New Cham Owners

averyrossi

New Member
Hi everyone! My husband and I are new Cham owners and we would love to hear your opinions on our set up, as well as her overall health and wellness. The more information we can soak up, the better for our little Kali girl! We are new at this, so please no rude comments, just constructive criticism ;)
Chameleon Info:
1. We have a female Veiled chameleon who has been in our care for 4 days now. We do not know her age, so I am hoping with some pictures you all will be able to help me get a good estimate.
2. We have been handling her every day. I know this is not recommended, however handling was something I was going to ask for advice about as well. After reading through many forum posts, I am very torn between wanting to "tame" her, and wanting to respect that she does not enjoy being handled and only make contact with her when feeding, misting, and cleaning the cage. Currently, we are able to get her out by slowly nudging her to climb onto our hand. She does not enjoy this, however once she is out she is completely fine. She will perch herself on our hands and we will watch her slowly turn from a dark greenish color with black spots to a light green color. What are your opinions on this?
3. We are currently feeding her dusted crickets and superworms. We typically put 5-6 superworms and 10-12 dusted crickets in her cage before we leave for work in the morning around 7:00am. We also put a little salad of kale, collard greens, and raspberries in a dish at the bottom of the cage for her to nibble on. We also gutload the crickets with collard greens and kale.
4. We are using Repti Calcium and Reptivite to dust the crickets right before we put them into Kali's cage.
5. With watering, we are currently spraying down her cage 4-5 times a day. One of those times, we spray Kali for a good 5 minutes to help with hydration and help her clean her eyes (because we read thats a thing). We just ordered a reptile fogger on Amazon so hopefully that will make things a little easier. I think she is drinking because once we are finished spraying her she opens her mouth.
6. She has pooped once a day so far, and her poops are always dark brown. Her pee is mostly white with a little bit of pale to medium yellow. Some posts say just white is normal, some say a little bit of yellow is okay as long as its not orange, so what are your opinions?
7. We got her from a PetSmart so I'm sure she didn't have the best start in life. She was in a little plexiglass cage and she got too big for it so they moved her to the back into a bigger mesh cage. The guy there said she had been at PetSmart for about a month.
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1. The cage we currently have her in is a mesh Zoo Med Repti Breeze size medium (16x16x30). As she gets bigger, my husband wants to build her a half plexiglass, half mesh enclosure so what are your opinions on that?
2. We are using the lighting that came with the "Zoo Med Repti Breeze Chameleon Kit." It is a Zoo Med Tropical UVB & Heat Lighting Kit (see the picture included). She gets light from 7:00am-8:30pm -ish and then dark all night.
3. We have a digital thermometer that is on the outside of the cage about 3/4 of the way up. The temperature ranges from 74-78 during the day (the temperature in the house never goes below 70) and 60-65 at night.
4. Humidity levels stay between 52 and 58. It is hard to keep the humidity in the screen cage, however once we get the fogger from Amazon I think it will help. We have the digital hygrometer that came with the kit on top of her cage on the outside. Should it be inside the cage, or does it not matter?
5. We just put a live ficus in her cage which has already helped increase the humidity. We also have fake bushes and branches for her to climb on/hide in.
6. Her cage is currently on top of a filing cabinet. The distance from the top of her cage to the floor in the room is about 5ft. We also closed the vent in the room she is in so that it doesn't blow directly on her when the AC is on. We were thinking of putting her cage next to the window since it gets a lot of direct sunlight. Would this be a good idea, or not? She would be getting direct sunlight all day.
7. Geographically we are located in Southern California, so it's mostly hot especially now that it's Summer. Summer temps can get up to 115 while winter temps can get down to 40, but like I mentioned above, the temperature in our house never goes below 70.
Current Problem:
My husband and I have done lots of research on owning a chameleon, however we are still very new at this so any and all information is greatly appreciated. We really just want to make sure that we are doing everything we are supposed to, to ensure our chameleon lives a long and healthy life! Like I mentioned above, we would like to get a good guesstimate of her age, we are torn between "taming" her and leaving her alone (the guy at PetSmart said right now she is used to being handled so even though she doesn't enjoy it, she will tolerate it, but if we don't take her out for a long time and then we go to try and take her out again she will be very mean and aggressive which we do not want), we want to make sure everything we are currently doing is right, and if there is anything we aren't doing or anything else we should be aware of please please please let us know so we can be the best parents to Kali! Thank you all so much :)
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
(1) Definitely stop that practice of handling, especially this early on. If you have to nudge them, it means they are not interested in interacting. Continuing to force this will break your chance of gaining her trust in the future. This is the most critical time to leave her alone and give her space. The reason she calms down outside the enclosure is because she doesn't feel safe when you take her out of her space. From her perspective, she is being forcibly picked up by a large predator and does not know what you are going to do with her.

(2) Superworms should only ever be fed as occasional treats, definitely not for daily feedings. As for the gutload, kale should only be used in moderation. Collard greens are great, though.

(3) If you are only using two supplements, then she is missing out on one critical element. Does the calcium you use have vitamin D3 in it or not? She needs her feeders dusted with calcium WITHOUT d3 on a daily basis. But she needs calcium WITH d3 twice a month and this is vital to her survival. Multivitamin should also only be used twice a month.

