New Member with J. Xantholophus

Tihshho

Established Member
Hello all!

Just wanted to introduce myself as I'm new to the forum. I've been after Jackson's for years, but either never had the space or happened to be in a living situation (years of renting) where I would be able to keep them. I'm familiar with Jackson's (J. Xanth's speficially) as I grew up with them being wild in Oahu where I'm originally from. I know they were introduced in the 70's for bug control, but they have been collected for decades and were for sale in most Mom and Pop pet stores on the island as pets.

As I'm a homeowner now, I figured now would be the best time to jump into my Jackson's interest and I happened to come home this past weekend with a young pair of J. Xantholophus that were claimed to be captive bred by the seller at a local Reptile Show that I was at. They also happened to have T. Jacksonii Jacksonii, but by the time I got there they only had males left. Maybe later down the line I'll consider getting a pair of them as well! But first things first, getting things together for the current duo. Initially, the plan was to house each individually in two 18x18x24 ExoTerra's I had from my vivarium days (I live on the East Coast so humidity chasing in the winter is a thing) until they got larger and then bump them up into the same floor print, but 36" enclosures. Only thing at that point I needed for them were UVB lighting and a spot light which I was pricing out at the show. Oddly enough, the ZooMed lights were going for only a little less than the Cham Enclosure Kits that were for sale, so I ended up grabbing a pair of 16x16x36 screen enclosures for them with lighting and everything else. Generally I hate kits, but this seemed like a solid deal to pass up. My only concern at the time was the screen enclosures. Then after thinking about it I had a perfect solution! One of my other hobbies is fresh and saltwater aquariums, I actually have a room in my basement that I have dedicated to freshwater species that I'm breeding as well as home to my utility sink and my RO/DI unit and water storage. There was a wall in the room I had a storage rack in there that was barely getting use, so I decided it may be a perfect spot for the Cham's as the room on average is in the 70's with a drop as low as 68 and a peak of about 75 and the humidity is in the 60's on and off as I have a dehumidifier that I run, but it fills up quickly and I have not gotten around to plumbing it to a drain. Right now it seems like the Cham's truly enjoy their new homes as they are not in a crowded cage with their own. Luckily the seller had the males and females separated, but if they were separated in the past I'm not sure. Due to this I'm in the works of getting things together to get another cage built, though this time custom, to house the juveniles until I need to separate them in case of of an unplanned clutch of babies. In the long run I do hope to breed these guys, but at that time I hope to have everything setup as to not be rushing to prepare for offspring.

Right now I'm currently misting the two manually with a sprayer. I plan on setting them up to a MistKing I have sitting around, but I want to make sure I'm happy with the way the enclosures are before punching a hole into some screen for the nozzles. I also need to figure out a safe way to remineralize some RO/DI as my current tap water is heavy with minerals and I don't want to clog up my MistKing with tap residue.

That all said, here is the dynamic duo!

KO17pHz.jpg


I plan on getting some live plants in there soon!
 

Tihshho

Established Member
I was wondering about going T5, glad this came up early in the setup. How much longer will they be OK with dome until I can get a T5 strip over the enclosures.

***Sidenote: Before anyone freaks out about the enclosures being next to one another, I do have a piece of styro between them so they are not within eye shot of one another.
 

The Wild One

Chameleon Enthusiast
your going to need to take out the carpet at the bottom, its a breeding ground for bacteria. what plants are you putting in? You need to make sure that they are Cham safe. And you need WAY more coverage. Any space is wasted space, The Chams shouldn't be able to be seen if they don't want to be see,
 

Tihshho

Established Member
Carpets are going to go. Right now I had them in there because the Misses helped assemble everything and they went in as they were part of the kit. I'll pull them later today and replace them with some paper towel or unprint newspaper I use for my ball pythons.

For plants I'm aware about some being toxic, I'm either thinking of going with some Umbrella Plants (Schefflera) or looking into some citrus plants that have minimal thorns.
 

