Newbie, getting 1st chameleon tomorrow

MelissaB

Avid Member
Tomorrow I'm getting my first chameleon. :) I'm so excited, and nervous. I've wanted one for many years, and finally decided to just do it. I've been reading as much information as I can, most of it from this site. You folks are amazing with all of your collective experience and willingness to help others. I don't think I would've had the courage to do it without reading the posts here.
I have a juvenile male Jacksons coming from FLChams tomorrow. I haven't posted much, since I don't have any knowledge to offer. If anyone wants to tell me if there's anything that I should have, or forgot, I'd really appreciate it.
The white cord is the temp/hygro. It's temporarily set up for me to get humidity and temp readings. The cord will be run through a grommet in the top of the cage.

Here is my setup, so far:

1 25watt basking bulb (40 watts was a little too warm for a juvenile, basking temp with 25watts is around 80 degrees) If he looks like he wants it warmer, or basks for an unusually long time, I will put the 40 in and watch for heat stress signs.
1 5.0 Reptisun CFL ( I know the tubes are better, I will probably switch to arcadia bulbs and a new fixture when I upgrade his cage)
1 18x18x36 DIYCages screen cage w/plasticor on 3 sides to retain humidity
1 Aquazamp low profile Rain Dome system (I LOVE THIS!)
1 LLLreptiles water tray modified to drain into a 5gal bucket
1 digital temp/hygro and a temp gun
2 big pothos (so mad, the hibiscus won't fit with the hanging pothos :( ) washed, rinsed, repotted with organic soil, with large stones on top
zoomed repti calcium w/D3
RepCal Calcium w/o D3 w/o phosphorus
Repcal Herptivite
1/2 inch crickets
Butterworms (small) are ordered, and planning on ordering silkworms and flies
I do have a homemade dripper, but not sure if I'll need it or not with the aquazamp.
Here is a pic of the enclosure, hoping the attachment worked:
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MelissaB

Avid Member
Here are a few more pics. I tried to take pics of the AZ running, but that's something more suited to video. It's like a mini rainforest! The ziptie around the plant hook was to hold a dripper tube. I have shims under the water tray to help direct the water to the pvc fitting I attached to the back. Oh, and the green thing on the door is a home made feeder cup.

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SaintJimmy

Avid Member
Pretty much everything in here sounds a-ok for a juvy. When he grows up you wanna raise the basking to around 95 though!

I'm glad you're finally getting a chammy. They're wonderful pets (even if grumpy).
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
:) Thank you Jimmy. I'm so happy. It's going to be torture to not peek in the cage, but I know they need their space during acclimation and beyond. I don't want to stress him any more than necessary. I hope he likes his new house, I can't wait until he gets here!
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
This is a dumb question, and the wrong section to ask, but is a dry gutload necessary for crickets in addition to fresh foods? I'm feeding my crickets chopped carrots, bok choy, escarole, bits of apple and some acorn and buttercup squash. Is that too much water content? I plan on mixing up the variation of vegetables/fruits, not the same stuff all the time.
 

SaintJimmy

Avid Member
This is a dumb question, and the wrong section to ask, but is a dry gutload necessary for crickets in addition to fresh foods? I'm feeding my crickets chopped carrots, bok choy, escarole, bits of apple and some acorn and buttercup squash. Is that too much water content? I plan on mixing up the variation of vegetables/fruits, not the same stuff all the time.
No dry gutload is not necessary. It sounds like you have all the bases covered actually. Just keep using that gutload strategy you should be fine.

Also I recommend getting a small pack (maybe 50 ct) superworms, or dubia roaches. Use the same gutload. It adds variety to the food supply, more is better. :)

Also it's okay to be around your cham the first day just don't try and hold him for too long if he is stressed out.

If he turns out to be a social guy then cool, handle him or whatever as long as he's okay with it. :p Just depends on the cham.

