Hi I'm new here. Please check my viv

DJ PYGO

New Member
I plan to get 2 young yemens soon and have built this viv to home them. Is this a suitable home in your opinion? Little dripper is fitted, uvb, 60w heat bulb, 4 vents, climbing vines and plastic plants. http://
Any tips and ideas? ...I plan on using newspaper as a substrate. Can anyone tell me if calci-sand would suit?

I don't know how I managed to post this in the cham food section but could a mod or forum staff move this topic please?
 
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Tygerr

Avid Member
You get points for neatness, but as a cham enclosure, there are numerous problems.

The first, and most serious problem is that you are planning to house TWO chameleons in it. Yemens will not tolerate living in such close proximity with one another. They might be fine for a short while whilst they are very young, but once they reach the juvenile stage, they will need to be separated.
If I were you, I'd start off with only ONE chameleon, and see how that goes before you get a second. They are not social creatures, so you don't have to worry about them getting lonely without company...

The other problems are:
- cage dimensions: that cage size might be suitable for young chameleons, but you will have to get a cage that is orientated higher than it is wider for older chams. They need room to climb as they are an arboreal species.
- the basking bulb: it's exposed within the cage. The cham will try to get as close to it as possible, and in this case it will get right onto it and burn itself.
- ventilation: you have provide numerous vents in the cage, but that still might not be enough for the type of ventilation that chams require. Generally, screen cages are preferred over enclosed/glass enclosures, but enclosed cages do help retain humidity. You can search the forums - this point has been debated at length on here.
- foliage: you need more foliage/plant cover within the cage. Chameleons are a very shy/private species - they need a place to hide in order to feel secure. You need more leaf cover for them.
Also, you are getting a Yemen, and you should know that the species becomes omnivourous once it reaches juvenile age, meaning it will look for plant matter to eat, and there is a chance it might mistakenly eat the fake plastic plants you have placed in the cage. That can lead to all sorts of ingestion/digestion problems. Most keepers prefer safe (i.e. non-toxic) live plants in their enclosures.
- water bowl: not necessary for a cham, and it only collects bacteria. Chams will generally only get their drinking water from mistings and by licking up droplets of water from leaves that are wet by your dripper.
- dripper: it looks like you have the dripper nozzle suspended there next to the basking bulb. That will serve no purpose. You need to have the drips falling on the plant leaves, since that is where the cham will try to lick them up from. Now the drops are simply going to fall onto the floor where they will be absorbed by the newspaper/wood.
- substrate: do not use any substrate for a cham. It is unnecessary as they not spend much time (if any) on the floor of the cage. The calci-sand may just cause ingestion problems and will make cleaning difficult.
Newspaper can be used for simpler cleaning, but since you are going to be wetting the cage each day with mistings, it will have to be replaced very regularly.

What is that plastic box in there for?

You will also need accurate (i.e. digital) thermometers and hygrometers so that you can properly measure the temps/humidity in the enclosure. You need to be able to accurately monitor the basking temperature under that heat bulb. Too hot and your cham will be injured, too cold and it will not thrive.

Please read the articles on the following site to learn more about suitable enclosures for chameleons: The Chameleon's Dish
 
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Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
I agree with Tygerr.
Additionally, I see no uvb light.
Perhaps it is mounted inside?
That needs to change. No lights inside the enclosure in my opinion.
The top looks solid. I would rather see screen on top with lights mounted outside the enclosure.

-Brad
 
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DJ PYGO

New Member
They are 2 baby chams(female), the little dish is meant for waxworm/mealworm, I plan to have a new viv built in 4 weeks time, fully meshed, 3ft x 2ft x 4ft with living tree inside and vines also. The plastic box is to contain the crickets I put in so that they don't escape(I have escapees living in my sitting room:( ), the uvb is a repti-glo 5.0 tube shown at the back wall next to the humidity guage. Cheers for the link tygerr. My local pet store approved of the viv and so ordered the chams, Do you think they'll be ok for 3 weeks?
I owned a yemen before from this time last year until before xmas, he died, always grumpy, stopped eating but still drinking, sulked, brought him to a vet, he didn't know what to do, he gave baytril and force feeds, the little fella vomitted and died 2 days after. I always had the calcium right, gut loaded crix and locusts, sprayed twice daily, uvb on for 12 hrs a day.
 
