I'm THAT person....

Zebenox

Member
Yes, I'm THAT person. I impulsively brought home a baby veiled chameleon without having anything I needed. No enclosure, no lights, no food, no experience. Since then I've been watching videos/reading articles/listening to podcasts as I don't also what to be THAT person who kills their pet within a week. I believe that I've got a him sufficiently set up. It's not overly nice to look at but it's practical and meets his needs (from what I've been told and researched). Some things I haven't been able to find answers to: he's 8 weeks old, does supplementation vary for juveniles to adults? Do any other environmental needs change with juveniles to adults? What are some health indicators I should look out for? At what size should I look into upgrading his enclosure (he's about the size of my finger now and I have him in a 18x18x24 screen enclosure)? How often should he get something other than crickets?
My reptile experience is very limited. I call myself beginner adjacent, I've worked with exotics at zoos and breeding facilities (following guidelines put in place by others) so I understand general concepts of keeping reptiles but I've not had any chameleon exposure at all.
 

Sammy Grigio

Established Member
I think everyone that can help answer your questions would greatly benefit from seeing pictures of your chameleon and his set up. It would greatly increase the efficiency and quality of help that can be given/recommended. The 3-2-1 rule applies to all chameleons of any age: 3 levels of living space, 2 lights (one UV and one heat/basking) and only 1 chameleon to an enclosure. If you have the lights right then you can begin with the levels of living space (bottom 1/3 middle 1/3 and top 1/3 of his cage). Those are the bare bones basics to start. I will let one of the senior members direct you on supplementation and the rest.
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
As long as its a "He"

feed twice a day, as much as he will eat (aka fill the feeder, and the feeder still has a few bugs left when he is done with his meal)
Juveniles dont get a basking light, they get "a warm area". So you need to create a 80-85f warm bubble, this easy using a standard house hold bulb of the correct wattage.

Babies generally will stick to 1 feeder, if its crickets, its crickets. You can offer other bugs, but till they are in the teenage years they wont be too adventurous and try worms(wax/silk/horn) or dubia.

You can use a chip clip and put a leafy green on the side of the cage for him to nom nom on from time to time. He wont each much, but you may find some triangle shapes missing from him taking a bite or two a day. Anything that is a staple or a "good treat" is fine.
http://www.greenigsociety.org/foodchart.htm

your cage wont last more than 6 months, you are not going to shoe horn in a 14-16" cham into a 18" long cage for long.
 

Zebenox

Member
It is a "He" I know that much. I was estimating about 4-6 month then upgrading to the 24x24x48, does that sound right?
How important are live plants? I've only got fake foliage right now but can easily get live ones.

As long as its a "He"

feed twice a day, as much as he will eat (aka fill the feeder, and the feeder still has a few bugs left when he is done with his meal)
Juveniles dont get a basking light, they get "a warm area". So you need to create a 80-85f warm bubble, this easy using a standard house hold bulb of the correct wattage.

Babies generally will stick to 1 feeder, if its crickets, its crickets. You can offer other bugs, but till they are in the teenage years they wont be too adventurous and try worms(wax/silk/horn) or dubia.

You can use a chip clip and put a leafy green on the side of the cage for him to nom nom on from time to time. He wont each much, but you may find some triangle shapes missing from him taking a bite or two a day. Anything that is a staple or a "good treat" is fine.
http://www.greenigsociety.org/foodchart.htm

your cage wont last more than 6 months, you are not going to shoe horn in a 14-16" cham into a 18" long cage for long.
 

ZEROPILOT

Avid Member
Where is your general location?
I and I'm sure some other keepers may have some extra stuff to help you out with.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the forum no the world of chameleons!

Please answer the questions in the how to,ask for help thread near the top of the health forum and provide some photos of th chameleon and its cage so we can help you better.

You said..."he's 8 weeks old, does supplementation vary for juveniles to adults?" ...I not really. I dust lightly all the insects at almost every feeding with a phos free calcium powder...the insects don't change their ratio of calcium to phos just because they are bigger so this keeps the balance. 2 of the times a month that I don't dust with the calcium powder, I dust lightly with a phos free calcium /D3 powder. This ensures that the chameleon gets some D3 but doesn't overdose it (D3 form supplements can build up in the system) and leaves it to produce the rest of the D3 from its exposure to the UVB light provided for it. I dust 2 times a month with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A. PrOformed sources of vitamin A do not build up in the system like prEformed sources will so this is safe. It leaves it up to you to decide if/when your chameleon needs some prEformed vitamin A. There are other ways of supplementing but this is what I've done for years and, for instance, my veiled females live to be over 7 years old and the males even older doing it this way somive never changed.

