husbantry help for veiled chameleon please

tdeamicis

Member
Here are some recent pictures of Pez. The images on 8/01 and 8/08 were when she was digging and prepping with her lay bin, but she wasn't liking it. The images on 8/14 were when she was laying eggs in the substrate and after she finished.
 

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kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
You said..."I totally get that, I was just thinking it would be nice to see documentation on this. It seems like so far this is just what people on a forum say"...I've been stopping/slowing reproduction of veiled chameleons since the 90's by controlling the diet and temperatures. Almost every female veiled I've had since then has lived for 7 or more years. None of them have had follicular stasis, MBD, eggbinding, etc. either. I know this because they all were necropsied after they died. This isn't official documentation I realize...but maybe it will help you to believe it.

More in a few minutes....
 

tdeamicis

Member
You said..."I totally get that, I was just thinking it would be nice to see documentation on this. It seems like so far this is just what people on a forum say"...I've been stopping/slowing reproduction of veiled chameleons since the 90's by controlling the diet and temperatures. Almost every female veiled I've had since then has lived for 7 or more years. None of them have had follicular stasis, MBD, eggbinding, etc. either. I know this because they all were necropsied after they died. This isn't official documentation I realize...but maybe it will help you to believe it.

More in a few minutes....
Thank you. I am not trying to discount anything you guys have said. But any little bits like that totally help me. Right now, I feel like I have been going along with what I have been told, and it is awful for me to realize that what I was told is wrong, especially when I realize that most new owners are also getting the same information I got.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ll be putting my feedback in red.
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? Veiled chameleon, female, got her at 6 weeks old from breeder, her name is Pez
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? daily - multiple times a week, depending on her mood
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? Dubai roaches, superworms, wax worms, horn worms. She tends to eat between daily and every other day. We typically will feed her about 2 dubai roaches and 1-3 superworms a day. Dubai roaches we breed here, fed vegetables, watered, the babies especially love to eat Fluker's High Calcium cricket diet. Superworms are fed vegetables. Wax worms and horned worms are occasional and fed when we get them. As your beautiful little lady is mature now, you’ll want to reduce the frequency of her feedings. I feed my girls 3-4 feeders, 3 days a week. Over feeding not only can lead to obesity, but in females it increases their egg production. I’m not so sure about the high calcium cricket diet. I prefer adding Repashy Bug Burger to my feeders greens and veggie diet. I’d also suggest trying silkworms, which are a great addition to your staples.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? we daily dust the feeder roaches (once she perks up and we know she is going to eat) with Zoo Med ReptiCalcium + D3 (will use this bi-monthly). We will occasionally dust the superworms with this as well, but it is sometimes hard to guess how much she wants to eat. I need to get the calcium phosphorus free no d3 to add to her daily feeders. Yes! You need to be using a phosphorus free calcium without D3 at every feeding! You also need to add a good multivitamin to be used once every other week. Without adequate calcium, she won’t be able to properly form eggs and the calcium she does have will be leached from her bones to support the eggs.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? spray bottle misting live plants, every morning and night, with the bulk of the spraying in the morning, more of a light misting at nighttime. We see her drinking quite often and I will spray a little more when I see her actively getting excited about the water to make sure she gets enough. You are blessed! Many chameleons are very private about drinking and deny their keepers seeing how cute they are when they drink.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? Typically brown and white urates, but the bioactive enclosure cleans that up pretty quickly. Pez had a large dropping yesterday, very large and brown. A little abnormal for her, but I am not sure if that is a big problem or not. Not tested yet, but have a vet visit set up after her sister passed today. It’s always good to have a vet wellness check and a fecal for all animals when you get them.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. We got her at 6 weeks old and have played and held her since the beginning.
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? homemade cage, made out of wood (back and two sides) and screen (top and front). The dimensions are approximately 6 feet tall, 1.5 feet deep and 5 feet wide, but Pez only has access to the left side of this cage. Her sister had the other side, so they each have 6 feet tall, 1.5 feet deep and 2.5 feet wide. Nice!
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? We have a Zoo Med ReptiSun T5 hood over the cage, with a Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5HO 54W 46" bulb. Usually we use a 5.0 or Arcadia 6% and have basking area 8-9” below lights. With the 10%, basking area will need to be about 10-12” below. If the bulb is over 6 months old, it will need to be changed. When that time comes, I’d suggest an Arcadia 6%, which lasts a year.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? I don't have this recorded, but will determine that today and share my update. We have a temperature/humity reader, but I don't record the levels usually and I don't want to state the wrong temp. Ideal basking temp for a lady is around 80. I see this has already been addressed. Temps at night can drop significantly…as low as 60’s with no problem for your cham.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? humidity is around 45-60% depending on when I check, and obviously near the plants the humidity can get higher, near 70%, so it depends on where she is. Creating that by having a bioactive cage, with live plants and misting twice a day at least. Have a temperature/humidity level reader in the cage that we use to measure humidity. Ideal daytime humidity is between 30-50%. It is good to have those pockets of humidity for your cham if she chooses to enjoy one. Just make sure her air flow is good. Heat+humidity+poor air flow is a perfect recipe for respiratory infection. At night if you have a significant temp drop, you can boost humidity to 80-100% to simulate the natural hydration like in the wild.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? yes, pothos/ivy, boston fern, bromeliads
  • 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? cage is near the front door, as that is where the cage fits for now. There is a walkway there that we use to get to the bedrooms, but we are just a family of four, so it isn't super high traffic, though we are all at home lately, but this is consistant and we've always done this since we have had the chameleons.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located? DFW, Texas
Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about. Wanting to see how the cage looks, what you think about my husbantry to see if there is anything I need to change/adjust/be concerned about.
For your enclosure, as Pez now has the entirety, definitely add many more branches across for her. As you have a wooden enclosure, it should be relatively easy to adhere a brace structure (like an ‘H’ or ladder shape) on the sides to use to attach the branches.
I am wondering what happened to Pez’ sister?

