Need Help with Jackson Babies

Muttley

New Member
We are new to having a Jackson's Chameleon, three weeks into it now. Came home yesterday and apparently our girl was pregnant when we got her. I now have 7 bundles of joy and I have no idea what I am doing. So, I looked around here a little bit, watched some videos, and I think I have a basic understanding of that is needed, but there are some details I am still somewhat unsure of.

So what have I done so far? I have separated them from mom, and I have them in a 18x18 enclosure, screen on the top and vents in the front. I have a UVB light overhead and a heat lamp which I really don't use. I have the humidity around 80% all the time, and the temp is about 74ish without any input from me. I have a very nice live plant in there with them. lots of places to crawl, hang out bask, and hide. I bought every fruit fly I could find in a two-county area. They have what I think is an abundance of flies in there with them now. I am misting regularly with a spray bottle and there are a lot of water droplets for hydration.

So, all must be good in paradise, right? Not really sure. First, they looked a lot better yesterday than they do today. Seems yesterday they had a more natural color to them, where today they are dark. Maybe too dark but I don't know. They'll change color every once in a while, but mostly they remain a dark gray/dark brown. Not a whole lot of color variation. Secondly, they are trying to eat, at least a few are, but they haven't quite figured out their range yet. However, there are a couple who seem to have no interest in doing much of anything at all. Sure, they'll move from leaf to leaf and whatnot. And it seems like any other new born creature, they tend to nap a lot. I guess I am worried about them eating or drinking, and how long can they go without and is this normal behavior? I figure with a million years of evolution behind them they'll certainly figure it out the eating and drinking part, but if there is something I need to do to create the right environment, I want to make sure I am.

If you have any tips or suggestions, let me know. Admittedly, this is a little bit overwhelming and an unplanned circumstance I find myself in.

Thanks,

Mutt
 
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carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
wow, what an unwelcome little suprise I guess. Honestly, no they should not be sleeping. Chameleons do not sleep during the day, not even the babies, so that is not a good sign. It could be too hot, the light may too intense, etc What temps do you have going on in the bin? You need a UVB light. You said you have uva and heat. Heat and uva are one in the same.
 

Muttley

New Member
wow, what an unwelcome little suprise I guess. Honestly, no they should not be sleeping. Chameleons do not sleep during the day, not even the babies, so that is not a good sign. It could be too hot, the light may too intense, etc What temps do you have going on in the bin? You need a UVB light. You said you have uva and heat. Heat and uva are one in the same.
I've gone through so many lights in the last couple of weeks I can't keep them straight. Right now I am using only a 26W 5.0 UVB CFL light. I am not using the heat at all, it stays 74F all on it's own.

I didn't think it was overly "bright", should I back the light off a little bit, create more distance between their perches and the UVB light?

Oddly enough, when I discovered the newborn's yesterday, they were clinging to the top of their mother's enclosure right under the lights. It was kind of creepy seeing them hang there, and impressive at the same time since they were only a few hours old at that point. That also seems to be the last time they looked really good too.
 

DeremensisBlue

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
I've gone through so many lights in the last couple of weeks I can't keep them straight. Right now I am using only a 26W 5.0 UVB CFL light. I am not using the heat at all, it stays 74F all on it's own.

I didn't think it was overly "bright", should I back the light off a little bit, create more distance between their perches and the UVB light?

Oddly enough, when I discovered the newborn's yesterday, they were clinging to the top of their mother's enclosure right under the lights. It was kind of creepy seeing them hang there, and impressive at the same time since they were only a few hours old at that point. That also seems to be the last time they looked really good too.
The best thing to do for us to help is to post pictures of your set-up and close-ups of the little babies. We should be able to give you some good first impressions. Eating may or may not be done while you are there watching. The best sign of eating is little poops on the bottom of the cage.

It sounds like you are doing the feeding and watering pretty well. Water spraying is VERY important! Two times a day of a good mist drench is a good minimum. The napping is worrisome as they shouldn't have their eyes closed during the daytime. 74 is a good temperature, but I would give them 30 minutes of heatlamp in the morning as a pick-me-up. Kind of like a cup of coffee for us. :) The eye closing could be from many things from too much heat, too little heat, too little water, too much/little (fill in the blank). Hopefully there is something in the picture that we can pin point (or tell you that everything looks fine!)

Jackson's babies are great. Let's do what we can to make you successful here!

