Juvenile Veiled Chameleon Enclosure and Setup

Andrew1283

Established Member
I recently purchased my first chameleon, a juvenile female veiled from a local pet shop. This was not an impulse decision but it was love at first sight. I was purchasing dog food and happened past a glass enclosure with two little googly eyes peeking up at me from under a branch. I asked the store employees a lot of questions before going home to do research and to pass the idea by my wife! These forums have been tremendously helpful because information online is vast but often conflicting. I spent a week researching chameleon habitats (specifically veiled chameleon habitats) before going back to get a screened enclosure named the Reptibreeze Chameleon Kit. It measures 36” tall, 18” wide and 18” long. This size enclosure seems ideal for a juvenile veiled but will need to be upgraded to at least a 48” x 24”x 24” when she reaches adulthood. I chose to use fake plants because they are easier to sanitize and I plan to feed Emmy (her name is short for Emerald) plenty of healthy greens, veggies and some fruits. What’s considered, “healthy” also seems to be up for debate but many people agree some escarole and collard greens are OK along with butternut squash, carrots, tomato, apple, blueberries, and oranges. I plan to keep her fruit intake minimal and only as occasional treats. Since chameleons drink from water droplets I made my own water dripper out of a Pedialyte bottle with a small air line valve stuck into the bottom and some air tubing. I didn’t even have to use silicone to make a seal! Drill a small hole and work the valve in there to make a tight fit. The water line runs through the top screen and drops onto a long leaf of real collard greens. Emmy’s basking spot is at the end of the leaf and she regularly leans in to take a drink from the drips. I used the vines which came with the Chameleon Kit and added some extra thick ones. I gave her plenty of horizontal perching space at multiple levels and put the fake plants up front so she has privacy. When she is hungry and wants to be seen she definitely makes herself known! Hanging the vines is an art, not a science and I had fun with it. The temperature in her basking spot is 92 degrees and the lowest spot in the cage is about 72. I frequently run a humidifier next to her cage because it can get dry (but not cold) in our home during the northeastern winters. I also hand spray several times a day with spring water so her humidity stays at 50-60%. It really hasn’t been a big deal. I also opted for a milled coconut fiber substrate because it helps maintain humidity without staying wet...which can lead to mold and bacterial growth. It makes spot cleaning her poops very easy and sanitary and since it’s cheap, I can replace all the substrate once a month. Another reason for using this substrate is that female chameleons lay eggs and they can become egg bound without a place to dig a nest..which can be fatal. I purchased a compact high output 25 watt basking light which keeps a constant 95 degree temp in her basking spot and I have a high quality T8 UVB bulb so she can get her vitamin D for calcium absorption. I also supplement with Reptivite multivitamin and Repcal with D3 once biweekly. Emmy’s enclosure is right by a window so I keep the cloth curtain shut tight to avoid a draft and I also added an extra layer of thick pet-safe screen on the back of her enclosure to help keep out a draft without eliminating all air movement. I feed her live crickets, half of which I dust with Repcal calcium powder and I shake them up to humanely stun them before placing them on her collard green dipper leaf or from my hand. She can eat 15 medium crickets in a single day! I also use a carrot/potato peeler or a cheese grater to take some shavings of multi colored carrots and butternut squash which I place on her leaf and she enjoys them. I have earned her trust to walk in my hand for crickets and yesterday she took it upon herself to briskly walk up my arm and onto my head. Reaching up to get her I had to wonder if she was going to give my finger a bite but I trusted her and she came down without any stress or issues. Setting up a new enclosure can be as easy or difficult as you want to make it. Keep the health and happiness of your pet at the forefront of your mind and if they choose to trust you there really isn’t anything better than that!
 

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Last edited:

Andrew1283

Established Member
Some of the items I mentioned were:
Reptibreeze Chameleon Kit enclosure
ZooMed Eco Earth loose coconut fiber substrate
Zilla Slimline 18” 24W T8 UVB fixture
Zilla 25W mini halogen basking
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there we would be happy to go through your info... You have some husbandry that is off. Can you put it into the below format for me please? Being detailed in your responses and making sure you answer each question. It will be easier to give you feedback.

