Even More Beginner Questions

Hello all! Some more questions for the community to see what input I get:
1) Without taking looks into consideration (enclosures setups are expensive so I want it to be practical first and pretty second), what plants are best for veiled or panther chameleons? Also, are there any plants that could take up significant space in an enclosure on their own, coming from the ground? I think that one large, central potted plant with vines and branches (possibly secured via dragon ledges) filling in other space and providing climbing opportunities would be a good setup that isn't too fancy for a beginner. Thoughts?
2) The temperament of veiled chameleons, I hear, is generally either fearful or grumpy. Comparatively, I hear that panther chameleons are less of either of those things and are more genuinely friendly. Whether the higher price tag and sensitivity of a panther is worth it is something that I will have to figure out myself, but I was still wondering if those of you who have had the privilege of interacting with both panthers and veiled noticed much of a difference. The big thing, for me, is not the ability to hold the chameleon (though that would still be a big plus!) but rather the chameleon's attitude towards me. I primarily don't want for the cham to straight-up hate my guts, and I would feel guilty if they were skittish. Though, to an extent, this comes with the hobby! Also, would a chameleon gradually realize that you are a non-threat if you gently introduced your hands to them and never made any startling movements or would this simply put stress on them? Further, can chameleon disposition be predicted by their parents and/or upbringing, independent of their species?
3) A big factor was realized by me recently, and that factor is that there aren't any reptile specialists in my city. Fortunately(?), I do hear that there are some exotic veterinarians in my city, but I don't know if that is enough. Is this a deal-breaker?
Thanks in advance for any input! :D
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
1) Without taking looks into consideration (enclosures setups are expensive so I want it to be practical first and pretty second), what plants are best for veiled or panther chameleons? Also, are there any plants that could take up significant space in an enclosure on their own, coming from the ground? I think that one large, central potted plant with vines and branches (possibly secured via dragon ledges) filling in other space and providing climbing opportunities would be a good setup that isn't too fancy for a beginner. Thoughts?

It's not a matter of fancy or not fancy, pretty or not pretty, its a matter of what plants tend to be easier to maintain in a cham's setup with heat lights, relatively wet conditions from daily spraying or misting, and a clawed reptile crawling all over them. There are a few commonly available potted plants most of us use because they happen to work. Hawaiian schefflera, Pothos, Ficus alli (lance-leaved Ficus). There is a forum "safe" cage plants suggestion list you can read for other ideas.

2) The temperament of veiled chameleons, I hear, is generally either fearful or grumpy. Comparatively, I hear that panther chameleons are less of either of those things and are more genuinely friendly. Whether the higher price tag and sensitivity of a panther is worth it is something that I will have to figure out myself, but I was still wondering if those of you who have had the privilege of interacting with both panthers and veiled noticed much of a difference.

Chams are intelligent enough to be individuals. Species doesn't always make the difference. You can have relatively friendly veileds and nasty panthers and vice versa. I have not handled dozens of either, but have handled several individuals of both species. They were all slightly different in terms of how much they tolerated handling. You have to get to know each individual cham's personality and embrace what you end up with. Sometimes the more reactive ones are more fun to watch because they wear their little hearts on their proverbial sleeves. A very calm cham is less of a "challenge".

Also, would a chameleon gradually realize that you are a non-threat if you gently introduced your hands to them and never made any startling movements or would this simply put stress on them?

Sure. It only makes sense to approach a new animal this way until they get used to your daily routine. Chams are reassured by routine. It helps them trust you. Some individuals will never like intruders into their territory. It's not personal, its just the way they are. There are some clothing colors keepers report seem to trigger more of a reaction from some chams, but it is individual. It would make some sense that a bright red shirt might trigger a display from a panther that has the color range including red when upset. It might mean nothing to a veiled.

Further, can chameleon disposition be predicted by their parents and/or upbringing, independent of their species?

Not that I've ever read. The young do not get any parental care, so they are not seeing their parents model any behaviors or learning anything from them. I'd suspect most breeders are not selecting for temperament, they are selecting for color. A breeder who raises their juveniles to an older age before selling them may be able to tell more about one's temperament.

3) A big factor was realized by me recently, and that factor is that there aren't any reptile specialists in my city. Fortunately(?), I do hear that there are some exotic veterinarians in my city, but I don't know if that is enough. Is this a deal-breaker?

