How bad are red lights really?

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Before getting into this I just want to say two things...

1. I don't and have never used a red heat bulb with my chameleon.

2. I'm just trying to learn.

It's not hard to memorize the best practices for chameleon husbandry. What is more challenging is understanding WHY we do the things we do or don't do.

I hear time and time again that we shouldn't use red lights with chameleons. Seems like this is the standard norm in chameleon husbandry. I was just curious why that is? What is it about the red lights that is harmful to chameleons? I know the usual answer is "Because their eyes are more sensitive". How do we know this? What actual harm is being done?
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
Idk if you can see the third eye on your panthers but I can see it on my veileds
 

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Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Idk if you can see the third eye on your panthers but I can see it on my veileds

Even with your beautifully drawn circle and arrow I have no idea what you're pointing out * face palm *. I feel like how I felt when I was first learning how to sex baby panthers where it's obvious to everyone besides me haha. Is it the little bumpy section at the base of their casques?

P.S. Thanks for the reading. Going to need to reread it a few times before I fully comprehend it.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
Just like birds chameleons need darkness to sleep. Even red light is to bright and will disrupt their sleep patterns. Sleep deprivation has negative effects in reptiles just like it does in humans. The parietal eye detects light even when the other eyes are closed. It sends signals to the brain that set the animals metabolic rhythms.
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Just like birds chameleons need darkness to sleep. Even red light is to bright and will disrupt their sleep patterns. Sleep deprivation has negative effects in reptiles just like it does in humans. The parietal eye detects light even when the other eyes are closed. It sends signals to the brain that set the animals metabolic rhythms.

Yeah that one makes sense to me.

I was more curious about the negative affects of using red heat bulbs during the day instead of white lights.
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
Even with your beautifully drawn circle and arrow I have no idea what you're pointing out * face palm *. I feel like how I felt when I was first learning how to sex baby panthers where it's obvious to everyone besides me haha. Is it the little bumpy section at the base of their casques?

P.S. Thanks for the reading. Going to need to reread it a few times before I fully comprehend it.
I took a better photo for you and circled it. You can see it’s almost like a hole in his crest. When I first read about chams I read about the “third eye” and was completely fascinated at the fact that they can sense light like that. Idk if you have ever tried this but when I took is pitch black and you shine a light on your Cham they will wake up because they think it’s the sun
 

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Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
I took a better photo for you and circled it. You can see it’s almost like a hole in his crest. When I first read about chams I read about the “third eye” and was completely fascinated at the fact that they can sense light like that. Idk if you have ever tried this but when I took is pitch black and you shine a light on your Cham they will wake up because they think it’s the sun

MUCH EASIER TO SEE. Thank you! Now I'll have to creep on Neptune and see if I can see it on him.
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yeah that one makes sense to me.

I was more curious about the negative affects of using red heat bulbs during the day instead of white lights.

The basking light is meant to mimic the sun. The sun is not red. To best recreate a micro-environment that mimics their natural environment, it is important to utilize the same color of light (or as close as we can) to their natural heat/light source. Chameleons are also sensitive to colors and I have heard from many people whose chameleons specifically despise the color red. All in all, there are no benefits to red light - only risks.

And unrelated to chameleon biology, red lights just make things look so darn ugly and unnatural.
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
The basking light is meant to mimic the sun. The sun is not red. To best recreate a micro-environment that mimics their natural environment, it is important to utilize the same color of light (or as close as we can) to their natural heat/light source. Chameleons are also sensitive to colors and I have heard from many people whose chameleons specifically despise the color red. All in all, there are no benefits to red light - only risks.

I hear ya. And I don't disagree with you. Like I said in my original post, I know the classic response is "Chameleons are sensitive to colors" Just wondering what the science is behind that. More than just observations from keepers wearing red shirts.

Found this post helpful: https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/friendly-chameleons.170238/page-2#post-1499252
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
I know what I'll be doing as soon as I walk in the front door of my home after work tonight.
 
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