Drax - my new little buddy

mark.fiorino

New Member
Hey everyone,

Drax represents the 11th soul to be brought into our home (3 people, 3 cats, 2 dogs, a bird, a gecko, and now Drax). He seems like a pretty happy fella, who doesn't seem to mind being picked up too much, making enclosure cleanings pretty easy. He's about 3-4 months old and probably a female, but who cares, he doesn't know the difference! :D

249874


He's almost done shedding for the first time!

We used to have a Leopard Gecko in this large enclosure, so she moved to a smaller apartment and Drax got the townhome! It's changed a few times since we brought him home, but I'm pretty satisfied with the setup as pictured. I'm still working on a few things like figuring out the right timer settings for the fogger for humidity.

Warm mistings at least twice daily. Diet is crickets, mealworms, and some other bugs the guy at the critter expo gave us, like $12/100 and they look like large and less rolly-poly pill bugs - I've seen the motion of him catching prey out of the corner of my eye multiple times, but I have yet to actually be watching (letalone recording with slow-mo...) when he does it. Basking lamp and UVB bulb during the day, no lights at night. My fiance and I are plant hobbists so we have plenty of live pothos and philodendron to put in there, and I have a second terracotta pot I'm going to root some Silver pothos and add to what you see above.

Hoping to learn a lot here!! Talk to y'inz soon!

Pennsylvania Out,

Mark
 

Decadancin

Moderatoris Americanus
Staff member
Welcome to the forums! :) Sounds like you have done some research and have a good start! Just one word of caution, but you did say "warm mistings" twice daily. Be careful with that as what is warm to us can actually be HOT for them. I would just use room temperature water for this. Also, Many will use the fogger at night. With the heat from the lights during the day and the added humidity it can lead to issues. There are some great resources here on the forums and tons of helpful members! Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
Can't wait to watch Drax grow up!!!
 

mark.fiorino

New Member
Decadancin,
Thanks! I have wanted a chameleon for a long time, so I've had the opportunity to learn a few things, but there's so much more to explore! I will keep water temperature in mind, and will use room temperature water from now on, the same temp I like to use for my plants.

For clarification, the fogger does cycle at night, but on a 1hr on/3hrs off cycle instead of the foggier settings during the day. I'll keep looking around for ways to improve his conditions.
Don't worry, there will be plenty of pictures! Like this one - he do a bask!

249891
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the forum.

Can you post a complete picture of the enclosure and what size/brand is it?
 

mark.fiorino

New Member
As far as brand, I am unsure, probably ZooMed or something like that. It's glass on three sides with a screen front and top, and is 18x18x24. As Drax grows, he'll be moved into a larger enclosure.
250477
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome to the forum. It is important to know if Drax is male or female. Females will lay eggs whether they’ve been mated or not and need to have a lay bin in their enclosure. Males have little spurs on their back feet...looks almost like a little toe. Females don’t usually have this, although some may have a tiny bump. Males also have larger casques and vertical bands of markings...females markings are more horizontal.
 

mark.fiorino

New Member
I had a close look, and Drax appears to be female! I will set up a lay bin in the next 6 months or so, since she's still a baby. Thanks guy!

Hey, quick question - sometimes Drax will move to the bottom of her enclosure and try like hell to figure out how to get out. I don't mean trying to figure out the door - but she stands up against the glass, grabbing at it and trying to reach out, usually in my direction. I tried taking her out and giving her some attention (because it looks like that is what she wants when she does this), but as I was lifting her out she grabbed a vine and went back to her basking spot. Any ideas on her motivations here?
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
If you’d like to make sure all of your husbandry is correct, you could fill this help form out and someone can review it. Too often even the smallest of errors can have serious effects.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

