Meet Gus..please review my husbandry

Gusse_Gus

New Member
Hi All,

I am new to Chameleons but not new to reptiles as I grew up owning several large iguanas (over 15 years ago) so it has been a while. I am hoping someone can review my husbandry and let me know how I am doing and what needs to be changed. When we originally got Gus we were unsure if it was a Male or female and my kids named “him" but I am convinced Gus is a female. We are still calling her Gus…maybe Gusse :) .

I want to say thanks ahead of time and I can’t thank everyone on this forum enough as I have learned so much in a short period of time about caring for Gus.

Chameleon Info:

• Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? Gus is a piebald veiled chameleon who I think is around 3 to 4 months old. Pet store said she was about 2 months old when I bought her 3 to 4 weeks ago. After reading here I think Gus is a female but I am not 100% sure. It is hard to get a good picture of her back feet as she hates the camera.
• Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? We have handled Gus about once a week for the most part…other than the times I had to fix things in her cage and needed her out of it early on. So far she seems to not want to come out of her cage but is getting more tolerant to my hand going in to feed her and clean things up. She does not hide when I put food in anymore.
• Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? Since we got Gus, she has been eating between 15 to 20 small to medium sized crickets a day and maybe one or 2 wax works a week (she is not a big fan of the wax works). I ordered some horn worms to try, which will be here in a few days and tried to order roaches but they can’t ship to Florida. She is given crickets in the morning around 7am, more around noon time and sometimes a small snack when I get home from work around 5pm. I gut-load the crickets and wax worms with carrots, collard greens and apples. Getting a sweet potato this week to add to the gut loading. She started out eating from her food bowl hanging on the side by the basking spot but stopped and only eats the crickets if they are roaming around her cage. Seems to like the hunt and chase?
• Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? Currently dusting all feeders with repti calcium without D3 (came with cham kit) at every feeding and I am alternating every other week on Sundays between Flukers Repta calcium with D3 and reptivite (came with cham kit).
• Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? Gus has a little dripper on the top of her cage that drips several drips a min and ultimately ends up in one of the plants. I use distilled water. We also hand mist a few times throughout the day (if the kids and nanny remember) and also have a Mishking that mists at 2am for 30 seconds, 7:45am for 45 seconds, 345pm for 1 min 30 seconds and at 9pm for 30s. I see Gus drinking a lot…typically gets several drips from the dripper throughout the day now (at least on weekends when I am home and can watch).
• Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? Poops are fairly consistent about once a day oval in shape, brown in color and a white urate. Has not been tested for parasites.
• History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. I now have a large cricket cage too..haha. Surprisingly not a peep out of the crickets yet.

Cage Info:

• Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? I bought the cham kit because I didn’t know any better so Gus is in a 16x 16 x 30 reptibreeze screen cage. I guess it works for now. I have a 24 x 24 x 48 reptibreeze XL cage being delivered this week so I can plan and start building out her cage when she outgrows this one in a few months. This enclosure should also accommodate a lay bin too.
• Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? Originally started out with the kit lights but it only took a few days to upgrade. I am still using the daylight blue reptile bulb 60w for basking because my regular 45w bulb gets too hot. I quickly got a 24 inch linear t5 5.0 reptisun uvb bulb and I plan to replace every 6 months. Lighting schedule is on a timer from 7am to 7pm. I worry about the UvB getting to our eyes and skin causing skin cancer and eye damage so I wrapped and blocked areas the uvb bulb is exposed to people with tin foil (front side and cage overhang area). Any thoughts on this? The lights sit about 8 inches above the branches she mostly sits on. The lights are not hot on the back of my hand while underneath them and the screen is not hot to touch either.
• Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?. Basking site temp is 80 to 85ish. At night temp there was about 75 (just checked). I have the kit thermometer probe at the basking site. I am unsure about the floor temp but I am working on upgrading my thermometer and hygrometer so I will have two to play with.
• Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? During the day humidity is about 50 to 60% during non misting. Goes up slightly after misting but the cage dries out (other than the dripper) between misting during the day. It is measured by the cheap repti gage I wire attached to the back at the basking level. At night humidity seems slightly higher. I am considering a fogger for night too but have not gotten one yet.
• Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? My live plants are limited by space right now but they consist of a small pathos and a larger fiddleleaf fig (ficus lyrata) that she likes to sleep in and chase crickets around on. I have the fake stick type vines for climbing and basking on and 2 small fake vine type plants. The fake plants are used for her dripper to drip down. I see her drink off it all the time but I will eventually remove them as she gets bigger over the concern of eating them.
• 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? Cage is in a playroom that is not used too often by the kids on top of a bookshelf cabinet about 3 to 4 feet off the floor. No fans, one air vent on the other end of the room, top of the cage is about 6 feet off the floor. The cage is by a non direct sun window. Not a high traffic room but the hallway outside leads to the garage so I tend to keep the room door mostly cracked.
• Location - Where are you geographically located? I am on the west coast of Florida in the Bradenton/Sarasota area.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

I don’t have a current problem but I do have a few questions.

