My first reptile

Agathe00

New Member
Hello ! I got my first reptile a few days ago. It is a Chameleo calyptratus and it is a male. I dream of breeding reptiles and insects, I would like to give them the best life possible. So to start I got this beautiful chameleon. Of course, I read a lot but the theory is not the same as the practice haha. So I have some questions. First of all I'm not sure that the lamp I installed is far enough from the fence, how far should I put between the bulb and the fence? Also, I was told to give vitamins once every 10 days and calcium 2-3 times a week, can I put them in the insect food? How many insects should I give him per day, I read that I should give 6-7 crickets per day, 2-3 crickets per week and 1 to 3 other insects per week, is this correct? How often do chameleons poop? And finally he stays under the lamp a lot, flattening slightly, is this normal? In addition it is colored green with white and gray spots.
 

Fchamel

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi! Welcome to the forums!
Is this a baby you have gotten? If so, then they eat as much as they can. All you need to do is sprinkle supplement powder/grain over the bugs.

Are you using vitamin and calcium with or without D3? Calcium should be given every time you feed but it should be without D3.

It is normal for them to flatten when basking.

I would say it depends on how often your Cham is fed for how they poop. But, basking helps them digest food too. @AmandaS can probably add to this.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome! :) There’s a tremendous amount of wrong and outdated info on keeping chameleons out there. We pretty much go by the care guidelines found here https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/ which are the most accurate and up to date. Neptune the chameleon on YouTube is also great if you are a more visual learner.
We can certainly help you to make sure that you have everything as perfect as possible for your little man. I’ll answer your questions, but I think it would be best to review all of your care too. If you can answer the questions below in as much detail as possible and include some pics of your chameleon and entire enclosure, including the lights someone can check it for you and offer feedback as needed.
I’m not sure what you mean by ‘fence’. The distance from lights to basking branch depends on what type of uvb you are using. The standard is a linear T5HO fixture with either a ReptiSun5.0 or Arcadia 6% uvb bulb. Using that, you’d want your basking branch to be about 8-9” down from the light. Screw in uvb lights are not effective at any distance farther than 2” away, so they are not at all recommended. Your basking light will be about the same distance and you’ll need to try different wattages to get a basking temperature of around 80f. No lights at night and no heat unless your night time temps get below 60f.
For supplements, you’ll need a phosphorus free calcium without D3 to lightly dust the feeders at every feeding. Then there’s a couple of different ways for D3 and multivitamins. I prefer the easiest, which is Reptivite with D3 used for one feeding every other week. This provides all in one the multivitamins (including preformed vitamin A for eye health) as well as vitamin D3.
For feeders, you’ll want variety and have a few different staple feeders. I’ll attach feeder and gutload graphics below. Then you’ll need to feed the insects well so that they provide good nutrition for your cham. The orange cubes and other things like that will keep the bugs alive, but not very nutritious.
Here’s the husbandry questions for you.
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.

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Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
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Agathe00

New Member
Hello and thank you. This is a helmeted chameleon from Yemen, it's a male and I think it's a subadult (I don't know his age). I have had him for less than a week. I read that he's supposed to be pretty belligerent but he's very sweet, I'm not really handling him right now but he's already come on my hand willingly. I feed him about 10 crickets a day, I was thinking of giving him 3 locust a week or so and I was going to try to give him cockroaches or something. I give him his meal in two times by hand. I am French but you may know the brands. For calcium and vitamins it's the Trixy brand. I will give him calcium 2 or 3 times a week and vitamin about once a week. For the watering it is automatic, 3 times 2 minutes. There is also a drip system and I have seen him drink. His droppings have a fairly firm consistency

and are brown with a yellowish substance. As I have had him since very recently he has never been to the vet. It is winter so the lamp is on for eleven hours. His lounging spot is 72F. At its lowest point in the evening it is 60.8F. The humidity downstairs is about 60% and a little less in water.
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redhorse

Chameleon Enthusiast
1st- Welcome to the chameleon family.
2nd- Veiled (male) not helmet even though it has a conehead appearance.. (y)
Plus-- with your last entry and calcium/vits it is already wrong.. Someone is teaching you some not so correct stuff.
Other here will get you back on track..
Please listen to the experts here.
Plus, can you share a picture of it standing so we can see his legs.