You said ..."Do any other environmental needs change with juveniles to adults?"....you need to change the cage size unless yours is already big enough for an adult. You need to change the sizes of the branches unless you've already provided an assortment of widths. Adults need only be fed 2 or 3 times a week but babies get fed twice a day.

You said..."What are some health indicators I should look out for?"... If the husbandry isn't right chameleons can develop MBD, respiratory infections, sometimes shedding issues, etc. Watch for any changes in their normal behaviour...lethargy, sitting lower in the cage, sleeping during the day, unusual marks on their bodies changes to their feces and urates, etc.

I'm sure I must have missed some things but hopefully someone else will chime in!
 
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CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
We've all been there. My first Cham was petco veiled male. Thought I knew enough before buying him. Little did I know I knew nothing. Luckily I found this forum the next day and have never liked back. I know the pet stores say don't believe the internet but that's like Trump saying Hillary Clinton should've won the 2016 election
 

Ares05

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey! At least you found this forum, where everyone can help you get his setup and care just right. If you could fill this out completely that would be great, and make sure to include several pictures of your new bud and his setup and lights! :)

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • 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?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

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Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
 

Zebenox

Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, male, and about 8 weeks old. I've had him for 3 days
  • Handling - I've handled him twice to change his poopy paper towel in his travel cup. But am planning on handling him very little (even though I want to because he's so darn cute!)
  • Feeding - He's on 1/4" crickets and I'm feeding him 10-20 in the morning and again in the evening. Not gut loaded, it was an emergency batch to get me through the holiday.
  • Supplements - repashy cal plus LoD, I think I read twice a week? Is that right?
  • Watering - I'm using just a plain old spray bottle for a mister. Hoping to get a dripper for Christmas. I'm misting twice a day, just a good once over the entire cage. I have not seen him drink.
  • Fecal Description - Fecals appear normal in the travel cup. I haven't seen any in the cage but he's only been in there 1 day and he didn't eat for a couple days while being transported.
  • History - I got him from an exotic pet show in Indiana. That's all I know.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Screen cage, 16x16x30
  • Lighting - I have the Zilla mini heat and UVB lamp. It's set on a timer to come on at 8am and off at 8pm
  • Temperature - No idea. I have an infrared thermometer I can borrow from work to find out. The ambient room temp is lower 70s then he had the heat lamp at the top and the bottom is mostly shaded by plants.
  • Humidity - no clue.
  • Plants - I have fake plants but looking to add a live one in a couple days, which ever we have in stock that on the safe list. I'm not set on a specific one.
  • Placement - On my desk in the living room. It is slightly near an air vent. And definitely in a high traffic area. The top of the cage is about 5 feet off the floor.
  • Location - I'm in central Michigan.

Current Problem - uneducated. He seems fine. He's explored his cage, seems to have found his spot. Seems to be eating fine. Should I get a feeding cup? He's still pretty small and doesn't seem to have a problem getting around to eat but I wonder if it would be better for him?

Here's Randall. Note his cage is labeled Jacksons chameleon and also has automatic mister pieces attached. It's a hand me down cage (cleaned and disinfected before putting my buddy in there). He's not a Jackson's and I don't have an automatic mister.

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Ares05

Chameleon Enthusiast
My comments are in red! :)

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, male, and about 8 weeks old. I've had him for 3 days
  • Handling - I've handled him twice to change his poopy paper towel in his travel cup. But am planning on handling him very little (even though I want to because he's so darn cute!)
  • Feeding - He's on 1/4" crickets and I'm feeding him 10-20 in the morning and again in the evening. Not gut loaded, it was an emergency batch to get me through the holiday.
Gutloading is very important. If they aren't gut loaded, there wont be enough nutrition going into your cham. Its also recommended to use a commercial pre-mixed gutload, such as Cricket Crack or Bug burger.
  • Supplements - repashy cal plus LoD, I think I read twice a week? Is that right?
No, use this every feeding. Lightly dusted, they shouldn't look like a powdered donut.
  • Watering - I'm using just a plain old spray bottle for a mister. Hoping to get a dripper for Christmas. I'm misting twice a day, just a good once over the entire cage. I have not seen him drink.
You need to mist at least 2 times a day (which you are doing) for at least 2-4 minutes.Personally, I would setup your lights so the heat bulb comes on an hour after the uvb bulb, and in the evening the heat light goes off an hour before the uvb. You would mist in this period where the uvb is on but the heat bulb Is not. This is because heat+humidity can equal an RI.

If you have the money, an automatic mister is the best investment you will ever make. And if you ever get more chameleons/pets that need misting, the beginner set can be hooked up to 10 enclosures.

