New here and to Chameleons

Ozzie2011

New Member
My hubby and I are animals lovers and our family members consist of 3 Chihuahuas and 1 Shihtzu and 6 Parrots and 2 Red Slider Turtles and a Betta. We have done alot of research on Chameleons but all info differs so this is why I joined to get info straight from the source. I bought a setup on Craigslist from someone and they hardly used it and so I added more to it. We don't have our male baby Chameleon yet as I am trying to find a ligit breeder because I do not want to support or buy from Petco or Petsmart. Plus I want to get my setup right also first.

My question is my husband is battling with me saying that all reptiles know where to find heat so he says a heat rock is a must in the Chameleons housing besides the basking bulb and heat bulb so I want to proove him wrong basically by letting him read your Expertise advice LOL

Thanks in advance :)
 

Texas Ranger

Avid Member
Heat rocks are NOT for chameleons. They would never use it anyway because it would be on the ground of the cage and your chameleon should never be on the floor of a cage. As for good breeders check out the sponsers of the forum. They have great track records.
Post a picture of the set up you have and we will help you out with what you need.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Welcome to the forums! NO HEAT ROCK. In fact heat rocks are not really recommended by vets for any reptiles in general because they are too hot, can't be adjusted and reptiles get burned on them all the time. Lizards seek out heat sources from above them, as the sun would be when they bask, not from below. There is preliminary research actually saying that the heat and pain sensors are in lower concentration on the belly and feet of most reptiles because they regulate their basking activities based on heat from the sun, so the sensors are on the back. This is especially true in chameleons that would not even try to bask on a warm rock like some other lizards and snakes would. A heat rock would sit at the bottom of the cage going to waste, and if your cham ever did crawl on it, it would have the potential to be burned quickly because chameleon feet are not equipped to deal with hot objects. Sorry hubby, your wife wins this one! ;)
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
IMHO, chameleons generally live in the trees and are heliolithic...thus they would not look for heat on the floor of the cage usually but rather look to the sun. I do know that a couple of species have gone to the ground for heat when the winter weather comes...but that's different IMHO.
 

Ozzie2011

New Member
Thank you for the welcome and the advice! What do you recommend putting in the bottom of his habbitat? When I was at Petsmart the sales person recommended Eco Earth so I bought a huge bag but have not opened it yet. ( I am just setting up my habitat.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Go ahead and take the Eco earth back and take the salesperson's future advice with a grain of salt. There are almost daily posts about chameleons eating dirt and people have lost their chameleons to intestinal impactions caused by sand or dirt. Some chams eat dirt intentionally (perhaps a micromineral deficit, or maybe they just like the taste?) and some accidentally ingest it as they are shooting for crickets. Aside from that it would be a huge mess in a screen cage with all the water you'll be putting into the cage! You'll have a mud mess oozing out through the screen at the bottom and gnats having a hayday in like a week.

Most people have bare bottom cages because any substrate is a risk for impactions, makes a mess or harbors mold and bacteria. Personally I use the reptile carpet because I like the green bottom but I wash it every week pretty much religiously. if you can't wash it often then it would grow bacteria and mold so just don't use anything and you don't have to worry about the hassle!

While we're at it, don't get a waterfall either. Salespeople love sending those home. ;)
 
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Ozzie2011

New Member
Thank you so much! Eco bedding is going back today. The weird thing is I started to get the green carpet before I spoke to this sales person...ugh live and learn! I will not get a waterfall but I do need some more vines and live plants :)
Go ahead and take the Eco earth back and take the salesperson's future advice with a grain of salt. There are almost daily posts about chameleons eating dirt and people have lost their chameleons to intestinal impactions caused by sand or dirt. Some chams eat dirt intentionally (perhaps a micromineral deficit, or maybe they just like the taste?) and some accidentally ingest it as they are shooting for crickets. Aside from that it would be a huge mess in a screen cage with all the water you'll be putting into the cage! You'll have a mud mess oozing out through the screen at the bottom and gnats having a hayday in like a week.

Most people have bare bottom cages because any substrate is a risk for impactions, makes a mess or harbors mold and bacteria. Personally I use the reptile carpet because I like the green bottom but I wash it every week pretty much religiously. if you can't wash it often then it would grow bacteria and mold so just don't use anything and you don't have to worry about the hassle!

While we're at it, don't get a waterfall either. Salespeople love sending those home. ;)
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Here is some information that I hope will help....
Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects just before you feed them to the chameleon at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you also dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

Dusting twice a month as well with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite which has beta carotene.)

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

Here are some good sites for you to read...
http://chameleonnews.com/07FebWheelock.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200605020...Vitamin.A.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200406080...d.Calcium.html
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/
http://web.archive.org/web/200601140...ww.adcham.com/
If you can't access the sites above that have the word "archive" in you can do it through the WayBackMachine.
 

Texas Ranger

Avid Member
I use bare bottom or paper towels. IMO, it is more sterial than carpets. Because you just throw away the mess. Rather than trying to wash it.
 
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