Also will you please look at the bottom of your UVB fixture and tell me if their is a plastic cover over the bulb? If so this needs to be removed asap as it blocks all UVB.

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.

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

Please Note:

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

Andrew1283

Established Member
Hi Beman and thank you for volunteering your time and expertise to help new chameleon owners like myself! I didn’t have any specific questions or concerns but made a post to memorialize my experience as a first time chameleon owner. I removed the plastic cover from the UVB light before putting it on my cage. I read that the plastic covering can block a lot of the UVB so that was the first thing to go. I put a lot of the info you requested within my post but it looks like you're sending a standardized form so I'll go ahead and pop in the info you requested. Once again I can't thank you enough!

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - Female veiled chameleon approximately 5 months old and in my care for three weeks.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
    ANSWER- I held her once briefly when I put her in the new enclosure and once again yesterday when she voluntarily walked onto my hand to eat crickets. I have never grabbed her to pick her up. She often holds onto my fingers with her front hands while she eats crickets off my extended, steady, and flat palm.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
    Answer - The lights (heat and UVB) are both set on a timer and they turn on at 7AM daily. I allow my chameleon 3 hours of basking time to warm up before her first feeding. I keep live medium feeder crickets in a large Rubbermaid food-grade container. The crickets are gut loaded with a blend of escarole, small amounts of collard greens, spirulina algae, mixed colored carrots, butternut squash, and small amounts of blueberries, apple, and clementine. No grains are added. I put it all in a blender so it's finely chopped and then freeze the mixture on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, I break up the blend into bits and store it in a zip lock freezer bag. Every other day I move the feeders into a clean Rubbermaid container and give them new food with a fresh water source. I get new feeders weekly and have them gut load for at least 24 hours prior to feeding to my chameleon. I will attempt to add brewers yeast to the mixture if further research confirms it’s safe.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Answer - I use only Repcal (phosphate free) Calcium without D3 daily. I dust half of my cham's crickets. Once every other week I dust half the crickets with Repcal Calcium with D3 and Reptivite multivitamin. She also eats shredded butternut squash, shredded carrots, small amounts of collard greens, and once a week I give her a small blue berry and small bits of apple (not on the same day). I keep her fruit consumption to an occaisional treat level only.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Answer - I use only gallon jugs of bottled Spring water. I work full time from home so I can mist her enclosure 5 times a day. The humidity never drops below 50% and holds steady between 50-60%. I also use a dripper as pictured and noted in my post. The drips fall down onto a collar green leaf, it pools, and she drinks it. I see my chameleon drinking several times a day. A humidifier is running 12 hours a day next to the enclosure, which she seems to enjoy but it's partially for the comfort of the home.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • Answer - Brown poop about 1" in length with white matter, similar to that of a medium sized bird dropping. She defecates approximately once a day. The poop has not been tested for parasites but it seems to be solid and free of any visible worms or parasites. She is growing well and does not appear malnourished. Her coloration and activity isn't indicative of any stress.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
  • Answer- Purchased from my local pet store