 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
As that was getting pretty long, let me add about eggs and laying. I pretty much follow the advice of @kinyonga in reduced feeding and temps to minimize egg production in my two girls. It is working wonderfully! Since strictly adhering to it, my oldest lady has laid only one time and that was Feb 2020. My other girl has laid twice…Mar 2020 and again Mar 2021. Although their clutches have been a bit larger than I’d hoped (34-35 eggs), the time between laying compensates in my opinion. Both have gone thru a few different receptive periods, but those have weakened and I can’t even recall the last either was receptive now. Both are very healthy as far as I and their vet can determine and have good quality of life.
I too have bioactive enclosures, but neither has laid in them. Right before my one girl laid in March, I had to remove her entire enclosure (pest infestation) and replaced it with a standard enclosure with lay bin. I do keep a close eye on them and make sure to keep their substrate moist. I did add quite a bit of play sand to their soil mix so that they can better form their tunnels. I also tried to keep it around 6” deep to reduce the amount of digging they’ll need to do.
Unfortunately, the internet is full of incorrect and out-dated info on keeping chameleons. As we learn more about chams and their natural environments, the husbandry standards evolve.
I hope I’ve been of some help to you. :)
 

Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi @tdeamicis I know your not trying to be rude 76 78 f might seem low as the other members way more experienced than me have mentioned about higher temps and food increase egg amounts. And I don't tTHINK this to be so I have witnessed it with my girl. Also I have a few books documentation! But I have learned way more on this forum from the members on here. And I would trust the experienced members on here anyday with my girl. But I do understand how confusing it can be.
 

