Meet Carl...

Shuladog

Member
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Hello All,

First off I would like to say thank you to everyone that pours their knowledge and patience into this site, it has been very helpful!

I started considering a chameleon as a gift for my 12 year old son, back in November. He is an old soul very generous and responsible. I did a ton of research and thought that I wanted to get a Panther. We visited several pet stores and reptile shops and found chameleons in very different conditions. None of which I really believed were good. I also scoured the internet and found several reputable breeders.

In my research I found Dragon Strand cages and decided that was the way I wanted to go. I contacted Bill Strand and he was very helpful, however he advised that the specific cage that I wanted would not be able to ship in time for Christmas arrival.

The logistics to have the cage here and ready for a Christmas Chameleon was going to be very difficult, especially since I wanted the gift to be a surprise.

I had decided that I was just going to order the Dragon Strand cage and put a small Reptibreeze under the tree without a lizard. And then keep my fingers crossed that my son would not be too disappointed with a gift that was still in the process of being collected.

I was just about to push the button to order the cage when my wife told me that she had found a complete set-up on Craigslist, including a Veiled Chameleon. I checked the add and found that not only was the set up complete it included a Dragon Strand cage...WOW!! It was meant to be.

We met with the seller who told us that her teenage son had purchased Carl back in October from PetCo. He had bought the complete set including a small Exoterra glass sided cage. When they realized that the cage was way too small they went all in and bought a Dragon Strand. They set the cage up with the best intentions and recommendations from PetCo. But they soon found that the bamboo branches were too slippery for Carl to hang onto. They wrapped the branches in cloth so he could hang on. They placed a small plastic plant in the bottom of the cage and hot glued plastic plants to the side of the screen. They had placed a dripper on top of the cage and zip tied the tube to one of the bamboo branches. They told us that they had quit misting him because he didn't seem to like it. They fed him crickets and meal worms dusted with calcium. They ran a heat lamp 24/7 and had a Reptisun compact for UVB. They also had a red bulb to run at night.

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(This is what the cage looked like when we got it)

The teenage son had become very busy and seemed to have lost some interest in the chameleon so his mother had taken over most of the daily care. They had named the Chameleon Carl after the character in the Walking Dead, of which I am a big fan...another sign!

When we arrived to visit we found that the cage and surroundings were very clean but Carl was a lot bigger than I had expected (they estimated him to be 5 months old). We asked if he was handled much and they told us that he was pretty cranky so...no. He seemed thin but not desperate. When we asked why they were selling Carl she told us, "Carl can do better." We offered them $200 for everything and they accepted. We had our Christmas Carl (pun intended)!

My wife and I kept the cage in our bedroom for the next two weeks. I put a sign up on the door that read "DO NOT ENTER!! IF YOU COME IN, CHRISTMAS WILL BE CANCELLED!!" It worked, no kids in the bedroom!!

Christmas finally came and my son was very excited to get his Chameleon. We reconstructed his cage with branches from local trees and some plants from the nursery. We gave him three Pothos, a Shefflera, and a Ficus. We ordered and installed a Mistking. I contacted Todd at Light Your Reptiles and he recommended the 24" double T5 fixture which we purchased. I then ordered the Drip Easy Drainage System from Dragon Strand.

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(This is what it looks like now)

Carl is doing great at least it appears so to my untrained eye. We have not had reptiles before and a Chameleon is really our only interest in that realm. Today we are feeding Carl crickets, Dubias, Superworms and Hornworms. We are supplementing with calcium w/o D3 daily, multivitamin and calcium with D3 on alternating Sundays. He is misted 5 times a day with most sessions being 4 minutes. We still run the dripper as well but we rarely see him drink. He munches on the Pothos occasionally and sometimes tries to eat some dirt from between the rocks in the pots (which worries me). Poo looks good...firm with white urates. His basking bulb is close to his perch but it is only a 50 watt bulb and temp is about 85 up there. Other temps in the cage are around 75 dropping down to about 65 at night. It's hard to keep the humidity above 40 especially with dry, cold weather.

