new chameleon owner - advice please?

atog

New Member
hey i just picked up a veiled male chameleon earlier this week (wed i believe) I now have him in a 65 gallon reptarium w/ a ficus tree, a schefflera and a pothos the last two are on stands to make them higher in the cage (only 5-8 inches higher) I have a 6ft cord of biovine going through the cage as well. He is about 4inches long, maybe a month-1.5 months old i assume maybe? who knows. bought him from a local reptile store for $70 (bleh, but hes cool i'm happy) i just have a few questions to ask

is the 65 gal too big? at first i had him in a rubbermaid container w/ just the pothos and no top on for 2 days maybe 3 before i got the reptarium. I have yet to see him in the schefflera or the pothos anymore, he loves the ficus tree i picked up for him. I have been releasing crickets into the cage everyday, some stay in there over night (1-2) I have yet to see him eat, but he does poop and the crickets are disapearing, or they are hiding in the pots. His poop used to have a wet sheen to it, now its more dry, so i have stepped up themisting and have added a paper cup w/ a hole on the bottom for a drip set up.

he was handled alot the first day i got him, i was building a cage (3ft tallx2ftx2ft) but abandoned it once i realized it was wayyy to big for the guy, maybe in 3-4 months he can use it i hope, its a real nice wood cage i halfway constructed. when i first got him, he would readily climb on my hand and crawl around. now hes dead scared of me, I think it might have to do with have 3 younger siblings and i have noidea how much they go look at him. he's in my lanai for now until i can figure a way to house the reptarium inside w/o much mess, and until i can go buy the bulbs ($25 for 2foot reptisun 5.0!!) he develops these brown spots on his side, i'm pretty sure indication hes stressed/pissed off. he blows himself up big alot too. I dont handle him at all, i haven't touched him in 3-4 days. but he just got into the reptarium yesterday or 2days ago. i can't remember.

no substrates, the ficus had fertilizer in the soil, so i layed a fresh top soil to cover it all up. I plan to replant all of the plants into rectangular pots for easier set up of the cage.

When should i start handling him more often so as to induce him to not feel endangered when i'm near. I feel that on wed. or thursday i'll be able to bring him inside. i have alot of other things to do until then, and thats my first day of freedom. I have read that if you continue to expose him to handling, he will not feel as threatened, but i have heard that panthers are more susceptible to handling and veileds not so much. I read on another forum that when the chameleon head butts you, you let him do it to the back of your hand and dont move to show that you're not gonna budge, and eventually he will associate your hand w/ rewards such as getting out of the cage, feeding, etc. I feel that this is vital for me to be able to care for this chameleon, I don't want to have a pissed off male all the time that I can't even move to clean the cage.

I have been feeding him crickets, and bought 'cricket yummies' as a gut load for them, its a pack of green crap that says its got vitamins and minerals, etc. I dusted the crickets w/ a mix of calcium and herptivite twice so far, 5 of them today, and 7-8 like 2-3 days ago. I'm going to start dusting w/ repcal phos. free w/ vit d3 every feeding soon.

the crickets i have are pinheads w/ some larger maybe .5 inch, but i have enough for today/tomorrow then i need to get more, should i try feeding him meal worms or something? his eyes were sunken a little bit a few days ago, i felt it was from all the stress hes been incurring (3 new enclosures including the one w/ 25 baby veileds within the last week) and the handling he experienced the first day, I had my each member of my family hold him for about a moment to quench their curiousity, i think only my sister went back to hold him again the next day. his skin was a little loose today, so i misted him heavily sprayed him. I have yet to see him drink or eat, my mom was lucky enough to see him nab one cricket.

I know that this was a long essay w/ many run on sentences, however i just had so much information to spit out about the current situation that it may be a bit disorganized. Any input/help is appreciated.

P.S. I have two friends that have chameleons, they are sub adult veileds (now) from the repticon expo @ usf in april, they're fillin in their colors nicely and are getting quite big. One of them also is caring for a jackson chameleon (very cool)

P.S.S I feel like i should get some meal worms, i don't know if hes getting all of the crickets, but he has been shitting, i think hes maybe nabbing 2-3 of them, unsure to be honest. How should i feed them to him? definately not gonna try to hand feed yet.

