My baby panther setup! Seeking answers/tips/advice

Hanzow

New Member
Just to preface this, some questions will be off topic, but I wanted to just cover all my topics at once.
New chameleon owner here. I've always wanted one growing up, but had everything but. My wife said she wanted one recently and said we could get one so I jumped on it. So we picked up a baby Nosy Be Panther from LLLReptile in Oceanside, Ca on 7/3/2013. They told me he was about a month old which I know is young, but really I wanted one as young as possible and I have the time to devote to him at this current juncture. I refer to him as male just in pure hopes... I'm well aware they cant be sexed this young, but he was bigger relatively speaking and he was displaying some colors so here's hoping. Typically I would seek out a breeder, but I figured this would be safe because they seemed reputable. Also, I chose them specifically because I felt funny about shipping a chameleon so I opted to drive 4 hours to check them out. Where I'm at there is only Petco and Petsmart so the choice was obvious... Anyway, their set up was very nice, they were very clean and their reptiles seemed healthy and happy so we went for it. I did my due diligence on the species ahead of time and picked up everything I thought I would need just to get started, but I've started second guessing myself so I'm seeking advice/tips/guidance just to firm things up. So here we go:

This is our little guy Brutus if it's a boy and Tagara if it's a girl. Only in this smaller container to feed.

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Question One: Lighting; I couldn't find any reviews on the Sunray. The idea seems great, but I can't help but doubt it now. I'm really just concerned for the little guys well being. So, any comments on the lighting?

Question Two: Feeding; LLL gave me some feeder crickets pin head to 1/4" and there are a few in there up to 1/2", but with his spacious cage and being as small as he is I don't even think they are on his radar most of the time. I tried hanging a cup, but he isn't long enough to reach in and I can't help him without making it easier on the crickets to escape which some can already jump out on their own. Then I had an idea to move him to a smaller enclosure to feed him which worked for two days then today he was too spooked to do anything and he seems kinda spooked at the crickets too. Plus I don't want to give him a stroke as he is terrified of me. So I'm starting to think maybe I should feed him something different, but LLL said only crickets until he is older. Any advice?

Question Three: Was I wrong to buy from LLLReptile? Opinions?(just out of curiosity)

Question Four: How is my setup based on the pictures and the list? Advice/tips?
I maintain 80 degrees in the middle, probably 90 degrees at the top in the basking spot. Highs and lows are as low as 77 and high as 87 in the middle. The top ranges are relative to the gap, probably 85 and 95. I've got the ranges honed down over the last few days so they are pretty consistent now. Moisture is anywhere between 50% and 80%. Higher when I mist obviously and it never gets lower than 50% before it gets misted. It's usually about 70%-75%. Still working on narrowing that down, but my misting system (ExoTerra Monsoon for the timer) hasn't arrived yet. When I get that it will be on probably every hour for 15 minute intervals.

This is my setup: 16.5Wx16.5Dx32H two sides glass two sides screen and screen top with Coco Soft substrate, potted ficus, Zoo Med repti rapids waterfall, a magnetic vine I can't find a good spot for, 70W Exo Terra Sunray Metal Halide bulb combo heat and UVA/B for daytime and 75W Night Vision night heat lamp for night time.

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Please be brutally honest on as many topics as possible. I really want to do this right.
 

Juancito

Member
There's two things id change as of now. First I think that 90 degree is too hot for em since its still so young the other thing is take out the substrate. If it eats it it can die. use paper towels or newspaper: easier and cheaper and id take out the waterfall. He's just going to poop on it so itll become invested with bacteria unless you clean it everyday. I'm sure their will be more people to give their input. You came to the right place :p
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
OK a lot of these questions and concerns I cannot answer as I have never had one this young, but with your set up you never want the basking area more than 84 degrees for a baby. Get rid of the night time bulb, chameleons need the complete darkness to sleep in and need a drop in temp to sleep well too, as long as it doesn't go below 65 degrees F at night. Get rid of the substrate too, don't want a risk of impaction. I would also get rid of the waterfall its a breeding ground for bacteria and chams are super sensitive to anything especially that young. I also think you have a female Nosy Be cham, though I would need a better picture of the base of his tail.

Also when they are that young I still think you can feed them worms and other things. As long as it's small enough. Try phoenix works and small silkies if you can. But they still need crickets as part of their diet or something with a hard exo skeleton.
 

Hanzow

New Member
I use the coconut substrate for moisture and the pieces are pretty big, plus he never goes anywhere near it. The waterfall is also for moisture and ambient noise (for me and him) and yes I keep it clean.
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
But the problem with having a substrate is they can swallow it when shooting at prey or will actively eat it. Coconut substrates also can be breeding grounds for mites and other insects.
 

