who wants to roam free?

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon – 5 month old male ambilobe panther chameleon. I’ve had him for a about 3 months.
  • Handling – Never. I want to get to the point where he is comfortable with handling but every time I get close he puffs up and sometimes hisses so I back off.
  • Feeding – Dubia roaches, crickets, superworms and every day I try to get him to eat just one treat out of my hand (wax worms, hornworms etc) Feeding him as much as he will take since he’s growing (except for the treat items). I usually feed him around noon. I gutload the feeders with apples, oranges, potatoes, carrots, collard greens and cricket crack.
  • Supplements – Repashy Calcium Plus for every feeding.
  • Watering – I use a mistking with a rain nozzle, I mist every day 3 times a day for 2 minutes each time with a 15 minute misting every Sunday. I do see my chameleon drinking occasionally
  • Fecal Description – Has never been tested for parasites. His poop is moist and tight packed and most of the urates are close to white
  • History – He is from kammerflage kreations

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type – Reptibreeze screen cage, 24” X 24” X 48”
  • Lighting – Zoomed T5 terrarium hood with a UVB 5.0 bulb in it for UVB, for heat he as a 65 watt daylight basking bulb, and a jungledawn led bulb to help the plants grow. He also has a 25 watt ceramic bulb that comes on at night. The lights come on at 7:30 AM and they turn off at 7:30 PM.
  • Temperature – Cage floor is 72 degrees, basking spot is 80 degrees. Temperature never drops below 67 at night. To measure I use a thermometer/hygrometer and I have a temperature gun. I also have a space heater that will turn on automatically if the temp drops too low.
  • Humidity – The room humidity is always around 45%, the cage humidity is usually between 45% and 60%. I have a live umbrella plant in the cage and my humidifier turns on automatically when the room humidity drops to low. I measure it with the thermometer/hygrometer.
  • Plants – I have an umbrella plant in the cage, a spiderplant a tiny pothos and a big hanging pothos next to his cage. I also have a ficus alii in the room.
  • Placement – His cage is in my bedroom/office since I work from home. His cage is only about 6 feet away from my desk that I work at but I have reed fencing all around his cage except the front and lots of leaves on the sides to give him some more privacy. Also my back is always turned away from him while I’m working so he doesn’t feel like I’m staring at him. Its not near any fans or vents.
Location – I am in northern Utah so for the most part it is pretty dry around here
 

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Is he only climbing to get to the top? He might be trying to get closer to the heat if so. Screen climbing is generally a sign that something isn't right with the enclosure. It isn't too small and there seems to be a good amount of things for climbing. Is 80 the baby temp for a panther? Maybe it's time to heat it up a bit? I'd personally put more for plant coverage to the front top. It looks like you have only live plants? Maybe a fake one up there until they grow up a bit.
 

Giantspleen

Member
I think what's happening here is that he is extremely confused because of your light set up. He's getting warmth on one side and no uvb then uvb on the other (also no place to perch under the "sun" light) but no warmth. I would suggest putting your uvb diagonally across your cage then get rid of one of those heat lamps as one should be sufficient and he'll know to go to a basking spot as it's in their nature to find single spot. (In a larger enclosure you can have two but I'm this case i don't believe it's benefitting him at all). I bet if you ran the uvb light from the front right corner to the back left then put his heat lamp on the back right side (and the other in the opposite corner if you feel you need it to maintain a proper temp) he might stop doing that.
 

Giantspleen

Member
If you decide to do that lighting configuration you should let me know how he reacts. I'm curious to if it is the fix you're looking for.
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
another possibility could be something in the cage bothering him. if hes not wanting to go back then there may be something making him uncomfortable.
 
I think what's happening here is that he is extremely confused because of your light set up. He's getting warmth on one side and no uvb then uvb on the other (also no place to perch under the "sun" light) but no warmth. I would suggest putting your uvb diagonally across your cage then get rid of one of those heat lamps as one should be sufficient and he'll know to go to a basking spot as it's in their nature to find single spot. (In a larger enclosure you can have two but I'm this case i don't believe it's benefitting him at all). I bet if you ran the uvb light from the front right corner to the back left then put his heat lamp on the back right side (and the other in the opposite corner if you feel you need it to maintain a proper temp) he might stop doing that.
Thanks for the advice! But the light that isn’t in the corner is actually a jungle dawn grow light for the plants in his cage. It does give off some heat but not as much as his actual basking light. Maybe I’ll try to take it out for a few days and see if he’s happier
 
Hey guys the plants in my cage aren’t getting enough light so do you think I could replace the jungledawn bulb with just a standard LED bulb that gives off very little to no heat or should I just completely remove the grow light? I want my plants to look good but I also want winston to be happy haha
 

Giantspleen

Member
Your plant will grow with the uvb light (I'm assuming that's what that long light is). Also, led light strips are nice.
 

Graves923

Chameleon Enthusiast
Nothing to worry about.... Young chameleons will climb on anything they can get a hold of. Natural instinct is to get as high up as possible so until they get too heavy, they will climb upside down and on the screen. Add alot more vines and foliage through the cage.

Since he is climbing the top screen i would elevate your lights off the screen to prevent him from getting any contact burns if he decides to climb under the lighting.
 

Graves923

Chameleon Enthusiast
As for the lighting, keep the set up you have. I would put the UVB fixture diagonally across the cage to spread the UVB. Heat bulb is good as long as you are getting the desired basking temps at the basking branch and the plant light is fine too. You said the jungle dawn bulb is LED so it shouldnt put out too much heat if any. I personally use a halogen Grow light for my plants in my chams cage. It puts out a little less heat than the 75w house bulb i use for basking and my chameleon has no issues getting confused with where his basking spot is... As long as the cage gets cooler the closer to the bottom you get then youre good.
 
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