thanks
 

Julirs

New Member
hey i just picked up a veiled male chameleon earlier this week (wed i believe) I now have him in a 65 gallon reptarium w/ a ficus tree, a schefflera and a pothos the last two are on stands to make them higher in the cage (only 5-8 inches higher) I have a 6ft cord of biovine going through the cage as well. He is about 4inches long, maybe a month-1.5 months old i assume maybe? who knows. bought him from a local reptile store for $70 (bleh, but hes cool i'm happy) i just have a few questions to ask
Pictures are worth a thousand words-but it sounds like you have the cage set up OK.is the 65 gal too big? at first i had him in a rubbermaid container w/ just the pothos and no top on for 2 days maybe 3 before i got the reptarium. I have yet to see him in the schefflera or the pothos anymore, he loves the ficus tree i picked up for him. I have been releasing crickets into the cage everyday, some stay in there over night (1-2) I have yet to see him eat, but he does poop and the crickets are disapearing, or they are hiding in the pots. His poop used to have a wet sheen to it, now its more dry, so i have stepped up themisting and have added a paper cup w/ a hole on the bottom for a drip set up.
How many crickets are you putting in? A 1.5-2 month baby can easily eat 15-20 small crickets.
he was handled alot the first day i got him, i was building a cage (3ft tallx2ftx2ft) but abandoned it once i realized it was wayyy to big for the guy, maybe in 3-4 months he can use it i hope, its a real nice wood cage i halfway constructed. when i first got him, he would readily climb on my hand and crawl around. now hes dead scared of me, I think it might have to do with have 3 younger siblings and i have noidea how much they go look at him. he's in my lanai for now until i can figure a way to house the reptarium inside w/o much mess, and until i can go buy the bulbs ($25 for 2foot reptisun 5.0!!) he develops these brown spots on his side, i'm pretty sure indication hes stressed/pissed off. he blows himself up big alot too. I dont handle him at all, i haven't touched him in 3-4 days. but he just got into the reptarium yesterday or 2days ago. i can't remember.
Way too much handling, and siblings staring won't help too much either.no substrates, the ficus had fertilizer in the soil, so i layed a fresh top soil to cover it all up. I plan to replant all of the plants into rectangular pots for easier set up of the cage.
Putting screening over the pots will keep him from eating fertilizer.
When should i start handling him more often so as to induce him to not feel endangered when i'm near. I feel that on wed. or thursday i'll be able to bring him inside. i have alot of other things to do until then, and thats my first day of freedom. I have read that if you continue to expose him to handling, he will not feel as threatened, but i have heard that panthers are more susceptible to handling and veileds not so much. I read on another forum that when the chameleon head butts you, you let him do it to the back of your hand and dont move to show that you're not gonna budge, and eventually he will associate your hand w/ rewards such as getting out of the cage, feeding, etc. I feel that this is vital for me to be able to care for this chameleon, I don't want to have a pissed off male all the time that I can't even move to clean the cage.
Some Chameleons will NEVER want to be handled. That is something you have to accept with this animal. I have one that will let me handle him and a female that will not, and probably never will.
I have been feeding him crickets, and bought 'cricket yummies' as a gut load for them, its a pack of green crap that says its got vitamins and minerals, etc. I dusted the crickets w/ a mix of calcium and herptivite twice so far, 5 of them today, and 7-8 like 2-3 days ago. I'm going to start dusting w/ repcal phos. free w/ vit d3 every feeding soon.
Gutload with fresh veggies (leaf lettuce,oranges, potatoes...)the crickets i have are pinheads w/ some larger maybe .5 inch, but i have enough for today/tomorrow then i need to get more, should i try feeding him meal worms or something? his eyes were sunken a little bit a few days ago, i felt it was from all the stress hes been incurring (3 new enclosures including the one w/ 25 baby veileds within the last week) and the handling he experienced the first day, I had my each member of my family hold him for about a moment to quench their curiousity, i think only my sister went back to hold him again the next day. his skin was a little loose today, so i misted him heavily sprayed him. I have yet to see him drink or eat, my mom was lucky enough to see him nab one cricket.
You should be misting several times a day for at least 5-10 minutes each time.I know that this was a long essay w/ many run on sentences, however i just had so much information to spit out about the current situation that it may be a bit disorganized. Any input/help is appreciated.

P.S. I have two friends that have chameleons, they are sub adult veileds (now) from the repticon expo @ usf in april, they're fillin in their colors nicely and are getting quite big. One of them also is caring for a jackson chameleon (very cool)

P.S.S I feel like i should get some meal worms, i don't know if hes getting all of the crickets, but he has been shitting, i think hes maybe nabbing 2-3 of them, unsure to be honest. How should i feed them to him? definately not gonna try to hand feed yet.

