New chameleon owner, please read :)

Sambutt

New Member
Hello all, thanks for accepting me! This place has been a huge help already! I found this form-esk thing to complete so I thought I could get as much help as poss!



  • Your Chameleon - she’s 4 1/2 month old a vailed chameleon that I have had for just over a week. Although I wanted a chameleon, she came as a birthday surprise so the equipment was not chosen by me. I believe it was all suggested by our local reptile shop so I’m posting here to ask for some advice and check our set up!
  • Handling - At first I did Handel a lot, about once a day for 5 mins or so. I have since researched and left her alone a lot more, letting her get used to her enclosure and me. Just been sitting near her for short periods instead.
  • Feeding - currently feeding small locus she’s was eating about 5/6 a day then stopped and only ate 1/2 for a couple days before her shed started but has gone back to 5/6 today. I put the food in just after misting and lights on at about 8/9am daily. I havnt gut loaded any feeders yet, I just buy them from the shop - should I be??
  • Supplements - i have been dusting the locus everyday before feeds with “nutrobal” mineral feed that contains calcium, minerals and vitamins (A, C, E, D3, k3 and group B). I am aware this may need changing after researching D3 is not good to give her everyday. Any suggestions what to replace it with?
  • Watering - currently I am missing 2/3 times a day before lights on, about 4pm and 9/10pm for about 2 mins each time. I have never seen her drink, I have read they are quite secretive?
  • Fecal Description - the urate is quite creamy white/yellow coloured and the poop is quite dark brown slimey but solid blobs. I have not tested her for parasites.
  • History - she seems quite relaxed, yet to see any agitated colour patters (she was quite dark green on day 1 but has since lighted to a lively green yellow). Not noticed any hissing/biting either. She explores during the day and curls up into the corner behind some leaves around sunset or just after.


  • Cage Info:


  • Cage Type - it’s a large open air black aluminium screen cage (18”-18”-36”)
  • Lighting - I have an exoterra compact top terrarium canopy with a max 26W reptile uvb150 bulb from the same brand. As I didn’t set up I no longer have the packaging - is this a compact bulb? Should I chance to a high output one? I also have a reptile systems 100W heat lamp which I have suspended above the enclosure (about 15cm) as I think this wattage is too hot? Will that be okay? The heat lamps always on but I switch the uvb on 8am - 8pm ish, I aim for a 10/12 hour cycle.
  • Temperature - it’s about 70-75f at the branch closest to the light and 60f on the ground. I have a mobile thermometer I can move around to check this.
  • Humidity - i mist like I said 2/3 times a day but I havnt got anything to measure the humidity with yet, can anyone suggest a good one?
  • Plants - i have a mix of live and fake plants, there are live potted baby palms (acre palms - although the shop sold it as a fig plant?? That’s what’s on the pot….) and fake “jungle vines” in the corner.
  • Placement - the cage is in the living room between the couch and the door, no fans or vents but it is high foot traffic there (though not directly next to, just passing). The cage is stood on a green storage box so reaches about 118cm from the floor.
  • Location - Hull - chilly I know.
  • Current Problem - I was a little concerned when she stopped eating as much for a few days and became a little less active but she has since started her first shed with me and got her appetite back so I am wondering if that is natural? Apart from that everything seems okay, I just want to check I’m doing everything right as she came as a surprise to me - incredibly grateful but wish I could have chosen my own equipment 🤣. I am aware about egg laying too - so will place in a laying den when she’s a bit older. Also, wondering if I should get insurance? Any help/ tips are greatly appreciated I will attached some pictures of her and her enclosure too.


Thank you all in advance!!!
 

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Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
See my feedback and questions in bold. Let me know what additional questions you have as well. This will be a lot of info. Most important pieces are supplements, lighting, and enclosure modifications.


