few random questions from new cham mom

xxaprilrose

Established Member
I got my male panther on wed. He's only about 3.5 months old. My question is when will be a good time to clean his cage? Im noticing poop, and also some of the plants need upkeep and i also need to swap a few out as some are not doing so well :( but I dont want to scare him? He's getting better but still gets dark when im near him for too long. He used to start climbing the cage when he saw me and thats when I knew to get out but luckily he hasnt done that in about 2 days and i can stand there and he just walks around or something and just turns a dark color. I still only go see him once every few hours for 2-3 mins max. Also hes been finally eating out of the feeder cup (yay!) however this morning he switched out his food and left 2 little poops in his bowl 😂 but in the poop it was black and i didnt see any white, yellow or orange so idk if he peed too? Should I worry that in both of them I didnt see the pee in it? He doesnt seem dehydrated and ive been keeping the humidity between 50-65 during the day and about 85-90 at night... also mist a few times during the day to keep humidity up
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
So you absolutely want to be spot cleaning any fecal and urate every day. Also if he poops in the feeder you want to remove it and wash it.

Do you have plant lighting? If he is eating well and basking then you should be able to swap plants. Just try not to change the branch positioning. Otherwise it may freak him out not knowing what happened to what he was used to.
 

xxaprilrose

Established Member
So you absolutely want to be spot cleaning any fecal and urate every day. Also if he poops in the feeder you want to remove it and wash it.

Do you have plant lighting? If he is eating well and basking then you should be able to swap plants. Just try not to change the branch positioning. Otherwise it may freak him out not knowing what happened to what he was used to.
oh wow! I am so glad I asked and you said something... honestly I thought for sure I was going to be told to wait 1-2 weeks before doing anything to the enclosure otherwise I would risk freaking him out. I will do some cleaning tomorrow then! As for the food bowl I did clean it but in general how often should I clean the bowl? Every day, or every couple days? As for a plant light I do have one but its not on full volume as when it was it was giving off a lot of heat. its only about 50% on which makes it 85% underneath it as I didnt want the plant light to burn him. next week I am going to try and lift the lights off the cage some more which will allow me to hopefully point the misters more towards to top to get towards the back and not just the front of the cage. Thats another reason I feel some of the plants are dying. I go in and mist the ones in the back each day but i dont do as much as I normally would as im afraid to scare him anymore than I need to. Its a mistking and I have tried every position imaginable but it doesnt reach the back unless it hits the top of the cage where the lights were but if they are off the cage i can do it without any issues. I did order more plants because some of mine dont look to hot :(
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
oh wow! I am so glad I asked and you said something... honestly I thought for sure I was going to be told to wait 1-2 weeks before doing anything to the enclosure otherwise I would risk freaking him out. I will do some cleaning tomorrow then! As for the food bowl I did clean it but in general how often should I clean the bowl? Every day, or every couple days? As for a plant light I do have one but its not on full volume as when it was it was giving off a lot of heat. its only about 50% on which makes it 85% underneath it as I didnt want the plant light to burn him. next week I am going to try and lift the lights off the cage some more which will allow me to hopefully point the misters more towards to top to get towards the back and not just the front of the cage. Thats another reason I feel some of the plants are dying. I go in and mist the ones in the back each day but i dont do as much as I normally would as im afraid to scare him anymore than I need to. Its a mistking and I have tried every position imaginable but it doesnt reach the back unless it hits the top of the cage where the lights were but if they are off the cage i can do it without any issues. I did order more plants because some of mine dont look to hot :(
So if you said I want to hold him and pet him and call him Bob... I would be like um no. lol But yes absolutely keep it clean. Also spot cleaning each day will give you a good idea of how often he is passing fecal and what his urates look like. Both are important to know when they are babies and new to you.

Hmmmm what types of plants are you using? Can you post a pic for me of the cage?
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I got my male panther on wed. He's only about 3.5 months old. My question is when will be a good time to clean his cage?
When it's convenient for you, but during the day (so as not to disturb his sleep). It depends on your setup. I have a screen floor. I clean weekly, using a dedicated wet/dry vac for solids & plant debris, followed by spritzing with Nature's Miracle.

Im noticing poop, and also some of the plants need upkeep and i also need to swap a few out as some are not doing so well :( but I dont want to scare him?
Just get in there and do it. Be aware of where he is, but pretend you don't see him. He'll get out of your way, and get used to you and your habits in time.

He's getting better but still gets dark when im near him for too long. He used to start climbing the cage when he saw me and thats when I knew to get out but luckily he hasnt done that in about 2 days and i can stand there and he just walks around or something and just turns a dark color. I still only go see him once every few hours for 2-3 mins max. Also hes been finally eating out of the feeder cup (yay!) however this morning he switched out his food and left 2 little poops in his bowl 😂 but in the poop it was black and i didnt see any white, yellow or orange so idk if he peed too? Should I worry that in both of them I didnt see the pee in it? He doesnt seem dehydrated and ive been keeping the humidity between 50-65 during the day and about 85-90 at night... also mist a few times during the day to keep humidity up
Urate could be hidden by other fecal material, or it could have broken off and landed elsewhere. At that age, some defecate more than once per day depending on how much & how often they eat, and there may only be urate present once.

When you say "black" was it truly black or very dark brown? See: Chameleon Poop 101
 

xxaprilrose

Established Member
So if you said I want to hold him and pet him and call him Bob... I would be like um no. lol But yes absolutely keep it clean. Also spot cleaning each day will give you a good idea of how often he is passing fecal and what his urates look like. Both are important to know when they are babies and new to you.

