New to Chams, making sure everything is right :-)

tallyho

New Member
New to the forums, hi all :-D

My story... I've always been fascinated with Chameleons, but was never allowed one when I was younger. Then I went to an event with local vendors a couple weeks ago and to my surprise there was a new pet shop in town. Among her setup of "rarity" type of pets was a tiny baby chameleon. I didn't want *him* per say seeing as the 3 hours of people walking by and putting the faces on the glass I knew wasn't too good for his health but the pet shop owner gave me care sheets and information and told me she would be expecting more in 2-3 months. Fair enough... I went home and started doing research on my own (over a decade later from the first time!).

I went to visit her shop with my boyfriend this week. The little guy had sold, not at all surprising that thing was cute! I saw 3 young Chameleons in a "not for sale" set up (apparently they were breeding so she was keeping them), and a little part of me was disappointed that I was going to be waiting months for a chameleon... but I liked her setups and her detailed accounts on each of the animals feeding habits and such so I decided and I'd just wait... and that's when she'd asked me if I'd seen "Grace". No, apparently I'd over looked her... so that lady brought out a beautiful "Graceful" chameleon. Very shy at first, she actually ended up sitting on my shoulder for a good time and when I offered for her to go back into the cage, she clung to my fingers instead and it was more of a "okay, back in the cage you go!" type deal to get her to let me go. I knew that wasn't exactly "natural" for a chameleon to be friendly like that... so dang, now I'm in love with a chameleon type I know nothing about. Well, I told her I was going to have to do research on Gracefuls and she said that was fine, and put her on hold for me until I decided. Long story short, there's not much information on them out there... but I keep thinking about beautiful little "Grace" and now she is mine :D

So bare with me as I ask noob questions, but I want to make sure everything is right. I've had her about 40 hours at the time of this post.

TEMP?
I've read they like room type temps (here on the forums mostly), I've read they like 85ish temps on websites. I've also read 90% humidity and 50%... ugh. Right now her temp is 81 with 55 humidity (my gauge is below the lamp about 12", aquarium top by 6" and sitting just above mid-way in the tank). I'm looking at getting a fogger today anyway, because of the best reason to get something for your pet- it looks cool (sarcasm) but now with my reading it looks like I should raise her humidity. When I turn off the light at night it's about 70 degrees

WATER?
She eats like a champ, but I've yet to see her drink. I've tried dripping water in front of her nose (wth crazy human I'm sure is what she is thinking) as well as a couple drops on her head... just not interested. I have the same bottle she had at the pet store (and they had had for for almost 2 months) and they said she was drinking great from it... THEN I read it should be a constant drip (this one rarely drips)... okay, so I cut a hole in a cup and hung it in there as well and it has a 2 second drip... that was 2 hours ago and still no interest. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I want to see her drink XD

FOOD?
Cricket eating pro, but according to the shop she would not eat anything else while she was there. I've seen lots of food suggestions, but what is the "best" transition food? I have not been dusting the crickets but will be as soon as I can pick up some stuff today.

SEX/AGE?
I *think* she's a girl, but I would rather have the experts opinion.


I think that is everything... I am looking at getting her a taller enclosure with vents asap. The aquarium is 19 3/4" wide at the widest point and 19" tall. We are still working on a proper lid on the aquarium and have a partial-covering glass on it right now... I need a savvy person to make a screen. I will also be picking up a "background" for the glass, she does think the lamp cord for is a branch to climb at times.


I'll attach a few pictures in hopes that you guys can get get a better idea and help me sex him/her and maybe get an idea of age...

Thanks in advance :)
 

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carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
What kind of lighting are you using? Do you have UVB? It is hard to tell from the picture. I would get a much larger enclosure than that. They need room to roam. Screen preferably. 24 X 24 X48 Also, you need to get some plants in there for her/him to hide and climb around on. Remove the substrate from the bottom! It can mold and harbor bacteria not to mention your chameleon may intentionally or accidentally(while shooting for crickets) injest it. Do not know anything about these species but it needs basic husbandry like all chameleons. Large cage, correct lighting is crucial. Try misting the cage with a spray bottle of hot water(it will come out warmish, test first) and see if she will drink that way either from the mist or what congregates on the branches. that is why you need to get some foilage in there! Not sure of the feeder supplementation schedule on this species either but you need to gutload your crickets, meaning feed them with fresh fruits and vegetables. That ambient temp is probably too warm but I am not positive on that, most species should have a low to mid 70's.. Also, I would move that light to one side of the cage, not the middle so she has a warm and a cool spot in the cage.
 

