First enclosure setup ever

Yonmerkaba

Member
Hi Everybody! (Hi, Doctor Nick.)

So about 3 weeks ago my friend asked me if I could baby sit her Chameleon Izzy while she was out of town. I took it upon my self to do some research prior to her coming so I could prepare myself because honestly…..I had no clue what to expect. After spending hours going down the rabbit hole of husbandry, the do’s and don’ts, proper lighting, enclosure requirements…..I was hooked. Even more so after feeding Izzy her first hornworm/dubai roach!

3 days into Chameleon sitting I knew this fascinating reptile needed to THRIVE and not just survive. That’s the thing though….with the setup she had she wasn’t going to survive. The amount of information I absorbed from @Gingero and @DeremensisBlue had me going! I owed it to this gentle creature.

I decided to build Izzy an entirely new enclosure while showing her owner along the way. Here’s the finished work with the expectation of lighting and some plants. (Everything will be set up properly once I deliver it to her house and help her get it together!)


Izzy is going from the infamous “Chameleon Death kit”
to a Reptibreeze XL 24”x24”x48”
The sides and back panel have been shrink wrapped.
All fallen branches were power washed (cause why not?) and scrubbed with dawn soap. I then sanded down anything that was sharp to my touch for Izzy.

All the tips provided by @Gingero and @DeremensisBlue by reading the resources they provided helped A LOT for a true beginner.

We have some extra branches that we may or may not incorporate when testing out temperatures via thermo gun. Also will invest in a solar meter to verify uvb range accurately as I just followed the general guidelines for a repti T5 HO 5%.

I’m so excited for Izzy and will update this thread when we slowly get her accustomed to her new enclosure.

Anything yall can point out that we can fix I’d gladly appreciate it! This is my time to learn and correct anything for my future enclosure and chameleon. Excited to be apart of this community!
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Oh my gosh!!! That’s so kind of you to do for sweet Izzy!!! My only suggestion is that a probe thermometer will be much more accurate than a gun. I’m assuming Izzy is a girl? She will need a lay bin. Even if she does not mate, she will lay infertile eggs.
 
Welcome to the forum. Well done! With the t5HO fixture, 5.0 bulb and the screen it will sit on you are looking at an 8-9 inch distance to the branches right below the fixture to put the cham in the correct UVI level of approximately a 3 UVI. If this is a little female your husbandry will differ for temps and feeding amounts.

If you post pics of the cham we can confirm gender and give you a general overview of health. :)
 
Welcome to the forum. Well done! With the t5HO fixture, 5.0 bulb and the screen it will sit on you are looking at an 8-9 inch distance to the branches right below the fixture to put the cham in the correct UVI level of approximately a 3 UVI. If this is a little female your husbandry will differ for temps and feeding amounts.

If you post pics of the cham we can confirm gender and give you a general overview of health. :)

Thank you so much! 🤩 I have some information but will fill out the help form with Izzy’s owner to give yall as much detailed information. I’ll be helping the owner set up an account here and will introduce her to the thread, she is very willing to learn but just needs the right guidance!

If my math is mathing then Izzy (female veiled chameleon) should be a little over 3months
These are photos of when I was taking care of her on May 23rd. Sorry I kinda got carried away with the photos, she has a big personality😂
 

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Thank you so much! 🤩 I have some information but will fill out the help form with Izzy’s owner to give yall as much detailed information. I’ll be helping the owner set up an account here and will introduce her to the thread, she is very willing to learn but just needs the right guidance!

If my math is mathing then Izzy (female veiled chameleon) should be a little over 3months
These are photos of when I was taking care of her on May 23rd. Sorry I kinda got carried away with the photos, she has a big personality😂
Your friend is more than welcome here. We are a very friendly group that spend our time helping others to ensure positive experiences for the owners and thriving lives for the chams.

In those pics she is larger than a 3 month old. I would put her at right around 5 months based on her size compared to your hand. A 3 month old female is going to be quite a bit smaller. Here is my info for female specific care. Make sure supplements are on point. There are a few things I am seeing with her bones that would indicate lack of proper supplements and UVB. If you have questions on supplements let us know. :)

While young they should be given unlimited food amounts daily of size appropriate feeders. As she matures you will have to start cutting back her food. By about 6-7 months she should be getting about 5-8 small feeders each day. At about 7-8 months you want to slowly reduce by cutting down feeder amounts so that she is on a feeding schedule of 3 days a week with 3 feeders. You want them to be on this schedule by the time they are 9-10 months old.


