Jackson Chameleon At the Bottom of the Enclosure

Archangel

New Member
Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - Jackson, male (can someone help me check if this is accurate?), 4 months (according to the store)
  • Handling - We have not tried to handle him yet. We leave him alone for the most part until he adapts.
  • Feeding - Crickets, Hornworms, and some Dubia roaches. We use a feeding cup and he has not eaten since yesterday.
  • Supplements - We are using repti calcium, exoterra calcium + d3 and reptivite without d3. We feed him 3 days a week with calcium and one day a week we do the calcium + d3 and the vitamins every 2 weeks
  • Watering - We mist two times a day for 4 minutes (Mistking). One in the morning and the other one before going to sleep. If any one has any suggestions about a better schedule please let me know. Maybe he is not drinking enough water?
  • Fecal Description - No, we have not tested it for parasites.
  • History - We bought him from a store a month ago.

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - 2x2x4 PVC with screen on top and the sides, acrylic on the front.
  • Lighting - 11 am to 11 pm and we use Arcadia 6% uvb lights. For the heating bulb we use a regular fluorescent bulb with a dimmer to control the temperature.
  • Temperature - The basking spot is always between 83-85F, we use a temperature gun and a probe for measurements. The bottom of the cage stays at 71.
  • Humidity - Humidity levels are 30% - 50% during the day and at night 90%. We run a humidifier to keep the humidity high at night.
  • Plants - Yes, we are using a money tree and umbrella plant's (we recently added more plants to add more cover). We cleaned them before placing them in the enclosure. For the soil we use fox farm happy frog and I cover the it with tree bark.
  • Placement - The enclosure is raised around 3 foot from the floor. Its next to a window and there is an ventilation exhaust near.
  • Location - Georgia, Kennesaw.

Current Problem - The chameleon is laying at the bottom of the cage. He has moved around but he stays at the bottom/mid of the enclosure. I am currently looking for an exotic vet to take him but in the meantime I think its a good idea to post it here.

This is a video of him eating a few days ago:

 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am not a Jackson keeper but it seems as though you are over supplementing for this species. @JacksJill
Do you know if he was wild caught or Captive Bred?

Supplements - We are using repti calcium, exoterra calcium + d3 and reptivite without d3. We feed him 3 days a week with calcium and one day a week we do the calcium + d3 and the vitamins every 2 weeks
 
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Mendez

Avid Member
Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - Jackson, male (can someone help me check if this is accurate?), 4 months (according to the store)
He's definitely over 4 months of age. He looks closer to a year or older. Once they hit about a year in age, age becomes hard to tell. He could be two years old for all we know, maybe more.

  • Handling - We have not tried to handle him yet. We leave him alone for the most part until he adapts.
  • Feeding - Crickets, Hornworms, and some Dubia roaches. We use a feeding cup and he has not eaten since yesterday.
Handling and feeding sounds good. Question: how much do you feed him per feeding?

  • Supplements - We are using repti calcium, exoterra calcium + d3 and reptivite without d3. We feed him 3 days a week with calcium and one day a week we do the calcium + d3 and the vitamins every 2 weeks
Repticalcium without D3 is fine. Just make sure to shake off the feeders well since it tends to clump on feeders. At the moment, your supplement schedule will overdose him on D3. Exo terra calcium with D3 is higher than most supplements in D3. If you have to use this supplement, use it once a month. If you want an easier brand, try repashy calcium plus LoD which includes a lower dose of D3 and multivitamins--can be used twice a month. This supplement hits two birds with one stone--d3 and multivitamin. Though, I'd at least wait a month before the next dose of D3. If you opt not to get repashy calcium plus lod, you are fine using the reptivite without D3 once to twice a month.

  • Watering - We mist two times a day for 4 minutes (Mistking). One in the morning and the other one before going to sleep. If any one has any suggestions about a better schedule please let me know.
This schedule is good. But it also depends on your humidity. And to know your humidity levels, you need to use a digital hygrometer. Place the hygrometer in a spot that won't be sprayed directly. At night, you want higher humidity levels from about 75-100% (doesn't have to be exact). If your levels are below 75-100, then you either need to spray more at night, get a humidifier, or both. Nice cage by the way. I recognize it as one of Dale Tamura's cages. (Disregard everything that I said for your humidity, I just got down to the humidity section and see that everything is perfect).

  • Fecal Description - No, we have not tested it for parasites.
That's fine. You probably won't need to get him tested. But what does his poop look like? Does it have white urates? This can also help determine whether your humidity levels are correct.