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Answer - I mentioned this in my post with photos also but I understand this is a standardized form and you’re trying to help out many people. Much appreciated! Reptibreeze Chameleon Kit 36” x 18”, 18”. It’s a screen cage (as I’m sure you know) and I plan to purchase a larger cage when she gets toward adulthood. I think this cage is perfect for her size right now. It isn't too large for her and she appears confident exploring her surroundings.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Answer - I use a 25 watt, 18" Slimline compact T8 UVB fixture with the plastic cover removed. I also use a 25 watt daylight basking bulb in my mini halogen Slimline fixture, which keeps her basking temp at 92" 8-10" from the fixture. I can use up to a 50 watt mini halogen bulb bulb but that would make her basking spot much too hot. I have both lights set on an automatic timer with a 12 hour on and 12 hour off schedule. I use the automatic timer so she gets a very regular schedule without stress of my presence unnecessarily. I also have a spare bulb and fixture for emergencies. The bottom of her cage is regularly 72 degrees with the light on and drops to 68 at night.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Answer - Basking temp is regularly 92 degrees and is situated 8-10" from the fixture, so as not to burn her. I also have a spare bulb AND fixture for emergencies. The bottom of her cage is regularly 72 degrees with the light on and drops to 68 at night. I measure heat with a stationary thermometer at all times atop her cage as well as a spot check with a heat gun 3X per day. The temperatures have been steady and predictable.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Answer - I have a humidifier running next to her tank 12 hours a day and spray 5 times throughout the day to soak the substrate, vines, and plants. The humidity is regularly 50-60%. I am going to employ an automatic sprayer system when I get her a larger enclosure. I installed a humidity gauge behind her enclosure and below her basking spot, which I regularly check.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Answer - Fake plants which I sterilize weekly. I have one real collard green leaf near her basking area, which the water drips on to and from which she drinks. I replace the collard green leaf every other day.
  • 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?
  • Answer - The cage is situated in my dining room, which is the least used room in my home. I sit with my family for dinner daily and the enclosure sits atop our buffet as you can see in the photos. I will likely move it to the spare bedroom in our new home when we move later this year. The top of the cage is 6.5 feet from the floor. No air vents blowing nearby. There is a window behind her enclosure which I have covered with a thick curtain. I also put a thick screen on the back of her cage which cuts the draft completely.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
  • Answer - Suburb of Philadelphia, PA in the northeast US

  • If you see anything about my husbandry that could use some help please let me know. She seems green, active, and trusting for a veiled. I have owned very large coral reef tanks which involve very complex and fragile ecosystems so the research for this veiled chameleon doesn't seem too troublesome. But as a novice I am taking everything with an abundance of caution and joined these forums knowing that any rookie mistakes could spell trouble for my new little family member. Any advice you have to help me dial in my set up will be greatly appreciated. I do plan on moving her into a larger enclosure in the next few months and will take my time planning out the cage so it's not wildly different from her current enclosure, is easy to clean, and is practical.
 
Last edited:

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi Beman and thank you for volunteering your time and expertise to help new chameleon owners like myself! I didn’t have any specific questions or concerns but made a post to memorialize my experience as a first time chameleon owner. I removed the plastic cover from the UVB light before putting it on my cage. I read that the plastic covering can block a lot of the UVB so that was the first thing to go. I put a lot of the info you requested within my post but it looks like you're sending a standardized form so I'll go ahead and pop in the info you requested. Once again I can't thank you enough!

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - Female veiled chameleon approximately 5 months old and in my care for three weeks.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
    ANSWER- I held her once briefly when I put her in the new enclosure and once again yesterday when she voluntarily walked onto my hand to eat crickets. I have never grabbed her to pick her up. She often holds onto my fingers with her front hands while she eats crickets off my extended, steady, and flat palm.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
    Answer - The lights (heat and UVB) are both set on a timer and they turn on at 7AM daily. I allow my chameleon 3 hours of basking time to warm up before her first feeding. I keep live medium feeder crickets in a large Rubbermaid food grade container and feed the crickets a blended of escarole, small amounts of collard greens, spirulina algae, mixed colored carrots, butternut squash, and small amounts of blueberries, apple, and clementine. No grains. I put it in a blender and then freeze the mixture on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, I breka up the blend into bits and store it in a ziplock freezer bag. Every other day I move the feeders into a clean Rubbermaid container and give them new food with a water source. I get new feeders weekly and have them gut load for at least 24 hours prior to feeding to my chameleon. I will attempt to add brewers yeast to the mixture if further research confirms it’s safe.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Answer - I use only Repcal (phosphate free) Calcium without D3 daily. I dust half of my cham's crickets. Once every other week I dust half the crickets with Repcal Calcium with D3 and Reptivite multivitamin. She also eats shredded butternut squash, shredded carrots, small amounts of collard greens, and once a week I give her half a blue berry and small bits of apple (not on the same day). I keep her fruit consumption to a treat level only.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Answer - I use only gallons of bottled Spring water. I work full time from home so I can mist 5 times a day. The humidity never drops below 50% and is steadily at 50-60%. I also use a dripper as pictured and noted y in my post. I see my chameleon drinking several times a day. A humidifier is running 12 hours a day next to the enclosure, which she seems to enjoy but it's really for the comfort of the home.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • Answer - Brown poop about 1" in length with white matter, similar to that of a large bird. She defecates approximately once a day. The poop has not been tested for parasites but it seems to be solid and free of any visible worms or parasites. She is growing well and does not appear malnourished. Her coloration and activity isn't indicative of any stress.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
  • Answer- Purchased from my local pet store.