You will not ever want basking to be over 78-80 for her. Very important for females because as she ages she needs this temp no higher at basking to help control the amount of eggs she produces. The hotter the temp the more their metabolism speeds up so we have to keep the temp lower since we are doing lower food intake.

A lay bin should be added as a permanent fixture by the time they are 6 months old so they get used to it and it does not cause stress.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/laying-bin-set-up-educational-video.77225/
 

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Your friend is more than welcome here. We are a very friendly group that spend our time helping others to ensure positive experiences for the owners and thriving lives for the chams.

In those pics she is larger than a 3 month old. I would put her at right around 5 months based on her size compared to your hand. A 3 month old female is going to be quite a bit smaller. Here is my info for female specific care. Make sure supplements are on point. There are a few things I am seeing with her bones that would indicate lack of proper supplements and UVB. If you have questions on supplements let us know. :)

While young they should be given unlimited food amounts daily of size appropriate feeders. As she matures you will have to start cutting back her food. By about 6-7 months she should be getting about 5-8 small feeders each day. At about 7-8 months you want to slowly reduce by cutting down feeder amounts so that she is on a feeding schedule of 3 days a week with 3 feeders. You want them to be on this schedule by the time they are 9-10 months old.


You will not ever want basking to be over 78-80 for her. Very important for females because as she ages she needs this temp no higher at basking to help control the amount of eggs she produces. The hotter the temp the more their metabolism speeds up so we have to keep the temp lower since we are doing lower food intake.

A lay bin should be added as a permanent fixture by the time they are 6 months old so they get used to it and it does not cause stress.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/laying-bin-set-up-educational-video.77225/

Wow 5 months!! 😱 Okay that gives me way more insight on her habits while she was with me! I’m headed out right now to pick up some last minute supplies to get the enclosure off the ground for drainage so I’ll also start on her laying bin to get that in there by today hopefully.

Also, I know the owner got Izzy on April 23rd and took her to a vet that said izzy was dehydrated. I want to get more details on that as to where/what treatments if any were done.

Prior the owner stated Izzy was was bought from a place that had her outside in one of those temporary holding habitats for fishes?(we live in Southern California) So I’m hoping some uvb outside of that was provided 😢😤
 
Wow 5 months!! 😱 Okay that gives me way more insight on her habits while she was with me! I’m headed out right now to pick up some last minute supplies to get the enclosure off the ground for drainage so I’ll also start on her laying bin to get that in there by today hopefully.

Also, I know the owner got Izzy on April 23rd and took her to a vet that said izzy was dehydrated. I want to get more details on that as to where/what treatments if any were done.

Prior the owner stated Izzy was was bought from a place that had her outside in one of those temporary holding habitats for fishes?(we live in Southern California) So I’m hoping some uvb outside of that was provided 😢😤
Now keep in mind prior husbandry including UVB and food intake can impact growth rate. She could be a bit older just smaller due to not getting enough food or correct husbandry. But roughly based on just her body length on your hand and her golden patterning in that one pic I would say at least 5 months old. The patterns she is showing on the plant is that of an older female not a young baby. That is moving into more maturing coloration where as when they are young females mostly hold that solid green coloring. Unless they get angry and they will throw more spots in their green. But not golden like in the pic.

So not sure what the vet saw. And some that are not actually versed in chams get that wrong a lot of time. We judge dehydration off urates. They can be up to 50% orange and still be hydrated. Your looking for more white urate though. You can also see more extreme dehydration when it comes to their eye turrets and if they are sunk in.... Although with this they are declining most of the time due to illness and the body starts shutting down.

This girl looks good for the most part though especially since she was in a cham kit and had prior awful husbandry at the store. They can bounce back pretty quickly when they are given the right husbandry. Just make sure supplementation is on point. Needing regular calcium without D3 at all feedings and then 2 times a month a multivitamin that has D3 and A in it like Repashy Calcium Plus LoD version. With female you have to have supplements on point for eggs. Without the correct supplements they pull calcium from their bones to compensate. You see this with incorrect supplements and lack of correct UVB as well.