  • Lighting - 11 am to 11 pm and we use Arcadia 6% uvb lights. For the heating bulb we use a regular fluorescent bulb with a dimmer to control the temperature.
That's kind of an odd time but should work as long as there are no outdoor lights/sun shining into the room when it's supposed to be dark.

  • Temperature - The basking spot is always between 83-85F, we use a temperature gun and a probe for measurements. The bottom of the cage stays at 71.
How often does he bask? Does he gape? If he opens his mouth when basking or seems white-washed, then you will need to lower the basking temps by either rasing the bulb up or by lowering the basking branch about an inch. 85 at the basking spot might mean that he is getting close to 90 degrees on his spinal ridge which is be too hot.

  • Humidity - Humidity levels are 30% - 50% during the day and at night 90%. We run a humidifier to keep the humidity high at night.
Disregard what I said above, your humidity schedule looks perfect and should not change. Just make sure that the cage humidity is consistently staying up throughout the night.

  • Plants - Yes, we are using a money tree and umbrella plant's. We cleaned them before placing them in the enclosure. For the soil we use foxfarm happy frog and I cover the it with tree bark.
  • Placement - The enclosure is raised around 3 foot from the floor. Its next to a window and there is an ventilation exhaust near.
  • Location - Georgia, Kennesaw.

Current Problem - The chameleon is laying at the bottom of the cage. He has moves around but he stays at the bottom/mid of the enclosure. I am currently looking for an exotic vet to take him but in the meantime I think its a good idea to post it here.
What's the distance of the uvb to the basking branch? Poor uvb exposure could be a reason for "exploring"
 

Archangel

New Member
I am not a Jackson keeper but it seems as though you are over supplementing for this species. @JacksJill
Do you know if he was wild caught or Captive Bred?
I really don't know. I called the store to ask and they did not know either...

Handling and feeding sounds good. Question: how much do you feed him per feeding?
4 - 8 crickets per day. I thought he was younger... so thats why I was feeding him more but if he is older then I need to change my feeding schedule...

Repticalcium without D3 is fine. Just make sure to shake off the feeders well since it tends to clump on feeders. At the moment, your supplement schedule will overdose him on D3. Exo terra calcium with D3 is higher than most supplements in D3. If you have to use this supplement, use it once a month. If you want an easier brand, try repashy calcium plus LoD which includes a lower dose of D3 and multivitamins--can be used twice a month. This supplement hits two birds with one stone--d3 and multivitamin. Though, I'd at least wait a month before the next dose of D3. If you opt not to get repashy calcium plus lod, you are fine using the reptivite without D3 once to twice a month.
Ok, I will buy the rapashy calcium plus LoD. I prefer something that its easier to control. So if you don't mind me asking, what supplement schedule you would use? 3 days a week of calcium and 2 weeks a month of the Rapashy cal + lod?

Also, I forgot to mention I am giving my feeders Rapashy bug burguer to eat.

That's fine. You probably won't need to get him tested. But what does his poop look like? Does it have white urates? This can also help determine whether your humidity levels are correct.
Yes they do, I will attach an image of the poop.

That's kind of an odd time but should work as long as there are no outdoor lights/sun shining into the room when it's supposed to be dark.
I start working at 11 a.m. so my day starts date. I can move the schedule if needed but its hard to keep all the lights off before 10 because of his location.

How often does he bask? Does he gape? If he opens his mouth when basking or seems white-washed, then you will need to lower the basking temps by either rasing the bulb up or by lowering the basking branch about an inch. 85 at the basking spot might mean that he is getting close to 90 degrees on his spinal ridge which is be too hot.
He usually basks in the morning and in the afternoon. He does not open his mouth when basking but sometimes his mouth looks white washed. I got a dimmable switch so I will lower the temperature.

What's the distance of the uvb to the basking branch? Poor uvb exposure could be a reason for "exploring"
The distance is 12 to 13 inches from below the basking spot. He can get closer but he needs to move from the spot. which would make it around 8 inches.

I also just switched from T8 Reptisun Hood to the T5 Arcadia lights. Both of the 6%.

And yes this is an enclosure from Tamura Designs. They look amazing :)

And thanks for taking your time to answer me.
 

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Mendez

Avid Member
4 - 8 crickets per day. I thought he was younger... so thats why I was feeding him more but if he is older then I need to change my feeding schedule...
Perfect! yep, I'd say about 3 feeders every other day. This amount will depend on the size of feeders. If you are feeding super small feeder insects, then you will need to feed more, and vice versa.

