Hello, New to Chams and this forum, Advise needed.

macross

New Member
Hello, my name's Nick while I'm not new to reptiles, this is my first chameleon. I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to keep him healthy and happy. I recently purchased a 5/6 month old Panther Chameleon from a semi local private breeder about a month ago. Since then he's been very active eating 7-10 med/large crickets a day. He's very active during the day from when his light comes on ~ 7am till around 9pm, about an hour before his lights go off. about 10 min after his lights go off he's sound asleep.

FIRST SETUP:

Repti breeze medium enclosure
2X flukers large fake vines
1 fake aquarium vine plant
Sheffileara ? abricola
Repti sun 5.0 twist bulb in large flukers sundome
100 watt flukers basking bulb in small fixture
100 watt ceramic heater in small fixture
Misting bottle, with repti safe
feeding crickets with reptical w/ d3 feeding crickets the yellow gel stuff and potatos.

I would mist heavy 3 times a day, 7:30AM, 2pm, and 7pm, 1-2 light mistings in between I would feed him right after the first misting @ around 7:35am. His enclosure would get around 95deg. warmest and about 75-80deg at the bottom with just the reptisun 5.0 and 100watt basking light. at night his ceramic heater would kick on and would keep the cage around 73/4deg.


****PROBLEM**** about a week ago, i noticed some scales barely sticking out on his bottom lip about midway to the rear of his mouth. At first I thought it was just dry skin and he was about to shed. I investigated, the skin was dry and a few days later he shed. I thought everything was fine, until a day ago and the scales were still out just barely. I took him to the vet and after 3 hours of waiting was told that he had bacteria in his mouth and that is was pretty serious. She gave me Baytril to give him once a day, and Nystiatin to rub on him 3 times a day.

****Will this help him or just make things worse**** I know these animals are delicate and he DOES NOT like this. It takes two ppl to give him these meds and I'm really worried about stressing him out. He's still eating, but less than he was before starting him on this. They told me to ditch the live plant, lower his basking area temp to 85-90deg. max, and that I'm feeding him too much, and giving him too much d3. They also told me to get a hygrometer and keep his humididty around 50-60%.


SECOND SETUP CHANGES:

NO MORE LIVE PLANT
2X fake pieces of plastic wood/ stumps to fill the void
1 more flukers large vine
1 large flukers fake Pathos vine
analog hygrometer
retivite multi vitamin with d3 (told to do this 1-2 times a week)
reptical without d3 (told to do this every day 5-6 days a week)

RECEPTION:

He doesn't seem to like his new enclosure. I tried a 60 watt basking light bulb and the cage would not get hot anymore, and my humidity would not go above 40% on the Hygrometer. I put the 100 watt bulb back in and now my cage will not get higher than 91deg and stays about 72-75deg. in the bottom. I'm guessing that since there isn't a live plant in there anymore there isn't anything to hold the heat. Additionally, I have to keep my ceramic heater going all the time now. where with the first setup it only came on at night. I've also covered the big openings in the top of the cage. with this about 5-10 min after a heavy mist, the temp drops to around 83deg. and as it raises back up to 91, it produces a max of 95% humidity for about 30 minutes falling to 60% an hour later and then settling back to ~35% 2 hours later. If I lightly mist the cage though it bumps right back up to 60% so i'm thinking i should lightly mist the cage every 2 hours.
At night the cage drops to between 69-71deg with the ceramic heater and 30% humidity. With the new setup it seems more difficult for him to hunt, but i suppose he isn't used to it as much.

Please, advise needed, I really want him to do the best he can. I can't go spending 1000's of $ but I'm not opposed to spending some money to make life better for him (obviously) I believe my next purchase will be a Mist King ultimant value setup and making a metal cage topper panal that the light and heat domes will sit on top of to prevent the heat from just going straight out of the top of the cage.



Thanks already for your advise.

-Nick
 

Julirs

New Member
I hate stupid Vets (sorry!)

Live plants are absolutely beneficial to your chameleon. Anytime you get a live plant you should throughly wash it with dish soap and then rinse it very well. Either repot in organic soil or cover the dirt with river rocks that are a size the chameleon cannot eat. Live plants keep in humidity.

