First chameleon cage setup

StephDay

New Member
Hello! I am getting my first ever chameleon soon, and I have been setting up the cage in preparation. Any feedback?

Chameleon: female jacksons, 4 months

Cage size: 16 x 16 x 30

Handling: only when necessary

Feeding: will purchase hanging wall cup for crickets etc. with calcium without D3 every feeding and with D3 twice a month.

Humidity: steady at 40, jumps to 80 after spraying. I have a dripper, but it is extremely hard to set the drip rate and I hate it. I might not use it, could use help. If I set up a humidifier to mist the cage, do I need the dripper?

Lighting: UVB and 60w heat lamp in the corner.

Cage temp: Ranges from 70 at the bottom to 80 at the highest branch away from the basking lamp.

Basking temp: 85 at its highest mid day. 83ish morning and evenings. Since I think this is a little high for Jackson's, I will be trying a 40 w bulb to see if that gets me to 80-83.

Decorations: vines throughout, fake plants along sides. Two small golden pothos on plant stand. Hanging vine folded to hold small feeding dish until I can order the cup feeder that attaches to the side of the cage.

Substrate: Turf sheets that can be removed for cleaning.
 

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AmandaS

Avid Member
I love how you incorporated the stool.
You will need to upgrade your lights to have a t5ho light bar. The coil lights are insufficient for chameleons.
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the forum. I will give you my advise in blue. It looks like some of your care is based on panther chameleons so I'm going to give you links to Jackson's info. You really just need the first two and the podcasts are helpful as well but there is more if you are curious . Jackson's Chameleon Articles and Studies Tag me if you have any specific questions.

Chameleon: female jacksons, 4 months

Cage size: 16 x 16 x 30
Depending on species this will be to small before very long. Unless you have the smallest species which is very rare you will need the minimum cage size of 18x18x36 but 24x24x48 would be nicer. You need the height to create warmer & cooler and humid & drier areas so they can self regulate.
Handling: only when necessary

Feeding: will purchase hanging wall cup for crickets etc. with calcium without D3 every feeding and with D3 twice a month.
She will only need calcium 2-3 times per week very lightly and D3 and multi vitamins once a month. This is the standard schedule-"Feeder insects should be lightly dusted with powdered supplement before being fed to your chameleon. As a montane species (native to higher altitudes) Jackson's have decreased supplementation requirements compared to tropical species due to metabolism differences. Use calcium (without D3 or phosphorus) twice a week, a multivitamin once a month, and calcium with D3 once a month."
I use a slightly different
schedule I use Repashy calcium plus LoD (it's an all in one) once a week and plain calcium two other days per week.

Humidity: steady at 40, jumps to 80 after spraying. I have a dripper, but it is extremely hard to set the drip rate and I hate it. I might not use it, could use help. If I set up a humidifier to mist the cage, do I need the dripper?
A misting system will make you life much easier and so will using a cool mist humidifier over nights to bump your humidity into the 80% range don't use it during the day unless your cage is below the 30% range.

Lighting: UVB and 60w heat lamp in the corner.
You already heard about this. T5 is really the best form of UVB bulb currently. You can go as low as 40 or 50 watt if you need to.

Cage temp: Ranges from 70 at the bottom to 80 at the highest branch away from the basking lamp.
I would say under 80˚ and not go over 78˚ until she reaches 9 months.

Basking temp: 85 at its highest mid day. 83ish morning and evenings. Since I think this is a little high for Jackson's, I will be trying a 40 w bulb to see if that gets me to 80-83.
same as above

Decorations: vines throughout, fake plants along sides. Two small golden pothos on plant stand. Hanging vine folded to hold small feeding dish until I can order the cup feeder that attaches to the side of the cage.

Substrate: Turf sheets that can be removed for cleaning.
It is easier to just spot clean and wipe down the plastic bottom when it is uncovered when those get grody chuck them out. If you want to go advanced you can look into bioactive plantings.
 

