New to forum, not entirely new to chameleons!

Psychodrake

New Member
Hello everyone,

My name is Jonny. I'm 20 years old and from the Northwest of the UK in miserable Lancashire. Recently, I've bought a youngling Panther chameleon whom has been with me now for 2 days. He's about 3 months old. There are multiple reasons that this is one of my hobbies, the main being that I'm arthritic and can't really go out regularly and do what 20 year olds like doing, I'm still living with my rents as I need the care. I'm kinda glad though because I absolutely love reptiles and the rewards in caring for them.

Prepare for a massively detailed read on my new cham, also if you're up for it, give any advice that you feel may be necessary.

Approximately 6 years ago, I bought a fully grown Senegal chameleon from a local pet shop who were keeping him in the completely wrong enclosure (Something like a bearded dragon enclosure, said pet shop has closed down now) and made him a vivarium from scratch with my dad. He was happy and lived with us for 3 years before sadly dying. He was about 4-5 years old at the time, and he did very well and was a very (To my knowledge) friendly chameleon who didn't at all mind handling and hand feeding, or at least, did not show obvious signs of stress. He was a beautiful shade of green. I've had a fascination with chameleons ever since I had him and have been hoping to get a Panther cham ever since as I'm a fan of the larger species and heard Panthers were relatively easier to care for than many other chameleon species.

My little ambilobe Panther is called Panzer. He's from a very good breeder, the owners of the reptile shop I bought him from have a 6 year old Panther from the same breeder who is doing very well. The guy who cares for him seems incredibly passionate about all the reptiles in the shop. Said 6 year old chameleon is taken to shows probably as an example for the shop.

The reason I've signed up to the forum is to meet other chameleon owners and for general help as while I've done a lot of research, some things just aren't as easy to read up about. Currently he seems quite happy, his vivarium is in my back room as it is one of the lower traffic areas of the house, my only worry is the window to the conservatory where the dogs tend to wrestle and the hatch to the kitchen is in plain sight. It doesn't seem to have bothered him so far, he's basking up at the top of his vine but occasionally puffs up if there is too much commotion in the kitchen. He's happy to eat infront of me or even out of my hand and he has had a drink infront of me a few times.

The vivarium itself has a Hibiscus Senensis and dwarf umbrella inside. The hibiscus provides lots of hiding area while the umbrella allows for a good high basking spot alongside his high (fake) vine. I was decorating the viv with my father, we bought a few fake plants in case the viv ended up quite empty but the two plants filled it well. I left him for an hour and he seems to have overflowed it with the fake plants. He doesn't like listening to me! So having a little trouble locating poops and dead crickets, I'll probably have a mass cleanout next week when he's a little more used to it (He stays at the top where the fake plants aren't) and get rid of some of the excessive decoration at the bottom. The viv is a full mesh 18" - 18" - 36" to my knowledge (It might be slightly larger), he's only a small cham though. I plan on moving him to a larger viv in the future as he grows, trying to keep the layout as similar as possible when switching.

The shop owner threw in a free box of small crickets and some nutrabol multi vit which I've used once. I'm gutloading my crickets on apple and cucumbers currently, something putting a little honey on the cucumber which tends to disappear after a few minutes. Like I said previously, he's eating well, usually 7+ a day. I've also fed him a single small mealworm and understand the dangers of feeding mealworms, and will limit it to a rarity. Silkworms and superworms are unbelievably hard to get here, I've never even seen any, even online and there are quite a lot of reptile selling pet stores around here that get live feed in consisting of waxworms, mealworms, crickets and locusts.

I'm using a pressure sprayer for misting with hot water due to the temperature here being quite low, warm water cools down incredibly quickly when sprayed and is usually cold when hitting the actual viv. I'm having some trouble keeping humidity up so I mist quite regularly. His reaction tends to be that of what I would do if someone sprayed me with water, so I don't think he's too keen on it quite yet, I don't spray him directly of course, just try to get some on him while spraying the rest of the viv. He has a big dripper too. I've been misting him 3 times a day though I may need to do a little more if the weather stays how it is, and usually spray for about 2 minutes at a time as thats when the plants are really dripping with water. The pressure sprayer I have is really good for covering a large area.

The temperature seems about right to me. The exoterra thermometer is reading 77 F on the highest vine, though it is slightly shaded. I'm using a 100W bulb. The chameleon usually sits about an inch higher on the highest umbrella leaf. The lights come off at night and the same thermometer reads around 65 F at night. Hopefully it's accurate, my old chameleon had a heat bulb that gave off no light so it was slightly easier to maintain. He has a 5.0 UVB light too, just a little further away than the heat light.

