I'm new to chameleons


New Member
this is the set up for my daughters new 18 month old tamatave panther chameleon.I was given a screen 16x16x30 high cage.and a 2 bulb lamp with a repti glo 10.0 bulb on one side,which I switched to a 75w sun glo neodymium daylight lamp and a incandescent in the other.I set the timer for the daylight at 12 hours and i quit using the incandescent because it was too hot in its favorite spot and its always 70 in my apartment.For plants I'm using 3 umbrellas and some grape vine and also fake jungle vine.
It only drinks maybe 3times a wk from the sprayer or from a dripping bottle.it does'nt accept more than that.I mist it every day or 2.It eats every other day in the form of 4 hornworms or 6 crickets that i've been dusting with both rep-cal herptivite multivitamins and rep-cal calcium with vit.d3.It eats all meals from my hand.I was feeding it 8 crickets or 4 horn worms every day but it was having large dumps every day.it apears to be a slightly fat healthy spoiled panther but i just like to make sure.
Does the poop have a very white component? Or, is there some "yellow"? If it's largely creamy or white, then your chameleon is getting enough water. That's really one of the most important things to achieve.

You may be giving too much D3...that's sort of a balancing act. They need it to metabolize the calcium, but too much causes problems with vitamins that affect the eyes. Here, the advice is to only give D3 a couple of times a month. That means you should acquire a calcium that does not have D3 for daily use.

I suggest you take some pictures of your enclosure for future posts. Pictures are always helpful.
yes at 18 months he should be eating every other day, so you are right on that. About 6-7 feeders is plenty. I am not sure on your lighting though. If you notice your chameleon lethargic or closing or rubbing its eyes, then most likely it is your lightinig. Does that bulb produce UVB light because that is a must. Most of us on the forum use the Reptisun 5.0 tube light with no issues whatsoever, and a regular housebulb 45-60 watt appropriately placed to achieve a good basking temp. Panthers can bask at about 90 but ifyou see your cham with its mouth open while basking or any other time most likely it is too hot for him and you will need to make some changes to cool down the cage. Your ambient cage temp should be around 75 or so and your humidity should preferably be around 50% or higher with spikes after misting. Your cage should really be larger than that also more like 24 X 24 X 48. Your cage is reall too small. I have my adult panther in a 30 X36 X18 and he also spends many hours a day in a huge outdoor cage. You are not misting NEAR enough. you should be misting atleast 3 times a day for 3-5 mintues each misting. You also should get a dripper inthe cage so he has a constant supply of water. Herptivite should be given twice a month or so along with calcium with d3 the same. Calcium without d3 at every feeding. Edit: ok I reread and I see you got a dripper! Still up the mistings so you keep your humidity up although I know it is hard where you live. It would be good of you to post pics of your set up and your cham like the other member suggested. I would really consider getting him a bigger cage though.
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ty both for the advice.I did wonder about the cage.I will be getting or making a larger one.I did'nt realize about the d3 either.The lighting I'm using I have'nt heard anything about while reading through these forums so I guess I'll be changing that as well.Since the chameleons doing well for now I'm going to make these changes one at a time.
ty both for the advice.I did wonder about the cage.I will be getting or making a larger one.I did'nt realize about the d3 either.The lighting I'm using I have'nt heard anything about while reading through these forums so I guess I'll be changing that as well.Since the chameleons doing well for now I'm going to make these changes one at a time.

So whoever had the chameleon before had it in that small of a cage? Chameleons like to be up high and they should have somewhere where they can look down at you. So put your cage up high as possible for him on top of something. And as far as the supplement scheduling...is that what the prior owner had him on? D3 is tricky and there any many types of supplements that contain d3. Some have high amounts of it and some not so much. The Repcal Brand has the the most and that is one you especially want to use sparingly (twice a month). Some of the sypmtoms of d3 overload may not always appear on the outside, but on the inside ofyour chameleon, so you never know it is even happening. Things like mineralization of their organs. Glad you are willing to make the changes and hopefully you will contribute to your chameleon living a long life with you. How did you acquire him at 18 months? Again, with the lights, we are only going by what has been successful for us and that is why we recommend it. Well good luck and most of all welcome to the forums! If you have any questions there are many great experienced keepers who should be able to answer them.
Get the UVB bulb ASAP-they need to be replaced every 6-9 months so he may have been without proper UVB for awhile. I would get the calcium without D3 also, and switch your basking bulb to 60 watts in a cage that size. Then get an 18X18X36 or larger cage. Pictures really help.
I think I understand this right, you turned off the incondescent lamp in the chams 'favorite' spot? I think this is the cham's basking spot and the light is greatly needed. Chameleons need a warm lamp to bask under in order to warm themselves. If they don't get up to 'operating' temp, they can become impacted (no poop due to food not digesting).