thanks
Things you seem to be missing: UVB (absolutely crucial ASAP)
basking heat lamp
digital thermometer
soft tray for the reptarium that will contain water (I wipe up with a papertowel)
 

atog

New Member
yeah my next purchases are the reptiglo 5.0 and a daylight philips bulb or something cheap (screw buying the 2.0) and a basking lamp w/ a 75w spotter in it,

i'm thinking about picking up the softtray for the reptarium, but i was thinking that alot of water must collect at the bottom, an alternative iw as thinking about was to create a stand for the reptarium to sit on, that would allow a low profile storage container (roughly 2 inches smaller than the footprint of the reptarium) to collect the water under neath it so that emptying excess water won't be such a hassle (getting cham out of there, removing plants, cleaning,then the reverse)

i bought some meal worms today, he was looking kind of skinny with loose skin, today is a really windy day outside, i'm trying to bring him inside asap but other obligations (school-test tomorrow and tues) and work prevent me from getting shit done. i check up on him every 2 hrs or so and mist him/ the plants..... he runs and hides now like a lizard haha. he like RUNS to the otherside of the cage, again i have yet to see him eat or drink, i'm just hoping for the best while i'm not there, because his MO when i'm around is to get away from me.

the mealworms i put in a dish about halfway up the reptarium, about a foot lower than his usual hang out spot, hopefully he'll spot them and go eat them, i'll check the worm count later tonight
 

alan23

New Member
yeah wud like to c ur setup? bout the soft tray when i get mine im thinking of drilling some holes in it and putting bucket underneath for water to go in tell es wht u think of this solution? :confused:
 

Julirs

New Member
Trust me, wiping water and poop off of the smooth plastic tray is easy compared to it getting all jammed in Reptarium mesh.
 

atog

New Member
i'll post pics when i have it set up w/ the softtray / drainage system

probably won't be till wed/thurs

edit: you bring up a good point, maybe i'll just leave a few layers of papertowels at the bottom to collect excess water and replacethem daily w/ the softtray
 

alan23

New Member
looks like theres bit of space in there shud get some more vines on the right side of cage and high too wud show u my setup bt some reason says my pics size r too big to put on so if u wnt to c just send es ur email nice cham by way
 

atog

New Member
was thinkin of getting more biovine and putting the basking lamp on that side of the reptarium (in the space above the pothos)
 

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
Howdy,

For now, (and maybe forever) minimize handling.
I didn't see any mention of what his enclosure temps are at. Basking? You need a basking light now, not later...
Crickets at or under 1/4' look about right for that size critter.
Using an under-enclosure Rubbermaid box for drainage is reasonable.

A lot more needs to be sorted out for overall success.

READ THROUGH THESE TO HELP SORT THINGS OUT...

http://www.chameleonsdish.com/

http://www.chameleonnews.com/ especially http://www.chameleonnews.com/ref.html

http://www.adcham.com/
 

atog

New Member
i've been putting in 10 crickets a day, and today there were 3-4 left over from yesterday plus i bought some meal worms in the afternoon (hopefully he'll eat some)

i dont have a basking light as of yet, he's been in the sun outside in the reptarium, i live in florida
 

atog

New Member
i tried to feed him meal worms but he wasn't havin it, i just got some more crickets and hes back and healthy again, i can't wait for him to get bigger to fill into this enclosure. any tips for what i could do to improve the layout? i want to get more biovine or something, but with natural plants it's kind of hard to be able to get a good set up going (the schefflera and pothos are soo low to the ground)

what i don't get is that my chameleon likes to stay in the ficus, and goes nowhere else throughout the cage. sometimes i'll catch him on the bio vine, but never do i see him go near the pothos or schefflera. my buddy's veiled is 3-4 months old maybe older and his goes into the schefflera readily at the bottom of his cage for hiding, why hasn't mine realized this yet? lol should i put fake foilage in there at all? i was trying to acheive all-natural setup but i'm not sure if that's working out too swiftly

P.S. god damn these reptariums. they are good cages, but not for free-roaming crickets. I found 10 of them in the cage, all inbetween the mesh and the PVC in the corners. they just go and hide in the corners, maybe the softtray will help eliminate that?
 

Julirs

New Member
I use 2 38 gallon Reptariums with soft trays and I get minimal cricket hiding. Also, my chams have learned where the crickets hide and have perfected the angle to shoot them out of the corners. It took me awhile to get mine to eat any kind of worms, so be patient. He will eventually start roaming the cage when he is used to everything. Mine like the ficus too because it is sturdy and easy to grip. I am glad things are going well for him. Good luck!
 

atog

New Member
he's doing well i can visually see him getting larger in size. caught him today on some of the biovine baskin in the sun. I'm going to get a softtray next, and eventually a uvb bulb/ basking light for indoor care, but right now i think its good that he's out in full sunlight eating like a monster even though i haven't seen him shoot his tongue ONCE! the crickets are getting inbetween the PVC and the screen, the OUTSIDE corner, so if i were to pick up the cage or tighten the screen they would be smushed. and it seems like they get stuck there because i had to pull out the flap thats the excess mesh folded over and seamed
 

atog

New Member
parts of the day he's in the cage outside in direct sunlight and for the most part inside the pool cage on the lanai in direct sunlight
 
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