1. Am I feeding her too much at this point? I know I need to significant decrease around 6 months but should I start decreasing sooner?
2. Do you think there are any problems with my tin foil placement around the UvB bulb?
3. Do I want to change cages before she starts producing eggs to get her use to her new environment?
4. What is the best way to transition from one cage to the other when she outgrows it? Leave the doors open and see if she will explore by herself or just remove her and place in the new enclosure when it is time?
5. Does anyone know any experienced chameleon vets in the Bradenton/Sarasota area of Florida incase they are needed?
6. Any recommendations for a quality fogger if I really need one?
7. If I can get good pictures of her back feet, confirmation she is female would be appreciated.

Attached are pictures of current enclosure and a few pictures of Gus from the last couple days except the last picture is from the day we got her.
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ll put my feedback in red.
Chameleon Info:

• Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? Gus is a piebald veiled chameleon who I think is around 3 to 4 months old. Pet store said she was about 2 months old when I bought her 3 to 4 weeks ago. After reading here I think Gus is a female but I am not 100% sure. It is hard to get a good picture of her back feet as she hates the camera. Yes, you have a girl. I’m not good at guessing ages, but I’d say around 4 months looks right.
• Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? We have handled Gus about once a week for the most part…other than the times I had to fix things in her cage and needed her out of it early on. So far she seems to not want to come out of her cage but is getting more tolerant to my hand going in to feed her and clean things up. She does not hide when I put food in anymore. Building trust is a process.
• Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? Since we got Gus, she has been eating between 15 to 20 small to medium sized crickets a day and maybe one or 2 wax works a week (she is not a big fan of the wax works). I ordered some horn worms to try, which will be here in a few days and tried to order roaches but they can’t ship to Florida. Discoid roaches are legal in Florida. She is given crickets in the morning around 7am, more around noon time and sometimes a small snack when I get home from work around 5pm. Is best to feed early in the day so she’ll have time to bask and digest properly. I gut-load the crickets and wax worms with carrots, collard greens and apples. Getting a sweet potato this week to add to the gut loading. Good start. Will attach gut loading infographic. She started out eating from her food bowl hanging on the side by the basking spot but stopped and only eats the crickets if they are roaming around her cage. Seems to like the hunt and chase? Well, yeah...it’s more fun! Just make sure to put a little piece of greens or veggie to feed any stray crickets so they won’t bite her.
• Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? Currently dusting all feeders with repti calcium without D3 (came with cham kit) at every feeding and I am alternating every other week on Sundays between Flukers Repta calcium with D3 and reptivite (came with cham kit). Perfect!
• Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? Gus has a little dripper on the top of her cage that drips several drips a min and ultimately ends up in one of the plants. I use distilled water. We also hand mist a few times throughout the day (if the kids and nanny remember) and also have a Mishking that mists at 2am for 30 seconds, 7:45am for 45 seconds, 345pm for 1 min 30 seconds and at 9pm for 30s. I see Gus drinking a lot…typically gets several drips from the dripper throughout the day now (at least on weekends when I am home and can watch). You really only need to mist around 3 times a day for at least 2 minutes.
• Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? Poops are fairly consistent about once a day oval in shape, brown in color and a white urate. Has not been tested for parasites. Is always a good idea to have a fecal checked for parasites.
• History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. I now have a large cricket cage too..haha. Surprisingly not a peep out of the crickets yet.

Cage Info:

• Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? I bought the cham kit because I didn’t know any better so Gus is in a 16x 16 x 30 reptibreeze screen cage. I guess it works for now. I have a 24 x 24 x 48 reptibreeze XL cage being delivered this week so I can plan and start building out her cage when she outgrows this one in a few months. This enclosure should also accommodate a lay bin too. Awesome!
• Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? Originally started out with the kit lights but it only took a few days to upgrade. I am still using the daylight blue reptile bulb 60w for basking because my regular 45w bulb gets too hot. You could move the 45w further away if possible. Colored lights not recommended I quickly got a 24 inch linear t5 5.0 reptisun uvb bulb and I plan to replace every 6 months. When it’s time to replace you may want to switch to an Arcadia 6% which is good for a year.Lighting schedule is on a timer from 7am to 7pm. Perfect I worry about the UvB getting to our eyes and skin causing skin cancer and eye damage so I wrapped and blocked areas the uvb bulb is exposed to people with tin foil (front side and cage overhang area). Any thoughts on this? None. Never thought about it The lights sit about 8 inches above the branches she mostly sits on. The lights are not hot on the back of my hand while underneath them and the screen is not hot to touch either. Good
• Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?. Basking site temp is 80 to 85ish. At night temp there was about 75 (just checked). I have the kit thermometer probe at the basking site. I am unsure about the floor temp but I am working on upgrading my thermometer and hygrometer so I will have two to play with. You got it right
• Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? During the day humidity is about 50 to 60% during non misting. Should be a bit lower...30-50% is recommended Goes up slightly after misting but the cage dries out (other than the dripper) between misting during the day. It is measured by the cheap repti gage I wire attached to the back at the basking level. At night humidity seems slightly higher. I am considering a fogger for night too but have not gotten one yet. Humidity can go as high as 100% at night when it’s cool.
• Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? My live plants are limited by space right now but they consist of a small pathos and a larger fiddleleaf fig (ficus lyrata) not sure about the safety of this one that she likes to sleep in and chase crickets around on. I have the fake stick type vines for climbing and basking on and 2 small fake vine type plants. The fake plants are used for her dripper to drip down. I see her drink off it all the time but I will eventually remove them as she gets bigger over the concern of eating them. The sooner the better
• 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? Cage is in a playroom that is not used too often by the kids on top of a bookshelf cabinet about 3 to 4 feet off the floor. No fans, one air vent on the other end of the room, top of the cage is about 6 feet off the floor. The cage is by a non direct sun window. Not a high traffic room but the hallway outside leads to the garage so I tend to keep the room door mostly cracked.
• Location - Where are you geographically located? I am on the west coast of Florida in the Bradenton/Sarasota area.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

