Hello, just looking for some helpful information about my new chameleon.

kirbya89

New Member
Hello, my name is Lauren and I was recently (about 2 weeks ago) given a 9-10 month old female fischer's chameleon by an acquaintance who could no longer care for her (and i believe, more specifically, that she is a "standard fischer's chameleon"). I have no experience with fischer's chameleons so I wanted to try and start a thread on here to post information about how I am taking care of her in order to make sure that I am caring for her properly. I welcome any helpful information and advice that anyone has to offer, especially since I was for the most part unsuccessful in finding care sheets and care information on any other website.

As a side note, although I don't have any experience with fischer's chameleons, I am studying herpetology and currently working towards my Master's degree and do have a decent amount of experience with several other reptile species including a successful, small colony of bearded pygmy chameleons, so I have ideas about her basic care requirements. But again, without any experience with this particular species, I am sure that there are tons of people on here that know a lot about the care and husbandry of fischer's chameleons who will (hopefully) let me know if I am doing everything right and/or offer any advice about the species.

Chameleon Info:

Your Chameleon - female fischer's chameleon (almost positive she's a 'standard fischer's chameleon') 9-10 months old.

Handling - I've been handling her for short periods of time, once a day, for the past few days in order get a good look at her eyes, mouth, and check the strength of her grip but after getting her into her new enclosure the first day I brought her home I did not handle her for about a week with the hope that the 'alone time' would allow her to better acclimate to her new environment with as little stress as possible.

Feeding - I've given her about 5 or 6 small-medium sized crickets a few times since bringing her home and actually observed her eating once, but each time can no longer find any crickets in the enclosure by the next morning.

Supplements - I dust her crickets with (phosphorus free) Fluker's calcium powder with vitamin D3. I also have the Fluker's Repta-Vitamin multivitamin powder that I use with certain other reptiles but have not used with my fischer's chameleon, as of yet.

Watering -I have been misting the entire enclosure and her once in the morning and once in the evening and have an automatic fogger set up on a timer to turn on for 15 minutes, 6 additional times throughout the day. I rarely observe her drinking but have seen her drink water off of a leaf once or twice and had her open her mouth and drink while I was misting her once, a couple of days ago.

Fecal Description - she has pooped a couple times, that I have observed, and it looked normal but her urates have been very white (particularly the first week that I had her)

History - she was given to me by a friend/acquaintance who I know has experience with several species of chameleons, but due to the fact that she is going to be moving across the country soon and does not want to transport too many chameleons, decided to give her up.

Cage Info:
Cage Type - 16"x16"x20" all screen Reptibreeze with one large front opening door and a hard white floor.

Lighting - I have a ZooMed Reptisun 5.0 fluorescent bulb, in a large sun-dome which is sitting directly on top of the screen top.

Temperature - I have been keeping the top of the cage at (or very close to) 80 degrees with a 60W ceramic heat bulb on an adjustable reptile lamp stand, so I am able to move the bulb closer or farther, depending on the temperature reading I get from the digital thermometer probe, positioned at the top of the enclosure.

Humidity - Usually stays between 50% and 60% between mistings/foggings, but jumps up right after mistings and when the fogger has been on.

Plants - (as for live plants): 2 small potted pothos plants and a potted ficus plant. I also have 3 long fake vines weaving all over the enclosure that I got from a pet store, as well as a long silk flower garland that I got from a craft store and cleaned with hot water, to add multiple climbing/basking levels and a lot more cover to the enclosure.

Placement - Her enclosure is in one of the corners of my living room, on the opposite side of the room as the windows, and is on top of a book shelf that is about 5 feet tall.

Location - Chicago, IL

Mostly looking for any information or advice that anyone has to offer, all I want is to make my new little beauty as comfortable as possible and offer her the best care that I possibly can, so if there is anything I am doing right or wrong, I'd love to know and would greatly appreciate the help. Thanks to anyone who reads or responds to this! I'm also more than happy to answer any possible additional questions that anyone might have. :)
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the world of chameleons!

I've kept quite a few fischer's over the years but never hatched eggs from them. However they have mostly all lived quite long healthy lives with me.

You need to be careful not to overdo the vitamins and D3 with Fischer's..they are a little more sensitive to those supplements than veileds and panthers are.

I've also found that its important that they be kept well-hydrated although I never keep them in a really high humidity situation.

You said..."her urates have been very white (particularly the first week that I had her"...the urates are supposed to be very white! (Or did you mean to say that they weren't??)


Here is some information that I hope will help....
Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects just before you feed them to the chameleon at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you also dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

Dusting twice a month as well with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite which has beta carotene.)

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

Here are some good sites for you to read...
http://chameleonnews.com/07FebWheelock.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200605020...Vitamin.A.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200406080...d.Calcium.html
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/
http://web.archive.org/web/200601140...ww.adcham.com/
If you can't access the sites above that have the word "archive" in you can do it through the WayBackMachine.