(4) Make sure to mist only with R/O water or treated water. Tap water will damage their eyes.

(5) Foggers are only for night-time use and carry the risk of causing a respiratory infection if they are not used on a strict schedule.

(6) A little bit of yellow in the droppings is not too concerning. May want to up the duration of misting sessions to increase hydration.

(7) Upgrade the cage sooner rather than later. I would say she is 6ish months old probably and needs a 2x2x4-foot enclosure ASAP.

(8) Unfortunately you feel for the trap that is abssolutely notorious in this community. They call it the "chameleon kit" and it is mostly garbage (forgive my frankness). Neither of the lights that come with it are acceptable. You will want to switch out that colored heat bulb (colored lights are a no-no with chameleons) with a regular incandescent household bulb. No need to get fancy.

(9) More importantly, the compact UVB bulb needs to be replaced immediately. They do not spread UVB in a way that is at all useful to chameleons. What you need instead is a linear model like the reptisun 10.0 or preferably an Arcadia 12%. Remember: UVB bulbs must be the tube lights, not the spiral ones. The spiral ones will leave your cham with MBD.

(10) You don't mention anything about her basking spot temperature. It should be 85 degrees F. The temperatures you list are too cold for her.

(11) Your humidity levels are fine as they are. Veileds are from an arid location to begin with.

(12) Sunlight through a window will make no difference to her, since UVB cannot pass through glass.


One last sidenote: don't ever listen to what anyone at petco has to say about chameleons! They don't know what they're talking about and will lead you astray. Stick around here and we will be happy to help you as much as you could ever need (and possibly more ;))!
 

Rlc1994

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hello welcome to the forums.

Right now I’m going to recommend you change your lighting. Those compact uvb coil bulbs do not give off a sufficient amount of uvb. A T5HO or T8 fixture is recommended with a linear bulb. A 5.0 10.0 reptisun or 6% Arcadia bulb would be good.

Also your going to want to change your basking bulb to a regular incandescent bulb. Red or blue bulbs are not Recommended. Your basking temperature should be 85 degrees no higher. The basking branch should be around 7-8 inches from the bulb. With a cage ambient around 75-80 during the day. A 5-10 degree drop at night is beneficial.

Your supplement schedule your going to want to use calcuim WITHOUT D3 everyday. Calcuim WITH D3 once every 2 weeks. And a multivitamin preferably with vitamin A in it like reptivite also once every 2 weeks. Alternate between these two. So a 4 week schedule would look like this....First week calcuim WITH D3. Second week multivitamin. Third week Calcuim WITH D3. Last week multivitamin.

Your going to want give her a little more variety on insects if possible. Silkworms, black soldier fly larvae, blue bottle flys, and roaches like Dubias to name a few. Hornworms and super worms are used for treats only. These need to be gutloaded. I’ll give you some care images on what to gutload with.

Her humidity should be around 30-50% during the day. And 80-100% at night. We use ultrasonic foggers to accomplish this. Do not fog during the day when the lights are on! This can cause respiratory infection due to high humidity and heat. Here are some good links on fogging and hydration.
https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-89-naturalistic-hydration-for-chameleons/
https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-110-fogging-and-airflow-with-mario-jungmann/

Your probably going to want to upgrade her enclosure sooner rather than later. I recomend at least a 24x24x48 enclosure. Your going to want to figure out a drainage system too for excess water. There are many threads on here on drainage but a simple solution would be to drill holes in the floor and have a bucket or pan to catch the water underneath.

I’d keep a minimum on handling. These guys do not like human interaction for the most part and could cause stress if handled improperly. You need to gain your chameleons trust first. A good way to do this is by hand feeding. Here is a blog from a well known member on here on hand feeding.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/building-trust-with-your-chameleon.2396/
 

Rlc1994

Chameleon Enthusiast
Also you want a densely filled middle and upper part of the cage with live plants preferably and lots of climbing branches filling the enclosure. This is so they have shade from uvb and a place to hide from sight.
 

averyrossi

New Member
**UPDATE**

We replaced the lighting in Kali’s enclosure, so we now have a regular light bulb and a ReptiSun 10.0 bulb for her UVB. The UVB bulb was too long for the double hood, so my husband hung the lights. Please let me know if this is too close to her or too far from her, and we can adjust (see the picture included). She was not too happy when I pulled out my camera for that one ;)
We ordered black soldier fly larvae, waxworms, blue bottle spikes, and Dubia roaches to mix up her diet a bit. We also stopped giving her so many superworms. We are trying out hand feeding, so Kali gets 1 superworm a day for that. It’s only been two days but so far so good...
I am very weary about insects in the house so any tips about keeping these insects are VERY much appreciated. More or less, how do I keep all the fly larvae, larvae, and not a bunch of flies in my house. I have also included a picture of the cricket colony we currently have going on. We gutload them with collard greens, kale, and raspberries. Honestly that’s about the farthest I will go in “raising” all these insects that are going to be eaten anyways. Does everything look good? Is there something else we should be doing?
The last thing is that we bought a reptile fogger on Amazon that we turn on at night, as well as a small trash can for her laying bin. How will we know when it is time for her to go in the laying bin? How long do we leave her in there for? Since it’s a small trash can and won’t fit in her enclosure, when she is in the laying bin do we just leave her out unattended?
I also included a zoomed in picture of Kali’s eye because I want to make sure it’s not sunken and that she looks healthy.
Everyone on here has been so great and so helpful, we really appreciate it :)C97D6EB0-A7C5-4759-90BB-5D32D3BF138E.jpeg1696BD93-9E77-4E2C-8044-A144EA60D504.jpeg1E2B390C-639A-4F9A-BB66-EE64DA525F5E.jpeg13B850C7-5C4B-47F8-B4A5-5D7F15F86A17.jpegEDADCC47-BFE2-447E-B0D5-BC40ADD687ED.png
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
**UPDATE**