Before I decide to keep any exotic I always check with local vets to make sure someone can provide even basic care for them. If you have an emergency nothing is WORSE or more IRRESPONSIBLE than to realize you can do nothing but watch your animal suffer. This forum hears it way too many times and it is sickening. Sometimes an inexperienced vet is better than nothing, but you would want to be prepared to arrange for this vet to consult with an expert. There are a few who will. I'd highly suggest you contact these "exotic vets" in your city and ask them what they have experience with or what they are willing to even see. Lay the groundwork ahead of time just in case.

FWIW, I live in a fairly small town in AK. It is the main reason I no longer have any chams. It is gutwrenching to watch a sick one and not be able to treat it, even if I know what's wrong. Do I attempt to keep animals I can't take more than basic care of because of ego? Can't do it.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have a large central potted plant, like you mention, with branches, vines and some fake plants above. I chose an umbrella plant at the nursery that was very dense and full. I've only had my setup for two months but so far so good. It's very dry where I live so I have an automatic mister (mistking) that goes off every few hours during the day and a fogger at night so I needed a plant that could handle the humidity and large amount of water I have going through my enclosure every day (approx 1.5 gallons--I do have good drainage set up and everything dries out completely between mistings.) I also have a plant bulb. So far, it is really thriving, I'm actually kind of surprised at how well it's doing. I had soil gnats at first but they seem gone now.

As for species, I had a breeding pair of veileds a long time ago, they both hated me, especially the male. But that was OK, I loved them so much. I also had a female panther back then who was quite friendly.

It's been a long time since I had chameleons but finally decided time was right again. We also debated which species to get, and decided on a male panther. He's young and seems friendly enough so far but we'll see.

(This picture is from when I first set it up, the plant is even bigger now and I've added a fogger for night.)
 

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Alright, I did a bit more looking and found this veterinary hospital based in a very near municipality that seems to be able to handle reptiles. Here is a link to the page, you just have to scroll down a bit to find the chunk about reptiles. Also, here is another one. What do you guys think? I will probably contact them to see what they know about chameleons in particular. Also, I believe that there may be some other options out there. Still no reptile-exclusive services, though.
 
I have a large central potted plant, like you mention, with branches, vines and some fake plants above. I chose an umbrella plant at the nursery that was very dense and full. I've only had my setup for two months but so far so good. It's very dry where I live so I have an automatic mister (mistking) that goes off every few hours during the day and a fogger at night so I needed a plant that could handle the humidity and large amount of water I have going through my enclosure every day (approx 1.5 gallons--I do have good drainage set up and everything dries out completely between mistings.) I also have a plant bulb. So far, it is really thriving, I'm actually kind of surprised at how well it's doing. I had soil gnats at first but they seem gone now.

As for species, I had a breeding pair of veileds a long time ago, they both hated me, especially the male. But that was OK, I loved them so much. I also had a female panther back then who was quite friendly.

It's been a long time since I had chameleons but finally decided time was right again. We also debated which species to get, and decided on a male panther. He's young and seems friendly enough so far but we'll see.

(This picture is from when I first set it up, the plant is even bigger now and I've added a fogger for night.)
I like the look of your setup! An umbrella plant seems like a good option for a central plant.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
To put it simply with the veiled vs panther personality debate. Yes there is definitely overlapping with both species being either friendly or grumpy. But based off forum posts here and my own experience, you have a far better chance of getting a panther that is friendly or at least tolerates you than a veiled. It's not uncommon to hear of veileds that no matter, what get defensive, while Panthers tend to be the opposite. Even my one grumpy panther chilled out and started walking up my hand with time.

Yes yes... I know people will say they have known or had veileds that are super friendly. But that's the exception, you don't hear many people saying 'I've known a few super friendly Panthers!' Because most of them are easy going to begin with.
 
To put it simply with the veiled vs panther personality debate. Yes there is definitely overlapping with both species being either friendly or grumpy. But based off forum posts here and my own experience, you have a far better chance of getting a panther that is friendly or at least tolerates you than a veiled. It's not uncommon to hear of veileds that no matter, what get defensive, while Panthers tend to be the opposite. Even my one grumpy panther chilled out and started walking up my hand with time.

Yes yes... I know people will say they have known or had veileds that are super friendly. But that's the exception, you don't hear many people saying 'I've known a few super friendly Panthers!' Because most of them are easy going to begin with.
Thank you for the information!
 
Thank you for the information!

I would definitely talk to a vet over the phone. If you have the time, it also might be worth it to just call around to some of these other vets that aren't directly advertising reptile experience. Especially the ones close to you--you might luck out and find that the vet has experience, after all, but you might also get recommendations from them about other vets they know who have cham or reptile experience.
 