There is a substrate at the bottom of the vivarium. I know it isn't recommended but it really is dry in this part of the country, I need all the help with humidity I can get really. It will most likely be going when I tidy the bottom of the vivarium up next week. He never goes down to the bottom, I've seen him go low once when (I think) he was exploring a bit. He was also hanging upside down at one point on the ceiling mesh. Last night he was hanging on the side when the lights went off, hopefully that isn't a sign that its too cold, but the temperature wasn't too low (I read that the temperature should drop about 10 F at night and that's what it is doing). I think he's still getting used to the viv.

I did handle him yesterday for about 5 minutes too. My dad was fitting the thermometer in a good position and had to drill a small hole for the wire, so I thought it would be less stressful for him to be on my hand for a few minutes. He didn't hiss or puff up, just clambered for my head, exactly what my old chameleon did (Yes I know, they want to be as high as possible). I'll be keeping handling to a minimum but I would like to know what is best when I'm cleaning his viv next week, should I give him to my dad to handle for a while or put him in a smaller box?

My last question is how do chameleons do with sound and activity? Like I said, my back room is quite unused, the dogs don't go in at all really, but the kitchen is right next to it with a large hatch from the back room to the kitchen and obviously that is quite busy at multiple times during the day. He can probably see everything going on in the kitchen. I previously mentioned visibilty to the conservatory but I have decided to hang some fake jungle plants down the back of the vivarium to block visibility to that room as the dogs are often busy wrestling in there. We also have a blind dog who barks quite often, I have a mother who loves vacuuming and a father going through to get to his office room. I know chameleons can't hear, but they can feel vibrations, I haven't had a chance to see his reaction to the vacuum yet but other sounds don't SEEM to be stressing him. ALSO, in his old viv at the shop he was a fairly bland color of grey/green, when I put him in my vivarium he attained a lot of white/dark green patterns and stripes while turning quite a bright green... Is this normal? My vivarium is definitely more exposed than the one at the shop. You'll sort of see what I mean below. He seems to be gaining some bright orange and green just behind his eyes too, which could be a sign his coloration is coming in :)

Anyway, heres some pictures (Fairly low quality, sorry :x).

The vivarium (Before I hung plants over the back)

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The fella' himself

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Taking a cricket from hand

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jessica

Avid Member
Hi and welcome to the forum! Your little guy is too cute!

People tend to stay away from substrate, not only can your cute little guy ingest it but with all the water it can get soggy and can harbor bacteria. There are easier to maintain ways to help with the humidity. I wrap two or three sides with a shower curtain, or painters plastic. If he stays by the window plastic can also help keep out drafts.

Take lots of pictures because in the blink of an eye he will be a big colorful guy!
 

Psychodrake

New Member
Welcome to the forums. What a handsome little guy you have. I would recommend adding a few more horizontal vines and branched in the top part of his cage for him. It seems like you REALLY care about your animals. So do I!!!!! I wrote a blog for new keepers and you might get some ideas from it.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/blo...-keepers-young-veiled-panther-chameleons.html

Thanks for the link! Really helpful advice. I'll probably grab some more vines very soon and put them in when I clean out next week. There is only one vine but it twists and turns all the way to the bottom, I think another would look really nice as well as adding some extra depth for him.

The substrate was a bit of a tough choice. The idea of a shower curtain seems good but I'm a little worried about it catching fire or something! I'll see what I can do, I'm probably overthinking it. But I'd definitely rather not have substrate since it makes cleaning the vivarium a nightmare. I was thinking of investing in a misting system, there are some exoterra ones available nearby but I used to have one for my old cham and it broke relatively quickly. It really has been a horribly dry spring in the UK, usually the house is a little more humid than it is currently.

Heres a picture of the vivarium in its current state. I'm using a smaller UV light than the one you linked, will it serve the same purpose? I was a little skeptical while searching for UV lights honestly that he'd need one the length of the vivarium but me and my dad finally decided to go for a slightly smaller one. Any advice here is appreciated, moving the lights around won't take a moment if needed. My old cham had a bigger UV light but he was considerably bigger himself.

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Just an update to say that I've put a shower curtain around 3 sides and it is working greatly! Should give him some extra privacy too.
 
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