Since we all end up doing husbandry reviews a few times a week, I thought it might be helpful for those of us who regularly do husbandry reviews to fill out “the form” so as to give an idea of what we think would be ideal husbandry. I’ll go first...for veiled panthers and jax, here’s what I think is ideal (where there are subtle differences in species husbandry, I’ll make note)
- Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? EG Male veiled chameleon. Approximate age, 12 months. Has been in my care for 9 months.
- Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? I try not to handle my chameleon, as I’ve read that chameleons are hands-off pets. Occasionally I need to handle him: vet visits, cage cleaning, weighing.
- Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? I try to give my Cham a variety of feeders. The most common feeders I give are crickets (and or roaches), and bsfl and silkworms. I also use hornworms, and superworms less frequently. A couple times a month I’ll add waxworms too. I feed 2 medium sized feeders three times a week. I wish it were practical to feed more flying insects, and I’m looking into how to incorporate more of them into my feeding regime.
- Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? I use the all-in-one method with repashy calcium plus LoD at every feeding. Or... I use plain (phos-free) calcium at every feeding. Twice a month, I use a multivitamin with d3. Or... . I use plain (phos-free) calcium at every feeding. Twice a month, I use a multivitamin without d3, and twice a month I use a calcium powder with d3 (the latter two on alternating weeks). Or...My uvi levels and my husbandry confidence is such that I have decided to go without d3, and am using either plain calcium at every feeding with a multivitamin twice per month, or else an all-in-one product that has no d3 (and usually no A) at every feeding. I gutload my feeders with 70% high calcium greens (dandelion greens, collard greens, etc.), 20% high carotenoid/nutritious other vegetables (butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots, blueberries, etc.), and 10% high calcium nutritious fruits (papaya, oranges etc.). I feed these ingredients to my feeder insects regularly rather than just before feeding.
- Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?I use an automatic mister that mists just before lights on, just after lights off, and once or twice throughout the night. If I have troubles keeping my nightime humidity near 100%, I use a fogger for a few hours overnight. I monitor the colour of my cham’s urates, and when I see more than 30-50% orange, I adjust my daytime dripper accordingly. I rarely see my Cham actively drinking.
- Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? poop is brown and firm, but still moist, urates are always at least 50% white. I have my Cham tested for parasites every time I go to the vet.
- History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
- Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?I use an all screen enclosure, but I live in a relatively humid area, and it’s a breeze hitting my RH specs. I use a hybrid enclosure, and while it can get dry sometimes, the three solid wall sides make it easy to control temp and humidity. I use a glass enclosure because it is always super dry where I live, and it’s impossible to hit and maintain high nightime humidity otherwise.
- Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? I use a t5 high output uvb bulb that spans the length of my enclosure. I own a solar meter, and maintain uvi 2.5-4 at the basking branch. Or, I use a t5 high output uvb bulb (5.0 or 6%) properly reflected, that measures 6-10 inches from the basking area. Or, I use a t5 high output uvb bulb (10.0 or 12%), properly reflected, that measures 12-15 inches from the basking area. I aim for a temperature of maxium 85 at the basking area for approximately 4 hours a day. I achieve this with a basking bulb that runs from lights on to noon, and measure it with a temperature probe on the basking branch—keeping in mind that high-casques species such as veileds can actually be a lot closer to the lamp, when perched on the basking branch.
- Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? Daytime basking temp is between 78 and 85, and daytime ambient temp is 72-76. I measure with several probe type thermometer/hygrometers. I make sure that my Cham receives a significant nightime drop. Veiled/Jackson’s = as low as 40, panther = as low as 50 (but I swear 40 won’t hurt) I
- Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? my daytime humidity can drop as low as 30%, and usually drops to around 45%, but I maintain nightime humidity near 100% with the use of overnight misting, fogging, etc. I measure this with several hygrometers.
- Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? I use nothing but live plants; they include pothos, ficus, schefflerra, and other proven Cham safe options.
- Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?It sits on top of a dresser in a low traffic area that receives neither cold drafts, not scorching sun through a window. Nor does it receive overnight light from street lights through the window, led lights from my Xbox, Apple TV/android box, etc.
- Location - Where are you geographically located? I live in Michigan where the winters are cold and dry, and the house is drier.