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Answer - I mentioned this in my post with photos also but I understand this is a standardized form and you’re trying to help out many people. Much appreciated! Reptibreeze Chameleon Kit 36” x 18”, 18”. It’s a screen cage (as I’m sure you know) and I plan to purchase a larger cage when she gets toward adulthood. I think this cage is perfect for her size right now. It isn't too large for her and she appears confident exploring her surroundings.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Answer - I use a 25 watt, 18" Slimline compact T8 UVB fixture with the plastic cover removed. I also use a 25 watt daylight basking bulb in my mini halogen Slimline fixture, which keeps her basking temp at 92" 8-10" from the fixture. I have both lights set on an automatic timer with a 12 hour on and 12 hour off schedule. I use the automatic timer so she gets a very regular schedule without stress of my presence unnecessarily. I also have a spare bulb and fixture for emergencies. The bottom of her cage is regularly 72 degrees with the light on and drops to 68 at night.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Answer - Basking temp is 92 degrees which is 8-10" from the fixture so as not to burn her. I also have a spare bulb and fixture for emergencies. The bottom of her cage is regularly 72 degrees with the light on and drops to 68 at night. I measure with a stationary thermometer at the top of her cage as well as a spot check with a heat gun 3X per day.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Answer - I have a humidifier running next to her tank 12 hours a day and spray 5 times throughout the day to soak the substrate, vines, and plants. The humidity is regularly 50-60%. I am going to employ an automatic sprayer system when I get the larger enclosure. I small humidity gauge situated behind and below her basking spot, which I regularly check.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Answer - Fake plants which I sterilize weekly. I have one real collard green leaf near her basking area, which the water drips on to and from which she drinks. I replace the collard green leaf every other day.
  • 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?
  • Answer - The cage is situated in my dining room, which is the least used room in my home. I sit with my family for dinner daily and the enclosure sits atop our buffet as you can see in the photos. I will likely move it to the spare bedroom in our new home when we move later this year. The top of the cage is 6.5 feet from the floor. No air vents blowing nearby. There is a window behind her enclosure which I have covered with a thick curtain. I also put a thick screen on the back of her cage which cuts the draft completely.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
  • Answer - Suburb of Philadelphia, PA in the northeast US

  • If you see anything about my husbandry that could use some help please let me know. She seems green, active, and trusting for a veiled. I have owned very large coral reef tanks which involve very complex and fragile ecosystems so the research for this veiled chameleon doesn't seem too troublesome. But as a novice I am taking everything with an abundance of caution and joined these forums knowing that any rookie mistakes could spell trouble for my new little family member. Any advice you have to help me dial in my set up will be greatly appreciated. I do plan on moving her into a larger enclosure in the next few months and will take my time planning out the cage so it's not wildly different from her current enclosure, is easy to clean, and is practical.
Perfect, thank you for adding it to the format. Makes it much easier for me to go through everything. So happy you knew to take the plastic cover off the UVB many don't and this leads to multiple health issue. Give me a bit and I will go through your form :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Andrew1283 I am going to put feedback and questions in bold for you. This is going to be a lot of feedback. Let me know what additional questions you have as well. I have to respond in two posts due to character count being limited.