Please don take my comments wrong- just want the best for you and your happy chameleon.
Enjoy!
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok, I do have some feedback for you. :)

Hello and thank you. This is a helmeted chameleon from Yemen, the common name is veiled chameleon. Helmeted chameleons are trioceros hoehnelli and are from Africa. it's a male His patterns do seem to indicate male and I think it's a subadult (I don't know his age). My guess would be at least 6 months old I have had him for less than a week. I read that he's supposed to be pretty belligerent but he's very sweet, They are known for having attitudes, but each is different I'm not really handling him right now but he's already come on my hand willingly. I feed him about 10 crickets a day, You will want to cut back on the amount as he gets older. Full adults should be fed about 3-4 feeders every other day or even 3 times a week. I was thinking of giving him 3 locust a week or so and I was going to try to give him cockroaches or something. He will enjoy the variety I give him his meal in two times by hand. It’s best to feed once early in the day to give him time to bask and digest.I am French but you may know the brands. For calcium and vitamins it's the Trixy brand. I don’t know those brands. You’ll want to use a calcium that does not have vitamin D3 for every feeding. I will give him calcium 2 or 3 times a week and vitamin about once a week. Very important - does the multivitamin have D3 in it? If it does, you’ll use that for one feeding every other week. If it does not, you’ll need to get a calcium that has D3. Then one feeding every week you’ll alternate between using the multivitamin and the calcium with D3. So weeks 1&3, you use calcium with D3 and weeks 2&4 you use the multivitamin. For the watering it is automatic, 3 times 2 minutes. Very good! There is also a drip system and I have seen him drink. His droppings have a fairly firm consistency

and are brown with a yellowish substance. As I have had him since very recently he has never been to the vet. I always think it’s a good idea for a wellness vet visit and have a fecal check for parasites. It is winter so the lamp is on for eleven hours. His lounging spot is 72F. This is too cool. Basking should be at least 80f and can be as high as 84-85f. At its lowest point in the evening it is 60.8F. The humidity downstairs is about 60% and a little less in water. This is a bit high. Ideal daytime humidity is between 30-50%.
Uvb is very important. As I said earlier, T5 with a 5.0 or 6% uvb bulb is the standard as it provides adequate levels at a good distance as well as gradients and it’s output is pretty reliable. Screw in uvb have no range beyond 2”. Mercury vapor bulbs output isn’t reliable and a solarmeter is needed to find the correct area for ideal UV index of 3. Without correct uvb and vitamin D3, your chameleon won’t be able to use the calcium you’re giving and can suffer metabolic bone disease.
Your enclosure looks good, but the green hammock and yellow cord could trap his claws and damage them. Branches and vines are much safer and more natural for him. Also, it looks like you have a hide for him at the bottom. Chameleons live in trees exclusively and will never use a hide. Unless you have a fully bioactive set up, a bare floor is best with no substrate. You’ll also want to replace all of the artificial plants with safe live ones. Veileds like to nibble their plants and have been known to eat fake leaves and become impacted, which is pretty serious and requires quick veterinary care. I would suggest getting a tall center plant, like a schefflera or ficus benjamina and then have a few other plants surrounding it. You want to create a little forest edge. I use my artificial plants on the outside of the screen to provide my chams with a sense of more privacy. I can’t determine from your pics the size of your enclosure, but for an adult male it should be as large as possible. The minimum would be an XL Reptibreeze (2x2x4’) or equivalent. As your humidity is a bit high, I’d stay with all screen for better air circulation.
Getting everything correct is a process and while it’s best to have everything completed as soon as possible, the most important to address right now are correct uvb and supplements and basking temp. Do make sure to check out the Chameleon Academy link I gave and fully explore the site. There is also species specific information there. I’m attaching a safe plant list.
Do please ask as many questions as you need. Many/most of us here love helping new keepers. 🙂
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Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
The enclosure should be up off the floor, preferably on 29"-30"H stand or table.

One of the most effective ways to give security to a chameleon is to arrange it so they can perch high up. If you are able to set their cage on a platform where their perch is at or, better, above eye level of the humans walking around, your chameleon will feel much more secure. Even with a perfect cage interior, resting the cage on the floor is the quickest way to have a nervous chameleon.

Perch height will determine how well your chameleon will tolerate people and pets milling around. It is amazing the difference being above the action will make.
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-cage-placement/
 
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