Hashtag ChamLife

Avid Member
Carpets are going to go. Right now I had them in there because the Misses helped assemble everything and they went in as they were part of the kit. I'll pull them later today and replace them with some paper towel or unprint newspaper I use for my ball pythons.

For plants I'm aware about some being toxic, I'm either thinking of going with some Umbrella Plants (Schefflera) or looking into some citrus plants that have minimal thorns.
If you want a fruit tree, go with a mango, the wont have thorns. However, I'd skip fruit trees as they're going to cost more... but that's personal preference. I like hibiscus cause they're cheap, edible, provide a ton of cover and can handle the water/humidity/temps. Use the dome that came with the kit and add some grow lights or LEDs for your plants. [As a side note, I've found adding a LED light actually seems to make my cham a little more active - there's no way to prove that however.]

You're also going to want to get some type of vine plant. I personally use a lot of the flukers fake vines and wrap them with my pothos as it grows. The flukers vines you can get off amazon for like $2-4, which is about 1/3 the cost of retail. They limit the large ones to 4 per person [not household!]. You can never have too many vines and pathways and hiding spots in an enclosure.

Do keep in mind that if your planning to go with a bigger enclosure and/or tree cover, you MAY need to increase you t5HO bulb to the 10.0/12% bulb to penetrate the dense foliage/cover the cage.

This is my experience... I do not and have never kept a Jackson.

Welcome to the forums!
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hello and welcome! If you're interested in a husbandry review, please fill out the following form with as much detail as possible to ensure that your little gems get the best start possible! @JacksJill is our resident Jackson's goddess.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

--------------

Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
You've gotten a lot of good advice here already. I would stick with 6% or 5.0 for your UVB lights unless you plant your viv so heavily that plants take up all the space and you are using the 24x24x28 size. Otherwise it will be too much for them. Even then I would boost the lights up of the screen 3-4 inches at 12% for Jackson's.
If humidity is going to be an issue you can wrap 1-3 sides of the enclosures with clear plastic to retain some humidity. I also use a cool mist humidifier to boost the humidity into the 80-100% range at night. These guys are very well adapted to cooler night time temperatures as well (50˚-65˚F) and need absolute darkness at night.
I like schefflera, pothos, spider plant and wandering jew for my cages but there are many good choices. Get those plants in there as soon as you can it will reduce their stress level tremendously.
You will want to add some kind of drainage system when you add your MistKing to collect the water. It will be more than paper can absorb.
I will check back and see if I see any thing else on the from when you get to it.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - J. Xantholophus pair. Approx 8-10 months. Picked up 10/26/2019
  • Handling - I'm currently limiting handling as the chams are in a new home and need to acclimate. I don't plan on bringing them out regularly as to not stress them out, but when I do bring them out/handle them it will be to move them from their current homes to my screened in deck in the summer so they can get some natural sunlight some days.
  • Feeding - Cham's are getting fed 1/4-1/2" Dubia nymphs currently as I'm waiting for my Dubia sub adults to grow up and start producing. Currently feeding 6 1/4-1/2" nymphs daily until I can support feeding off 1" nymphs. Currently feeding daily just to get the Cham's comfortable with me around as well as to aid with the production of wastes to make sure I don't see anything odd in their stool. I'll be moving to feeding them every other day starting next week. Dubia colony is being fed fruits, veggies as well as calcium enhanced water crystals and a standard dubia dry diet. In addition to Dubia's I'm going to be offering wax worms once or twice a week to vary their diet and provide them a source of fats as long as the Cham's do not show signs of obesity. Also, I'm considering adding superworms to the diet.
  • Supplements - Currently dusting with ZooMed calcium, but I plan on moving over to Repashy once I get through my container.
  • Watering - Currently spraying the Cham's and their enclosures down with a hand mister twice a day for about 10-15 seconds. I plan to move them to a Mist King I have once I solidify enclosures. So far I've only seen the female drink.
  • Fecal Description - Male has been the only one to produce stool waste and urites. I've seen a solid dry stool from the male sitting in the enclosure as well as a more wet stool that also contained urites.
  • History - Picked up from a vendor at a reptile show that claimed to have purchased entire stock from a breeder who focuses on Jackson's.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Current enclosures are ZooMed screened enclosures (16x16x36)
  • Lighting - Currently I'm running ZooMed dual domed light fixtures with UVB10 CF bulbs and a 25w daylight bulb. Looking to move the chams to a T5 UVB strip and upping the heat source bulb to a 50w. Right now I'm also supplementing light to the enclosure with Finnex LED strips per enclosure. Lights are all on for 12 hour photo periods on a timer.
  • Temperature - Heat source bulbs are producing about a 82 degree hot spot at 6" from the fixture to the basking vine. The base of the enclosure is providing about a 75 degree temperature. Overnight temperatures for the room fluctuate by season, but generally float between 65 (winters) and 74 in summer. I monitor the temps with two combo meters that I've been using to track the rooms humidity and temp for over a year and a half. Enclosures have been metered with an IR Temp gun.
  • Humidity - Ambient humidity fluctuates between 40-65%. Between twice daily sprays and surrounding aquariums, humidity sources are never an issue. Humidity is being monitored with multiple combo meters as well as a dehumidifier that has a readout.
  • Plants - Currently fake plants, but will be moving to Shefflera hopefully soon.
  • Placement - Enclosures are located in a tropical fish room. There are fans that circulate air in the room, but nothing is directly blowing on the Chams. The room is not high traffic besides myself going into the room daily. The enclosures are about 12" from the ceiling of a room with 8' ceilings.
  • Location - East Coast US.

