Jackson's Chameleon New Enclosure Build

KLP1190

New Member
Start by saying I am a new Chameleon keeper. I just got my first Jackson's Chameleon this past weekend. I have been tinkering with his cage since Saturday when we brought him home. I wanted to come to a place where I could get some feed back and have some of my cham specific questions addressed. I will post pictures of the build and if you guys have anything to say about it; what I'm doing well, what I could do better, something I should address differently, please let me know.

First two are of Bubba hiding and majestically basking.
bubba basks.jpgbubba hides.jpg

So, on day one his enclosure was pretty blah. I was super not happy with it. All fake junk, but it was what it was.
day 1.jpg

Day 2 was off the the garden factory for some live plants. Bubba wasn't gonna slum it with the plastic junk anymore. Ended up with Schefflera Amate as the center piece and 2 Staghorn Ferns in the front. Bought a few more things but couldn't figure out how to secure them in the enclosure.
day 2.jpg

Day 3, today. I added one more plant. A Hoya in the moss ball planter. I still one more plant to put in there, I believe it's a Prayer plant, but I need to figure out how I am going to secure it. I'm thinking some pvc scaffolding that I can lash a clay pot to. We will see when we get there.
day 3.jpg

I have a zoo med repti-rain and a zoo med repti-fogger system that I still need to install. I ordered an exo terra thermostat/ hyrgostat combo to control all heating and humidity devices. I have the substrate box on order as well to help keep the humidity up. I have reached out to zoo med and inquired about a new product they have coming out soon called the repti-cooler that will provide a night time temp drop that the Jackson's need, but it is not out to retailers just yet. All of the item on order are due in by weeks end. Until then I am carefully monitoring the enclosure temps with my IR temp gun and misting the enclosure 5 times a day. Come friday this guys set up will be 75% bioactive and 100% automated.

I strive to provide the best naturalistic enclosures I can to all the herps I keep. If there is something that I can improve on with my Bubba please do let me know.

Thanks for reading this novel of a post and I look forward to hearing back from you guys.

Cheers!
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
You are off to a good start. I like all the additional plants.
Is it just a coincidence that he has his head pointed up in your pictures or does he spend all his time that way. It's not a totally unusual position but if they spend all their time that way it could be a sign of a respiratory infection. If you hear any popping of wheezing noises then it is and he needs a vet.
I would be interested in the rest of your husbandry I can't see in the pictures.
These questions will flesh out your husbandry for review and feedback.

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.
 

KLP1190

New Member
I am at work right now, so I can’t go into all of that right now. I will fill out the details later. The only time I have seen him with his head obviously lifted is in the picture I posed of him basking. All the other pics his head is pointing up, but it is not lifted above his body. I have a vet appointment scheduled for him because I was mildly concerned about an RI from that one basking pic and the fact he was a pet store reptile. I always get them checked.

right now we are not handling him at all. I have reached in his enclosure to adjust a vine or something and he has reached out and grabbed me, but never wants to be taken out.

presently we are feeding crickets and meal worms dusted with calcium. Waiting for a shipment of dubias to come in. Would love to hear about any other supplements I should be using.

thanks for your reply, sorry I can’t answer it all as in depth as I would like to.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
I will look back later and comment then. Before anyone else says it superworms are a better choice than mealworms nutritionally but still should be fed in moderation.

There are three reasonable supplement schedules. This one comes from the resources section here.
"Feeder insects should be lightly dusted with powdered supplement before being fed to your chameleon. As a montane species (native to higher altitudes) Jackson's have decreased supplementation requirements compared to tropical species due to metabolism differences. Use calcium (without D3 or phosphorus) twice a week, a multivitamin once a month, and calcium with D3 once a month."

I will go over the others later.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Love his coloration in the first pic. (y)

I still one more plant to put in there, I believe it's a Prayer plant, but I need to figure out how I am going to secure it. I'm thinking some pvc scaffolding that I can lash a clay pot to. We will see when we get there.
One option: At a home improvement store, pick up some aluminum stock—bar, angle, or channel (whichever you prefer—something with holes will offer more versatility, e.g. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-1-in-x-36-in-Zinc-Plated-Punched-Square-Tube-803037/206939549) and some stainless sheet metal screws (#8 x twice the thickness of the aluminum). Cut the aluminum to fit inside the frame, drill a hole at each end (if one isn't conveniently there already), and attach with sheet metal screws.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/little-positive-things.180671/#post-1641789

Come friday this guys set up will be 75% bioactive and 100% automated.
How do you automate feeding :eek: :LOL:
 

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KLP1190

New Member
@Klyde O'Scope ok maybe not 100%. Still have to feed the bugger. Thank you for the tip on the aluminum. Will be working on that soon. I think he is pretty ok with plants for now. Just need to get the rest of his heating and misting set up.
 

