New Senegal Chameleon


New Member
Yesterday i purchased my first chameleon and all the supplies. She is a Senegal chameleon i bought from a locally owned pet shop, she was bred by a lady in southern California and sold to my pet shop.

As for the terrarium i have a medium sized screened enclosure, lots of fake plants and vines, i was able to find a lot of sticks from my local craft store. I also have a large water dish with a water pump in it to agitate the water. She has a ReptiSun 5.0 Fluorescent UVB light, a 60watt daytime heat buld, and a 150watt 24hour bulb. I am using ZooMed Coconut Fiber substrate on the bottom of her enclosure. I also am using a Drip system which i have dripping onto a leaf and into the water dish with pump. Another drip drips onto a different leaf and partial branch. I also have a humidity and temperature gauge.

The temperature gauge is located three fourths of the way up the cage and the temp is about 85 Fahrenheit and the humidity I am having a hard time keeping above 50% i continue to mist the cage with a hand mister quite often in attempt to keep the humidity up. I am considering a few live plants to add and i was wondering if live plants would help keep up humidity?

The sticks i have starting from the bottom on all four corners and going to the top. I also have foliage lining the back and corners. She doesn't move around to much but does go right onto my hand. I am worried that she cant navigate around as she doesn't move a much. Any Suggestions?

I have only seen her drink a few drops of water out of the dripper while i was holding her near it. im not sure what to do about her drinking?

As for her diet I couldn't get her to eat crickets i put in her cage but she does eat meal worms out of my hand and i almost always dust the mealworms with calcium with d3 and occasionly i dust them with reptivite.

I will post a photo of her and her terrarium please let me know of anything i could improve on to help her drink and navigate more freely.

Thank you.


  • IMG_0661.jpg
    254.1 KB · Views: 174
  • IMG_0660.jpg
    246.1 KB · Views: 147
Last edited:
Welcome to the world of chameleons!

Its important that a Senegal drinks well...try dripping water on its nose at the rate of a drip every second or two. This will usually stimulate them to drink. I make sure that I continue to offer them water until they stop drinking.

Did you wash the plants well before using them in the cage? Live plants would help keep the humidity up but the humidity is not as crucial if the chameleon is getting enough water.

Its not necessary to provide water in a dish. Unless kept very clean it can be a bacteria breeding ground.

Regarding substrate...I don't recommend using it. Many of them can lead to impaction....and since there is very little information about which ones do, I avoid them all. By the time you find out that it causes an impaction there is little that can be done about it.

I wouldn't feed it too many mealworms. They are not easy to digest and some people have said they can cause impactions.

BTW...I think its a male...and I would be very surprised that it wasn't WC.

Here is some information that I hope will help...
Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption. Temperatures needed can vary with the species and age. For hatchling panthers I keep the temperature in the warmest area in the low 80's. For older panthers I keep it in the mid to high 80's for the most part.

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...
If you can't access the sites above that have the word "archive" in you can do it through the WayBackMachine.
...and a 150watt 24hour bulb...
Howdy Steven,

...And I'll add that if you are running the 150W light 24hrs a day then go ahead and remove it. The 60W daytime lamp along with the Reptisun 5.0 UVB source should be adequate. You will likely not need any additional heat at night and any light at night is likely to disturb her sleep cycle. Putting the lights on a 10hr-12hr time cycle is usually a good idea. Try something like 6am-5pm.

If you happen to live within 30-50 miles of Los Angeles, do a search in the General Discussion area for SBCK and you'll find a large group of us meet once a month :).
Thank both of you very. I will she to check those links out. I keep the fountain very clean generally empty I empty it out and wipe it thoroughly before adding new water. As for the subrate i will take that out as he/she doesn't go down there anyway.

I contacted the pet store and was able to get the number of the breeder and i am sure that my Senegal is grown in captivity.

Dave, I live in southern oregon not close to la unfortunately :( and i will experiment with the lighting at night and through the day to maintain temperature.

Thanks for the quick response time and I am extremely happy to have my chameleon he/she is great. Although I would like to know if there is way of sexing the Senegal?

Dave, I live in southern oregon not close to la unfortunately :( and i will experiment with the lighting at night and through the day to maintain temperature.

There really is no need for lighting at night. Chameleons don't need it; very few reptiles need it. It is actually beneficial to have a nighttime temperature drop. Unless your temperatures are dropping below 15C (approximately 60), I wouldn't be concerned. I doubt your house is less than 15 degrees anyway :rolleyes:.
The black heat light does not. But I do have a reptisun 5.0 light that I am running in 12 hour cycles.
Howdy Steven,

Go ahead and pull the black light.

Several reasons why:

1.) As mentioned above, 60F at night is ok and may even be a beneift.

2.) Black lights output some visible light that both humans and chameleons can see as well as some additional part of the spectrum that only chameleons may be able to see.

3.) If, in the event that you do choose to supply night heat because the temp is dropping way too low then use either a ceramic heater marketed for the reptile community or a heat projector ($20 but backordered) sold by
Thank you dave. I will look into a ceramic heater.

I was wondering how often i should drip the water on my chameleon to get him/her to drink?
It doesn't hurt to have you dripper running in the cage for atleast a few hrs a day to provide the lizard ample opportunity to drink. :)
Top Bottom