Help!! My panther is turning black

Apollocham

New Member
I got my panther chameleon 4 days ago. He was very colorful when I first opened the box but turned very dark as soon as I put him in the enclosure and has stayed dark. He’s eating great and seems healthy otherwise. He only gets colorful when I open the enclosure door to add food or spray and then turns dark again. I spray him about 6x/day and leave a constant dripping water source.

Lighting: Zoo med 60 w daylight blue bulb + reptisun 5.0 uvb (I have the zoomed reptisun T5 5.0 uvb bulb 25” coming tomorrow)

Food: small crickets & mealworms.

Temps: Basking around 80-85 and the rest of the cage is around 72 F. The lowest it gets at night is 68 F.

Enclosure: 16 x 16 x 30”

The breeder said the enclosure was great and to let him settle in because I just got him. Does anyone have any advice? (The white on his nose is calcium) he still has his pajama colors at night
 

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Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
One thing I think you need to do is remove the blue daylight bulb asap. Colored lights mess with chameleons eyes so they aren’t good. Just use a regular halogen household bulb about a 60 watt and that will work, just make sure it’s not an LED bulb because they don’t give off heat.
 

CalamityCrow

Established Member
Definitely fill out the husbandry form (you can find it in the pinned thread "how to ask for help") but my baby cham did the same thing. I'd had my husbandry reviewed and I was told I was doing everything right as far as they could tell. Short of pajama colors (for my guy they're white and pink with some orange and blue splashed in there) he stayed dark most of the day.

I got him at about 4mos in Feb of this year. Over the last two months, he's become SO much more colorful. Blues and oranges and reds and even some yellow. I don't know what changed, and he still gets dark under his basking area (I assume to absorb warmth) but otherwise he's colorful again. Perhaps your guy is going through the same thing? I really did get worried he'd never lighten up and that he was super stressed and would die... but... he's fine. I've attached him in his "bright" colors when he was a baby, and then there's a current pajama and awake color palette.

I know sometimes chams just run things differently. Once you get your husbandry looked at, you can eliminate any other considerations and see how things go from there! :)
 

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Apollocham

New Member
Definitely fill out the husbandry form (you can find it in the pinned thread "how to ask for help") but my baby cham did the same thing. I'd had my husbandry reviewed and I was told I was doing everything right as far as they could tell. Short of pajama colors (for my guy they're white and pink with some orange and blue splashed in there) he stayed dark most of the day.

I got him at about 4mos in Feb of this year. Over the last two months, he's become SO much more colorful. Blues and oranges and reds and even some yellow. I don't know what changed, and he still gets dark under his basking area (I assume to absorb warmth) but otherwise he's colorful again. Perhaps your guy is going through the same thing? I really did get worried he'd never lighten up and that he was super stressed and would die... but... he's fine. I've attached him in his "bright" colors when he was a baby, and then there's a current pajama and awake color palette.

I know sometimes chams just run things differently. Once you get your husbandry looked at, you can eliminate any other considerations and see how things go from there! :)
Thank you so much!
 

Apollocham

New Member
One thing I think you need to do is remove the blue daylight bulb asap. Colored lights mess with chameleons eyes so they aren’t good. Just use a regular halogen household bulb about a 60 watt and that will work, just make sure it’s not an LED bulb because they don’t give off heat.
Great advice. I will def switch them tomorrow morning. Thank you!
 

Apollocham

New Member
I will say off the bat that you'll want to start looking at a much bigger cage. Minimum for chams (babies included) is going to be 2'x2'x4'. Getting enough space for your little darling will definitely be a good help. :)
I was actually originally worried about my cage being too large. It’s a bigger cage and 16” x 16” x 30”
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I got my panther chameleon 4 days ago. He was very colorful when I first opened the box but turned very dark as soon as I put him in the enclosure and has stayed dark. He’s eating great and seems healthy otherwise. He only gets colorful when I open the enclosure door to add food or spray and then turns dark again. I spray him about 6x/day and leave a constant dripping water source.

Lighting: Zoo med 60 w daylight blue bulb + reptisun 5.0 uvb (I have the zoomed reptisun T5 5.0 uvb bulb 25” coming tomorrow)

Food: small crickets & mealworms.

Temps: Basking around 80-85 and the rest of the cage is around 72 F. The lowest it gets at night is 68 F.

Enclosure: 16 x 16 x 30”

The breeder said the enclosure was great and to let him settle in because I just got him. Does anyone have any advice? (The white on his nose is calcium) he still has his pajama colors at night
Hello and welcome! :) Usually our chameleons will turn dark in order to better absorb heat and/or light. In your little cutie’s situation, he is needing the correct uvb - which you are already aware of and have ordered and others have told you. Until the light arrives, you could try taking your cutie outside for some natural sun and vitamin D...if it won’t cause him too much stress. If you can get him on a small plant that you can then take him outside in, that might be less stressful. Of course, don’t leave him for even a second. They are fast and can disappear before you know it. Your basking temp is a bit high for a little guy. Usually around 80 is good for the little ones. Best way to bring the temp down just a bit is to raise the light off of the screen top, which is something I’d tell you to do regardless. Baby chams love to play monkey and walk upside down along their tops. This opens them up to risk of getting burns. I use cheap wire baskets from Dollar Tree to raise my lights a few inches. Also, I believe it’s been said, but colored lights aren’t good for sensitive cham eyes. Honestly, they need to stop making the red and blue lights as most reptiles are sensitive to them.🤷‍♀️
Your enclosure looks great! Love all the live plants and natural branches! Yes, it will need to be bigger when he becomes an adult, which happens quicker than we’d like. I keep my boys in 4x4x2’ (2 XL ReptiBreezes joined) and they do use all of the space.
From the limited info that you provided, I do have a couple of other recommendations. 1st is to add more variety of feeders and make sure to feed the feeders well. I don’t specifically ‘gutload’. Instead I just keep my bugs well fed a variety of fresh produce along with some Bug Burger. Whether I’m feeding a leopard gecko at midnight or a chameleon at 9AM, my bugs are always healthy and nutritious for my animals. Attaching graphics below.
The other thing is your misting. Do give your enclosure a chance to dry out during the day. Generally a good 2+ minute misting right before lights go on and off is good. At mid day you could either do another 1-2 minute misting or run a dripper for 15-20 minutes. Besides keeping your humidity in the ideal 50-60% range for daytime, letting things dry out will prevent possible issues. @Gingero has videos for just about everything and then some. Do check them out. https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/ is a great source of info and you’ll always learn something new fro the podcasts. Of course, continue to ask questions and we’ll do our best to help. :)
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CalamityCrow

Established Member
I was actually originally worried about my cage being too large. It’s a bigger cage and 16” x 16” x 30”
Yeah, finding those little guys in a big cage is tough! But based on the husbandry advice here and on chameleonacademy.com is that cage is actually too small. You need minimum 24"x24"x48" (2'x2'x4'). Thinking about it, it makes sense. Chams in the wild live and roam as much as they want, and moving around branches and exploring is part of their daily life. Enough space to at least decently mimic that is important.
 
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