You have done really well and found all the right info. You will be well prepared if you get a chameleon for yourself. This girl will do well and if you friend joins we will be able to guide her through what to expect. Quite a few of our members keep females and know the ins and outs of egg laying. @MissSkittles did a great blog on this as well.
 
Oh my gosh!!! That’s so kind of you to do for sweet Izzy!!! My only suggestion is that a probe thermometer will be much more accurate than a gun. I’m assuming Izzy is a girl? She will need a lay bin. Even if she does not mate, she will lay infertile eggs.

I thought I replied! Are you talking about the probe thermometers that are typically used for food? Like with the long needle or one that is corded? (Like most reptile thermos?)
I have a restaurant grade one I use for cooking hopefully it’s that one so I can save a buck :ROFLMAO:
 
I thought I replied! Are you talking about the probe thermometers that are typically used for food? Like with the long needle or one that is corded? (Like most reptile thermos?)
I have a restaurant grade one I use for cooking hopefully it’s that one so I can save a buck :ROFLMAO:
No, you want a waterproof temp gauge with probe for a reptile enclosure. Zoomed makes a cheap one and then there are others as well. But you use a small zip tie and hook the probe to the branch below the heat to determine the real temp. If it is 80 at the branch then it is going to be a few degrees hotter where they rise up higher.
 
No, you want a waterproof temp gauge with probe for a reptile enclosure. Zoomed makes a cheap one and then there are others as well. But you use a small zip tie and hook the probe to the branch below the heat to determine the real temp. If it is 80 at the branch then it is going to be a few degrees hotter where they rise up higher.
Ohhh okay Got it! Should have an updated post by tonight, had to take care of a few things plus set up the laying bin before taking everything over to Izzy and the owner
 
I thought I replied! Are you talking about the probe thermometers that are typically used for food? Like with the long needle or one that is corded? (Like most reptile thermos?)
I have a restaurant grade one I use for cooking hopefully it’s that one so I can save a buck :ROFLMAO:
Beman already answered you, but I’d like to add that not everything has to be ‘for reptiles’. If you can find incandescent light bulbs those work for heat bulbs. I picked up a two pack of thermometers on Amazon, not branded for reptiles. Drippers can be made with solo cups. I’d love to have a mist king some day, but I have a mister intended for plants and it does the job.
 
Hi Everybody! (Hi, Doctor Nick.)

So about 3 weeks ago my friend asked me if I could baby sit her Chameleon Izzy while she was out of town. I took it upon my self to do some research prior to her coming so I could prepare myself because honestly…..I had no clue what to expect. After spending hours going down the rabbit hole of husbandry, the do’s and don’ts, proper lighting, enclosure requirements…..I was hooked. Even more so after feeding Izzy her first hornworm/dubai roach!

3 days into Chameleon sitting I knew this fascinating reptile needed to THRIVE and not just survive. That’s the thing though….with the setup she had she wasn’t going to survive. The amount of information I absorbed from @Gingero and @DeremensisBlue had me going! I owed it to this gentle creature.

I decided to build Izzy an entirely new enclosure while showing her owner along the way. Here’s the finished work with the expectation of lighting and some plants. (Everything will be set up properly once I deliver it to her house and help her get it together!)


Izzy is going from the infamous “Chameleon Death kit”
to a Reptibreeze XL 24”x24”x48”
The sides and back panel have been shrink wrapped.
All fallen branches were power washed (cause why not?) and scrubbed with dawn soap. I then sanded down anything that was sharp to my touch for Izzy.

All the tips provided by @Gingero and @DeremensisBlue by reading the resources they provided helped A LOT for a true beginner.

We have some extra branches that we may or may not incorporate when testing out temperatures via thermo gun. Also will invest in a solar meter to verify uvb range accurately as I just followed the general guidelines for a repti T5 HO 5%.

I’m so excited for Izzy and will update this thread when we slowly get her accustomed to her new enclosure.