How often should I let a Mist King run to get up to proper humidity levels? I would also be fine with using the Mist King less if I also have to mist by hand, which I can do before I leave for the day and when I return home.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
How often should I let a Mist King run to get up to proper humidity levels? I would also be fine with using the Mist King less if I also have to mist by hand, which I can do before I leave for the day and when I return home.
How often you mist depends on the humidity levels in your home. There is no perfect setting for every situation as there are too many variables. Everyone's setup and climate situation is different. A good hand misting before you leave in the morning is fine...I did that. The Mist King would only really need to cycle if the cage dries out so quickly that your cham ends up in a dry situation for the majority of the day. If you live in a dry climate or have to use AC in summer or forced air heat all winter the system may need to run more often.

First, you must be able to determine the cage humidity level carefully. Obviously you don't want to put the hygrometer right in the basking area and not in the coolest dampest corner of the cage. Somewhere in the middle. Figuring this out is trial and error basically. Mist down the cage until it's dripping, record how long that takes, and then record the humidity level. Monitor the cage humidity level as it dries out. When the cage gets TOO dry that will tell you when you might want a Mist King to re-humidify it again. You want the cage furnishings to have a chance to dry at least once a day but you don't want the cham to spend the majority of its time dehydrated either.

By trial and error you can determine how long the Mist King will need to run and how often to run it while you are gone. Be aware that these settings will probably need to be adjusted during different parts of the year depending on your climate.
 
I have heard on the forums before that the answer is “no” in regards to this questions, but should I keep a young (3 months or older) chameleon in a smaller enclosure or is it alright to go larger right away? I’m asking again because it seems to be mentioned on various care sheets as a good idea so that the cham isn’t intimidated and/or so that you can monitor them more easily. Also, a while ago I asked if crested gecko diet would make a good gutload for insects (I ask because I already have it on hand) but didn’t go into great detail with the ingredients. Here are the ingredients for the specific flavour that I currently have, though there are many others flavours and another brand if this one isn’t quite right...
Dried Watermelon, Whey Protein Isolate, Dried Mango, Dried Banana, Dried Apple, Dried Egg White, Lecithin, Dried Coconut Milk, Precipitated Calcium Carbonate, Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite, Bee Pollen, Spirulina, Apple Pectin, Direct Fed Microbials (Dried Aspergilus niger, Aspergillus oryzae, Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Products), Mixed Tocopherols, Potassium Sorbate, Beet Juice Powder, Choline Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Beta Carotene, Inositol, Niacin, Kelp Meal, Ascorbic Acid, Cholecalciferol, Potassium Chloride, Riboflavin,Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Folic Acid, Sulfur, Zinc Oxide, Vitamin B12.
Oh, also, I intend to contact my local exotic vets soon. Stay tuned! My ability to care for a chameleon is at stake! :eek:
 
I have heard on the forums before that the answer is “no” in regards to this questions, but should I keep a young (3 months or older) chameleon in a smaller enclosure or is it alright to go larger right away? I’m asking again because it seems to be mentioned on various care sheets as a good idea so that the cham isn’t intimidated and/or so that you can monitor them more easily. Also, a while ago I asked if crested gecko diet would make a good gutload for insects (I ask because I already have it on hand) but didn’t go into great detail with the ingredients. Here are the ingredients for the specific flavour that I currently have, though there are many others flavours and another brand if this one isn’t quite right...
Dried Watermelon, Whey Protein Isolate, Dried Mango, Dried Banana, Dried Apple, Dried Egg White, Lecithin, Dried Coconut Milk, Precipitated Calcium Carbonate, Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite, Bee Pollen, Spirulina, Apple Pectin, Direct Fed Microbials (Dried Aspergilus niger, Aspergillus oryzae, Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Products), Mixed Tocopherols, Potassium Sorbate, Beet Juice Powder, Choline Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Beta Carotene, Inositol, Niacin, Kelp Meal, Ascorbic Acid, Cholecalciferol, Potassium Chloride, Riboflavin,Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Folic Acid, Sulfur, Zinc Oxide, Vitamin B12.
Oh, also, I intend to contact my local exotic vets soon. Stay tuned! My ability to care for a chameleon is at stake! :eek:
Okay, never mind the last bit, I will have to contact the vets tomorrow as both locations are closed now that I got the chance. As usual, I do have more questions, though... (There is a reason I called this account Cham QUESTIONS!) The clear-side enclosure by Dragon Strand is apparently better at keeping humidity at proper levels throughout the enclosure and over the day, but is this benefit still worth it if I am getting an automated misting system? And, if it is worth it, does it apply to veiled chameleons, panther chameleons, or both?
 

CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Honestly people have been keeping chameleons in all types of enclosures over the past 50years. I think the only thing that really matters is size. Panthers and Veileds get big and require at very least a 2x2x4. You can go wider and not as tall if you want too but put it up a little higher if you do go that route. As long as the air doesn't get stagnet and satle in the enclosure which is why most go with screen but no matter how much you mist if you live somewhere dry like me it won't matter. I have to use a ultrasonic cool mist humidifier in his room all day on full blast just to reach 65% and I mist him twice a day for 2min.

Currently I'm housing my 3 1/2 month old male veiled chameleon in a 39/12/19" hybrid glass/screen enclosure. The bottom and front and back are glass and the two sides and top are screen. Helps with the humidity a little bit but I will need to upgrade his enclosure in the next month or so because of how fast Veilds grow. Panthers don't mature as fast as Veilds however. Hope this helps
 
Okay, never mind the last bit, I will have to contact the vets tomorrow as both locations are closed now that I got the chance. As usual, I do have more questions, though... (There is a reason I called this account Cham QUESTIONS!) The clear-side enclosure by Dragon Strand is apparently better at keeping humidity at proper levels throughout the enclosure and over the day, but is this benefit still worth it if I am getting an automated misting system? And, if it is worth it, does it apply to veiled chameleons, panther chameleons, or both?
Breadner Vetrinary has two doctors that can see chameleons! If anyone can give input on whether or not a clear-side enclosure is worth it for either veiled or panther when I am going to be getting a mistking anyway, that would be great! It’s one of the last things that I need to figure out and input will help me know which chameleon species would be most viable to get! :)
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have heard on the forums before that the answer is “no” in regards to this questions, but should I keep a young (3 months or older) chameleon in a smaller enclosure or is it alright to go larger right away? I’m asking again because it seems to be mentioned on various care sheets as a good idea so that the cham isn’t intimidated and/or so that you can monitor them more easily.

You can always subdivide a larger cage temporarily. Just cut panels of rigid mesh or coroplast and divide the cage in half.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Breadner Vetrinary has two doctors that can see chameleons! If anyone can give input on whether or not a clear-side enclosure is worth it for either veiled or panther when I am going to be getting a mistking anyway, that would be great! It’s one of the last things that I need to figure out and input will help me know which chameleon species would be most viable to get! :)
I will add info on the clearside since I recently got one. I do like it but here is the problem. Your panels are permanent. With screen on the left and top then clear on all other panels. So if you move or decide you want to get another chameleon enclosure you are limited with placement because you don't want to block the panel that is screen. With this it can be frustrating. I will be moving but where I wanted to put the cage will not work because my left screen panel would be up against a wall drastically reducing airflow. So I have to put it somewhere else. If I buy another it will be the keeper series 24x24x48 and then if I want I can just rescreen the front with 20 gauge marine vinyl for viewing and then attach the vinyl to the back and side over the screen I would like to cover. This gives you much more flexibility with how you want your set up. I have also noticed that the dragon ledges will flex more into the clearside then the screen. This was not as much of an issue for me as the prior of having flexibility in where I place the enclosure. :)
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I will add info on the clearside since I recently got one. I do like it but here is the problem. Your panels are permanent. With screen on the left and top then clear on all other panels. So if you move or decide you want to get another chameleon enclosure you are limited with placement because you don't want to block the panel that is screen. With this it can be frustrating. I will be moving but where I wanted to put the cage will not work because my left screen panel would be up against a wall drastically reducing airflow. So I have to put it somewhere else. If I buy another it will be the keeper series 24x24x48 and then if I want I can just rescreen the front with 20 gauge marine vinyl for viewing and then attach the vinyl to the back and side over the screen I would like to cover. This gives you much more flexibility with how you want your set up. I have also noticed that the dragon ledges will flex more into the clearside then the screen. This was not as much of an issue for me as the prior of having flexibility in where I place the enclosure. :)

I ran into this with the clearsided, needing to block the screen side. There's still plenty of airflow with just using some corrugated plastic to block the view. If you want you could add a little PC fan to draw air through for a few minutes every hour.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I ran into this with the clearsided, needing to block the screen side. There's still plenty of airflow with just using some corrugated plastic to block the view. If you want you could add a little PC fan to draw air through for a few minutes every hour.
This is really good for me to know in the future so thank you so much for telling me this! I think I will be able to place it without being up against a wall. But this was something that I had not thought about prior to buying mine lol.
 
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