You also mentioned you only mist every other day? This is nowhere near enough. If you aren't able to mist three times a day you might want to check out my website: AquaZamp.com. Automated misting is a great thing for people who aren't home for periods of time during the day when the animal needs to be misted. They also help keep the humidity up in the cage. Using live plants is another good way of keeping the humidity up.

The cage you are using could be greatly enlarged. A 24"x24"x48" cage is good idea for a cham who is as old as yours. Be sure to provide lots of vines or branches to climb on and perch on. You should make a basking branch where the cham can get both UVB and heat. It should be placed about 6-8" from the top of the cage. I highly recommend using linear UVB lamps, not the screw in style (aka CFL). Zoo Med makes the best linear lamp on the market.

This is a cage I have set up for younger chams... but if you try and mimic the same basics but on a larger scale, your on the right track for your cham.

I stopped using the basking bulb cause he started going to the bottom of the cage when i turned it on.here are some photos as requested.
thanks for all the help.i'm getting calcium without d3 in it and only using the d3 a couple times a month.i'm putting screen over the plants dirt.i'm completely redoing the lighting and getting a bigger cage.i'll be misting more often as well.i may get a spray just for chameleons to keep the skin healthier.does anyone see anything wrong with the new t5 uvb bulbs?if so i'll get the regular kind.i think the regular ones are t8.While i'm waiting for the funds i'll keep researching.

Looks like you need some help on the lighting front. It looks like you only have 'heat lamps' in your light hood. You need to have a UVB lamp in order for your chameleon to process his calcium into vit. D3. If you don't have a UVB lamp your cham will get MBD and it's bones will turn to mush. :eek:

The best option is to ditch that light hood all together, maybe return it if you can? You can get a linear tube lamp fixture at your local hardware store, Home Depot or Lowe's. If they sell a dual lamp fixture in 18" or 24" you can install a UVB lamp and 'grow' light for the plants in your cage. I know Lowe's and Home Depot sell a dual 24" light fixture for about $20-30.

The next step is to buy the UVB and Grow light that fit the fixture. LLLReptile or Reptmart sell the Zoo Med linear UVB lamps. Since you are in PA it'd be better to order from Reptmart since they are based in Florida and shipping time to you will be faster than LLL Reptile (located in southern California).

It looks like neither of them sell the ZooMed NatureSun lamp online yet. I know LLL Reptile has them in their stores, I've seen them. ZooMed has said that the 2.0 UVB lamp is the same lamp, different packaging. So you could just order the 2.0 lamp at a discounted price (from LLL it's $10) along with the 5.0.

Reptmart links:



LLL Reptile links:



Next thing to look at is the basking lamp. It'd be a good idea to buy a clip light from Home Depot or Lowe's. Use a 50-60 watt house hold lamp in it for the chameleons heat lamp. Mind the temp at the basking branch. for a panther you want to keep it around 85*f.

It's good to get the lights set up like the photo below in order for the cham to get it's UVB and heat at the same time. This is ideal for them to process the calcium since their skin needs to me warm in order for the process to work at it's best.


This is a UVB meter, taking a reading on the lights. You can see the heat lamp is angled...

your right,it is a basking lamp.i just saw the package reads uva not uvb on it.i think for now i'll keep the light i have for basking and add the uvb strip and calcium without the d3 and next month i'll see what i can do about a bigger cage.
I feed 3 times a wk and switch back and fourth from the dusted crickets with d3 and horn worms with nothing on them so I guess thats about how often its getting the d3,about twice a wk.I will cut back more soon when I get the right light.I'm glad I found this forum.Thanks to all of you for taking time to help.
I'm glad you found this forum also and that your willing to make the changes needed to keep your cham healthy. I've seen lizards with mbd and it's not pretty. This forum is very helpful.

Oh one more thing good thing your spraying more but one more thing you can do if your having a hard time with keeping humidity up or getting him to drink enough, make or buy a dripper (there's a blog about making your own, or you can just buy a little/big dripper)
yes i built my own dripper. but ive seen chams that like to drink directly out of the lil dripper nozzle. and schefflera aboricola creates a flat surface leaf and collects water droplets easier.
He'll take water pretty much any way its offered.I'm still working on the best way.That dish on top of the cage is his dripper but he does'nt always like it.sometimes he drinks from leaves and sometimes from the pump up misting bottle if its set to drip.I'm using tap water run through a drinking water filter and set with the cap off the water jug for a day to air out before he drinks it.
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