I would like to give special thanks to Bill Strand (Dragon Strand), Todd Goode (LightYourReptiles.com) and Olimpia (MuchAdoAboutChameleons). This jump into the Chameleon world has been a great father/son experience and is something that we talk about together every day!

Any suggestions and/or input would be greatly appreciated.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would put a horizontal branch below the basking light about 8 inches down or so, so he can bask his whole body under the light comfortably.
 

Peachypink

Chameleon Enthusiast
Nice job! I'm sure he appreciates that he can get a full nights sleep now with no more lights to bother him and that he has a nice full cage with places to hide.
 

Alexander1

Avid Member
Nice! I learned through trial an error all the brands mentioned above are the best of the best, Arcadia,mistking,and dragon strand should be better known! A quick tip for the dirt, chameleons may be eating dirt as done in nature to get minerals and nutrients they need to thrive, in captivity many keepers try and avoid allowing their chams eat dirt, placing some flat rocks to cover the exposed dirt will do the trick. That's why it's important to repott the plants with organic soil, in case your Cham does end up somehow getting into the dirt. Fertilizers and other things added to potting soil may cause some harm to your Cham like impactions and such.. congrats on your new Cham, can't wait to hear about your second one.... oh there will be a second one.
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
What do you gutload with? I just didn't see it mentioned. It is likely he may be trying to make up for a vitamin/mineral deficiency when he was being not greatly cared for, I am very glad the people sold him to you though and did it because they had his best interest at heart. That shows a huge amount of maturity for them, because they realized they were not the right people. Gutload is a great way to boost the powdered supplements (and should make up most of the nutrition of the insects) and will be a quicker way to get his general vitamin/minerals where they need to be. Can you post any pictures of his entire body and a few close ups of his limbs just for a quick over view? You may not notice something we might so if it's a less major issue we can point it out and you can get on top of it before it becomes a very bad issue. Otherwise I definitely love the upgrade <3 he deserves it and that pothos will fill in the bare spots really quickly. I do agree a few extra branches just scattered through out the cage will make it easier for him to get around and minimize screen climbing. But generally I would recommend adding things a bit slowly, maybe add a couple branches and then a couple more in a week and he should be good. Just to cut down on stress. Little man is lucky for sure ^^ kudos to you for the amazing amount of research you have done before getting him <3
 

Shuladog

Member
Nice! I learned through trial an error all the brands mentioned above are the best of the best, Arcadia,mistking,and dragon strand should be better known! A quick tip for the dirt, chameleons may be eating dirt as done in nature to get minerals and nutrients they need to thrive, in captivity many keepers try and avoid allowing their chams eat dirt, placing some flat rocks to cover the exposed dirt will do the trick. That's why it's important to repot the plants with organic soil, in case your Cham does end up somehow getting into the dirt. Fertilizers and other things added to potting soil may cause some harm to your Cham like impactions and such.. congrats on your new Cham, can't wait to hear about your second one.... oh there will be a second one.

I did re-pot with organic soil before I put the plants in. I'm a little less worried about that since I listened to Strand's pod cast interview with John Courteney-Smith. If I understood him right... it is fairly common and as long as the soil is organic there should not be a problem with impaction. So now should I take the rocks out of the pots? I don't think he would swallow a rock that he accidentaly got in his mouth....would he?

A second one would be fun, for sure, but we will have to wait and see how well we do with this one. It sure would be fun some day to have a mated pair and raise some little ones.
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
I wouldn't take the rocks out,you don't want to encourage huge amounts of eating soil. If they grab some every now and then it's less worrisome, but also just sitting there eating it is something to definitely be worried about for more reasons than just impaction. You have to worry more about impaction when reptiles in general are babies.
 