Bill
 

Muttley

New Member
The best thing to do for us to help is to post pictures of your set-up and close-ups of the little babies. We should be able to give you some good first impressions. Eating may or may not be done while you are there watching. The best sign of eating is little poops on the bottom of the cage.

It sounds like you are doing the feeding and watering pretty well. Water spraying is VERY important! Two times a day of a good mist drench is a good minimum. The napping is worrisome as they shouldn't have their eyes closed during the daytime. 74 is a good temperature, but I would give them 30 minutes of heatlamp in the morning as a pick-me-up. Kind of like a cup of coffee for us. :) The eye closing could be from many things from too much heat, too little heat, too little water, too much/little (fill in the blank). Hopefully there is something in the picture that we can pin point (or tell you that everything looks fine!)

Jackson's babies are great. Let's do what we can to make you successful here!

Bill
Pics as requested. Thanks for the info thus far.

They aren't this dark since I turned the lights off for the night.



Current pics





 
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carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
chameleons get brighter when they sleep. They usually show their best colors when they are asleep so that is probably why they have lightened up. I have never had babies of any kind but I don't think having them in that glass terrarium is a good idea. Are you running a fogger in there? Is that why it is so smoky looking? What exactly are you measuring your temps with? Most pictures I have seen with babies are in plastic totes with plants and branches and no lids. I think the terrarium may be your problem but I will let someone else with experience elaborate on that. edit: here is a set up of some baby bins to give you an idea. I would remove them from the terrarium or I don't think they are gonna make it. I was in a pet store and they had tiny little veilds in a terrarium just like that with a fogger on. All but one baby had their eyes shut. https://www.chameleonforums.com/babies-one-month-old-40584/
 
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Muttley

New Member
chameleons get brighter when they sleep. They usually show their best colors when they are asleep so that is probably why they have lightened up. I have never had babies of any kind but I don't think having them in that glass terrarium is a good idea. Are you running a fogger in there? Is that why it is so smoky looking? What exactly are you measuring your temps with? Most pictures I have seen with babies are in plastic totes with plants and branches and no lids. I think the terrarium may be your problem but I will let someone else with experience elaborate on that. edit: here is a set up of some baby bins to give you an idea. I would remove them from the terrarium or I don't think they are gonna make it. I was in a pet store and they had tiny little veilds in a terrarium just like that with a fogger on. All but one baby had their eyes shut. https://www.chameleonforums.com/babies-one-month-old-40584/
Yes, it's a fogger. The terrarium is glass with a screened top. Could air flow be a concern? I measure the temp with a thermometer mounted on the wall. I have plenty of bins I could move them to if that is the right place for them.
 

Psychobunny

Avid Member
Welcome to the forum :)

I have heard of people buying female jacksons from pet stores only to
find a big surprise in the cage days later and have to figure out what to
do with all these babies :confused:

I have never had babies, but I do not think you want to keep them in that
terrarium because it is just too tall to provide good air flow, esp near the
bottom.
I have only seen ppl use those plastic storage bins (w/o the lid), I use those for my crickets and roaches.
You can make a little grid for them to climb with some sticks (cheap chopsticks??!!) hot glued together and a few fake vines.

Don't know about lighting and temp, my guess would be upper 70's for babies, but listen to someone with experience ;) :)
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am thinking so. Do you see how high JannB has the lights above the bins? I am by no means an expert at this but it would sure be worth a try in my opinion to go and buy a bin/tote from walmart. If they are closing their eyes, there is something wrong. Hers were also Veild Chameleons which are a different species. Lighting, temps, humidity all has to be ideal or they will not make it. Turn off the fogger and see if that makes a difference also. Are any of them eating? What are you using for feeders? If their eyes are closed then they are not going to eat or drink.
 

Muttley

New Member
I am thinking so. Do you see how high JannB has the lights above the bins? I am by no means an expert at this but it would sure be worth a try in my opinion to go and buy a bin/tote from walmart. If they are closing their eyes, there is something wrong. Hers were also Veild Chameleons which are a different species. Lighting, temps, humidity all has to be ideal or they will not make it. Turn off the fogger and see if that makes a difference also. Are any of them eating? What are you using for feeders? If their eyes are closed then they are not going to eat or drink.
Well, we made it through the night. Still raising 7.