We replaced the lighting in Kali’s enclosure, so we now have a regular light bulb and a ReptiSun 10.0 bulb for her UVB. The UVB bulb was too long for the double hood, so my husband hung the lights. Please let me know if this is too close to her or too far from her, and we can adjust (see the picture included). She was not too happy when I pulled out my camera for that one ;)
We ordered black soldier fly larvae, waxworms, blue bottle spikes, and Dubia roaches to mix up her diet a bit. We also stopped giving her so many superworms. We are trying out hand feeding, so Kali gets 1 superworm a day for that. It’s only been two days but so far so good...
I am very weary about insects in the house so any tips about keeping these insects are VERY much appreciated. More or less, how do I keep all the fly larvae, larvae, and not a bunch of flies in my house. I have also included a picture of the cricket colony we currently have going on. We gutload them with collard greens, kale, and raspberries. Honestly that’s about the farthest I will go in “raising” all these insects that are going to be eaten anyways. Does everything look good? Is there something else we should be doing?
The last thing is that we bought a reptile fogger on Amazon that we turn on at night, as well as a small trash can for her laying bin. How will we know when it is time for her to go in the laying bin? How long do we leave her in there for? Since it’s a small trash can and won’t fit in her enclosure, when she is in the laying bin do we just leave her out unattended?
I also included a zoomed in picture of Kali’s eye because I want to make sure it’s not sunken and that she looks healthy.
Everyone on here has been so great and so helpful, we really appreciate it :)View attachment 237624View attachment 237625View attachment 237626View attachment 237627View attachment 237628
Hi hun... Return the 10.0 compact bulb. You need a T5HO fixture and a 5.0 T5 bulb. Basking should be 7-8 inches below the fixture and the fixture would need to sit directly on the cage and run the length of it. The compact bulbs are useless.

For gutload you need to do a variety of the greens from the image I am attaching. This is not for them as much as it is for the Cham. We gutload to pass on the nutrients to the cham.

The BSFL can be kept in their container. However they do pupate and turn into flies. You can feed them in larvae form or fly form mine love both. Don't feed the Blue bottle fly spikes. put them in the fridge and they will start to pupate. Then you take those out once they are hard. You will be able to tell the difference. You can do the gum container method and put this into the enclosure. I will attach a picture for you. Waxworms are only treats because they are all fat... Dubia... So put them in a critter plastic holder or a tupperwear that you put small holes in the lid. Cut up egg carton and put those in for them to crawl on.

Fogger should only run at night at the coolest point of the night. THis is a great podcast about it. https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-89-naturalistic-hydration-for-chameleons/

Here is a link to lay bin info. https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/egg-laying-and-the-laying-bin.345/

chameleon-gutload.jpg



gum container.JPG
 

Ruthless

Avid Member
Your uvb light bulb is not ideal you will be better off with a T5 HO light either reptisun or Arcadia. Also add some more horizontal branches for perching. Only you will know if the light is too high or too low. You need to get yourself a temp gun to check the temperature of the basking spot. BSFL will only last you about 1-2 weeks before they will pupate then another week till they emerge as flies but even then they are harmless and your Cham will absolutely love them. Check out The chameleon breeder podcast you can learn a lot from there.
 

Rlc1994

Chameleon Enthusiast
LOL I just know my basics... Not the queen. There are many other people that have sooooo much more knowledge then me.
I agree there is people on this site who have been doing this stuff for years. BUT your definitely the queen in the helping department on giving people the basic knowledge on what these animals need and that’s honorable!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree there is people on this site who have been doing this stuff for years. BUT your definitely the queen in the helping department on giving people the basic knowledge on what these animals need and that’s honorable!
Thank you hun. I try :)
 

Rlc1994

Chameleon Enthusiast
What size T5HO fixture is yours? Is it a single,dual, or quad? If it is a single or dual fixture I’d go with the 5.0. If it’s a quad I’d go with the 10.0
 

Graves923

Chameleon Enthusiast
Use a T5HO 5.0. If you have a lot of plant and foliage cover at the top of the cage, use a 10.0 for UVB penetration.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Use the 5.0 if you are using a single or dual bulb fixture. The other will be too high of a UVB at basking. You want your basking level to be 7-8 inches below the top with this fixture sitting directly on the cage.
 
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