Shuladog

Member
What do you gutload with? I just didn't see it mentioned. It is likely he may be trying to make up for a vitamin/mineral deficiency when he was being not greatly cared for, I am very glad the people sold him to you though and did it because they had his best interest at heart. That shows a huge amount of maturity for them, because they realized they were not the right people. Gutload is a great way to boost the powdered supplements (and should make up most of the nutrition of the insects) and will be a quicker way to get his general vitamin/minerals where they need to be. Can you post any pictures of his entire body and a few close ups of his limbs just for a quick over view? You may not notice something we might so if it's a less major issue we can point it out and you can get on top of it before it becomes a very bad issue. Otherwise I definitely love the upgrade <3 he deserves it and that pothos will fill in the bare spots really quickly. I do agree a few extra branches just scattered through out the cage will make it easier for him to get around and minimize screen climbing. But generally I would recommend adding things a bit slowly, maybe add a couple branches and then a couple more in a week and he should be good. Just to cut down on stress. Little man is lucky for sure ^^ kudos to you for the amazing amount of research you have done before getting him <3

I have been gutloading the Dubias with oranges, apples and collard greens. The crickets I have been giving collard greens, carrot, and some Fluker's Orange Cube (complete cricket diet). The hornworms are just getting whatever that stuff is in the cup with them and I'm not gut loading the supers. I figure they are eating the bran that they are packed with??

I raised a limb higher for him to bask on based on Carol's comment and I will now definitely need to add some more in the mid section of the enclosure.

Here are some more pics including his limbs as you requested...
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Thanks Andee for taking the time!
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
His forelimbs show general signs of mild metabolic bone disease. Which may be why he's searching for minerals in dirt. I would recommend getting him a vet appt and looking into liquid calcium. His gutload needs a good dry gutload. I recommend two, preferably three high quality commercial gutloads, repashy has a couple and bug buffet is a good one too, you want a really strong one to mix with one with less vitamins added to it. Get rid of the Fluker's pretty much useless other than for moisture and the insects are getting plenty of that from the veggies/fruit. Super worms can be gutloaded with root veggies, sweet potato and carrots, etc. And they also do well with their bran bedding being mixed with a dry gutload.
 

Shuladog

Member
His forelimbs show general signs of mild metabolic bone disease. Which may be why he's searching for minerals in dirt. I would recommend getting him a vet appt and looking into liquid calcium. His gutload needs a good dry gutload. I recommend two, preferably three high quality commercial gutloads, repashy has a couple and bug buffet is a good one too, you want a really strong one to mix with one with less vitamins added to it. Get rid of the Fluker's pretty much useless other than for moisture and the insects are getting plenty of that from the veggies/fruit. Super worms can be gutloaded with root veggies, sweet potato and carrots, etc. And they also do well with their bran bedding being mixed with a dry gutload.

Thank you! Can you explain what you see in forelimbs?
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
He has a lot of swelling in them, which is usually a sign of mild MBD with the way the swelling shows in his legs. But also in one of his back legs and his front left leg there are very obvious bends. They aren't huge, more like he has had some mini fractures over and over in the same places. It doesn't seem like he has fallen. And from the looks of it he has a good grip at the moment which is great because that shows the MBD isn't too bad. If you take him to the vet he may also benefit from a small amount of d3 in shot form. I could show some picture of my recent girl who has MBD that has been in rehab for just under two years now, but she has much worse symptoms than your guy has.
 

Shuladog

Member
He has a lot of swelling in them, which is usually a sign of mild MBD with the way the swelling shows in his legs. But also in one of his back legs and his front left leg there are very obvious bends. They aren't huge, more like he has had some mini fractures over and over in the same places. It doesn't seem like he has fallen. And from the looks of it he has a good grip at the moment which is great because that shows the MBD isn't too bad. If you take him to the vet he may also benefit from a small amount of d3 in shot form. I could show some picture of my recent girl who has MBD that has been in rehab for just under two years now, but she has much worse symptoms than your guy has.

Thanks, I would love to see the pics.
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
First one is when I first got her, in the year 2015 around November. Second one was around Feb 2016. And the third is today, 2/5/2017. The changes in her forelimbs are slightly hard to see for those who do not know MBD well and do not know how severe her case was. She had a catch net and I was regularly placing her back on her branches every time she fell on it. I also have to have a very specific way her vines etc. was set up in the first 3-6 months just so she could get around safely. In the last picture, if you look carefully, you can see some straightening of her forelimbs and she her general personality is more chameleony and just more healthy.
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