Husbandry issues/questions.

chloe924

Member
I am a brand new chameleon owner who has only previously owned a snake and lots of fish of varying difficulty. I have researched lots but would hate for my care to be sub-par and I'm admittedly very stressed about doing damage.
Lurking this forum has already helped me a massive amount, which I'm super appreciative about! But any and all further help would be amazing. I can easily give email address too. Sorry in advance for the essay!



Chameleon Info:
· Your Chameleon - Lemmy is a male red bar Amiolobe panther chameleon. He is around 6months old & I’ve had him for nearly 4 weeks.
· Handling - I have held him a few times briefly. Mainly to return him back to his cage from free-range and to catch some natural sunrays(though that may be more stress than benefit). He's not super happy about being held.
· Feeding - So far his staple diet has been crickets, locusts and I also regularly hand feed calci worms as a ‘bonding’ exercise as he loves em. I also have Dubai roaches that are too big currently, but I plan on breeding a colony for further use. Gut-load wise I have rapashy bug burger and make a home made smoothy (need to find the recipe I followed) . I also have bee pollen and spirulina and plan make my own dry gut load, but currently I use prorep ‘bug grub’ (not a big fan).
· Supplements - Repti-cal without d3 daily aside from once a week where I switch between repti-cal with d3 one week and reptivite with d3 the next.
· Watering - I have a mistking set up to mist for 30sec before heat/uvb light turns on in the morning. 7mins an hour after and 4 mins at 2pm. I bought a dripper plant before realising the potential issues with recycled water and now have it set up like a dripper with the water reservoir above the cage, or at least until the pump fails. I have seen him clean his eyes and drink.
· Fecal Description - From the research I’ve done, all looks ok and well digested.. He is pooping daily with a small amount of urates, but all is white or creamy white. He hasn’t been tested for parasites but I’ve found a nearby vet that deals with exotics and I plan on getting a full check up once he’s more settled.
· History - The shop I bought him from kept him for at least a month after they got him from a breeder. Not sure which breeder, but he arrived very healthy and ate/drank from the get go.


Cage Info:
· Cage Type - XL reptireeze that I’ve modified by attaching a shower liner to the back three walls, though I usually keep a side down for added air flow. Holes have been drilled into the bottom sheet of plastic to drain into large plastic containers underneath the shelf.
· Lighting - I have a reptisun linear t5 10.0 bulb with reflector, but I’m worried it may be too much? I also have an arcadia t5 d3 12% I planned on switching out after 6month use, but I could change immediately if definitely necessary?
· Temperature - I use a Pro rep basking spot 100w bulb with a dimmer that keeps basking temp at 29.5C and mid cage is around 21C. I have thermometers and hydro/thermometers at different levels and a temp gun to check. The heat lamp turns off on a night currently, but I'll probably get a ceramic heat bulb when winter rolls in.
· Timing - Heat lamp turns on 6:30am, uvb at 7am. The uvb and heat turns off prior to morning and evening shower briefly (trying not to startle him too much). Then uvb is off at 18:30 and heat lamp at 19:00.
· Humidity - I have a hydro meter mid tank. Even with any inaccuracy the humidity is usually 70%+ (on high 99% side) and I have difficulty drying the cage fully even with a dehumidifier running outside..
· Plants - I have real plants from the safe list, mostly ficus. I have a fake leaf wall as a backdrop that he likes to hide/sleep in at night but I’m having issues with as crickets love to hide in there too. Pretty sure one has lived there for over a week.
· Placement -He is in my living room, a corner near but shaded from the window and next to the tv. The top of the cage is 6foot from the floor and I’ve covered the area around with real plants for extra cover/potential free ranging.It’s a reasonably high traffic area but I live alone and stay out of the house a lot, so I don’t even see him some days. There are no fans but I may open a window. I also have a King sized sheet I use to cover the cage on a night.
· Location -England