Ok, I will buy the rapashy calcium plus LoD. I prefer something that its easier to control. So if you don't mind me asking, what supplement schedule you would use? 3 days a week of calcium and 2 weeks a month of the Rapashy cal + lod?
I use plain calcium every time I feed dubia roaches, crickets, or super worms. I don't supplement when I feed insects such as black soldier fly larvae, silkworms, and hornworms. I usually supplement with plain calcium 3 days a week. And then I use repashy calcium plus lod twice a month.

Also, I forgot to mention I am giving my feeders Rapashy bug burguer to eat.
Awesome, I also use repashy bug burger! It's super convenient.

Yes they do, I will attach an image of the poop.
That looks healthy, albeit a little small. The smallness is probably due to the fact that it isn't fresh. Overall, from the looks of it, your cham's poop looks healthy.

I start working at 11 a.m. so my day starts date. I can move the schedule if needed but its hard to keep all the lights off before 10 because of his location.
No need to change the schedule. I just thought it was an odd time that's all, but it makes sense to have it align with your work schedule. As long as the room is dark when he should be sleeping, then there is no reason to change it.

He usually basks in the morning and in the afternoon. He does not open his mouth when basking but sometimes his mouth looks white washed. I got a dimmable switch so I will lower the temperature.
Sounds good.

The distance is 12 to 13 inches from below the basking spot. He can get closer but he needs to move from the spot. which would make it around 8 inches.
Okay, that works.

I also just switched from T8 Reptisun Hood to the T5 Arcadia lights. Both of the 6%.

And yes this is an enclosure from Tamura Designs. They look amazing :)

And thanks for taking your time to answer me.
You are very welcome, feel free to ask me questions anytime(y)

Is he still climbing on the ground? What is the ambient temperature of the cage near the bottom?
 

Archangel

New Member
Is he still climbing on the ground? What is the ambient temperature of the cage near the bottom?
He just went up to his basking spot. The temperature at the bottom is around 71. I also lowered the temperature of the basking spot to 82 just to play it safe.

I actually have 2 more questions.

He is usually dark green, which I read it can be because he is either trying to absorb more light or he is stressed. Is this accurate or his normal color can be like this? I have seen him turning really green with a yellow frame in the middle of the body while he is sleeping.

And, I was thinking to invest in an RO system but I am starting to think an solarmeter is more important. What’s would you suggest?

thanks again!
 

Mendez

Avid Member
He just went up to his basking spot. The temperature at the bottom is around 71. I also lowered the temperature of the basking spot to 82 just to play it safe.
That's great news. But I'm not sure if we fixed anything yet. Just continue to monitor him. It could be random that he went down there. He could have seen a feeder insect. Or he wanted to cool down. Maybe he got too hot in his basking spot, and then went to the bottom to cool off, but then ended up cooling off too much and went back to darker colors to warm back up. Who knows, but let us know if this happens again. I would add more branches in the front half of the cage, as well as near the ground where he was walking. The more branches you have (to an extent), the less likely they are to crawl on the ground. We want to provide our chameleons with many different temperatures within the cage and provide them with branches leading to those different zones; this way, they can decide what temperature/humidity they need.

I actually have 2 more questions.

He is usually dark green, which I read it can be because he is either trying to absorb more light or he is stressed. Is this accurate or his normal color can be like this? I have seen him turning really green with a yellow frame in the middle of the body while he is sleeping.
I don't own a machackos hills (jacksonii jacksonii) jacksons chameleon, so I couldn't tell you how dark or light their normal colors are supposed to be, or what they look like when stressed. But I can tell you that he shouldn't be that dark. @JacksJill is an experienced jacksonii jacksonii keeper and breeder, so she might help you out if she has time. If your temperatures are accurate, then I would probably point to stress. Jacksjill might have a better answer than that. If it is stress, then I have no idea what the cause might be. Do you have any fans blowing into the cage? Do you have a cat? Is the cage located near a busy window? If you have an AC/Heat vent that points into or near the cage, he could be getting way too hot or way too cold, so he then moves to the bottom.

And, I was thinking to invest in an RO system but I am starting to think an solarmeter is more important. What’s would you suggest?
It all depends on the quality of your tap water. If your tap water is dirty and unusable, then I might go with an RO system first. But if you are able to drink the tap water without spitting it out, or you okay with purchasing clean water, then you might not need an RO system in the first place. I use tap water, but that's also because the tap water in my area is pretty superb. However, I really do like having a solarmeter. If you can reliably get good water, and are fine with it, then I would get a solar meter.
 