tdeamicis

Member
I’ll be putting my feedback in red.
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? Veiled chameleon, female, got her at 6 weeks old from breeder, her name is Pez
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? daily - multiple times a week, depending on her mood
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? Dubai roaches, superworms, wax worms, horn worms. She tends to eat between daily and every other day. We typically will feed her about 2 dubai roaches and 1-3 superworms a day. Dubai roaches we breed here, fed vegetables, watered, the babies especially love to eat Fluker's High Calcium cricket diet. Superworms are fed vegetables. Wax worms and horned worms are occasional and fed when we get them. As your beautiful little lady is mature now, you’ll want to reduce the frequency of her feedings. I feed my girls 3-4 feeders, 3 days a week. Over feeding not only can lead to obesity, but in females it increases their egg production. I’m not so sure about the high calcium cricket diet. I prefer adding Repashy Bug Burger to my feeders greens and veggie diet. I’d also suggest trying silkworms, which are a great addition to your staples.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? we daily dust the feeder roaches (once she perks up and we know she is going to eat) with Zoo Med ReptiCalcium + D3 (will use this bi-monthly). We will occasionally dust the superworms with this as well, but it is sometimes hard to guess how much she wants to eat. I need to get the calcium phosphorus free no d3 to add to her daily feeders. Yes! You need to be using a phosphorus free calcium without D3 at every feeding! You also need to add a good multivitamin to be used once every other week. Without adequate calcium, she won’t be able to properly form eggs and the calcium she does have will be leached from her bones to support the eggs.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? spray bottle misting live plants, every morning and night, with the bulk of the spraying in the morning, more of a light misting at nighttime. We see her drinking quite often and I will spray a little more when I see her actively getting excited about the water to make sure she gets enough. You are blessed! Many chameleons are very private about drinking and deny their keepers seeing how cute they are when they drink.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? Typically brown and white urates, but the bioactive enclosure cleans that up pretty quickly. Pez had a large dropping yesterday, very large and brown. A little abnormal for her, but I am not sure if that is a big problem or not. Not tested yet, but have a vet visit set up after her sister passed today. It’s always good to have a vet wellness check and a fecal for all animals when you get them.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. We got her at 6 weeks old and have played and held her since the beginning.
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? homemade cage, made out of wood (back and two sides) and screen (top and front). The dimensions are approximately 6 feet tall, 1.5 feet deep and 5 feet wide, but Pez only has access to the left side of this cage. Her sister had the other side, so they each have 6 feet tall, 1.5 feet deep and 2.5 feet wide. Nice!
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? We have a Zoo Med ReptiSun T5 hood over the cage, with a Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5HO 54W 46" bulb. Usually we use a 5.0 or Arcadia 6% and have basking area 8-9” below lights. With the 10%, basking area will need to be about 10-12” below. If the bulb is over 6 months old, it will need to be changed. When that time comes, I’d suggest an Arcadia 6%, which lasts a year.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? I don't have this recorded, but will determine that today and share my update. We have a temperature/humity reader, but I don't record the levels usually and I don't want to state the wrong temp. Ideal basking temp for a lady is around 80. I see this has already been addressed. Temps at night can drop significantly…as low as 60’s with no problem for your cham.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? humidity is around 45-60% depending on when I check, and obviously near the plants the humidity can get higher, near 70%, so it depends on where she is. Creating that by having a bioactive cage, with live plants and misting twice a day at least. Have a temperature/humidity level reader in the cage that we use to measure humidity. Ideal daytime humidity is between 30-50%. It is good to have those pockets of humidity for your cham if she chooses to enjoy one. Just make sure her air flow is good. Heat+humidity+poor air flow is a perfect recipe for respiratory infection. At night if you have a significant temp drop, you can boost humidity to 80-100% to simulate the natural hydration like in the wild.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? yes, pothos/ivy, boston fern, bromeliads
  • 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? cage is near the front door, as that is where the cage fits for now. There is a walkway there that we use to get to the bedrooms, but we are just a family of four, so it isn't super high traffic, though we are all at home lately, but this is consistant and we've always done this since we have had the chameleons.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located? DFW, Texas
Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about. Wanting to see how the cage looks, what you think about my husbantry to see if there is anything I need to change/adjust/be concerned about.
For your enclosure, as Pez now has the entirety, definitely add many more branches across for her. As you have a wooden enclosure, it should be relatively easy to adhere a brace structure (like an ‘H’ or ladder shape) on the sides to use to attach the branches.
I am wondering what happened to Pez’ sister?
Thank you for all this. I really appreciate all the advice given here.

This is what happened to her sister (https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/yoshi-passed-pez-lives-on.184118/post-1688148), I am still not sure exactly why she is gone, but we were devastated to lose her. She was definitely a family favorite, and was my little "fly-shooter".

Good to know about the humidity. It kind of depends on where I measure, if I am right on the moist ground, obviously it will be a little higher than other places. Inside a plant, high humidity, but again I think that is expected. I am not sure where is a good place to measure to get a good feel. Any place that isn't on the ground, means me holding the hygrometer in place for a while, which just doesn't work, lol.

And I would greatly appreciate any tips on how to clean/sanitize/make sure that Pez is good getting all of Yoshi's side...
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Thank you. I am not trying to discount anything you guys have said. But any little bits like that totally help me. Right now, I feel like I have been going along with what I have been told, and it is awful for me to realize that what I was told is wrong, especially when I realize that most new owners are also getting the same information I got.
How many times has she laid eggs? How many eggs were in the clutch?

It's a shame that there is still so much bad information out there...and there's no way for people to know the information is bad....or at least not the best.
 
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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you for all this. I really appreciate all the advice given here.

This is what happened to her sister (https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/yoshi-passed-pez-lives-on.184118/post-1688148), I am still not sure exactly why she is gone, but we were devastated to lose her. She was definitely a family favorite, and was my little "fly-shooter".

