Keeping outside in California


Hello All,

This will be my first post of many, but this has been haunting the back of my mind for roughly a few months now. So my question is.. Will it be safe to keep my chameleons outside in the Inland empires yearly temperatures? I live in riverside county so I am more inland than most named keepers I see which reside in more coastal climates, during the summer times we can see temps as high as 118 degrees or low drops in the winter around 20 degrees which is below freezing temps. The species I keep are furcifer pardalis and trioceros jacksonii xantholophus, I currently keep them indoors but I am always told how much more they thrive outdoors and I would love to give them that extra boost.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


Established Member
I live in the SGV with similar, but not as extreme temps. I see 110+ every year and recently a lot of freezing or near freezing temps.

I keep all my chams outside as much as possible. The montane species I have had to bring inside many nights this year. The panthers I bring in every night that drops below 60, so a lot of months during the year. I myself find cold MUCH harder to deal with than heat. Even in August with 110+ I could keep a large section of my backyard (the part in heavy shade) around 75 degrees, quadrupled my water bill, but kept things cool. The summer problem for montane species is the nighttime drop, much harder at night to use water alone for temp control, needed commercial foggers and often constant misting to get the air temps down 15 degrees below true temp. The panthers LOVE the summer, I place them so that the cages get full light exposure on the front of the cage (gets pretty warm when its 110 outside), but the rear of the cage is in full shade (lucky to have some nice trees that allow this), the shade area is where the montane species are, so the temp is 75 degrees due to all the water (Cameroon after all gets 400 inches a year).

All of the cages are very heavily planted I have to hunt them down to feed them, or just look at them, but it helps with the temp gradients and keeps the humidity up (that may be your problem since you are in a much more desert environment in Riverside county).

The chams are doing great, and for that reason it's well worth the effort and money require to due it.

The down-side is that I worry about the weather constantly, I am always checking the temp/humidity in some area of my yard, In the summer I don't go anywhere in the daytime because I worry about the montane area getting 80 degrees so I always have a backup/extra method (Swamp coolers that I use during Santa Ana wind conditions (another problem, I have had cages blow 20 feet and blow apart (now have a 5 gallon bucket of sand in all cages with females and Tecate stone (real rocks that look like they are made of cement, but with lots of nooks and crannies) with plants in them in the males cages)

It's a ton of work, and this year it is beating me up pretty good, but I have a lot of little chams to show for my work, so I'm happy. As for your question? I would say put them outside as often as you can, keeping in mind the different requirements of Jacksons and Panthers, as I said my panthers are inside below 60 at night and below 75 daytime. My montanes were outside on a night forecast to be 42 degrees (about as low as I like), when I checked the temperature at 3:30 AM it was 33.1 degrees I freaked out ran outside and started moving cages in, by the time I was done it was 29.5 degrees and I was breaking sheets of ice on the tables the cages were on, I'm surprised that my tears weren't freezing as they ran down my face. Hence my obsession with the weather, you can't trust forecasts. If YOU can handle the mental/emotional stresses AND don't make any mistakes (move them in late on a 19 degree night or some other instance of "human error"), you will definitely see a difference in your chams.


Established Member
I’m in so cal my self but I’m in the desert so I see 120 like nothing but if you get outside thermometers and when the temps are ok you can put them outside and also get double the cages so you don’t have to take cages outside you’ll have outdoor cages and indoor cages that’s how I do it and you’ll see how different natural sun makes them comared to artificial it’s cool they love it
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