Naturalistic Hydration

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Credit: Petr Necas

The Naturalistic Approach in Humidity and water management unleashed

One of he most frequently discussed topic of chameleon husbandry is the water management...
What I want to focus now at is NOT a theory and it is NOT a technology. It is an important part of our Naturalistic Approach as it simulates perfectly what happens in the wild.
while at daytime, usually the humidity significantly drops to levels arouns 60-70% in dense rainforests and to even below 30% in the deserts, all at temperatures that are high. The only significant increase of humidity at daytime comes during the rains, but then, simultaneously, the temperatures drop dramatically too (due to cloud cover of the sun and due to temperature of the rain, which is usually in the 70s!)

This is what we must take into consideration and simulate in the captivity. It works, as it is natural!

It is of course much better than doing it differently, destroying natural cycles that chameleons are used to for tenths of millions of years and then compensate their discomfort with something else.

One example...
In the wild, chameleons are very rarely observed to drink... I was almost shocked two months back in Kenya, what the Jacksons chameleons did after 4 months drought with no single drop of rain... I was studying one of the populations and observed about 8 animals at one locality exactly at the moment when the first rain came.
What do you think the chams did?Run for water? Catching every single drop after thirsty 4 months?
NO!!!
They hide in the bushes and slept in!
Why?
Because they were perfectly hydrated and wanted to escape the rain!

Many chameleon species are considered heavy drinkers. Such as e.g. T. melleri. Nonsense. They do not drink for months in the wild, simply as there is nothing to drink! But, they perfectly hydrate at night breathing in moist air and fog, which is daily available.
In the captivity, people often let chameleons desiccate at night having night humidity levels low and then they come in with he false observation: they are heavy drinkers! They are not! They just have to compensate through drinking the wrong humidity regime of the captive care!
If you hydrate properly, you will see them reducing the water intake through drinking significantly to the spot when they might stop drinking at all!

To be safe, please provide anyway water in the form of drippers and mist if necessary (while switching off the heating lamps to avoid RI).

Now, is it a new approach?
NO.
First, chameleons do it for millions of years in their home-countries. Every day and every night.
And in captivity?
In indoor care, many (I am unhappy to say even a vast majority of) keepers destroy the natural humidity cycle in captivity, having the cages completely dry at night and misting at daytime only. Then they see chameleons heavily drink and often encounter health problems and disorders like bad shedding, infections of skin, eyes and respiratory tract...
Automatically, these colleagues who keep the chameleons outdoors, do it! Even though sometimes unknowingly.

Welcome to the world of highest standards of chameleon welfare delivered through the magic and logic of the NATURALISTIC APPROACH in their husbandry.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't think it's always as simple as following what happens in the wild. Trying to mimic the wild if you live in a cold climate doesn't really work because there is a chill in the air at night in the winter a sits not just like being cool. What I tried to do was whatever kept them healthy and live long lives....mostly through trial and error. I also considered that if they reproduced and the eggs had a high hatch rate and the babies I kept lived long healthy lives that what I was doing wasn't hurting them.

Keeping them outdoors in that fashion too I'm sure works depending on the clip ate you're doing it in. Here in Canada it's not that simple because we don't have hot summers all the time and spring and fall likely are too cool to keep them outside most of the time. So we make adjustments.

Petr said..."In indoor care, many (I am unhappy to say even a vast majority of) keepers destroy the natural humidity cycle in captivity, having the cages completely dry at night and misting at daytime only" ...guess I'm one of these people.

He said..."Then they see chameleons heavily drink and often encounter health problems and disorders like bad shedding, infections of skin, eyes and respiratory tract"...I don't think I ever had one chameleon develop a bad respiratory infection and the only ones that I had with eye issues (parasites, infections likely from their care before I got them, etc) or skin infections (CANV, pox virus, etc) were ones that came in with them because they were WC. Never had one with a shedding issue except for a couple of WC ones.