  • Your Chameleon - Female veiled chameleon approximately 5 months old and in my care for three weeks. And you confirmed that there is no tarsal spur on the back of the hind feet, correct?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
    ANSWER- I held her once briefly when I put her in the new enclosure and once again yesterday when she voluntarily walked onto my hand to eat crickets. I have never grabbed her to pick her up. She often holds onto my fingers with her front hands while she eats crickets off my extended, steady, and flat palm. Perfect sounds like she is starting to trust you.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
    Answer - The lights (heat and UVB) are both set on a timer and they turn on at 7AM daily. I allow my chameleon 3 hours of basking time to warm up before her first feeding. I keep live medium feeder crickets in a large Rubbermaid food grade container and feed the crickets a blended of escarole, small amounts of collard greens, spirulina algae, mixed colored carrots, butternut squash, and small amounts of blueberries, apple, and clementine. No grains. I put it in a blender and then freeze the mixture on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, I breka up the blend into bits and store it in a ziplock freezer bag. Every other day I move the feeders into a clean Rubbermaid container and give them new food with a water source. I get new feeders weekly and have them gut load for at least 24 hours prior to feeding to my chameleon. I will attempt to add brewers yeast to the mixture if further research confirms it’s safe. I have added a gutload sheet below that will give you the items you can use and in what ratio they should be included... How much and how often are you feeding her?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Answer - I use only Repcal (phosphate free) Calcium without D3 daily. I dust half of my cham's crickets. Once every other week I dust half the crickets with Repcal Calcium with D3 and Reptivite multivitamin. She also eats shredded butternut squash, shredded carrots, small amounts of collard greens, and once a week I give her half a blue berry and small bits of apple (not on the same day). I keep her fruit consumption to a treat level only. So you do not want to feed her any fruit or veg. They are insectivores and even though Veileds will eat veg and fruit it is not recommended to give it to them. They will eat their plants to aid in digestion. Which is why all plants should be real veiled tested. With your supplements you need to dust all feeders given. This is to balance the phosphorus to calcium ratio of the feeder. And calcium without D3 is specifically important for growing chams to have strong development of their bones. So you should be doing calcium without D3 at every feeding then if your reptivite has D3 in it you would give this only 2 times a month say the first and the 15th. If your reptivite does not have calcium with D3 in it then you would rotate this week to week at 1 feeding with a calcium with D3. So that each are only given 2 times a month.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Answer - I use only gallons of bottled Spring water. I work full time from home so I can mist 5 times a day. The humidity never drops below 50% and is steadily at 50-60%. I also use a dripper as pictured and noted y in my post. I see my chameleon drinking several times a day. A humidifier is running 12 hours a day next to the enclosure, which she seems to enjoy but it's really for the comfort of the home. A few things here. You only want to mist morning and evening 2-5 minutes when the cage is at its coolest. Not throughout the day. And the humidifier should not be running during the day into the cage or that close to the cage. This should run at night only when temps are below 68. Running it during the day increases respiratory infection risk. Your daytime humidity should be 30-40% with a very max end of 50%. Night time it can be 80-100% but temps must be cool.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • Answer - Brown poop about 1" in length with white matter, similar to that of a large bird. She defecates approximately once a day. The poop has not been tested for parasites but it seems to be solid and free of any visible worms or parasites. She is growing well and does not appear malnourished. Her coloration and activity isn't indicative of any stress. A fecal test is recommended. If she were to have any parasites they would be too small for you to visually see.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
  • Answer- Purchased from my local pet store.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Andrew1283 Continued form review.

Cage Info:


  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Answer - I mentioned this in my post with photos also but I understand this is a standardized form and you’re trying to help out many people. Much appreciated! Reptibreeze Chameleon Kit 36” x 18”, 18”. It’s a screen cage (as I’m sure you know) and I plan to purchase a larger cage when she gets toward adulthood. I think this cage is perfect for her size right now. It isn't too large for her and she appears confident exploring her surroundings. You will need the adult cage size in the next month or so as you will need to add a lay bin as well as a permanent fixture. The cage you have is really meant for babies up to 3-5 months of age.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Answer - I use a 25 watt, 18" Slimline compact T8 UVB fixture with the plastic cover removed. I also use a 25 watt daylight basking bulb in my mini halogen Slimline fixture, which keeps her basking temp at 92" 8-10" from the fixture. I have both lights set on an automatic timer with a 12 hour on and 12 hour off schedule. I use the automatic timer so she gets a very regular schedule without stress of my presence unnecessarily. I also have a spare bulb and fixture for emergencies. The bottom of her cage is regularly 72 degrees with the light on and drops to 68 at night. So temps at basking are much too hot. Max 80 is what it should be ideally though your looking at 78 at basking for a female. This is due to temps and food intake impacting their clutch size. They lay infertile eggs like chickens. We want small clutches as this is easier on their body and does not deplete them or come with the risks that a large clutch does. Due to having the zilla UVB I am going to recommend you go buy a reptisun bulb that is the T8 10.0 strength. Basking would be about 7-8 inches below this bulb. The zilla ones do not give us the actual strength they are so the only way to know UVI output with these is with a solarmeter 6.5. For the adult cage I would recommend getting a T5HO fixture and a 5.0 or 6% bulb. Basking distance would be different for this one to get the correct UVI level at basking so let us know when you buy the fixture so we can give you details on that.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Answer - Basking temp is 92 degrees which is 8-10" from the fixture so as not to burn her. I also have a spare bulb and fixture for emergencies. The bottom of her cage is regularly 72 degrees with the light on and drops to 68 at night. I measure with a stationary thermometer at the top of her cage as well as a spot check with a heat gun 3X per day. Heat guns are not reliable they measure surface temp. Use a temp gauge with wired probe at the basking site to know your exact temp. See info above for temps.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Answer - I have a humidifier running next to her tank 12 hours a day and spray 5 times throughout the day to soak the substrate, vines, and plants. The humidity is regularly 50-60%. I am going to employ an automatic sprayer system when I get the larger enclosure. I small humidity gauge situated behind and below her basking spot, which I regularly check. See info above for misting and humidity. Make sure your not using just the analog gauge they are unreliable. I prefer the govee brand that works with an app on your phone. As long as it is not in a direct spray path they work wonderfully. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R586J37/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Answer - Fake plants which I sterilize weekly. I have one real collard green leaf near her basking area, which the water drips on to and from which she drinks. I replace the collard green leaf every other day. You need to replace all the fake plants with live plants that are veiled safe. Put 1 inch or larger rock on top of the soil. Veileds will chew on their plants Fake pose an impaction risk. https://chameleonacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Chameleon-Plants-122819.pdf
  • 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?
  • Answer - The cage is situated in my dining room, which is the least used room in my home. I sit with my family for dinner daily and the enclosure sits atop our buffet as you can see in the photos. I will likely move it to the spare bedroom in our new home when we move later this year. The top of the cage is 6.5 feet from the floor. No air vents blowing nearby. There is a window behind her enclosure which I have covered with a thick curtain. I also put a thick screen on the back of her cage which cuts the draft completely. Good just make sure she has 12 hours of light and 12 hours of total darkness.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
  • Answer - Suburb of Philadelphia, PA in the northeast US

  • If you see anything about my husbandry that could use some help please let me know. She seems green, active, and trusting for a veiled. I have owned very large coral reef tanks which involve very complex and fragile ecosystems so the research for this veiled chameleon doesn't seem too troublesome. But as a novice I am taking everything with an abundance of caution and joined these forums knowing that any rookie mistakes could spell trouble for my new little family member. Any advice you have to help me dial in my set up will be greatly appreciated. I do plan on moving her into a larger enclosure in the next few months and will take my time planning out the cage so it's not wildly different from her current enclosure, is easy to clean, and is practical. Remove all the substrate from the floor this is an impaction risk and will grow bacteria since it is not bioactive.
Accurate info and Product links for things I like:

https://chameleonacademy.com/

https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeptunetheChameleon?sub_confirmation=1

www.dragonstrand.com

https://tkchameleons.com/collections/accessories/products/shooting-gallery


Female specific info.
As she matures you will have to start cutting back her food. By about 6 months she should be getting about 5-8 small feeders each day. At about 7 months you want to slowly reduce by cutting down feeders so that she is on a feeding schedule of 3 days a week with 3 feeders. You want them to be on this schedule by the time they are 9-10 months old.