  • Your Chameleon - she’s 4 1/2 month old a vailed chameleon that I have had for just over a week. Although I wanted a chameleon, she came as a birthday surprise so the equipment was not chosen by me. I believe it was all suggested by our local reptile shop so I’m posting here to ask for some advice and check our set up! Happy you are here. Are you positive it is a female? No tarsal spur on the back of the back feet?
  • Handling - At first I did Handel a lot, about once a day for 5 mins or so. I have since researched and left her alone a lot more, letting her get used to her enclosure and me. Just been sitting near her for short periods instead. I recommend the being in the room so she can watch you but not handling just yet.
  • Feeding - currently feeding small locus she’s was eating about 5/6 a day then stopped and only ate 1/2 for a couple days before her shed started but has gone back to 5/6 today. I put the food in just after misting and lights on at about 8/9am daily. I havnt gut loaded any feeders yet, I just buy them from the shop - should I be?? Yes, you want to gutload your feeders. I am attaching a feeder and gutload image below.
  • Supplements - i have been dusting the locus everyday before feeds with “nutrobal” mineral feed that contains calcium, minerals and vitamins (A, C, E, D3, k3 and group B). I am aware this may need changing after researching D3 is not good to give her everyday. Any suggestions what to replace it with? So you would want to use a plain phosphorus free calcium WITHOUT D3 at every feeding and then use a multivitamin with D3 and A 2 times a month say the 1st and the 15th. Do you have access to repashy products there? Repashy supercal NoD would be your non D3 plain calcium and repashy Calcium plus LoD version would be your multivitamin. look like these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N3BKCGA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_image?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DLJRMV2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • Watering - currently I am missing 2/3 times a day before lights on, about 4pm and 9/10pm for about 2 mins each time. I have never seen her drink, I have read they are quite secretive? So some will only drink when they see the water movement on plants. I would for this reason add a dripper or change your morning misting to be about 15 minutes after lights go on.
  • Fecal Description - the urate is quite creamy white/yellow coloured and the poop is quite dark brown slimey but solid blobs. I have not tested her for parasites.
  • History - she seems quite relaxed, yet to see any agitated colour patters (she was quite dark green on day 1 but has since lighted to a lively green yellow). Not noticed any hissing/biting either. She explores during the day and curls up into the corner behind some leaves around sunset or just after.



  • Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - it’s a large open air black aluminium screen cage (18”-18”-36”) So this will need to be upgraded to a 2x2x4ft enclosure.
  • Lighting - I have an exoterra compact top terrarium canopy with a max 26W reptile uvb150 bulb from the same brand. As I didn’t set up I no longer have the packaging - is this a compact bulb? This is a compact bulb. Should I chance to a high output one? Yes, You want a T5HO fixture and a 6% or 5.0 uvb bulb for it. You want the 24 inch fixture so it will work on the larger cage. See if you can get an arcadia Pro T5 with a 6% bulb. Then you want this on top of the cage with the closest branches below it to be a measured 8-9 inches away. I also have a reptile systems 100W heat lamp which I have suspended above the enclosure (about 15cm) as I think this wattage is too hot? Will that be okay? The heat lamps always on but I switch the uvb on 8am - 8pm ish, I aim for a 10/12 hour cycle. So heat should not run at night. No lighting at night. And you do not want a red bulb. These are bad for their eyes. You are looking for no hotter at the branch than 78-80 (female) and 80-85(male).
  • Temperature - it’s about 70-75f at the branch closest to the light and 60f on the ground. I have a mobile thermometer I can move around to check this. Get a temp gauge with a probe to hook in at the basking branch this branch will be moved to that 8-9 inch distance due to the uvb so your going to hook in the probe there. Secure it with a small zip tie probe up. This will give you your basking and let you know how hot it is actually getting. Adjust down the fixture a bit to get the right temp. But make sure it is still raised off the screen top.
  • Humidity - i mist like I said 2/3 times a day but I havnt got anything to measure the humidity with yet, can anyone suggest a good one? I use govee... I have two one at the top branch and one down towards the bottom. I hook them in with a zip tie. You can not spray them though. So they have to be outside of a spray path. They work with an app on your phone. These are great for your ambient temp and humidity levels. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R586J37/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I also use their smart plugs for my lighting. They work with the app as well. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08731J1L4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • Plants - i have a mix of live and fake plants, there are live potted baby palms (acre palms - although the shop sold it as a fig plant?? That’s what’s on the pot….) and fake “jungle vines” in the corner. All fake plants you will pull out and hook to the outside of the cage. Veileds eat everything so you have to go with real veiled tested plants. See image. Cover the soil of the pot with 1inch or larger river rock (they sell it in craft stores). This will keep the cham from eating the soil. You want a lot more branches. If fake vines use the flukers brand. All substrate needs to be removed this is an impaction risk. Bare bottom. See what you can get for a tray to go below the cage for water run off. Some modify and add a pvc pipe to drain into a bucket. Some hot water pans work. This is one of those you have to modify for your needs thing. Not too many people actually sell the right products we use for chams. So we make our own.
  • Placement - the cage is in the living room between the couch and the door, no fans or vents but it is high foot traffic there (though not directly next to, just passing). The cage is stood on a green storage box so reaches about 118cm from the floor.
  • Location - Hull - chilly I know.
  • Current Problem - I was a little concerned when she stopped eating as much for a few days and became a little less active but she has since started her first shed with me and got her appetite back so I am wondering if that is natural? Apart from that everything seems okay, I just want to check I’m doing everything right as she came as a surprise to me - incredibly grateful but wish I could have chosen my own equipment 🤣. I am aware about egg laying too - so will place in a laying den when she’s a bit older. Also, wondering if I should get insurance? Any help/ tips are greatly appreciated I will attached some pictures of her and her enclosure too. reduced eating is normal with chams prior to a shed.
If you are having trouble with humidity or temps you can add corrugated plastic panels to the sides and back. This will also help with overspray from misting not going on your walls. Duct window film can also be used on the outside.