Current Problem - I’m pretty sure I am over analysing everything my lil guy does, but if its ok I have a few questions and please let me know of any glaring issues with husbandry!. I recognise that such generalised questions may not be the best, but if an experienced chameleon owner is willing to chat with me it would be massively greatly appreciated as I don't have any one to advise currently! If these are better split between threads I also understand.
  • My main issue currently is with a poor shed. For such a young chameleon he has taken over three days to shed fully. The first day he shed his back and legs, the second day his eye turrents and mittens and at the moment he still has a small patch on his back and most of his tail. I don’t believe humidity is the issue, maybe stress or vitamins? As I was poorly prepared to look after the feeder insects. I’m better now, but they didn’t eat much of the gut-load for a few days? Half of his tail has yet to properly shed or even show signs and so I'm very worried.
  • My lil guy lived in a shop for over a month and so he heads to his sleeping spot well before 5pm. I have changed his schedule to wake a little earlier which helps, but he is still spending 14+hours in a sleeping spot. Is there any way I can help him get used to a new schedule? So far the lighting schedule I have has had little difference.
  • Hes not happy and keeps going to the floor of the cage and pawing at the mesh sides as if desperate to escape or pacing on the floor. I plan on changing the cage layout next Thursday to add more horizontal rather than vertical branches. Currently I have a mold issue with branches that rest against the floor and so I plan on raising them. His plants offer 2foot cover at best so any advice would be appreciated.
  • There is a lot of conflicting opinions about UVB bulbs. I have a reptisun t5 10.0 bulb on top of mesh for a 6/7month old panther. Is that too much? I can/will change if it will improve his life, but would rather not waste money if I can.
  • I live in a flat with humidity issues and have lots of fish tanks, so I believe levels are probably too high? I have a dehumidifier running in the room but mid-cage levels run from 70-99% so I’m worried about infections. Any help to find a balance between hydration/cleaning and mould would be greatly appreciated!
  • Bonus question. I have an arcadia deep heat bulb. Has anyone had much use of it to know if its any good? I would mainly use it as a secondary bulb for a couple of hours during the day.
 

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Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
3 days to shed is a bit long to completely shed but defanitly nothing to stress over. What kind of multivitamin are you using?

He will adjust his schedule over time nothing extra required from you.

He is trying to escape the viv to find a girlfriend, 100% normal at his age.

I think the 10.0 is a bit much but your viv is heavily planted so it’s a toss up. I’d say Arcadia 6%.

Yes your humidity is high, maybe open up one of those sides to increase airflow.

No experience with deep heat bulb.
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
You know what, for a first time chameleon keeper, you are doing an exceptional job! I just wanted to get that out of the way first. Your husbandry is on point and the way you have set up the enclosure is really nice. Most first-timers need a bit of hand holding and guidance, but it is very clear that you put in the work and did your research first.

Here's my two cents:
(1) As for the UVB, I would personally recommend an arcadia 6% or a reptisun 5.0. While you have quite a bit of foliage in his enclosure, up at the top there isn't much blocking the UV light. Since I would venture that he spends most of his time up in that area, I think a 10.0 could be a little bit of overkill, especially for a panther. Honestly, though, this point is totally arguable and it would probably be fine to continue what you're using

(2) The one thing I would suggest to add to the cage is just a nice, big branch going horizontally from the left side to the right side of the enclosure, high up nearer to the basking light so he has a really good place to perch and bask. It looks to me like he may have a hard time getting to the "sweet spot," a few inches underneath the basking bulb
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
I just wanted to say it looks like you are off to a much better start then I had.

The only suggestions I would have would we're already brought up by the 2 before me and they know their stuff and have helped me through a few things.
 

devynnogood

Member
Wow looking really good!! Are you using a multivitamin? I didn’t see that in your supplements category. Maybe I missed it. If not, definitely add that to your insect dustings every 2 weeks.
Also this is just a personal opinion. Maybe have your lights come on first before your mister. That way your chameleon has a chance to warm up in the morning.
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
Wow looking really good!! Are you using a multivitamin? I didn’t see that in your supplements category. Maybe I missed it. If not, definitely add that to your insect dustings every 2 weeks.
Also this is just a personal opinion. Maybe have your lights come on first before your mister. That way your chameleon has a chance to warm up in the morning.
I think for my guy the mister is what wakes him up haha. Then he climbs out for heat. He goes so far down into the plant that I don't think he notices it's day time.
 

chloe924

Member
Thank you all for taking the time to read my mini essay and for all the reassurances, I really appreciate it! :) I’ve been lurking for a long time and this forum is honestly one of the main reasons my lil man isn’t living in a cardboard box.