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Tygerr

Avid Member
Are you saying that in 4 weeks time when you have the new enclosure built, you are going to put one cham in the new cage, and leave the other one in this cage?
Because regardless of whether they are 2 females, 2 males or one of each, you cannot keep them together when they are older (regardless of what the petstore tells you - they are just trying to make double the sales).
They can live together whilst they are babies, but within a short while they will start competing with one another for food, and one invariably loses out, whilst the other gets bigger and more stressful to the smaller one.
If you have 2 chams, you need 2 cages.

I only recognised what the little dish was when I looked at the photo again. I've seen them at the pet-store. They're ok for mealworms, etc. but you need to make it easier for the cham to get to the bowl - like having a branch/vine running above it. Chams like shooting at their prey from a secure perch, rather than having to walk down onto the ground (where they are vulnerable) to get to their food. A feeding cup like this one - Quick Feeder - mounted higher up in the cage might be a better option.

As for the cricket box, it's not a good idea to leave it in the cage. It will confuse your cham, especially since it can see through the plastic to the crickets, but will not be able to get at them. If you're having trouble keeping the crickets, try to get a larger container for them (I like, and use, the setup suggested on that same site I suggested earlier: Cricket Care)

But the lights are still a problem. The basking light must be outside the cage, so that the chams can't get to it. Babies are particularly prone to getting burnt.
The UV light doesn't pose as much a risk of burning (they are a lot cooler), but there is an electrical risk with it there, given that you should be misting the place with water quite thoroughly.

Also, that UV light is probably too small. A good guide is to have a light that covers the entire length of the top of the cage. And this applies especially if you are planning to keep 2 babies in there, where they will also be competing for access to the UV light...

You mentioned you had a Yemen before that died? What sort of setup were you keeping him in? Chameleons are very difficult reptiles to keep. If you get the setup wrong, they will not last very long. The time you had your last cham for is probably about an average lifespan for a cham in a bad setup.
Make sure you get all the husbandry issues right this time BEFORE you get the new cham/s, or it/they will go the same way.
 

Brian S

New Member
-1 cham per cage
-no lights inside cage
-more ventalation
-no glass
-get rid of the cricket carier
-more foliage
-Taller cage
-Water needs to drip onto foliage

I think that just about covers the large problems.
 

ChameleonsTree

New Member
Im also bothered by the wood that looks untreated..if it isnt sealed it will mold very quickly and the front should be screen not glass. You could put that rubber sheeting they use for the base of showers in the bottom with a proper drain.
 

Fate X

New Member
if i was you id start over buy biulding 2 small mesh cages with aluminum screen ,the screen might cost 20.00 at the most then the framing might cost another 15.00 thenstaples and paint.

you could biuld 2 15"x30" cages which would last until they are about 5-6 months. you could put them next to each other and put one 4 ft reptisun on top for uvb.you could put news paper in between the cages for privacy it also helps keep the humidity when you mist.

you could do it for about 75.00 cages+uvb light.
 

DrewNYC

New Member
i would listen to the posts and not the petstore, your other chameleon didn't die because he was grumpy/stop eating, he died because he got sick then grumpy, then stopped eating.
drew
 

Laragail

New Member
well, now that everyone has explained why your set up is not appropriate for a yemen, i must say, It looks very nice.

did you build it yourself?

with the vents and glass sides it could easily be made into a sweet terrarium for dart frogs or something.

now as far as temporary housing for a baby- I think It would be fine with a few modifications.

like everyone else said, the lights need to be on top of the cage. Make sure he can't climb up close enough to them to burn himself.

As far as ventilation goes, I think it would probably be okay if you made the top out of screen and ran the vents. You never know though, so keep a close eye on it and have a screen cage ready just in case.

also, you need A LOT more foliage in there. they need lots of hiding places to keep their stress levels down.
it also seems like drainage may be a problem.

you should also get a digital hydrometer/thermometer

you could hang that little plastic cage from a branch with the lid off and use it as a feeding bin.

as far as keeping two together goes, DON'T DO IT. it's just not worth the risks. - if thats going to be a problem, then tell the pet store you only want one. If they get mad, tell them it's their fault. They never should have told you that you could keep them together.
 