You will not want basking to be over 78-80 for her. Very important for females because as she ages she needs this temp no higher at basking to help control the amount of eggs she produces.

A lay bin should be added as a permanent fixture by the time they are 6 months old so they get used to it and it does not cause stress.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/egg-laying-and-the-laying-bin.345/

https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/laying-bin-set-up-educational-video.77225/

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Andrew1283

Established Member
@Andrew1283 I am going to put feedback and questions in bold for you. This is going to be a lot of feedback. Let me know what additional questions you have as well. I have to respond in two posts due to character count being limited.


  • Your Chameleon - Female veiled chameleon approximately 5 months old and in my care for three weeks. And you confirmed that there is no tarsal spur on the back of the hind feet, correct?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
    ANSWER- I held her once briefly when I put her in the new enclosure and once again yesterday when she voluntarily walked onto my hand to eat crickets. I have never grabbed her to pick her up. She often holds onto my fingers with her front hands while she eats crickets off my extended, steady, and flat palm. Perfect sounds like she is starting to trust you.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
    Answer - The lights (heat and UVB) are both set on a timer and they turn on at 7AM daily. I allow my chameleon 3 hours of basking time to warm up before her first feeding. I keep live medium feeder crickets in a large Rubbermaid food grade container and feed the crickets a blended of escarole, small amounts of collard greens, spirulina algae, mixed colored carrots, butternut squash, and small amounts of blueberries, apple, and clementine. No grains. I put it in a blender and then freeze the mixture on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, I breka up the blend into bits and store it in a ziplock freezer bag. Every other day I move the feeders into a clean Rubbermaid container and give them new food with a water source. I get new feeders weekly and have them gut load for at least 24 hours prior to feeding to my chameleon. I will attempt to add brewers yeast to the mixture if further research confirms it’s safe. I have added a gutload sheet below that will give you the items you can use and in what ratio they should be included... How much and how often are you feeding her?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Answer - I use only Repcal (phosphate free) Calcium without D3 daily. I dust half of my cham's crickets. Once every other week I dust half the crickets with Repcal Calcium with D3 and Reptivite multivitamin. She also eats shredded butternut squash, shredded carrots, small amounts of collard greens, and once a week I give her half a blue berry and small bits of apple (not on the same day). I keep her fruit consumption to a treat level only. So you do not want to feed her any fruit or veg. They are insectivores and even though Veileds will eat veg and fruit it is not recommended to give it to them. They will eat their plants to aid in digestion. Which is why all plants should be real veiled tested. With your supplements you need to dust all feeders given. This is to balance the phosphorus to calcium ratio of the feeder. And calcium without D3 is specifically important for growing chams to have strong development of their bones. So you should be doing calcium without D3 at every feeding then if your reptivite has D3 in it you would give this only 2 times a month say the first and the 15th. If your reptivite does not have calcium with D3 in it then you would rotate this week to week at 1 feeding with a calcium with D3. So that each are only given 2 times a month.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Answer - I use only gallons of bottled Spring water. I work full time from home so I can mist 5 times a day. The humidity never drops below 50% and is steadily at 50-60%. I also use a dripper as pictured and noted y in my post. I see my chameleon drinking several times a day. A humidifier is running 12 hours a day next to the enclosure, which she seems to enjoy but it's really for the comfort of the home. A few things here. You only want to mist morning and evening 2-5 minutes when the cage is at its coolest. Not throughout the day. And the humidifier should not be running during the day into the cage or that close to the cage. This should run at night only when temps are below 68. Running it during the day increases respiratory infection risk. Your daytime humidity should be 30-40% with a very max end of 50%. Night time it can be 80-100% but temps must be cool.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • Answer - Brown poop about 1" in length with white matter, similar to that of a large bird. She defecates approximately once a day. The poop has not been tested for parasites but it seems to be solid and free of any visible worms or parasites. She is growing well and does not appear malnourished. Her coloration and activity isn't indicative of any stress. A fecal test is recommended. If she were to have any parasites they would be too small for you to visually see.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
  • Answer- Purchased from my local pet store.
Beman thanks so much for the info! I will put it to use immediately :)
 