Hope this helps!
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Feeding - but each time can no longer find any crickets in the enclosure by the next morning.

Supplements - I dust her crickets with (phosphorus free) Fluker's calcium powder with vitamin D3. I also have the Fluker's Repta-Vitamin multivitamin powder that I use with certain other reptiles but have not used with my fischer's chameleon, as of yet.

Lighting - I have a ZooMed Reptisun 5.0 fluorescent bulb, in a large sun-dome which is sitting directly on top of the screen top.

Temperature - I have been keeping the top of the cage at (or very close to) 80 degrees with a 60W ceramic heat bulb on an adjustable reptile lamp stand,
Humidity - Usually stays between 50% and 60% between mistings/foggings, but jumps up right after mistings and when the fogger has been on.

Plants - (as for live plants): 2 small potted pothos plants and a potted ficus plant. I also have 3 long fake vines weaving all over the enclosure that I got from a pet store, as well as a long silk flower garland that I got from a craft store and cleaned with hot water, to add multiple climbing/basking levels and a lot more cover to the enclosure.

Hi,

Just a few comments on your husbandry to tweak.

So you are free ranging her insects? I know for pygmies that is about the most practical approach, but you have the option to offer insects in a plastic bin instead. I prefer doing this (not a small cup, but a shoebox) so the cham can climb down to the box rim and still be able to shoot from some distance to exercise their eye/tongue technique. The box also lets the feeders move around more and attract the cham's attention, and you can put some fresh gutload in the box to keep them "full". By free ranging insects they can pick up bacteria, fecal matter, potentially shed parasites, dirt, old shed skin, etc. before the cham finds them. They also lose their gutload fairly quickly unless you have some source of insect food available.

Montane species are very sensitive to supplements. She is not quite full grown, but I would not dust her feeders every day with anything. Dust with plain calcium (without D3) every other feeding, dust with calcium with D3 every other week, and only use herp vitamins once every 6 weeks at most. Gutloading your feeders carefully is most important...dusting should be minimal.

So your ReptiSun 5.0 is a compact bulb? Check the manufacture date. If it is older than 1 year don't use it. There were eye problems reported from use of the "older" CF UVB bulbs. A linear tube ReptiSun 5.0 is a hobby standard that did not have issues. Change the bulb after 6 months of use.

Chams are attracted to light when basking so unless the UV light is on exactly the same amount of time the ceramic heat emitter is, the warmth may not attract her. If the weather gets warmer in summer and you have to turn the emitter off, she may not bask. You can use any type of normal house light bulb for a basking spot. Watch the temp as the season warms up. Make sure there is at least a 10 degree drop in temp at night.

Fischers can be very active, but shy and reactive too. The more cover she has the better she'll probably like it. If you have trouble finding her its about right!
 

kirbya89

New Member
In response to the first comment, yes I did meant to say that they weren't really white, especially for the first few days they were sort of diluted but that seems to be improving judging by what I've seen in the past couple days.

Also in response to the second comment, I did hear about the eye problems with the older Reptisun bulbs in an article I read a few months back, and the bulb that I have is one of the compact florescent bulbs, so I was sure to check the manufacturing date for this bulb and it was only like 2 1/2 months ago so I think that should be alright.

Thank you both for the helpful information, I really appreciate you speedy and considerate responses. :)
 

Zach Valois

New Member
While we're on the subject, what is the appropriate hot spot temp for montane taxa?

And just to clarify, compact flourescents are NOT good for chams in general?
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Hello Kirby, i just wanted to welcome you to the forums. There are lots of people on here with lots of good info so you are in the right place. I have to say for a person who had not had a chameleon before you did a nice job of setting her up. Just ask questions anytime.

Did you raise rankin dragons & do you still? I had beardies for lots of years and always wanted to have a rankin, would love to see pictures of yours. I even had german giants but no rankin were to be found.:(
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
kirbya89...how's the chameleon doing? I'd love to see a photo of it!

Zach Valois said..."compact flourescents are NOT good for chams in general?"...there was a problem with a lot of them a while ago causing eye issues (photo-kerato-conjunctivitis) due to the use of a phosphor that was not producing the proper range of light. Here's a site that tells about it...
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/

Even some of the other lights have been causing health issues in chameleons...so the one most often recommended now is the long linear fluorescent UVB Repti-sun 5.0 tube light since it hasn't had any bad reports.

I have kept two species of fischer's chameleons and dwarf jacksons and have always used a double fluorescent fixture with one regular household fluorescent tube in it and one Repti-sun 5.0 UVB light. I also provide a basking spot in the low 80's by using a regular incandescent household light of appropriate wattage to create that temperature in one corner of the cage. I put it in a domed fixture.
 
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