--------------

Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
 

mark.fiorino

New Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Drax - Female Veiled Chameleon, was told she was 2-3 months old when I got her in October 2019.
  • Handling - Only as often as needed, and as calmly and deliberately as possible. I've arranged her enclosure in such a way that I can completely clean it without handling her at all, if she stays on one of the supported fake perches.
  • Feeding - Loaded crickets fed with Fluker's Orange Cubes, and mealworms (still trying to find a good supplier), once a day. Still figuring out her appetite.
  • Supplements - None yet.
  • Watering - A Reptifogger cycles every hour or so and I mist with warm water once or twice a day. The fog is directed into a cluster of fake plastic vines, which drip consistently after the first 15 minutes of fogging.
  • Fecal Description - 70% dark brown and 30% white-ish, and wet.
  • History - None yet.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - 3/4 glass with screen front door and top, 18"x18"x24". No false forest wall inserts - all clear glass. Except the water spots because our water is hard af.
  • Lighting - Dual deep globe elevated by an arm on the side of the enclosure, with a UVB Daylight bulb and a basking spot lamp.
  • Temperature - Ambient temp is between 68-72f. A single thermometer on the side of the enclosure 4" from the top and on the wall closest to the basking area reads 86f during the day and bottoms out at ambient overnight.
  • Humidity - A single barometer next to the thermo measures between ~5% and ~90%, with fluctuations controlled by the Reptifogger set to 50% and on a timer. Paper towels line the bottom and are replaced 2x a week or as they become sodden/soiled.
  • Plants - One marble Pothos and one Silver pothos provide cover and vines from Drax to explore, in addition to 2x ExoTerra Jungle Vines and a cluster of fake vines we got in a snake kit at last weekend's reptile expo. We also got a snake.
  • Placement - Enclosure is 28" off the floor, on my work desk (I work from home 65% of the time so I am here and active a lot). Ventilation is excellent in spite of there being no fans nearby. Her typical basking spot is at 44" off the floor, which is just about eye level with me when I am sitting here working.
  • Location - Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley.

Current Problem - None. Yet.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m so very glad you filled this out as there are some changes that you need to make as soon as able. With your current husbandry your girl is at risk of developing mbd and possibly respiratory infection. It may seem like a lot of changes to make and sorry if it seems overwhelming. Priority needs to be given to proper supplements, gutloading and lighting. The other stuff, while important, can be taken care of after . Attaching some of the care sheets to help guide you. I myself am rather new to chams so may have left some info out and more experienced members may need to add to or correct me. Hope I’ve been able to be of help in you having a happy and healthy cham. Do ask as many questions as you need and keep us posted on your progress. Many us started just like you and we love seeing positive changes. :)
Chameleon Info:
  • Drax - Female Veiled Chameleon, was told she was 2-3 months old when I got her in October 2019. You’ll want to start looking into making a lay bin as she will eventually lay infertile eggs, same as chickens do. It should be a permanent part of her enclosure.
  • Handling - Only as often as needed, and as calmly and deliberately as possible. I've arranged her enclosure in such a way that I can completely clean it without handling her at all, if she stays on one of the supported fake perches. (y)
  • Feeding - Loaded crickets fed with Fluker's Orange Cubes, and mealworms (still trying to find a good supplier), once a day. Still figuring out her appetite. The orange cubes are a mistake many of us have made. Attaching gut load sheet. Meal worms should only be an occasional treat as hard to digest and fatty. Roaches and silkworms are excellent additions to crickets.
  • Supplements - None yet. You need supplements ASAP. The easiest way to go is Repashy calcium with loD dusted at every feeding. No other supplement needed.
  • Watering - A Reptifogger cycles every hour or so and I mist with warm water once or twice a day. The fog is directed into a cluster of fake plastic vines, which drip consistently after the first 15 minutes of fogging. Fogging should only be during the night. Misting with room temp water for 2 mins 2-3 times a day is best. If you like things automated, Mistking is awesome.
  • Fecal Description - 70% dark brown and 30% white-ish, and wet. Stool and urate should be soft formed. Color is fine
  • History - None yet.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - 3/4 glass with screen front door and top, 18"x18"x24". No false forest wall inserts - all clear glass. Except the water spots because our water is hard af. You’ll be needing to upgrade to a larger enclosure...the bigger the better. Really shouldn’t be using straight tap water...spring water or distilled is best. Additives in water may be ok for us, but not our chams.
  • Lighting - Dual deep globe elevated by an arm on the side of the enclosure, with a UVB Daylight bulb and a basking spot lamp. If your uvb is a coil type bulb, it isn’t providing your Cham with adequate uvb. You need to get a linear T5 ho fixture the width of your enclosure with a 5% bulb.
  • Temperature - Ambient temp is between 68-72f. A single thermometer on the side of the enclosure 4" from the top and on the wall closest to the basking area reads 86f during the day and bottoms out at ambient overnight.
  • Humidity - A single barometer next to the thermo measures between ~5% and ~90%, with fluctuations controlled by the Reptifogger set to 50% and on a timer. Paper towels line the bottom and are replaced 2x a week or as they become sodden/soiled. Ideal range during the day is 40%-50% and can get much higher at night. Too high during the day combined with the wet/soiled paper towel puts her at risk for respiratory infection. You may need to drill some drainage holes in the floor of the enclosure.
  • Plants - One marble Pothos and one Silver pothos provide cover and vines from Drax to explore, in addition to 2x ExoTerra Jungle Vines and a cluster of fake vines we got in a snake kit at last weekend's reptile expo. We also got a snake. Best plants for veileds imho. You want your enclosure to be full and with lots of ‘roads’ for her to travel and some places for her to hide.
  • Placement - Enclosure is 28" off the floor, on my work desk (I work from home 65% of the time so I am here and active a lot). Ventilation is excellent in spite of there being no fans nearby. Her typical basking spot is at 44" off the floor, which is just about eye level with me when I am sitting here working. They like to literally look down on us, but ok.
  • Location - Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley.
 