KLP1190

New Member
@JacksJill here are the answers to your above questions.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Jackson's Chameleon, male, age unknown from a chain petstore. I have had him since 03/27/21
  • Handling - Presently we are not handling him. I have offered him my hand once or twice when I was working inside his enclosure and he was in the way and he was not interested. I am not planning on forcing the issue.
  • Feeding - I have been feeding him daily. Combination of dusted crickets, meal worms, super worms, and dubia roaches. I have purchased gut loading food for my feeder insects from ReptilianArts.com. I will also add fresh produce.
  • Supplements - Currently not using a vitamin. Will take care of that tomorrow. I use ReptiCalcium without D3 to dust my feeders.
  • Watering - Currently I am watering by hand. 5 times a day. I have a Repti-rain mister that I am going to play with tonight. I need to figure out a way to prevent over spray before I install that in the enclosure. Also have a repti-fogger that I expect by the end of the week for low overnight humidity requirements that the Jackson's have. Also have plans to buy a repti-cooler system from zoomed as soon as it is commercially available to provide the night time temp drop.
  • Fecal Description - Cham has not been tested for parasites. I have an appointment on the books to take him to my herp vet. I bring all of my pet store herps for a check up after they settle in. Droppings are a small brown pebble with a solid white blob.
  • History - No known history because it was a pet store herp.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Zoo Med ReptiBreeze 18" x 18" x 36" screen enclosure.
  • Lighting - Zilla Tropical 25 UVB T8 light fixture for UVB. Exo Terra intense basking bulb in a Fluker's clamp lamp with a dimmer for heat source. 12 hours on starting at 7:30am. 12 off.
  • Temperature - Basking spot is currently at 90deg F. Bottom of the main plant reads 72deg F.
  • Humidity - Humidity is the hardest spec to nail right now because we are misting by hand. I have a pet store hygro/ thermo combo that I am running until my Exo Terra Thermostat Hygrostat combo arrives and all of his heating, cooling, and humidity requirements will be automated. Right after a mist it jumps to about 70%. Will fall slowly. After work is when it is at it's lowest. Drops to 30%. I mist as soon as I get home and 3 more times before bed. The biggest, heaviest misting is the last of the night to provide the high over night humidity.
  • Plants - I am. 1 Schefflera Amate as the center piece and 2 Staghorn Ferns in the front, a hoya in a moss ball planter at the top. I also have a prayer plant that I need to squeeze in there some where before it dies.
  • Placement - Cage is in my office / reptile room. He is housed on top of a 5 level PVC snake rack between 2 snakes and 2 geckos. No one can see anyone as all the sides of my enclosures are blacked out. He is not near a vent or a fan. He is not in a high traffic area. I do have a small fan clipped to the metal rack next to his enclosure that I leave running on low to circulate the air. I turn it to medium at night to help bring the temp down. it does not blow hard enough to disturb the leaves on my Schefflera. from top of the enclosure to the floor is 65 in.
  • Location - Located in Upstate NY between Rochester and Syracuse.

Current Problem - Currently I am not concerned about much. He has consistent BM's. He is a strong eater. I am mildly concerned about a possible RI; see pic above in the thread with his head pointing to the sky. That could also have been him enjoying the light. It was early in the morning and I had just turned it on when he did that. He hasn't done it since. I need to find a way to control over spray from the mister before I attach that. I was looking into covering one corner of the enclosures walls with sheet moss. The mist is super fine, I just need something to stop it from getting everything around the enclosure wet.

Please let me know if more info is needed.

--------------

Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
 

KLP1190

New Member
Got the thermostat / hydrostat, repti rain, and repti fogged set up today. Currently 3D printing a nozzle for the fogger so I don’t have to cut the screen. Still waiting for the repti cooler to come in for those night time temp drops.

for those of you that automate misting what schedule do you use. The repti rain has settings for every 1, 3, 6, or 12 hours and 15, 30, 45, or 60 seconds of misting. Where is a good place to set that?

edited for spelling
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
for those of you that automate misting what schedule do you use. The repti rain has settings for every 1, 3, 6, or 12 hours and 15, 30, 45, or 60 seconds of misting. Where is a good place to set that?
It depends in my cages that have automated drippers I only mist first and last thing each day. For those with out drippers I mist first and last with a few 15 second or less sprays just for drops on the leaves as drinking opportunities. I have MistKing and Climist systems so have more ability to adjust times. You definitely need the first and last to be long ones but I'm not sure how you want to handle the midday.
 
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