Hmmmm what types of plants are you using? Can you post a pic for me of the cage?
LOL yeah def havent picked him up yet other than when i put him in the cage. I cant wait to hold him again though! I did spot cleaning today and it looks much better. I took care of the plants (trimmed them) but didnt put in the new plants as they will be delivered tomorrow. The plants doing well and thriving are the pothos and wandering jew. The bromeliad has not changed at all since I got it, its just been closed and not even flowered yet idk how long those take but I feel like it should be open by now? The croton is not doing well. I picked off a lot of dead leaves from it and its lost about 50%, coleus and hosta are doing ok and the swiss tree plant im not sure, half and half... one of the leaves is doing teribbly why the other leaves look kind of ok lol I would attach pics but while cleaning I was really bothering him so once I got done I walked away and havent gone back to let him calm down. He was getting VERY dark. Ill see how hes doing tomorrow. I may not have as much cleaning to do lol
When it's convenient for you, but during the day (so as not to disturb his sleep). It depends on your setup. I have a screen floor. I clean weekly, using a dedicated wet/dry vac for solids & plant debris, followed by spritzing with Nature's Miracle.


Just get in there and do it. Be aware of where he is, but pretend you don't see him. He'll get out of your way, and get used to you and your habits in time.


Urate could be hidden by other fecal material, or it could have broken off and landed elsewhere. At that age, some defecate more than once per day depending on how much & how often they eat, and there may only be urate present once.

When you say "black" was it truly black or very dark brown? See: Chameleon Poop 101
The vac doesnt scare yours? Ive been contemplating getting a wet vac to do that but im afraid it may scare him. However I have a solid tray the bottom and today it did have about 2-3 inches of water so i may def have to get one for that. For the naures miracle, does that also disinfect? And how do you use it? Spray everything down (obv not at the chameleon) and then spray water on top or spray it, wipe and then its done? Or just spray it? lol lots of questions, sorry! As for the poop it was normal after looking at the pics but i did not see the urate. However, today I did see it and it was white! yay :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
LOL yeah def havent picked him up yet other than when i put him in the cage. I cant wait to hold him again though! I did spot cleaning today and it looks much better. I took care of the plants (trimmed them) but didnt put in the new plants as they will be delivered tomorrow. The plants doing well and thriving are the pothos and wandering jew. The bromeliad has not changed at all since I got it, its just been closed and not even flowered yet idk how long those take but I feel like it should be open by now? The croton is not doing well. I picked off a lot of dead leaves from it and its lost about 50%, coleus and hosta are doing ok and the swiss tree plant im not sure, half and half... one of the leaves is doing teribbly why the other leaves look kind of ok lol I would attach pics but while cleaning I was really bothering him so once I got done I walked away and havent gone back to let him calm down. He was getting VERY dark. Ill see how hes doing tomorrow. I may not have as much cleaning to do lol

The vac doesnt scare yours? Ive been contemplating getting a wet vac to do that but im afraid it may scare him. However I have a solid tray the bottom and today it did have about 2-3 inches of water so i may def have to get one for that. For the naures miracle, does that also disinfect? And how do you use it? Spray everything down (obv not at the chameleon) and then spray water on top or spray it, wipe and then its done? Or just spray it? lol lots of questions, sorry! As for the poop it was normal after looking at the pics but i did not see the urate. However, today I did see it and it was white! yay :)
So Bromelieads like HIGH Light. So if it is sitting in the bottom and does not have the plant lighting it will not bloom. The crotons do not like a lot of water. My guess is they are all getting plenty of water if you have 2-3 inches sitting in the bottom of the cage. Some maybe too much.

I wet vac... Does not bother Beman at all. Make sure you do not spray anything in the cage when the cham is in it. Lungs are sensitive. I would actually recommend spraying on paper towels outside of the cage and then wiping it out rather then spraying in the cage. Not on the plants or branches though. For those just use water to clean. You do not want the baby licking anything that is left behind.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
The vac doesnt scare yours? Ive been contemplating getting a wet vac to do that but im afraid it may scare him. However I have a solid tray the bottom and today it did have about 2-3 inches of water so i may def have to get one for that. For the naures miracle, does that also disinfect? And how do you use it? Spray everything down (obv not at the chameleon) and then spray water on top or spray it, wipe and then its done? Or just spray it? lol lots of questions, sorry! As for the poop it was normal after looking at the pics but i did not see the urate. However, today I did see it and it was white! yay :)
The vac has a hose, so the main unit is several feet away. The suction noise is minor, and chameleons only hear within a small range (though they're good at detecting vibrations). Not a problem.

If you have sitting water, a better solution is installing a drain into a bucket and just emptying the bucket periodically (mine fills up about once a month). This will cut down on various nasties that may grow in the stagnant water. Here's a thread on drainage systems.

You can find all the info on Nature's Miracle in the link above. In my beardie enclosure, I spritz, wait, wipe. For the chameleon, there's no good way to wipe a screen, so I just spritz & let dry.
Peroxide is another option, which I like better than vinegar, alcohol, or ammonia. Peroxide has no odor, and breaks down into water and oxygen.

Regarding your plants, we all have to learn a little botany as part of this endeavor. I would review all the requirements (water, drainage, light, feeding, etc.) for each & every plant in your enclosure. Lists will tell you which plants are safe for chameleon enclosures, but they don't say much about meeting the care needs of the plants or whether they're suitable for a particular enclosure or for each other. While we don't generally call them vivariums anymore, a well-designed & maintained chameleon enclosure is still (or should be) a balanced ecosystem—whether bioactive or not.
 
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