I turned on the lights today, gave them a little heat lamp as was suggested earlier, and they were moving around quite a bit. Still very dark in color by my observation, but over all, they seemed OK and what could be described as active. I am feeding them fruit flies right now. They appear to have an interest but haven't figured out their hunting abilities yet, as when I see them strike at a fly, the often miss. Overall I see they are interested in trying and they are "acting" what I would have to believe is normal. The one which seemed the most lethargic yesterday was climbing all over this morning.

I'll keep the fogger off today and see what happens. Thinking about a bin though, wouldn't the humidity drop significantly in an open container? I thought I read humidity was important for them. Seems to me (and I know nothing) that the humidity in an open bin would essentially be the humidity of the room, unless of course, I blew the fogger into the bin.

Thanks so far, I am a little more confident today.
 

leedragon

Avid Member
actually those terrarums have good air flow, one think to keep in mind is to never have water standing still in the bottom of the terrarium, eye close could be that the light are to strong in that case the will close their eyes and the eyes would be kinda of swollen, make sure they have enough shade in the terrarium if they would want to go away from the lights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKTbUaOQ0aA here is some good info
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
actually those terrarums have good air flow, one think to keep in mind is to never have water standing still in the bottom of the terrarium, eye close could be that the light are to strong in that case the will close their eyes and the eyes would be kinda of swollen, make sure the have enough shadow in the terrarium if they would want to come away from the lights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKTbUaOQ0aA here is some good info
I have no personal experience but I do know people keep chameleons in terrariums successfully. However, I have not seen it done with newborn babies, so if someone would elaborate on that out there, that would be great. Obviously something is not just right if most of them are keeping the eyes closed. I will agree with the light for sure and raising the light could help. I would still remove them to a bin and see if they improve. If they do not, then you will know it was not the terrarium itself. Thank you for finding that video! I have saved it now for the future!
 

leedragon

Avid Member
I got a friend that have raised different chameleons on glass enclosures under the winter and he have de outside on the summar, so exo terra should work fine
 

Muttley

New Member
actually those terrarums have good air flow, one think to keep in mind is to never have water standing still in the bottom of the terrarium, eye close could be that the light are to strong in that case the will close their eyes and the eyes would be kinda of swollen, make sure the have enough shadow in the terrarium if they would want to come away from the lights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKTbUaOQ0aA here is some good info
Thanks for the video link. That was one of the first resources I used and it has a lot of good information.

Last night I moved the light up and have it angled into their space. Also, i just went back to take a picture of the lighting, and while I was up there I repositioned the basking light further away from their perches, turned it on, and they REALLY, REALLY, liked it, as in, they really started moving around and mostly towards the higher elevations. Four were clamoring over each other for the highest positions. Also they displayed a color other than "dark". If only through observation, I'd say they liked the basking light.

I did witness one drinking droplets...so there is that.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for the video link. That was one of the first resources I used and it has a lot of good information.

Last night I moved the light up and have it angled into their space. Also, i just went back to take a picture of the lighting, and while I was up there I repositioned the basking light further away from their perches, turned it on, and they REALLY, REALLY, liked it, as in, they really started moving around and mostly towards the higher elevations. Four were clamoring over each other for the highest positions. Also they displayed a color other than "dark". If only through observation, I'd say they liked the basking light.

I did witness one drinking droplets...so there is that.
yay! great news. Maybe it was just the lights. Like I said conditions have to be just right and the littlest thing can make a big difference. Keep us updated!!!
 

Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
I got my little Jackson at 7 weeks old. They stay dark - almost black and white for a good few months before their colour gradually comes in. I kept mine with a linear T8 5.0 UV bulb and a small heat lamp to give a basking spot of 80F max. They like and need a drop in temperatures at night of at least 10 degrees. As you know the humidity is important for them especially as babies. I used a very fine travel sprayer to mist mine - any of my bigger spray bottles would have knocked him of his vine, bless him! I also dripped water onto the leaves every morning - they seem mroe inclined to drink that way.
 

snowveil

New Member
I'm by no means an expert, but have experience raising a Jackson's from birth. I work at a Petsmart, and our female Jackson's had babies one day so we had to get them separated and adopted quickly. Of the 8 born, one died almost immediately (there was an issue whilst breaking through the amniotic sac), I took two, another associate took two, and our petcare manager took three.

Unfortunately, out of the 7 remaining, only 3 survived to today (just past 5 months old). I have one remaining, and the other manager has 2. The one that died on me died within the first two weeks....I was worried that he or she was not eating properly, and the next morning I found him or her on the bottom of the cage, eyes closed and lifeless.