  • Fecal Description - Fecals appear normal in the travel cup. I haven't seen any in the cage but he's only been in there 1 day and he didn't eat for a couple days while being transported.
Even if his fecal appears normal, it's possible he could have parasites. My guy is being treated for coccidia, and despite this his poop looked completely normal . I would get a fecal done on him at a vet with reptile experience.
  • History - I got him from an exotic pet show in Indiana. That's all I know.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Screen cage, 16x16x30
As he gets bigger you will need to get at least 2x2x4 mesh cage for him. They grow very fast.
  • Lighting - I have the Zilla mini heat and UVB lamp. It's set on a timer to come on at 8am and off at 8pm
All you need for his basking bulb is a household bulb, 60-70 watts. As for uvb, if its a coil bulb, its garbage. You need a tube florescent uvb. For this size cage I would get the reptisun 5.0 florescent bulb, or the Arcadia 6% tube bulb.

  • Temperature - No idea. I have an infrared thermometer I can borrow from work to find out. The ambient room temp is lower 70s then he had the heat lamp at the top and the bottom is mostly shaded by plants.
This is not good. You absolutely need to monitor temps. If he gets burned, it can be fatal. Get a thermometer with a cord with a probe on the end, not the crappy stick-on circles.
  • Humidity - no clue.
Get a hygrometer. They need 30-40% humidity during the day, and 70-100 during the night. As for nighttime a fogger will keep up the humidity.
  • Plants - I have fake plants but looking to add a live one in a couple days, which ever we have in stock that on the safe list. I'm not set on a specific one.
Veiled Chameleons have a liking for plants. I would try and change all the fake plants to live plants, as if he eats a plastic plant, you could be in for some trouble. Pothos and schefflera are tough and aren't easy to kill, and handle the damage done by our little guys pretty well. You would want to get a plant light, ive heard good things about the SANSI brand.
  • Placement - On my desk in the living room. It is slightly near an air vent. And definitely in a high traffic area. The top of the cage is about 5 feet off the floor
Chameleons tend to adjust to high traffic after a bit, but if he starts showing signs of lots of stress from lots of people around, move him to a low-traffic area.

make sure the air vent isn't blowing on his cage as all. If it is, move his cage or close the vent.

  • Location - I'm in central Michigan.

Current Problem - uneducated. He seems fine. He's explored his cage, seems to have found his spot. Seems to be eating fine. Should I get a feeding cup? He's still pretty small and doesn't seem to have a problem getting around to eat but I wonder if it would be better for him?

Feeding cups are helpful because they can find the food easier, and there isn't much chance of the feeders roaming around and biting him during the night. And if you discover he has parasites, there is less chance for the feeders to walk on his poop and reinfect him.


Post a few more pictures of him, from side front and back views if possible!

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There is a chameleon course that someone posted about earlier, maybe give it a read. Tons of great information, you will learn a lot! https://chameleonacademy.com
 

Zebenox

Member
So I'm gathering more items and supplies for my Randall. Got my crickets bin and cricket supplies yesterday. What is everyone's preference for temp and humidity monitoring. I work for a pet supplier so the number of options are kind of overwhelming. Since we're shooting for gradients, should I have multiples throughout the cage? Should I get a digital one with a probe and just move the probe around periodically?

Also when it comes to drippers, my bf got me a dripper for Christmas but it drips into a pool then pumps that back up. I heard standing water is not the best. Should I not use this type? Maybe just have something drip in from the top instead?
 

Ares05

Chameleon Enthusiast
For temperature monitoring, get one with a probe. If you want multiple, go for it. if you just have one you can just move it down every now and then. Most humidity gauges are circles, but there are some that have probes. You could grab something like this ( unless you find a better one) and get two to put one at the top and one at the bottom. Measures both things. https://www.amazon.com/AUTIDEFY-Ele...mometer-Hygrometer/dp/B07VL3D7MY/ref=sr_1_11?

With dripper it should always drip from the top and onto the leaves. Slowly, maybe one drip every 2 seconds. Make sure to have a cup under the general area of the dripper so you wont hav a puddle on the bottom of the cage. What is your drainage setup?

I looked closer at your lights, you have a day light blue bulb and a coil 5.0 uvb im guessing. You want to change out the daylight blue for a plain white light 60-70 watts to get temperatures of 82-85 at the basking spot. If the basking temps are right, normally a good gradient falls into place. Your uvb should be a tube bulb, either Reptisun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% fr this size cage. You will also need a fixture to hold it. I have never personally used Arcadia but i've heard it lasts longer than Reptisun brands. But it's up to you which one to use lol.
 
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