Now-as for the mouthrot issue-your vet has prescribed the normal thing. Make sure you are seeing him drink as Baytril can be hard on the kidneys.

As far as your cage, you should be able to use a 60-75 watt bulb. Make sure you are measuring temps with a DIGITAL THERMOMETER-the kind with a probe. Those round analog junky things do not measure basking temps well. Your temp should be 85-90 and no hotter. Compact UVB bulbs are not recommended and some have caused eye issues. If it is a newer one it may be OK. There is a thread here somewhere that shows you how to check. Why the ceramic heater? Your temps can drop in your house to 60 at night and your chameleon will be perfectly fine. No light or heat at night unless it is getting much colder than that, and it is better to heat the room than the cage.
Gutload your crickets with a variety of dark leafy greens, fruits, sweet potatoes, etc. As for supplementing, use a calcium without D3 5X week, one with D3 twice a month, and a multivite once a month. I would not say you are feeding too much yet, but will want to cut back a little soon as he gets older.
A picture of the cham and cage would be great to help us help you.
 

macross

New Member
Thanks for your reply,

I completely agree, I want him to have a natural environment. The umbrella plant kinda scares me. It didn't have anything on it besides "umbrella plant" I bought it at Home Depot. NOWHERE has any nicely sized live plants, let alone a selection. It's in the middle of winter here with 3" of snow on the ground. I assume that it is a sheffilara abricola, and the vet said that it could be a mild irritant and she did inform me of the rocks covering the base, which I did not have. I never saw him eat any of the leaves, and he does seem to prefer licking the water from it's leaves compared to the fake pathos. Idk if i was clear in my last post, but my hygrometer is analog, I have two of the thermometers with the remote probes as you described. one about 6" from the bottom of the cage, and one 6" from the top.

Here are some pics

1. First setup
2. New setup
3. Mouth
4. Mouth
5. Side of him now
6. When I first got him on my gf's head.
 

Attachments

Julirs

New Member
I am not really seeing the spot on his mouth-is it not that bad? Your first set up looked really great-minus the cardboard box. You really should be misting enough that the box would collapse after a few mistings. Get a plant stand for the plant. Check on the coiled UVB light or get a linear tube.
 

macross

New Member
I see, hmm I usually mist in a way as to not get him wet, he really hates the water. Where can i find the reptisun bulb thread? I'll try to search. I just bought the bulb a month ago, so I would hope that it's new. It actually sits about 2" away from the screen at it's closest point, and wouldn't the screen cut down on some of the transmission? He seems to really like it directly under that particular light. I will defiantly get a plant stand and cover the soil with rocks. As for his mouth, It doesn't look really bad, but it doesn't look normal it's about 1cm away from his snout where his lower gum meets the top on the bottom gum. I was wondering if it could be from how he crunches crickets with them sticking out the sides of his mouth. When the vet said it was bacteria and that it was serious, i was pretty surprised.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Are you talking about the left side of his mouth near the snout??
Did the vet clean out the infected area and do a culture and sensitivity test?

A less stressful way of getting the meds into it is to drip water on the end of its nose and when it starts to drink ease the meds into its mouth with the needleless syringe. If you bring the syringe up from below his line of vision he won't notice that its going to happen.

His appetite might be decreased due to the meds.
Make sure while he's on the meds that he gets lots to drink. Meds are hard on the kidneys.

I agree with the basking temperature being 85-90C deg. max.

I don't see a problem with the amount you're feeding him...you should be able to see if he's getting fat.

The humidity isn't critical as long as he's getting enough water.

Regarding supplements...here's some information you might find helpful......
Exposure to proper UVB, appropriate temperatures, supplements, a supply of well-fed/gutloaded insects, water and an appropriate cage set-up are all important for the well-being of your chameleon.

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 before you feed them to the chameleon with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you 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 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.)

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 and your parents to read...
http://chameleonnews.com/07FebWheelock.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200605020...Vitamin.A.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200604210...d.Calcium.html
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/
http://raisingkittytheveiledchameleon.blogspot.com/
http://web.archive.org/web/200601140...ww.adcham.com/
 
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