Now, some observations.

First of all, from personal experience and communication with the others, the babies would regularly climb the screen to get directly below the UVB light. This happened in the store, under my care, and other the care of the two others, so I'm not sure this is much cause for concern.

Fruit flies are a royal pain to deal with, so if you can get your hands on some pinhead crickets it will offer some variety and make monitoring feeding a bit easier if using a cup. I know there is controversy concerning cup feeding, but it is an easy way to monitor eating habits.

As taken from "The Chameleon Handbook" by Francois Le Berre (pp 106):
A high RH of 75 to 85 percent is critical for babies, as the desiccate quickly; a low RH might claim the lives of your babies sooner than you could ever imagine. Once again, if in doubt, I recommend keeping your babies at an RH of no less than 75 percent and using a fogging system to create humid spots in the enclosures. Then let your animals decide for themselves and show you their preferences.
I suspect too low a humidity is what claimed my other baby.

As babies, they of course will shed more regularly so a high humidity will aid in clean shedding. Mine shed very quickly and in some instances I wouldn't have known except for traces of shed on his plant.

Be prepared to separate them as they get older and begin claiming territory.

Good luck and keep the forum updated!

Just for posterity, here's my little one, Simcoe, at 5 months :D
 

DeremensisBlue

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
The terrarium you are keeping them in is fine. The fogger would be great if you could start it before the lights come on in the morning so you get that foggy morning effect and turn it off when the spot light comes on. Humidity is critical for baby chameleons! Of course, there is such thing as too much humidity and having that terrarium fogged up the entire day is pushing it. I would do the fogger in the morning as described and then use a misting bottle two times during the day. The misting bottle gives them drinking opportunities. You are right to be watching that humidity closely.
We on the forums can offer our experience, but we are not there. What is the room humidity? If you are in Washington DC I can only guess that it is very cold and the room you are in is heated. If the humidity in the room is low then a solid wall enclosure (like your terrarium) is exactly what you should be doing. You may have to run that fogger more often depending on your ambient RH.
Here are your consideration points:
1) Make sure the cage has a chance to dry out. There is a difference between humidity and everything being constantly wet.
2) Be meticulous about cleaning that cage! You now have 7 poop machines. Poop + water = bacteria soup.
3) Be obsessive about keeping that fogger (ultrasonic humidifier) clean. The last thing you need is to aerosol-ize marinating poop! Know that chameleons target water and food dishes to poop in just like pigeons target cars. I don't know how they do it. They just do.
4) Watch your temperature drop at night. Jackson's are okay with a temperature drop, though. If you have a nice upper 70s (F) day temp then you can easily go into the lows 60s (F) night temp. They can go deeper than that, but you are then starting to weed out the weaker ones. While that is good nature management policy it tends to wreck our human hearts.
5) Be very mindful of the ones that do not seem to be eating. It will take a couple days for them to get into the groove of eating, but then they should be all over anything that moves. And this is where the natural competition sets in. The smaller/weaker ones should be separated to give them a chance. I have had wonderful specimens come from the weaker ones I have separated and held back. They just need a little more chance at the beginning!
6) fruit flies and pin head crickets are now your friends. You will need many.

It is difficult being surprised like this and all of a sudden having more mouths to feed. But raising up these mini-tree dragons from birth is one of the most fascinating and amazing things to go through! It looks like you are getting good responses from your babies. Your next challenge, once the eating/watering is established, is separating them. This is where those 48" T-8 fluorescent bulbs come in handy. You can put a lot of smaller cages under them to separate the babies out. They will do much better in their own rooms. Although most keepers keep them together for two to three months you will get better results separately. When/if you separate them is up to you. You can delay having to separate them by having copious hiding spaces and an abundance of food

Bill
 

Muttley

New Member
So, the lunch time update.

There are four that I would call the more advanced group. Three in the not-so-advanced group. The four really active ones started what I can only call a "rocking walk" with their tails fully extended "strutting" up and down the branches. The other three haven't gotten there yet, and of those three, there is one that is not very active as compared to all others. If there was a runt, I would say that one is it and for which I have the most concern for at this point.

Aside from whats been said already they've been really active all morning when compared to yesterday, exploring their space, zapping water and trying to figure out how to hunt, albeit without much success that I have observed. They've been showing some more colors: whites, browns grays, and it looked like one might have been a shade of green earlier.

Thanks for all the advice so far...
 
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