Anything yall can point out that we can fix I’d gladly appreciate it! This is my time to learn and correct anything for my future enclosure and chameleon. Excited to be apart of this community!
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***Update***

Here is a side by side of Izzy’s upgrade!

We’ll have to make adjustments as needed to adapt around Izzy’s needs. We ended up adding a few more highways to incorporate chameleon academy’s Forest Edge 5+5. Looking into a plant LED to help them flourish and create more hiding places for Izzy. It took some bribing with food to get her out of the 16x16 cage, once out she was loving it on her Swiss cheese while we tested out basking temp and ambient.

I set up Izzy’s owner with an account however her tag won’t pop up but I’ll add it anyways(@Tina1103) I sent her this thread so she can read and follow along. I created a shared note on our iPhones so we can get that form filled out and she can document any behavior changes with Izzy.

I thought it’d be best to give her alone time to get use to her new enclosure and minimize any handling time (Izzy likes to come out but I’m sure it was because the 16x16 was to small with not enough highways/plants) @Tina1103 will get more plants, I wanted her to pick the rest since i picked the ones that are currently in there 😅

P.s you can peep Izzy asleep in the new enclosure on the right in the last picture. That corner was her favorite sleeping spot in the old16x16. It’s so cute she went to the same corner in the 24x24 enclosure 🥹


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***Update***

Here is a side by side of Izzy’s upgrade!

We’ll have to make adjustments as needed to adapt around Izzy’s needs. We ended up adding a few more highways to incorporate chameleon academy’s Forest Edge 5+5. Looking into a plant LED to help them flourish and create more hiding places for Izzy. It took some bribing with food to get her out of the 16x16 cage, once out she was loving it on her Swiss cheese while we tested out basking temp and ambient.

I set up Izzy’s owner with an account however her tag won’t pop up but I’ll add it anyways(@Tina1103) I sent her this thread so she can read and follow along. I created a shared note on our iPhones so we can get that form filled out and she can document any behavior changes with Izzy.

I thought it’d be best to give her alone time to get use to her new enclosure and minimize any handling time (Izzy likes to come out but I’m sure it was because the 16x16 was to small with not enough highways/plants) @Tina1103 will get more plants, I wanted her to pick the rest since i picked the ones that are currently in there 😅

P.s you can peep Izzy asleep in the new enclosure on the right in the last picture. That corner was her favorite sleeping spot in the old16x16. It’s so cute she went to the same corner in the 24x24 enclosure 🥹


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Ya know the plants you have at the bottom... To get it higher in the cage you can flip a planter of the same size over and it will get it up higher so she can hide in it. You can also use those plastic coated racks that you can use in kitchen cabinets for your food. These normally are about 4 inches tall.
 
Beman already answered you, but I’d like to add that not everything has to be ‘for reptiles’. If you can find incandescent light bulbs those work for heat bulbs. I picked up a two pack of thermometers on Amazon, not branded for reptiles. Drippers can be made with solo cups. I’d love to have a mist king some day, but I have a mister intended for plants and it does the job.
I love this! Since I was shopping for a friend I tried to find the cheapest options out there. I care a lot about aesthetic but I didn’t wanna get carried away because this is certainly an investment. I believe everything came out to $345 not including the price of plants :ROFLMAO:

Thankfully I have a few plant friends who I already asked to start propagating the ones that are veiled tested for Izzy and for my future chameleon 💚
 
Ya know the plants you have at the bottom... To get it higher in the cage you can flip a planter of the same size over and it will get it up higher so she can hide in it. You can also use those plastic coated racks that you can use in kitchen cabinets for your food. These normally are about 4 inches tall.
Ahh!!! We will do this! That was bugging me yesterday too, I really wanted the Swiss cheese to be in the middle enclosure. I think I was stressing out more about Izzy being stressed out then she actually was 😂
 
I love this! Since I was shopping for a friend I tried to find the cheapest options out there. I care a lot about aesthetic but I didn’t wanna get carried away because this is certainly an investment. I believe everything came out to $345 not including the price of plants :ROFLMAO:

Thankfully I have a few plant friends who I already asked to start propagating the ones that are veiled tested for Izzy and for my future chameleon 💚
To be honest that’s really not a bad price! You could easily spend thousands on these set ups.
 
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