As she matures you will have to start cutting back her food. By about 6-7 months she should be getting about 5-8 small feeders each day. At about 7-8 months you want to slowly reduce by cutting down feeder amounts so that she is on a feeding schedule of 3 days a week with 3 feeders. You want them to be on this schedule by the time they are 9-10 months old.

You will not ever want basking to be over 78-80 for her. Very important for females because as she ages she needs this temp no higher at basking to help control the amount of eggs she produces.

A lay bin should be added as a permanent fixture by the time they are 6 months old so they get used to it and it does not cause stress.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/laying-bin-set-up-educational-video.77225/

Screen Shot 2022-06-27 at 11.41.38 AM.png
laybin graphic.jpg
chameleon-gutload.jpg
chameleon-food(1).jpg
 

Sambutt

New Member
See my feedback and questions in bold. Let me know what additional questions you have as well. This will be a lot of info. Most important pieces are supplements, lighting, and enclosure modifications.


  • Your Chameleon - she’s 4 1/2 month old a vailed chameleon that I have had for just over a week. Although I wanted a chameleon, she came as a birthday surprise so the equipment was not chosen by me. I believe it was all suggested by our local reptile shop so I’m posting here to ask for some advice and check our set up! Happy you are here. Are you positive it is a female? No tarsal spur on the back of the back feet?
  • Handling - At first I did Handel a lot, about once a day for 5 mins or so. I have since researched and left her alone a lot more, letting her get used to her enclosure and me. Just been sitting near her for short periods instead. I recommend the being in the room so she can watch you but not handling just yet.
  • Feeding - currently feeding small locus she’s was eating about 5/6 a day then stopped and only ate 1/2 for a couple days before her shed started but has gone back to 5/6 today. I put the food in just after misting and lights on at about 8/9am daily. I havnt gut loaded any feeders yet, I just buy them from the shop - should I be?? Yes, you want to gutload your feeders. I am attaching a feeder and gutload image below.
  • Supplements - i have been dusting the locus everyday before feeds with “nutrobal” mineral feed that contains calcium, minerals and vitamins (A, C, E, D3, k3 and group B). I am aware this may need changing after researching D3 is not good to give her everyday. Any suggestions what to replace it with? So you would want to use a plain phosphorus free calcium WITHOUT D3 at every feeding and then use a multivitamin with D3 and A 2 times a month say the 1st and the 15th. Do you have access to repashy products there? Repashy supercal NoD would be your non D3 plain calcium and repashy Calcium plus LoD version would be your multivitamin. look like these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N3BKCGA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_image?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DLJRMV2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • Watering - currently I am missing 2/3 times a day before lights on, about 4pm and 9/10pm for about 2 mins each time. I have never seen her drink, I have read they are quite secretive? So some will only drink when they see the water movement on plants. I would for this reason add a dripper or change your morning misting to be about 15 minutes after lights go on.
  • Fecal Description - the urate is quite creamy white/yellow coloured and the poop is quite dark brown slimey but solid blobs. I have not tested her for parasites.
  • History - she seems quite relaxed, yet to see any agitated colour patters (she was quite dark green on day 1 but has since lighted to a lively green yellow). Not noticed any hissing/biting either. She explores during the day and curls up into the corner behind some leaves around sunset or just after.



  • Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - it’s a large open air black aluminium screen cage (18”-18”-36”) So this will need to be upgraded to a 2x2x4ft enclosure.
  • Lighting - I have an exoterra compact top terrarium canopy with a max 26W reptile uvb150 bulb from the same brand. As I didn’t set up I no longer have the packaging - is this a compact bulb? This is a compact bulb. Should I chance to a high output one? Yes, You want a T5HO fixture and a 6% or 5.0 uvb bulb for it. You want the 24 inch fixture so it will work on the larger cage. See if you can get an arcadia Pro T5 with a 6% bulb. Then you want this on top of the cage with the closest branches below it to be a measured 8-9 inches away. I also have a reptile systems 100W heat lamp which I have suspended above the enclosure (about 15cm) as I think this wattage is too hot? Will that be okay? The heat lamps always on but I switch the uvb on 8am - 8pm ish, I aim for a 10/12 hour cycle. So heat should not run at night. No lighting at night. And you do not want a red bulb. These are bad for their eyes. You are looking for no hotter at the branch than 78-80 (female) and 80-85(male).
  • Temperature - it’s about 70-75f at the branch closest to the light and 60f on the ground. I have a mobile thermometer I can move around to check this. Get a temp gauge with a probe to hook in at the basking branch this branch will be moved to that 8-9 inch distance due to the uvb so your going to hook in the probe there. Secure it with a small zip tie probe up. This will give you your basking and let you know how hot it is actually getting. Adjust down the fixture a bit to get the right temp. But make sure it is still raised off the screen top.
  • Humidity - i mist like I said 2/3 times a day but I havnt got anything to measure the humidity with yet, can anyone suggest a good one? I use govee... I have two one at the top branch and one down towards the bottom. I hook them in with a zip tie. You can not spray them though. So they have to be outside of a spray path. They work with an app on your phone. These are great for your ambient temp and humidity levels. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R586J37/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I also use their smart plugs for my lighting. They work with the app as well. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08731J1L4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • Plants - i have a mix of live and fake plants, there are live potted baby palms (acre palms - although the shop sold it as a fig plant?? That’s what’s on the pot….) and fake “jungle vines” in the corner. All fake plants you will pull out and hook to the outside of the cage. Veileds eat everything so you have to go with real veiled tested plants. See image. Cover the soil of the pot with 1inch or larger river rock (they sell it in craft stores). This will keep the cham from eating the soil. You want a lot more branches. If fake vines use the flukers brand. All substrate needs to be removed this is an impaction risk. Bare bottom. See what you can get for a tray to go below the cage for water run off. Some modify and add a pvc pipe to drain into a bucket. Some hot water pans work. This is one of those you have to modify for your needs thing. Not too many people actually sell the right products we use for chams. So we make our own.
  • Placement - the cage is in the living room between the couch and the door, no fans or vents but it is high foot traffic there (though not directly next to, just passing). The cage is stood on a green storage box so reaches about 118cm from the floor.
  • Location - Hull - chilly I know.
  • Current Problem - I was a little concerned when she stopped eating as much for a few days and became a little less active but she has since started her first shed with me and got her appetite back so I am wondering if that is natural? Apart from that everything seems okay, I just want to check I’m doing everything right as she came as a surprise to me - incredibly grateful but wish I could have chosen my own equipment 🤣. I am aware about egg laying too - so will place in a laying den when she’s a bit older. Also, wondering if I should get insurance? Any help/ tips are greatly appreciated I will attached some pictures of her and her enclosure too. reduced eating is normal with chams prior to a shed.
If you are having trouble with humidity or temps you can add corrugated plastic panels to the sides and back. This will also help with overspray from misting not going on your walls. Duct window film can also be used on the outside.

As she matures you will have to start cutting back her food. By about 6-7 months she should be getting about 5-8 small feeders each day. At about 7-8 months you want to slowly reduce by cutting down feeder amounts so that she is on a feeding schedule of 3 days a week with 3 feeders. You want them to be on this schedule by the time they are 9-10 months old.

You will not ever want basking to be over 78-80 for her. Very important for females because as she ages she needs this temp no higher at basking to help control the amount of eggs she produces.

A lay bin should be added as a permanent fixture by the time they are 6 months old so they get used to it and it does not cause stress.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/laying-bin-set-up-educational-video.77225/

View attachment 331209View attachment 331210View attachment 331211View attachment 331212
That is a lot of information, firstly thank you so much! This is insanely helpful, I can’t believe the shop would suggest some of these things especially the fake plants! They said the more the better 🤯.