So people...it's just my opinion that there isn't just one answer. A adjustments have to be made in some circumstances. What works in one place might not work somewhere else.
 

Decadancin

Moderatoris Americanus
Staff member
I don't think it's always as simple as following what happens in the wild. Trying to mimic the wild if you live in a cold climate doesn't really work because there is a chill in the air at night in the winter a sits not just like being cool. What I tried to do was whatever kept them healthy and live long lives....mostly through trial and error. I also considered that if they reproduced and the eggs had a high hatch rate and the babies I kept lived long healthy lives that what I was doing wasn't hurting them.

Keeping them outdoors in that fashion too I'm sure works depending on the clip ate you're doing it in. Here in Canada it's not that simple because we don't have hot summers all the time and spring and fall likely are too cool to keep them outside most of the time. So we make adjustments.

Petr said..."In indoor care, many (I am unhappy to say even a vast majority of) keepers destroy the natural humidity cycle in captivity, having the cages completely dry at night and misting at daytime only" ...guess I'm one of these people.

He said..."Then they see chameleons heavily drink and often encounter health problems and disorders like bad shedding, infections of skin, eyes and respiratory tract"...I don't think I ever had one chameleon develop a bad respiratory infection and the only ones that I had with eye issues (parasites, infections likely from their care before I got them, etc) or skin infections (CANV, pox virus, etc) were ones that came in with them because they were WC. Never had one with a shedding issue except for a couple of WC ones.

So people...it's just my opinion that there isn't just one answer. A adjustments have to be made in some circumstances. What works in one place might not work somewhere else.

Agreed! This is not a one size fogs all answer. There is no one absolute when it comes to this, or any other topic.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I feel like @kinyonga follows me around to see what I'm going to say next so she can balance me out! lol

And I thank her for it!

I found it a bit annoying at first but now I can see that that is all she is trying to do, provide balance to what is usually a direct, heavy hand from me. And she does it well! I live somewhere similar to what would be considered "natural chameleon habitat" so I often forget to consider that their could be someone out there, god only knows where(like Canada!) reading my post. I've come to realize that the way she uses the forums is the purest sense of how a forum is intended to operate; multiple perspectives, usually conflicting!

I've actually come to enjoy her rebuttals, they force me to look at things from someone else's POV. She challenges, doesn't just automatically accept my thoughts as correct like many members here do. Its refreshing.

....honestly, even if I didn't like it id still owe her since I defiantly stole her whole "drop a knowledge bomb and run for it" approach to disseminating knowledge in a forum setting in broad daylight for the whole world to see!
 

salty dog

Chameleon Enthusiast
In the morning I turn my lights on I often see my chams slightly opening their mouths then swallowing, I think they are drinking moisture out of the air.. I could be wrong..
 

Mawtyplant

Chameleon Enthusiast
In the morning I turn my lights on I often see my chams slightly opening their mouths then swallowing, I think they are drinking moisture out of the air.. I could be wrong..

i think they are more like us and moving tongue (one of their most impressive/important muscles) to clean up saliva from the night and be ready to catch a morning prey ;) )
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Brodybreaux25 thanks for your long post there about me! :)

I do read everything you post... but then I read almost everything on here that everyone posts. I think we both keep people thinking...I hope! I also post a lot of sites because things that people say on here make me think and wonder about things and then I just have to learn about them for myself...and post things I find so it might help someone else learn to...or at least spark conversation.

I do try to show people that there is more than one side to the coin and it's important IMHO to look at it from both sides and to try to take into consideration the individuals situation in any answer. I'm sure I don't get it all right...but I do the best I can....as I'm sure @Brodybreaux25 is doing! I've been keeping chameleons (and many other reptiles) for over 30 years and I still have lots to learn.

@Brodybreaux25 said...I have a "drop a knowledge bomb and run for it" approach...I don't think I run from it"..do I??
Anyway...thanks for the post!
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
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