StephDay

New Member
Thank you so much for the feedback! I will work on the changes and updates that you and everyone else has suggested. This forum is wonderful!

If I buy a mistking for the day and humidifier for night time humidity, do I need a dripper?

Thanks again everyone!
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
Dripper is optional if you have the other two. If I ever think I need one for extra hydration I just put a pin hole in a water bottle and unscrew the cap.
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the forum. Setting up my enclosure before I got my chameleon made a big difference for me. I almost got a Jackson as my first chameleon, but decided to get an easier species as my first chameleon.

Looking forward to seeing the pics of your new Jackson when you get him/her.
 

StephDay

New Member
Thank you all for your help! Unfortunately, the chameleon I was going to get passed away before I could take her home. The associates at Petco said they were just waiting on a final vet checkup before they could sell her. After they called to say she wasnt available anymore, I found out that they were keeping her at 100 degrees, because that is the temp they keep all their chameleons. How disappointing! We are now trying to decide if we should get one from the next order that Petco gets in or if we should order one online. There is a local 6 month old male veiled chameleon for sale, but not from a breeder or anyone with knowledge on chameleons. We were hoping to get a jacksons, but it seems like veileds are much easier to find. Any advice? Petco, random person who no longer wants their chameleon, or FLchams? Jacksons or veiled?

Cheers
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Avoid Petco and other big box pet stores! While some of us have gotten our chams there, they are notoriously horrible places to get any animal. Find a breeder. There are several breeder sponsors of the site and several members who breed their healthy animals.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think your better off with a panther or a veiled for your first Cham... Honestly both are hardier then a Jackson and temp requirements are easier. But if you want a Jacksons then trust me there are breeders out there. Do your home work on breeders and find one with babies available.
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
If I were in the market for a Jackson's I would contact @DeremensisBlue he runs a FB page filled with Jackson's breeders across the country that have come together and keep their animals properly. You won't find any of them cooking them in overheated cages. They come from good Kenyan bloodlines and are not inbred like the Hawaiian lines most people sell.
If you want to check out the FB page it's https://www.facebook.com/groups/jacksonschameleon/ Just don't use the words buy, sell or purchase as Facebook doesn't allow animal sales.
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think your better off with a panther or a veiled for your first Cham... Honestly both are hardier then a Jackson and temp requirements are easier. But if you want a Jacksons then trust me there are breeders out there. Do your home work on breeders and find one with babies available.
I agree which is why I started with a panther.

If I were in the market for a Jackson's I would contact @DeremensisBlue he runs a FB page filled with Jackson's breeders across the country that have come together and keep their animals properly. You won't find any of them cooking them in overheated cages. They come from good Kenyan bloodlines and are not inbred like the Hawaiian lines most people sell.
If you want to check out the FB page it's https://www.facebook.com/groups/jacksonschameleon/ Just don't use the words buy, sell or purchase as Facebook doesn't allow animal sales.
I know I'll be hitting up Bill for a Jackson as my next chameleon. Hoping that won't be for a long long time though.
 

StephDay

New Member
Thank you all for the input. I will definitely go with a breeder.

A few quick questions as I continue to fiddle with the setup.

When my automatic mister arrives, what time intervals are best? 3x a day for 5 mins? Before lights, mid day, then before lights out? Or something different?

Also, I am worried because when I hand mist, my basking temp goes from 78 down to 61 and takes about an hour to get back up. Is that ok?

Thank you all!
 

Tihshho

Member
I would mist twice a day for about 45 seconds. 5 minutes is way too long for that often. If you're getting a mister with a controller that isn't just a simple timer, you can mist for 3 minutes one day once a week.
 

AmandaS

Avid Member
I would mist for 2 minutes, not 45 seconds. But yes, 5 minutes is extreme.

It depends on your humidity levels, and chameleon species and so many other factors. You will have to determine what is proper for your environment and your species.
 
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