  • The vitamin supplement I use is zoo meds reptivite with d3 every fortnight
  • The majority of his shed has now gone aside from a couple loose flakes thankfully! It has taken about 4 days. Any idea how I can promote a better shed in the future? Is 29.5 at basking perhaps too low for metabolism? Or maybe the stress of the move/new home could have affected him?
  • I should be able to get my hands on a lower percent uvb bulb on Friday. Would the high percentage ones I have now be good for when he’s older? I do live in rainy grey Britain so his natural sun exposure will be minimum for most of the year.

I think for my guy the mister is what wakes him up haha. Then he climbs out for heat. He goes so far down into the plant that I don't think he notices it's day time.
  • Haha I believe mine works as an alarm clock too. The spray itself doesn't go near his preferred sleeping spot but I believe the vibration wakes him. The idea was an attempt to simulate morning dew, but to be fair I’ve never seen him drink first thing. I’m still tinkering with my mist king settings as I’m unhappy with how high the humidity is so will likely change it. .
  • I’m gutting out the cage tomorrow and giving it a good clean. Has anyone had much experience with f10 disinfectant? Would that be sufficient?
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
I just purchased my mistking and still need to set it up. Currently I am using a monsoon which works fine but I just want something I can customize more. Also I got the kit that has 4 nozzles.....you know....... in case I get another cham or something. :oops:.

My cham will even walk down to the plant about a half an hour before the lights turn off just to get comfortable. What can I say except he takes bed time very serious haha. Don't worry guys he does not sleep during the day and is very active. Probably why he takes sleep so serious.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you all for taking the time to read my mini essay and for all the reassurances, I really appreciate it! :) I’ve been lurking for a long time and this forum is honestly one of the main reasons my lil man isn’t living in a cardboard box.

  • The vitamin supplement I use is zoo meds reptivite with d3 every fortnight
  • The majority of his shed has now gone aside from a couple loose flakes thankfully! It has taken about 4 days. Any idea how I can promote a better shed in the future? Is 29.5 at basking perhaps too low for metabolism? Or maybe the stress of the move/new home could have affected him?
  • I should be able to get my hands on a lower percent uvb bulb on Friday. Would the high percentage ones I have now be good for when he’s older? I do live in rainy grey Britain so his natural sun exposure will be minimum for most of the year.

  • Haha I believe mine works as an alarm clock too. The spray itself doesn't go near his preferred sleeping spot but I believe the vibration wakes him. The idea was an attempt to simulate morning dew, but to be fair I’ve never seen him drink first thing. I’m still tinkering with my mist king settings as I’m unhappy with how high the humidity is so will likely change it. .
  • I’m gutting out the cage tomorrow and giving it a good clean. Has anyone had much experience with f10 disinfectant? Would that be sufficient?
How often is a fortnight? Two weeks?

I wouldn’t worry about shed duration at his age unless it starts to get stuck. With the recent move/stress you can’t really get feel for how he is shedding anyway.

Stay with the 6% or 5.0s for life unless you add a lot of foileage to the top of his viv.

I don’t believe in the whole weekly disinfecting of his viv, your cham comes with an immune system. Let him use it.
 

chloe924

Member
How often is a fortnight? Two weeks?

I wouldn’t worry about shed duration at his age unless it starts to get stuck. With the recent move/stress you can’t really get feel for how he is shedding anyway.

Stay with the 6% or 5.0s for life unless you add a lot of foileage to the top of his viv.

I don’t believe in the whole weekly disinfecting of his viv, your cham comes with an immune system. Let him use it.

Yes I use the multivit every two weeks.

I’m afraid that I’m gutting the cage because when I first set it up, I made the mistake of crossing two long pieces of wood from top to bottom and used that frame to build a lot of the rest of the viv. The wood is wavy and never properly dried right where it touched the floor. So in the end was getting pretty disgusting with mold that I was fighting a losing battle cleaning, I didn't even realise the extend until I pulled it out and noticed the back either..

It sucks that I have to unsettle him again so soon after I’ve gotten him but the last set up felt like a ticking time bomb health wise. I haven’t finished yet as it was getting too close to his bed time and I wanted to give him plenty time to find a sleep spot, but overall I’m much happier.

Below the mid level of the cage there is nothing but the apparently waterproof exo-terra jungle vine and he has a lot more horizontal highways to wander across. I’ve also managed to raise most things off of the floor aside from the plant pots. The second ficus plant probably isn’t staying as I still want space for Lemmy to move (play spot the chameleon in the pic) . The dripper plant is also being shifted away from the wood. Not taking any more chances!
 

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