New veiled chameleon owner - Are we doing it right?

Kevin's Mom

New Member
Hi,

My daughter and I are the proud owners of our first chameleon, Kevin! We got him from the Berkeley Vivarium in Berkeley, California. They said he was between 2 and 3 months old. We've had him for almost 4 weeks now and after reading a lot on this sight, I don't think we're doing the supplements, food or housing correctly. That's why we joined the forum to get some help from experienced owners! My concern is that he's almost always brown. I see these beautiful greens on the posts of happy babies but ours is brown 95% of the time.

The vivarium suggested a glass enclosure with a mesh top for 3 to 4 months while he's small. He's in 20"x10"x18" in tank with a Reptisun 14" UBV light and a 75-watt purple basking bulb. The basking temperature is 90 degrees. We mist him 3 to 4 times a day, but I've never seen him actually drink.
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We've started him on Dubia roaches and he likes them! We were told to give him 2 small Dubias a day. We sometimes give him 3. Our roaches are the small size from Delicious Dubias. The vivarium said to feed the roaches Nature Zone Total Bites all-in-one supplemen for gutloading. We feed them per the instructions on the Total Bites container. We were told to dust them with 50% Rep-Cal Herptivite with beta carotene and 50% Rep-Cal Calcium with Vit. D3. So, what I did was measure out a half teaspoon of each and put the combined powder is a small glass container with a lid. We dust the bugs with this combination powder. We feed him by putting the bugs in a soup spoon and then put the spoon near Kevin. He's a good eater and its super fun to watch.
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Kevin on December 26th

We've had him since December 26th and they said not to handle him for the first month because he was so small and fragile. We've been very good about not doing that except for the 2 times we found him hanging upside down from the mesh ceiling. We just flipped the cover over and he crawled right onto our finger and we put him right back onto his log. We haven't cleaned the tank yet but we will be doing that this weekend since it's been almost 4 weeks.
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Kevin today 1/18/19

So why is he always brown? Is he unhappy or unhealthy? I'm willing to move him to a large or extra-large repti-breeze cage now if that would help. Are our supplements right? I don't think they are after reading resources on the forum. Should we feed him more?

Thank you in advance for your help!

Kimberly and Lily - Kevin's Mom
 

zigzagzug

Member
When they are babies, you want to feed them as much as they will eat! 50% Rep-Cal Herptivite with beta carotene and 50% Rep-Cal Calcium with Vit. D3 should only be given TWICE monthly. Use normal calcium without d3 for every feeding. Also, when chams are young, they tend to climb upside down, as he grows he will realize that he is too heavy and he won't do it as much lol! He might be brown most of the time because of stress. It is also common for chams to drink in private, they are weird like that lol
 

Kevin's Mom

New Member
Thanks so much for the reply! We’ll go get Calcium without Vit. D3 tomorrow. Looking forward to feeding him more!

Any ideas about what can be causing him stress? He is shy and tends to go hide when we come in to look at him. It’s a pretty quiet room he’s in.

Is it ok to mix the two supplements? Twice a month, does that mean all the food for a day twice a month? Could we be over supplementing him and will that cause long term damage?

Sorry for all the questions. He’s just SO amazing!

Thanks!
 

timw1

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks so much for the reply! We’ll go get Calcium without Vit. D3 tomorrow. Looking forward to feeding him more!

Any ideas about what can be causing him stress? He is shy and tends to go hide when we come in to look at him. It’s a pretty quiet room he’s in.

Is it ok to mix the two supplements? Twice a month, does that mean all the food for a day twice a month? Could we be over supplementing him and will that cause long term damage?

Sorry for all the questions. He’s just SO amazing!

Thanks!
He is stressed because he is new and adapting to his viv. You can cause serious problems if you give him d3 everyday. Dust with d3 twice a month max. Dust with reg. calcium every feeding.
 

Kevin's Mom

New Member
Thank you! I went to PetSmart and PetCo today and they don’t sell calcium without D3! We have another place to go to tomorrow, if not, Amazon it is. We’ve stopped the D3 today.

How long does it take them to get used to their new space?

Thank you for your help!
 

GodricktheVeiled

Established Member
My guy stayed dark for most of his first month with us as well. Also, I had to get my calcium without D3 on Amazon. None of our local pet stores had the calcium or reptivite without D3.
 

Kevin's Mom

New Member
Thanks for the confirmation this is pretty normal. We did find the calcium without Vit. D3 and started him on it today. We say him sleeping last night and he was a beautiful light green so I'm sure it's just going to take time. He's also eating much more so hopefully, that will help too.
 

JTurner82

Member
My guy stayed dark for most of his first month with us as well. Also, I had to get my calcium without D3 on Amazon. None of our local pet stores had the calcium or reptivite without D3.
Same, none of my local stores have it either. Mine is scheduled to arrive from Amazon on Tuesday. Will he be ok until then without calcium?
 

GodricktheVeiled

Established Member
Same, none of my local stores have it either. Mine is scheduled to arrive from Amazon on Tuesday. Will he be ok until then without calcium?
I'm no expert, Godrick is my first chameleon. I think a couple days would be okay..I hope he hasn't been going without calcium since January? I hope your feeders are gutloaded well.
 

JTurner82

Member
I'm no expert, Godrick is my first chameleon. I think a couple days would be okay..I hope he hasn't been going without calcium since January? I hope your feeders are gutloaded well.
Oh I’m a different person than the one who started this thread! I just got Arlo on Thursday.
 

WilsonCham

New Member
The East Bay Vivarium has a ton of cool animals and the staff is pretty nice. However, take their advice with a grain of salt and do your own research. I recently got my chameleon and the Vivarium's staff was recommending a lot of stuff that I didn't think was the best. They recommended substrate, a heat mat, a glass enclosure, and giving D3 on every feeding. I'm not an expert, but I trust more the advice on this forum that the advice at the Vivarium.
 

Goose502

Chameleon Enthusiast
That’s disappointing to hear the vivarium is giving such poor advice. It looks like he’s in an aquarium, that is never a good place for a chameleon. Start researching proper enclosures immediately. There is a TON of good advice given here, and in our care sheets. The sooner you make changes, the better off your chameleon will be.
 
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