Current Problem - No problems as of yet. Just keeping an eye on the female to see if I see signs of her being gravid.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
[As a side note, I've found adding a LED light actually seems to make my cham a little more active - there's no way to prove that however.]

Funny you said that, I'm currently supplementing visual light in there with LED strips.

I like schefflera, pothos, spider plant and wandering jew for my cages but there are many good choices. Get those plants in there as soon as you can it will reduce their stress level tremendously.

I'm going to a few nursery's this week to see what I can find. The issue I ran into this weekend was that everything that I could find was too small or way too large.

You will want to add some kind of drainage system when you add your MistKing to collect the water. It will be more than paper can absorb.
I will check back and see if I see any thing else on the from when you get to it.

This is something that I have planned in the works. I'll have to modify my shelving to accommodate this, but it isn't a problem. By the time I'm running the MK system I will be off of any paper substrates and the bottom of the enclosure will be a pot with a plant and the base of the pot will be clay balls for drainage.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
Supplements - Currently dusting with ZooMed calcium, but I plan on moving over to Repashy once I get through my container.
Make sure the supplement doesn't contain D3 if it does regular use will make them toxic. I use plain calcium no D3 mixed with powdered bee pollen 2-3 times weekly and Repashy Calcium plus LoD once a week or every other week depending on the age of the animal adults get every other week. Since yours are younger and your lights aren't optimum yet I would do weekly for now.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
Oooo good to know about D3. I'll go check.

In regards to the T5, would a single 30" or 36" strip be enough?
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
The strip should go the entire width of the cage for best results so if you get 2 24" cages get a 48" (2 x 18 then a 36") fixture to go over both of them. check out aquarium fixtures. You can get a dual and use one for UVB and one for 6500K plant bulb. You probably have one already.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
Sadly I got rid of all but one t5 fixture and it's a 24" t5. I wasn't sure if I needed a single or a double, but the 30/36" will cover both enclosures.