Ekproject

New Member
i rarely see my chameleons drink..but there urate is VERY white so they are drinking so dont sweat if you dont see her drink. good luck!
 

tallyho

New Member
The light is a Zoo-Med Repti-Basking Spot Lamp, 100W. It's actually sitting to the back and right of the enclosure, tilted slightly outwards. The temp gauge is under the lamp, so the temp in the rest of the enclosure would be lower (she sits most often under the lamp or in the middle). I was hoping to create a hot and cool side like I've seen mentioned quite often. I'll put my temp gauge on the bottom left and see what the temp is over there and report back.

The base is "Vita-Sand" by zoo med (calcium sand) and ground coconut shell (I forget the "commercial" name for that. She doesn't seem to pay attention to any crickets on the ground, I've only seen her eat off the cork-board on the background.

The pet shop owner said she she tried but Grace would not drink off of leaves. I'm still intending to purchase a few vines to go across, but she is really good at using that tail to stand and reach up so right now everything in her enclosure is set low to prevent escapes until I get a better lid. There are plants (real and fake) at the bottom of the enclosure at the moment, but nothing high.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
Is this the light you are using?http://www.zoomed.com/db/products/EntryDetail.php?EntryID=129&DatabaseID=2&SearchID=20&SearchContext=YTo1OntzOjQ6IlBhZ2UiO3M6MToiMSI7czo4OiJTZWFyY2hJRCI7czoyOiIyMCI7czoxMDoiRGF0YWJhc2VJRCI7czoxOiIyIjtzOjc6IkhlYWRpbmciO3M6OToiVGVycmFyaXVtIjtzOjE1OiJQcm9kdWN0Q2F0ZWdvcnkiO3M6ODoiTGlnaHRpbmciO30= Read all the way down and it will tell you, it does not provide uvb!!!
Your chamelon needs uvb to thrive and survive.. Get a Zoomed Reptisun 5.0 linear tube, not the compact. It is up to you about the substrate but if you chameleon starts eating it(and some will) it may become ill or become impacted, which means a vet bill for you. We can only tell you what we know from experience,the rest is up to you. You haven't witnessed her eating crickets on the ground...yet. If she does, you are taking a chance of her injesting the coconut shell...not a good thing.
 

tallyho

New Member
Yep that's it. I'll be going chameleon stuff shopping in a bit, so I will get the uvb light, tyvm for the info.

I need to read more into impaction in chameleons, it's not something I've really read about. In fact I've not really read anything about the proper base. It's a bummer that the base stuff I purchased would be "lizard safe" but not "chameleon safe". :(
 

beardeds7587

New Member
all im going to say personally since carol covered others is get a screen cage ASAP i had them in tanks,cages, and free range and i see the stress when i look in the glass.... all so u can feed super worms and wax worms every so often but not a good diet try getting horn or silk worms ......
 

Julirs

New Member
Hello-and welcome to the greatest place for chameleon info. You have taken on a tricky animal. I can tell you that there are not many people that keep Gracefuls-or Senegals-they look similar and I am not sure which one you have. They are not the easiest species to keep. One big question I have is what state you live in. It makes a difference in the housing you want to have. I can tell you that what you have is not a good idea. Both substrates you are currently using are extremely dangerous. I would remove both ASAP and use either nothing or papertowels. Regardless of what the Petstore did for a few months (it can take longer that that to show the ill effects of too little water) you should be misting her a few times a day for several minutes each. I have chams that I have to spray for a full minute before they will even begin to drink-some take longer than that. The cage you have her in is going to make it extremely difficult to manage the amount of water you should be using. The next HUGE thing that is needed is a UVB tube-Reptisun 5.0, but you more commonly find the Exoterra Reptiglo's out there. Do not get a compact screw in type bulb and do not get another brand-many out there are dangerous. Again, if they have not had UVB on here it could take a few months to see the damage that has been done. Senegals and Gracefuls are known to be shy animals, and like lots of plant coverage to hide in. And since not many people work with them, they are almost always WC animals and do not acclimate well to handling. Hopefully you are measuring temps with a digital thermometer with a probe of some kind-it is difficult to determine a basking spot temp without one. 100 watts is alot of heat-they often can make it over 100 degrees 6" under the bulb. 40 or 60Watts should make a good basking spot for you. I would get a new larger cage as suggested as soon as possible-airflow is very important to prevent respiratory issues. You will also need to get a calcium without D3, one with D3, and a multivite like Herptivite or Reptivite-and research schedules. Dusting lightly is important. If at all possible pick up a Schefflera or Pothos, live plants provide drinking surfaces, hiding places, and humidity. Please don't hesitate to ask questions. Getting your chameleon set up properly is highly important to it's survival.
 

tallyho

New Member
Please don't hesitate to ask questions.
Or don't worry on that one, you guys may get tired of my questions after awhile. haha ;)

And I live in Kansas City, Kansas. I'm just miles from the Missouri river, so our humidity is naturally high (I run a dehumidifier in the house that fills about as quickly as I can dump it).