I will defiantly get to sorting this all out asap. I do think she is female, I cannot see any spurs but i do have some follow up questions if you don’t mind…

I was told that the heat lamp HAS to stay on at night, I am in the uk and it’s very cold currently? Is it defiantly safe to turn it off? If so when, 12hrs like the uvb? Also, do I get a new bulb that’s the same wattage (100) just not red light? Or a lower w?

if I correct the other stuff asap will she be okay in this cage size for now and I can try and source a bigger one next month? As this was a surprise I wasn’t fully fund ready yet 😅

When it comes to all these changes how is best to go about it without stressing her too much? I have some large Swiss cheese plants At home… i could place her on whilst I work out the rearrangements?

Big thanks, this is so helpful!
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
That is a lot of information, firstly thank you so much! This is insanely helpful, I can’t believe the shop would suggest some of these things especially the fake plants! They said the more the better 🤯.

I will defiantly get to sorting this all out asap. I do think she is female, I cannot see any spurs but i do have some follow up questions if you don’t mind…

I was told that the heat lamp HAS to stay on at night, I am in the uk and it’s very cold currently? Is it defiantly safe to turn it off? If so when, 12hrs like the uvb? Also, do I get a new bulb that’s the same wattage (100) just not red light? Or a lower w?

if I correct the other stuff asap will she be okay in this cage size for now and I can try and source a bigger one next month? As this was a surprise I wasn’t fully fund ready yet 😅

When it comes to all these changes how is best to go about it without stressing her too much? I have some large Swiss cheese plants At home… i could place her on whilst I work out the rearrangements?

Big thanks, this is so helpful!
Pet stores are normally incorrect about what to buy for individual animals they sell. :(

Tell me about your temps at night in the house. They do fine down to 50f. A cool down is actually beneficial. I prefer if a heater is needed to use a space heater to heat ambient temps in that area of the room. Some people will use a ceramic heat emitter on the cage for nights because it does not have light. But these can really heat up a cage so you have to be very cautious. Because again your wanting the cool down at night.

Bulb wattage totally depends on your environment. I have a full 12 inches from my fixture bottom to my basking branch. so the fixture is lifted 4 inches off the top. I do happen to use a 100watt bulb on mine but with it lifted it allows for the temps I need without thermal burn risk. I do not use a lower wattage in winter because it just takes too long to warm up the basking area and ambient cage temp with a lower wattage. But no red light at all this harms their eyes. Lights at night screw up their sleep they will stay up and not rest causing illness and other failure to thrive issues.

Yes you can use the 18x18x36 for now. I would not wait more than 4-6 weeks to get her into the bigger cage though.

Personally I put my boy in a dark sealed box with a branch pushed through the bottom about an inch off the bottom. He sleeps while I deal with cage changes. I find that this is much easier to do so I can focus on the cage and not what the chameleon is doing.
 

Sambutt

New Member
Pet stores are normally incorrect about what to buy for individual animals they sell. :(

Tell me about your temps at night in the house. They do fine down to 50f. A cool down is actually beneficial. I prefer if a heater is needed to use a space heater to heat ambient temps in that area of the room. Some people will use a ceramic heat emitter on the cage for nights because it does not have light. But these can really heat up a cage so you have to be very cautious. Because again your wanting the cool down at night.

Bulb wattage totally depends on your environment. I have a full 12 inches from my fixture bottom to my basking branch. so the fixture is lifted 4 inches off the top. I do happen to use a 100watt bulb on mine but with it lifted it allows for the temps I need without thermal burn risk. I do not use a lower wattage in winter because it just takes too long to warm up the basking area and ambient cage temp with a lower wattage. But no red light at all this harms their eyes. Lights at night screw up their sleep they will stay up and not rest causing illness and other failure to thrive issues.

Yes you can use the 18x18x36 for now. I would not wait more than 4-6 weeks to get her into the bigger cage though.

Personally I put my boy in a dark sealed box with a branch pushed through the bottom about an inch off the bottom. He sleeps while I deal with cage changes. I find that this is much easier to do so I can focus on the cage and not what the chameleon is doing.
Okay awesome! Can’t thank you enough :) will take some temp readings through the night tonight and get shopping. Hopefully I’ll update soon!

Thank you again.
 
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