Now off to find which fixture I can get ASAP.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
Ordered a 36" T5 UVB setup with 5.0 UVB bulb that should be here tomorrow. I also tore apart a large Elkhorn Fern that I had growing in the house and mounted two of the larger pups to the inside of each enclosure as well as provided each Cham with their own DIY feeding station.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
With the new T5 uvb fixture above their enclosures and swapping the ZooMed 'daylight' to a CFL, both Chams are happy and out in the middle and soaking up the rays. I've left the other UVB bulb in place as I figure it can't hurt, but everyone seems pretty happy. The male is green more often than patterned and the female occasionally turns to a yellowish green as she basks.

One thing I need to figure out is if she is gravid. She has a round figure to her and I just want to figure out if that's just her physique or if she's baking some embryo's. If it's the latter, I'm just trying to figure out how much time I have until the day of babies are found everywhere in her enclosure.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
Over the weekend I was able to pickup some plants for the Chams. Ended up grabbing a thorn free (Meyer) lemon tree that I've read some Jackson's keepers have used as well as a giant Hibiscus that was on clearance for $8. Need to go through and give the Hibiscus a trim and then it should be good to go. Going to QT the plants for a few weeks before moving them in.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
So there are a few updates with le Cham's.

First thing's first, both are happy and healthy so far. The only odd thing that happens is that the two close their eyes during mistings to the point I make sure that I don't mist them directly. The female seems to not mind it as much as the male as she will close her eyes and then open them back up once she's back up to temp from sitting under the heat lamp for a couple minutes. The male on the otherhand won't open his eye's until he's dried off. Being that they never have their eyes closed any other time I have yet to be really concerned about it. Both of them happily chow down on their mix of gutloaded foods.

As I've been working on getting my designs together for new enclosures for them, I figured I'd throw together one this weekend as a backup just to have in case I get a surprise batch of babies. I'm still unsure if the female is pregnant or not, but I'd like to be prepared. Quick trip to Lowes to get some screen frames and hardware and a few hours later I had my own framed enclosure put together. I opted to roll the dice and go with some fiberglass screen instead of aluminum this round as I had it on hand from some previous Vivarium substrate barrier applications. Right now the complete top, front door, and bottom door have been screened. My plan in the long run is to find some material to use for the back, sides and the base. The reason for this is so that I can manage humidity a little better, as well initially wanting to contain mist from my MistKing within the enclosures. After some further digging while trying to re-order some MistKing parts, I stumbled upon a nozzle I had completely forgotten about, the rain nozzles for Chams! This will help with controlling the spray for the most part, and allow me to provide the Cham's with water without getting it in their eyes like I have been doing with a pump spray bottle. So in a week or so I should be having a few MistKing boxes showing up with parts to get me back on my way to automating misting.

Further drawings for my enclosures are now shifting to having the left, rear and base being solid and screening in the right side to provide additional air flow. I still want to have some solid walls to help with humidity management and water collection, as well as being able to add solid structure to the frame to reduce any twisting. Plus, I'd like to be able to mount branches solidly to the solid sides as to not put strain on the screen. I know Dragon Strand has the Dragon Ledges, but I'd still prefer going with a solid wall over the ledge for my application, and that my enclosures may not meet the canned sizes that Dragon Strand produces.

In about a week I'll go through and add the new plants to the current enclosures and then the Cham's should be set. I may actually have to get another plant as the Hibiscus I picked up has shot up about 7" since I got it. It seems to love the room I have it in in the basement as it's getting artificial grow lighting given to it and is watered with various water that I drain while changing my various Aquariums water. Can't go wrong with fish poop fertilizer. Since the Hibiscus has shot up in size, I've been considering getting a UVB setup to hang above it so that I can allow the Cham's to occasionally free range the room as the plant will be there to support them.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
Crickets get an overnight with water crystals, kale and carrots. My Dubia's I feed a mixed fruit diet to as well as a dry staple food. Wax worms are the only food I don't gutload.

As for the dripper, I'm going to skip it as I'm going to be running a drip system with the Mistaking soon.
 
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