My advice is to start feeding crickets with your hands so your hands arent bad things.
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
Thank you, Jimmy, that makes me feel a lot better. I was nervous about that. Will definitely get a variety of feeder bugs, and I will try giving him crickets by hand, so he associates hands with good stuff. :)
 

nick barta

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
Impressive setup, great caring attitude. You are going to be a great chameleon keeper.
Welcome to ADDiction happiness!:D

Nick
 

SaintJimmy

Avid Member
Thank you, Jimmy, that makes me feel a lot better. I was nervous about that. Will definitely get a variety of feeder bugs, and I will try giving him crickets by hand, so he associates hands with good stuff. :)
Try giving him "treats" with your hands as well.

Like if there is a certain bug he likes, feed that one by hand. :) See if he will come onto your hand to grab a worm off your arm or something.

You're welcome.
 

dom1959

New Member
seems like you are doing proper research,
be careful on prior advice on temps,
just go with a reputable care sheet.

now for my experience with my chams,
i like to sit about 5-6 ft away from the cage the first week,
either reading or web surfing, just so they are used to you being around.
then the second week i sit right in front of the cage with the door open,
my thought is if you isolate them and stay away you are acclimating them to that situation:eek::eek:
it has worked for me ymmv

great luck, this is a great resource!!
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
Thank you, Don. I've been OCD with the temps, I tried 4 different wattages of light bulbs. LOL I even bought 15 watt bulbs, just to see what temps I could get. Good advice about acclimating him, too. I guess a lot will depend on his personality, but I definitely won't push it. He should be here in five hours. :)
 
Pretty much everything in here sounds a-ok for a juvy. When he grows up you wanna raise the basking to around 95 though!

I'm glad you're finally getting a chammy. They're wonderful pets (even if grumpy).
Sorry to butt in but I guess you might have overlooked that it is a Juvenile Jackson`s Chameleon and 95F is going to be way too high ....try not to go over 85 when adult
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
Thank you Grimsby and Jann. :) I've been reading every care sheet and post I can find. I've also been reading through health problems others have gone through, so I can try to know what the warning signs are, and what to try to avoid.
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
Is today the big day?

I just gotta say that your first enclosure couldn't be better in my opinion, he is going to love it in there! Your attitude and your research bode well for success and your chameleon is very lucky.

Jackson are jut fantastic chameleons, great choice, you are going to love him! I can't wait to see pictures :D
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
Thank you, Deadhd. :) Yes!!! He should be here anytime. The tracking says before 10:30 am, and the ups office he's coming from is only 15 minutes away. I feel like a kid at Christmas, lol. I have the front door open so I can spot the UPS truck. Thank you for the kind comments on my setup, it means a lot. I've tried really hard to do my research and to give him the environment he'll need to do well. I'm so happy that I found this forum, it's been an invaluable resource. I'll definitely posts lots of pics when he gets here, :D
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
HE"S HERE! I'm soooo happy! He arrived a little bit after 9. He was a little skittish from his trip, which is to be expected. He is absolutely gorgeous and healthy looking! I am completely impressed with FLChams. The difference in the quality of animals, b/t him and my local store, are night and day. He's plump, fully hydrated, alert...PERFECT!

I let him climb out of the cup onto the branches, with a little boost from my hand. I then let the AZ mister go on for about 5 min, and he headed straight for it! I wish I got video of it. He sits right under the rain dome and lets the water drip on him. I see him checking out the droplets that hang on the screen, too. Very very cool.

I left him alone to check out his new pad, and came back after an hour or so. I put a cricket on a branch and watched to see if he ate it. He waited for it to climb the screen and BAM, nailed it. :D So, I grabbed a cricket and let in climb in the palm of my hand, and he ate that one, too! I am so excited and happy.

How many crickets should I give him for his 1st day? I don't want to over do it. I'm going to use Calcium w/o D3 2xs a week, and calcium w/D3 once a month, as well as the herptivite once a month. I did not use a supplement today, will use it tomorrow. If anyone thinks that's too much please let me know. I will post pics as soon as I get them downloaded from the camera. :D
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
Sorry it's not a great pic, I'm trying not to stress him out, and taking a pic through the screen is tricky.

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