Andrew1283

Established Member
Beman thanks so much for the info! I will put it to use immediately :)
Hi Beman,

Just two quick questions. You recommended I switch the UVB bulb to this https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-t8-re...MIiKeqzfTz7gIVVweICR29AQqeEAQYASABEgK5C_D_BwE

Also if my daytime temp is regularly 70-75 degrees and you recommend that I provide a 78 degree basking temp for my female veiled to produce small clutches, how is that achievable? Maybe I can scrap this compact mini halogen fixture and use a full sized lightbulb in another dome-type heat lamp fixture. Or would the UVB put out enough heat to scrap the heat lamp all together? I’ll spot check the heat under the UVB fixture at 8” and report back.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi Beman,

Just two quick questions. You recommended I switch the UVB bulb to this https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-t8-reptisun-100-uvb/dp/126592?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=Zoo Med&utm_term=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiKeqzfTz7gIVVweICR29AQqeEAQYASABEgK5C_D_BwE

Also if my daytime temp is regularly 70-75 degrees and you recommend that I provide a 78 degree basking temp for my female veiled to produce small clutches, how is that achievable? Maybe I can scrap this compact mini halogen fixture and use a full sized lightbulb in another dome-type heat lamp fixture. Or would the UVB put out enough heat to scrap the heat lamp all together? I’ll spot check the heat under the UVB fixture at 8” and report back.
Yes with that 10.0 T8 bulb you want basking branch to be 7-8 inches below it sitting directly on the screen for the correct output of UVI.

With the heat your using the baby fixture. This typically will not provide the temps. I would increase to a regular dome dim-able fixture. Fukers makes one. Then get a regular incandescent white bulb 60-75 watt and you can dim this with this fixture to ensure the basking temp is correct for her. Make sure you have a wired temp gauge with probe at the basking branch to confirm accurate basking temp. Your looking for it to sit about 76-77 at the branch because as she rises up into it the temperature will increase.

Your T8 fixture has a low heat output. I doubt you will get temps you need with this fixture. T5HO fixtures produce more heat. I use 3 of these 1 with a UVB and 2 with plant lighting and I get an 82 degree temp below them.
 

Andrew1283

Established Member
Hey Beman check out the insane deal I got on a new 48”x24”x24” cage I got for my female Veiled! Arrives Thursday and I’m going to put live hanging pothole plants in there. I am going to get it all set up so I can move her in the new adult sized enclosure without unnecessary stress and use the Flukers dimmable fixture like you suggested so I keep her clutches small. Thanks for the info!
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey Beman check out the insane deal I got on a new 48”x24”x24” cage I got for my female Veiled! Arrives Thursday and I’m going to put live hanging pothole plants in there. I am going to get it all set up so I can move her in the new adult sized enclosure without unnecessary stress and use the Flukers dimmable fixture like you suggested so I keep her clutches small. Thanks for the info!
fantastic price.. The chameleon academy has a great link for a 2x2x4 set up. https://chameleonacademy.com/case-study-2-x-2-x-4-cage/
 

Andrew1283

Established Member
Hi there and welcome to the group. Beautiful looking Cham.
Thanks Mrjamwin! She is usually bright green and friendly when I hand feed her but when I clean or rearrange anythinh she shows me how annoyed she is. It’s cool to see her spots and stripes but I prefer my happy green Cham!
 

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Andrew1283

Established Member

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Just made my own cricket keeper. Cut the top out of a 2 gallon food grade Rubbermaid brand container and added pet safe screen with non toxic 2 part epoxy. Lots of room for about 50 crickets
That would be great for dubia. I would do the same thing but in a deep container like 1 ft tall. This would be better for crickets because they will bounce out of shallow containers.
 
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