Archangel

New Member
It all depends on the quality of your tap water. If your tap water is dirty and unusable, then I might go with an RO system first. But if you are able to drink the tap water without spitting it out, or you okay with purchasing clean water, then you might not need an RO system in the first place. I use tap water, but that's also because the tap water in my area is pretty superb. However, I really do like having a solarmeter. If you can reliably get good water, and are fine with it, then I would get a solar meter.
The water looks “fine” and I can drink it without spitting it but the RO system is just to prevent any clogging on the misting system. I am currently buying distilled water from the grocery store but me and my wife really just hate generating this much plastic waste...

I just bought a solarmeter 6.5R. That will give me some peace of mind knowing he is getting the correct UVB.

By the way, Jack (yes I know how original but my wife is obsessed with pirates or the Caribbean) looks like he is doing better. He almost at the top of the enclosure hidden and with a light green color :). I will keep checking on him and updating the thread.
 

Archangel

New Member
I have a question regarding the Jackson's the temperature drop. I was looking at a video of Bill Strand saying that the night time temperature drop is important for the Jackson's otherwise they get temperature exhausted and die.... in the video he mentioned that they require a temperature drop at night between 50F - 65F... my night time temperature is between 71F-73F... so my question is... I know Bill Strand is a legend but does the temp require to drop that low? And if that's the case, is there an easy way to drop the temperature at nights for the enclosure?

I am wondering if this can be the issue...
 
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Mendez

Avid Member
By the way, Jack (yes I know how original but my wife is obsessed with pirates or the Caribbean) looks like he is doing better. He almost at the top of the enclosure hidden and with a light green color :). I will keep checking on him and updating the thread.
Awesome name, and I'm glad he's looking better!

I have a question regarding the Jackson's the temperature drop. I was looking at a video of Bill Strand saying that the night time temperature drop is important for the Jackson's otherwise they get temperature exhausted and die.... in the video he mentioned that they require a temperature drop at night between 50F - 65F... my night time temperature is between 71F-73F... so my question is... I know Bill Strand is a legend but does the temp require to drop that low? And if that's the case, is there an easy way to drop the temperature at nights for the enclosure?

I am wondering if this can be the issue...
The nighttime temp drop is absolutely necessary. These guys definitely need to cool off at the night. There are many theories as to why they need this temperature drop, but the main driver is evolution. From what I have read, there are theories out there that state that the cooler temperatures slow down their digestive tracks so they can get a restful night of sleep. Who knows why they actually need it, but they do need some sort of a temp drop. A month without a temperature drop probably won't cause any long-term damage or a shortened life span, but over time, the stress of not having a nighttime temp drop will weaken the immune system and make him more susceptible to illness such as a respiratory infection.

There isn't an easy way to get a temperature drop. If it is colder where you live, you can crack a window to let the room cool off. The most common method, which I also use, is to get a portable AC unit to cool off the room that the cage is in without having to crank the whole house AC unit which can be even more expensive. In the wild, their nights consistently get below 60 degrees, but the standard hobby temperature for jacksons chameleons at night is 65 degrees and under. At least try to hit this number.

Let me know if you have any more questions about the temperature drop. I really wish that there was an easy way to achieve cooler temps, but at least at the moment, there is no simple fix. I'm currently drawing out prototypes of a unit that can cool a chameleon cage in a safe manner that is inexpensive and effective. But who knows if the actual prototype will work--only time will tell. But for now, I would look into getting a portable AC unit. If you live in a place that allows window AC units, that would be even better. For either the window unit or portable unit, you need to pay attention to BTUs which will help determine the best unit for the size room you want to cool down. If you live in a dry and arid city, a swamp cooler can be pretty effective.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
I don't have much to add to what Mendez said. I run my AC down to 68 in the summer and let the heater go down to 60 F overnight the rest of the year. The few that are outdoors see much lower temperatures. I have seen a few people on the fb groups use a personal fan that has an ice compartment. I have not tested this method personally but it would add humidity and potentially lower your ambient temp. Iwill be trying it this summer. Cooler night time temps contribute to longevity probably like hibernation does in other species.
 

Archangel

New Member
I don't have much to add to what Mendez said. I run my AC down to 68 in the summer and let the heater go down to 60 F overnight the rest of the year. The few that are outdoors see much lower temperatures. I have seen a few people on the fb groups use a personal fan that has an ice compartment. I have not tested this method personally but it would add humidity and potentially lower your ambient temp. Iwill be trying it this summer. Cooler night time temps contribute to longevity probably like hibernation does in other species.
Sadly I can’t run my AC that low because the unit from the place I am renting can’t even get below 72 in the summer. And even if it could my other animals would hate it lol. Running a personal fan with an ice compartment sounds solid. I will google to see if I can find it.

Thanks a lot for taking your time to look and reply to my post!
 
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