Hanzow

New Member
Ok, I'll trust you on that. Should I use anything in its place? or just leave the bottom bare? Also, I think I'll remove the waterfall just to simplify things and I'll more closely monitor the basking temperatures. Thanks for the tips!
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
You can use paper towels to soak up water and make cleaning easier otherwise bare bottom is best
 

vgaines

Member
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/panther/

Welcome to Chameleon forums. You have found a great resource to help make sure your new baby is happy and healthy.

Above is the link to the panther care sheet. It will answer a lot of your questions.

:D

PS The waterfall would need to be cleaned and disinfected daily. Feeders will drown in it and the cham may poop in it. My veiled was drinking fom a fountain when I got him but had no problem getting what water he needed with a dripper and several mistings. If you like the sound of the waterfall run it outside of his enclosure which will help with relative humidity. JMO
 
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Hanzow

New Member
Only while they're young or always? The guy at LLL assured me that stuff was great, but I guess I kinda expected he would just be selling me on some stuff.
 
It would also be a good idea to take the light up a bit or the branches down a bit. Babies love to climb on the top of cages of they can reach and you it can make them prone to UVB burns. It won't necessarily happen but it's just something to be cautious about if your little one likes to climb on the top
 

Hanzow

New Member
Yeah in an attempt at lowering the basking spot temps I moved the light up about 5 inches and when I repot the plant and remove the substrate that should bring the ficus down a tad. Thanks!
 

Ashleigh

New Member
I agree with getting rid of the waterfall and the substrate for the reasons that have already been stated. I have my cage bare on the bottom with all the plants hanging because it makes for easy cleaning. It's covered with a fish tank background so the white board wont get stained. I used tree fern background that I attached with fish tank silicone and it keeps my humidity where I need it. I like the bendy vines you can get in the pet store and I attach them using gardening wire to the sides and it gives them plenty of climbing space. I also use a big dripper bottle that drips onto some leaves and my cham will take a shower under it for a few hours sometimes on top of the 4 5min misting's from my mistking. I'm not sure what you do for drainage, but for me I have multiple small holes in the bottom board of my cage (not big enough for bugs, only water) and a tray from LLL reptile under my cage which I drilled a hole for a bulkhead that attaches to a small piece of tubing that goes into a bucket under the stand. Works well for me! For feedings I gave my guy when he was little very small crickets, small silk worms, phoenix worms and small hornworms. Hope this helps and good luck!! OH and your cham looks like a girl to me :)
 

Hanzow

New Member
I've seen a bunch of colors on him(still hoping lol), but he keeps going back to that faded light color which makes me think female too. It's very confusing, I swear I see blues and greens, but other times only light. Today he saw himself when I put him in a smaller container to try to aid in the hunting process and he put on quite a display of dark stripes and spots. It's terribly hard to get a good picture too, what about this one? I'll try again tomorrow.

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Female?
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
Bulge always shows just harder to see when they are really young, like just out of the egg (I think).
 

Tapple

New Member
You came to the right forum for help.

I'd get rid of the combo heat and UVA bulb. There are a lot of bad reviews about them. Most recommend the long UV florescent tube type along with a separate heat lamp. Water fountain is a NO NO. Also, Watch the crickets! They will go after the lizard when it's sleeping at night time. Only put in a few at a time.
 

KingJulian

New Member
In my opinion, I would get rid of the waterfall, substrate, and night light...Chams need complete darkness to sleep. The light can keep him up which will result in him sleeping during the day and can lead to illness.
 

Hanzow

New Member
Ok! Just an update to the setup. I got the feeling you guys wanted me to take out the waterfall and CocoSoft substrate so boom done! Plant also repotted and cleaned. I backed off my combo lamp more in yet another attempt to lower the high temps a tad. If I can't bring the temps down I'm just going to downgrade to a long UVB bulb and keep my heat source. At night without the blue heat lamp the temp gets down to low 70s. Not sure how safe that is... The bulb isn't bright by any means. Very dim blue light. Still recommend I take it off?

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Update on feeding too. We are kind of extremely worried about our little guy. Moving him to a smaller container worked twice. However, he wouldn't eat yesterday and he wouldn't eat today though I did see him eat one cricket when I put him back in his cage. My next idea was to put the container in the cage with him to hopefully contain the crickets and he could go down there and hunt when he wants to so he wouldn't have a stroke from us handling him, but some crickets still got out... I'm kinda struggling with feeding at this point. I could really use some pointers.

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P.S. I picked up some small mealworms just so he hopefully eats something while I'm waiting for small silkworms to arrive. Ordering silk worms today.
 
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