I don’t have a current problem but I do have a few questions.

1. Am I feeding her too much at this point? I know I need to significant decrease around 6 months but should I start decreasing sooner? Not yet...she’s still got some growing to do.
2. Do you think there are any problems with my tin foil placement around the UvB bulb? As long as it isn’t blocking her from getting it. My concern would be blocking the fixture vents and it overheating.
3. Do I want to change cages before she starts producing eggs to get her use to her new environment? Yes. Moving her at any stage will cause some stress, so why wait. Is good to give her time to get comfortable before needing to lay eggs.
4. What is the best way to transition from one cage to the other when she outgrows it? Leave the doors open and see if she will explore by herself or just remove her and place in the new enclosure when it is time? You could place the old in front of the new and place a stick between them and wait. Or you could gently move her along with whatever she’s perched on.
5. Does anyone know any experienced chameleon vets in the Bradenton/Sarasota area of Florida incase they are needed? I’m in central Florida and know of several in this area, but not yours.
6. Any recommendations for a quality fogger if I really need one? I just got a cheap human cool mist humidifier from Walmart.
7. If I can get good pictures of her back feet, confirmation she is female would be appreciated.
 

Gusse_Gus

New Member
Thank you for all the feed back and confirming Gus is a girl. I guess Gus can be a girl's name too. I definitely have some more work and some changes ahead of me. I will make the changes as you suggested with her feeding schedule and misting schedule. I will try to find some discord roaches to use as feeders too. Any suggestions on places in Florida that might ship discord roaches?

I originally wanted an Arcadia light but I ordered the reptisun because it shipped and arrived next day and I ended up with 2 extra bulbs for it. When I work my way though those I will plan to change to an Arcadia light. I dont have a good way right now to raise the basking light and for some reason the 45w bulb was heating to mid 90s even when i lifted it up a bit. I just couldn't get the temp down with it. Another thing I will keep playing with.

Her new enclosure arrives tomorrow so I will start building it out and plan to transfer her as soon as everyone is ready. I want to put some real tree branches in instead of the fake vines. Does anyone know if Oak tree branches are safe to use? Should i start with live brances or already dead branches?

When I went plant shopping I could not find any of the plants on the list I have seen circulating here other than the pathos . I thought i saw the fiddleleaf fig listed on a website that was safe for Chameleons but I can't find that now so i wont transfer it to her new enclosure unless someone can confirm it is safe to use. I will keep looking and take it out if i find it is not safe.

One last question. I have noticed over the last week that she has started going to her usual sleeping spot an hour or so before her lights shut off. She found a stick under one of the big leaves from the fiddleleaf fig (a very cute spot I think). When I check on her she is curled up with her eyes open but I have seen her fall asleep 15 or 20 min before the lights actually shut off. Is this ok or a bad sign of sleeping during the day when she should not be?

Thanks again for all help.
 

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mujino

Established Member
Hi and welcome to the forum!

Does anyone know if Oak tree branches are safe to use? Should i start with live brances or already dead branches?

Dried (dead) oak - or any hardwood - is safe(r). If it's live then you'll have sap and/or outgassing so it's best to stay away from "live but dying" branches in general. Kudos on your thorough husbandry explanation and your new girl. :)
 

Gusse_Gus

New Member
Hi and welcome to the forum!



Dried (dead) oak - or any hardwood - is safe(r). If it's live then you'll have sap and/or outgassing so it's best to stay away from "live but dying" branches in general. Kudos on your thorough husbandry explanation and your new girl. :)

Thanks for the reply. I will stick to already dead branches and clean them as I have seen recommended here.
 
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