I have a few leads on some nice used screen cages, but haven't heard back from the individuals selling them yet.

Another noob question, how do screen cages hold humidity? I currently have my cage sitting on my computer desk (low traffic area)... water + electronics is bad, just making sure the area around a screen cage won't become a swamp.

Does an auto fogger work like a mister would or would a fogger not be appropriate for a chameleon?

Are the two plants mentioned normally carried at places like home depo? I have one by my house and one by the petsmart I was going to visit for supplies, so I could check both. The other problem is my brown thumb... are they easy to keep alive?

For a water drip, how fast should it be? I've read about everything (I wouldn't have so many questions if the answers were consistent!). I even saw a chameleon on youtube that sucked on the driper like a bottle, but I assume that is really unusual and rare.

I'm waiting for my phone to charge all the way before I head out so that I can check the internet for answers and keep an eye on my questions on this post so I can be sure to get all the right things. My list is getting longer... :)
 

Julirs

New Member
You can find both of those plants at places like Home Depot-and it is really hard to kill Pothos-make sure you wash the plant well in dishsoap and rinse very well, and that you either repot in organic soil or make sure the cham cannot get to the soil to eat fertilizers, etc. In a well planted cage if you say your house is humid already I would not even worry about fogging. If you are worried about a screen cage not holding humidity esp, in winter, just cover a few sides with plastic sheeting. I personally do not drip any of my chams. Again, in a well planted cage, a couple of good mistings a day will work fine.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the world of chameleons!

Here's some information that might be helpful....
Exposure to proper UVB, appropriate temperatures, supplements, a supply of well-fed/gutloaded insects, water and an appropriate cage set-up are all important for the well-being of your chameleon.

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 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.)

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/
 

tallyho

New Member
So 4 hours of shopping 3 stores. I have added:

Blue aquarium backing
Umbrella Tree plants
Ivy chain (fake)
ExoTerra Reptiglo 5.0 Lamp

And picked up some super worms (all they had other then crickets :( ) and Fluker's Calcium with D3 (again, only supplemet they had). I'm still going to get a fogger since I travel and am gone days at a time, but I bought a misting bottle for now. I also picked up a Dracaena... turns out I think my tank is larger then it is though :eek: So now I have a new houseplant. And another shopping trip to find a big middle plants.

After wandering around in Home Depo I also picked up some plastic light cover... white with perfect 1/2" squares and after a lot of cutting then burning sharp edges off I have a beautiful vented lid that lets light through.

Temp with the new light is is now 69 at night and 74 at the moment (both from the bottom left corner, so a bit warmer up top but the light gives little heat). Humidity 70%. And someone asked earlier and I forgot to respond, it is a digital gauge. I hatch ducks/chickens as a hobby as I'm good at that part :) (Just need to know what it should be...)

Adding more pictures to help with age. Also new aquarium pic (though still no "big" middle plant). Base hasn't been replaced quite yet as I needed an extra hand (more like longer arms) and BF was at work.



Questions I'm still looking to have answered:
*Sex/Age of Grace?
*How fast should water drip from a dripper? (not really too concerned now that I have the leaves and mister. But curious.)

*New.. Should two types of food be offered at a time or only one? (crickets and super worms). She still has a couple of crickets left from her morning feeding Friday (4 I think, there were 12 large)... should I leave them and wait until she gets them? Take them out, put in freshly dusted crickets? Leave them and add some? Try the super worms in a bowl? I'm lost! :confused:
*I had to get the screw in light for now since I don't have a full length lamp (and won't know what size until I get the new tank). I'm guessing long over screw type is just because the greater surface area = more uvb? Also I pointed it inward because it doesn't really provide heat... I'm assuming that is okay...

Thanks again for everyone's help :)
 

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tallyho

New Member
*bump* for questions in above post.

I *did* finally get her drinking... of all things she licked the mist off the glass! I misted for her for 20 mins! My hand was cramped, haha (but she kept drinking so I kept misting- dehydrated?). She did look at a nearby leaf, licked it once then went back to licking the glass, so maybe she'll get the leaf thing down.

I've ordered a multivitamin, calcium without d3 and a fogger. Other then that no real updates on stuff.
 

Julirs

New Member
Hopefully someone will come along that can identify your chameleon and it's sex. The UVB light you got has been used without issues that I am aware of but the reason they are not suggested is because some cause eye issues. I would not even waste you money on a fogger-what you need is a mister. Your humidity should be fine in that tank.
 
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