mark.fiorino

New Member
Alrighty! Here's my plan:

1. Already modified the fogger schedule to 1hr on, 3hr off during the day and 2x2 at night, to reduce humidity during the day and keep it elevated at night.
2. The Orange Cubes are NOT for gut loading, they are simply to keep the crickets alive longer as we buy them 50 or so at a time right now. I knew we'd need a dusting supplement, thank you for the product recommendations and data sheets!
3. I will switch to using purified/distilled water for mistings.
4. I'm sure an opportunity to upgrade the enclosure to something a bit larger and less glassed-in will come along, but for now she is fine with the space she has short-term. When that time comes, I'll probably be building, not buying, because that's the kind of guy I am. I'll also upgrade the UVB lighting to the suggested configuration at that time.

Thanks for all the awesome info!!
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Alrighty! Here's my plan:

1. Already modified the fogger schedule to 1hr on, 3hr off during the day and 2x2 at night, to reduce humidity during the day and keep it elevated at night.
2. The Orange Cubes are NOT for gut loading, they are simply to keep the crickets alive longer as we buy them 50 or so at a time right now. I knew we'd need a dusting supplement, thank you for the product recommendations and data sheets!
3. I will switch to using purified/distilled water for mistings.
4. I'm sure an opportunity to upgrade the enclosure to something a bit larger and less glassed-in will come along, but for now she is fine with the space she has short-term. When that time comes, I'll probably be building, not buying, because that's the kind of guy I am. I'll also upgrade the UVB lighting to the suggested configuration at that time.

Thanks for all the awesome info!!
Great! (y) The uvb though really shouldn’t wait...it’s quite important for natural D3 production. If you have an idea of what width enclosure you’ll be upgrading to, you can get that length and it’s ok if it hangs over the top of the current one.
A great idea just to toss your way...many renovate old curio or china cabinets into cham enclosures. Cabinets can be picked up super cheap at thrift stores, Facebook marketplace, etc.
Looking forward to your future posts. :)
 

mark.fiorino

New Member
So what you're saying is that the bulb I was specifically instructed to purchase, by the guy who sold me the chameleon because it is a UVB bulb designed for the purpose of keeping chameleons healthy, is in fact so falsely advertised, my chameleon will be less than optimally healthy if I don't get a different lighting setup that is also designed for the very same purpose?

The cabinet idea sounds excellent, actually. Might even be more able to convince my better half to let me build a custom enclosure. :D
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
So what you're saying is that the bulb I was specifically instructed to purchase, by the guy who sold me the chameleon because it is a UVB bulb designed for the purpose of keeping chameleons healthy, is in fact so falsely advertised, my chameleon will be less than optimally healthy if I don't get a different lighting setup that is also designed for the very same purpose?

The cabinet idea sounds excellent, actually. Might even be more able to convince my better half to let me build a custom enclosure. :D
If said guy who sold you the chameleon specifically instructed you to purchase a coil uvb bulb such as this
A6C81230-32E9-4403-B753-A45FE71BD4D4.jpeg
in order to keep your chameleon healthy, then said guy was either incorrect or misinformed himself.
The correct uvb which will keep your cham healthy is like this
152FBA2D-4002-4F6B-A89F-2ED4430C0EFB.jpeg
and can be obtained at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AQU8F2O/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
We have all been mislead by the compact bulb. :) I have one in my literal closet, along with the lovely red light for night time. If I hadn’t found this forum, my poor little lady would be quite ill by now.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Upon further investigation, I may just break down and get a ReptiBreeze and one of those lighting kits.
I have the Reptibreeze XL and it suits the need. I also have an old cabinet in the garage I’ve got a handful of excuses to procrastinate making into a cham enclosure. ;) If you do go with the Reptibreeze XL, skip the fancy one with the built in led lights...they really serve no purpose other than removing money from your wallet.
 
Top Bottom