DJ PYGO

New Member
well, now that everyone has explained why your set up is not appropriate for a yemen, i must say, It looks very nice.

did you build it yourself? -yes, this will be home to my boa afterwards.

with the vents and glass sides it could easily be made into a sweet terrarium for dart frogs or something. -I have made 2 screen doors on it for now

now as far as temporary housing for a baby- I think It would be fine with a few modifications.

like everyone else said, the lights need to be on top of the cage. Make sure he can't climb up close enough to them to burn himself. Can't touch it now.

As far as ventilation goes, I think it would probably be okay if you made the top out of screen and ran the vents. You never know though, so keep a close eye on it and have a screen cage ready just in case.

also, you need A LOT more foliage in there. they need lots of hiding places to keep their stress levels down. -There's now ywice as many plants in there
it also seems like drainage may be a problem. -Yes...any tips?


you should also get a digital hydrometer/thermometer Got it, just changed the vines to get the right basking temp.

you could hang that little plastic cage from a branch with the lid off and use it as a feeding bin. That's what I did before, my last cham would hang from a branch and eat out of it.

as far as keeping two together goes, DON'T DO IT. it's just not worth the risks. - if thats going to be a problem, then tell the pet store you only want one. If they get mad, tell them it's their fault. They never should have told you that you could keep them together.
Cheers for the reply, Its been modified since and have just finished with it yesterday. My best built viv so far.
 

Laragail

New Member
If you cant move the light, maybe you could put some kind of barrier between it and your chameleon? I'd just hate to see him get burned.... at least try and keep it out of reach, and keep an eye out for burns.

as far as drainage goes, maybe you could drill a couple holes in the bottom and set the whole thing on top of some kind of reservoir?

there are a whole bunch of drainage forums, i bet if you use the search feature on the forum you'll find all kinds of ideas.

also, you didn't mention a UVB light, but you'll need one of those too.

what did you decided about getting two? are you keeping them together or seperate?
 

DJ PYGO

New Member
I have a repti glo 5.0 uvb tube there at the back, is this an ok uvb light?

I planned to breed them in time and use a friends male to get them going so to speak. But plan's changed now. Anyhow, I have 1 female juvenile yem, cham on way tomorrow, and a baby beardie instead of a second cham.
 

Laragail

New Member
Most people on here recommend the reptiSUN 5.0 - but the one you have is probably fine for now.

remember, you need to swap them out every 6 months or so- so when it comes time for replacement maybe you could get a reptisun instead.

i dont know if they're really much better then the repti-glo or not.

Glad you decided to only get 1 chameleon, hope everything works out and you enjoy your beardie. :)
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
Nice work DJ.

I'm glad you took the time to do the research and get your enclosure set up correctly BEFORE you got your cham.

And I'm glad you chose to only get one cham for now. They are quite a challenge to keep, and one will keep you plenty busy for now. And even one provides a great deal of entertainment and satisfaction. Later on, when you're more experienced you can always get another, and even consider breeding them then.

As for some of your other questions:
- Drainage will be a problem. Do a search for "drainage" on these forums and in the picture gallery. Some of the keepers here have come up with some innovative and effective solutions.
Heika has used supplies from a regular hardware store to make very neat drainage floors. Dave Wheldon has built elaborate PVC drainage trays (check out http://www.chameleonnews.com/watering.html)
You might have to put some sort of waterproof coating down on the floor of your cage, and drill drainage holes that can can have tubs/funnels installed underneath for water collection (like on these cages: http://www.chameleonnews.com/diycage.html).

- As for the Exo Terra UVB light: according to the data from http://www.uvguide.co.uk/, the ReptiSun from ZooMed is slightly better than the ReptiGlo. However, due to an availability problem in South Africa, I have only ever used ReptiGlo's and so far haven't had problems. I'm sure you'll be fine with that bulb. Just make sure it is as long as the length of your cage (you want to get the biggest bulb you can fit).
Everyone recommends that you change your UVB bulbs regularly, and based on the data from UVGuide, it seems you would need to change the ReptiGlo's more often than the ReptiSuns, since their UV output tapers off earlier (but as Will or Dave pointed out recently, you'd probably save a lot of money by investing in a UV Meter and determining exactly when to change the bulbs, rather than sticking to the conservative estimate of every 6 months).
 
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