New owner, double checking.

Grim Crow

New Member
Hey the name is Gabe, and I am a first time cham owner, Veiled. I just wanted to post to make sure I'm doing it right, I have never owned another reptile and I heard that a chameleon was a bad idea for a first time reptile. So here is what I got, I think it's a she, no spurs/little bumps behind hind legs. Her name is Coco. We bought the 18x18x20 (20"tall) mesh cage available at petsmart. I got a reptisun 5.0 UVB 18" light, along with the dual 75w basking light and night infrared light (3 lights total). I got the big dripper system, but only using 1 dripper atm. A couple vines and fake leaves along with a small fake tree looking thing. I opted to get substrate, to help absorb moisture and keep humidity up, also I think it might have been a good idea because she got freaked out by me once during misting and in her scrambling to get away she musta had a bad hold and fell on the substrate, feet first, i think if i had not have had substrate it might have hurt. I also placed a water bowl in there to catch most of the dripping water, I know she wont drink from it and i regularly empty it out so as not to build bacteria. I bought a small cricket keeper and gutload my crickets with Fluker's High-Calcium cricket diet, as well as I powder them with Fluker's Calcium: phosphorus 2:1 before feeding. To feed I usually just put about 10 crickets in the cage with her at a time. The substrate is too large for her to swallow (bought the big stuff on purpose) so she doesn't have a problem hunting them down. From time to time we catch a fly in the house and she bolts for the thing with gusto. I mist alot, probably around 10 times a day. I am very fearful of her being dehydrated as I never see her drinking water from the leaves. The humidity level inside the cage according to some cheap analog gauge i bought is usually between 40 and 50, so thats why I mist alot. I also have some cheap analog tempature dial the usually reads between 75-80 durring the day and closer to 70 at night. I think this is probably where I'm lacking most, as I probably should get a digital reader and check areas all over the cage. But anyway. I usually leave the night infrared light on for a while at night but turn off before bed. Durring the day, if i see the temp drop below 75 i turn the infrared lamp on until the temp goes back up. She seems to be happy, bright or pastel green in color. She does darken when I mist though. The only thing that has me a little worried right now is that I dont ever see her drinking. Also the petsmart girl said she was anywhere between 3 and 4 months old. Sometimes I see her basking on a vine that is about 3 inches from the basking bulb and she sits there with her mouth open. I'm wondering if i should lower that vine or if its normal? Also I'd like to place a live plant in there soon, I'm thinking a hibiscus as I've read that ficus sap is mildly toxic, what kind of soil should I get? When should i prepare her an egg laying spot? And what type of sand/soil to get, should I place it inside a little "house" for privacy? (the fake tree has a little cave in the middle that might work?) Anyway thanx in advance, trying to do this right the first time.
One of the main things i read about would be the large substrate. Remove this even if you think it is to large for her to consume, there still would be a possibility that she could get a hold of it somehow. Let's not take any chances...

I would also do away with the water bowl as it only serves the purpose of catching the dripping water, this would eliminate any chances of bacteria.

Make sure you are misting a number of times throughout the day for 1-3 minutes at a time. The chameleon being hydrated is very important.

I'll get back to this post when I get a moment. Welcome to the addiction my friend.
Welcome to the forums Gabe and chameleon ownership! you have come to the right place to have all your questions answered. A couple of things here...Do yourself a favor and get rid of the analog therm and humdiity gauges. They are not accurate at all. Your temps may be higher than you think. Misting 10 times a day is not necessary, especially if you have a dripper. 3 times a day for a period of 3-5 minutes is fine. You don't want your cage to be constantly wet. Personally, I would get rid of the substrate. Even if it is large, over time with all the water it is gonna rot. Also a great place for crickets to hide out. As far as the water bowl, I too use a large SHALLOW tupperware container to catch water underneath my dripper. Make sure if whatever you use is shallow enough for your chameleon to crawl out of incase it should fall in. It could drown. You cham is still young and small. You should be dusting with a plain calcium at every feeding, a calcium with d3 twice a month and also a multivitamin twice amonth. A better gutload for your crickets would be fresh fruits and veggies, kale, collard greens, apples, carrots, oranges etc. I also would feed her a few more crickets than that. Female chams can start laying eggs at about 6 months. Here is a great blog for you from one of our members on how to prepare for that. Is them temp you are getting at 75-80 under the basking spot? Her basking spot should be around 80 degrees itself and using a 75 watt you are probably making that too hot. Get yourself like a 40 watt and measure the temp right on the vine under the light where she basks. Don't let her get too close to the screen as she can burn herself. No lights at night. 70 degrees is fine and not too cold. In the low 60's is even fine for her.

No the temp reading is from the side of the cage not the basking spot, so it's prob to hot then. I think I'll swing by walmart later tonight and by a digital thermometer to check it out. So do you think the calcium powder im using right now isnt any good? Reading the label it says it has 31% calcium, 15% phosph, and 100,000 IU/pound Vitamin D3, whatever that means. Ingredients: dicalcium phpate, limestone flour, flaver, d-activated animal sterol. I probably feed her more than 10 crickets a day, I just pull the tube from the cricket keeper, dust em and let them crawl onto the branch. When i see it gets low on crickets in there I add more. Yeah the water thing is really shallow, it's like a reptile water bowl, prob about an inch deep. Thanx for the replies.
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