Good to know about the humidity. It kind of depends on where I measure, if I am right on the moist ground, obviously it will be a little higher than other places. Inside a plant, high humidity, but again I think that is expected. I am not sure where is a good place to measure to get a good feel. Any place that isn't on the ground, means me holding the hygrometer in place for a while, which just doesn't work, lol.

And I would greatly appreciate any tips on how to clean/sanitize/make sure that Pez is good getting all of Yoshi's side...
Aww…poor Yoshi. 😢 I’m so sorry that you lost her. My guess is that her passing was somehow related to not being able to lay eggs.
As the two sides are of the same enclosure and both girls were sisters, I would think that there’s little risk of contamination with parasites or other. I’d remove the branches and either give them a good washing with Dawn dish soap or replace them. I’d do the same with the plants.
When you take Pez to the vet, do make sure that they do some X rays to see where her eggs are in development and an idea of whether she has a huge amount or not.
 

tdeamicis

Member
So I moved Pez onto a tree so I could dig up her eggs. I had meant to do this earlier, but with yoshi and my kids taking this hard, it's taken a back burner.

Pez (still living) laid eggs on August 14th and I found 66 today when I dug up her bioactive area.

Yoshi (who passed away) had gotten bright, and barely started to dig, but I don't think she got to the point of laying yet.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
66 is a huge amount of eggs! Definitely reduce feeding and basking temps to help reduce the number of eggs she produces as well as how frequently she lays. It may take a couple of cycles, but just stick with it. And don’t be swayed by her always wanting to eat. As soon as my girls see me, they run to their feeding stations. Veiled’s are opportunistic eaters and if there’s food, they’ll keep eating.
 

tdeamicis

Member
66 is a huge amount of eggs! Definitely reduce feeding and basking temps to help reduce the number of eggs she produces as well as how frequently she lays. It may take a couple of cycles, but just stick with it. And don’t be swayed by her always wanting to eat. As soon as my girls see me, they run to their feeding stations. Veiled’s are opportunistic eaters and if there’s food, they’ll keep eating.
Thank you. She was already starting to go from daily to every other day for food, but might still have been getting too much.

It took a while to find the eggs, but I was amazed, just kept finding more and more... That was her first egg laying, do you think she'll lay in the same area each time? And with a bioactive enclosure, should I take the eggs out each time or let the isopods/springtails have them? I'll definitely be removing them at least to count for a little while, to see if feedings need to go down further.

Yoshi stopped eating so much but I wonder if that was a sign things weren't good and I just didn't realize it. :/ I instead took it as they didn't need to eat so much... Gosh hindsight sucks. I miss my yoshi so much.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
I'm sure you'll miss Yoshi for a long time. I still miss some I had many many years ago. They each have their own little personalities and quirks that stick in our minds.

Re digging up the eggs....I always recommend doing it so we know how many the female laid so we can adjust her diet, etc to try to get it so she will lay no/small clutches and live longer.
 

tdeamicis

Member
I'm sure you'll miss Yoshi for a long time. I still miss some I had many many years ago. They each have their own little personalities and quirks that stick in our minds.

Re digging up the eggs....I always recommend doing it so we know how many the female laid so we can adjust her diet, etc to try to get it so she will lay no/small clutches and live longer.
Thank you. I can only imagine so.... I never realized a cold blooded animal could have such attitude/personality. We got some wonderful chameleons from the breeder we picked, and funnily enough, we didn't think Pez was going to make it as she was so little and wouldn't eat at first.

Is there any value to placing some of the eggs back for the isopods/springtails to consume? Or is that just not necessary?
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
You said..."Is there any value to placing some of the eggs back for the isopods/springtails to consume? Or is that just not necessary?"...sorry I don't have an answer to that. 😕
 

tdeamicis

Member
Here is the new cage layout. What do you think? So far Pez is just looking around lol.
 

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tdeamicis

Member
Very nice! She must be loving all of that space! 💗
I’d plant the bromeliads in the soil rather than have the pots on top. Next time she lays, she may try digging under them and that wouldn’t be good at all.
Yeah? She dug under the deeper area last time, so I'm hoping she does that again. I haven't been too happy with the bromeliads... I wonder if they would do better in the ground or in the pot....
 

tdeamicis

Member
Pez started eating her Boston Fern today. I grabbed her some broccoli and carrots and she ate some little pieces. She loved it.

Then I realized some websites say "cooked carrots". Will a couple small pieces of raw carrots hurt her??

She's never eaten any fruit or veggie until today. And never eaten any plants that I know of until today.
 
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