Newbie's advise

AlexF

New Member
I have recently received my first cham and have gone through lots of questions, many of which I have to deal on my own as there are not too many cham owners that I know of in Mexico City.

Since my cham is still alive and growing, I suppose I have been doing things the right way so I would like to share what I’ve done with the rest of the newbies to make life easier.

Acquisition

First, I got a BB ambanja from the Krammers. When I placed my order there were chams ready for mailing, I paid for it but could not take delivery for a month so I was transferred to the second batch of babies. When I received mine, I was shocked by the size of the little guy (2 month old). I was expecting something bigger and hardier to the hands of someone with no experience, but that’s what I got and I had to deal with it.

Housing

Before the cham arrived I made my first cage. Taking notes from the seller’s page, I ended up constructing a cage 23 x 23 x 16. Having a woodworking shop at home things were easier on the building process (even fun), but I used an extremely hard wood (Goncalo Alves) and staples would not go in. I had to go and purchase an extra heavy duty stapler and 5mm staples to try again attaching the mesh. Once I had everything at hand (cham included) I was able to half decently staple (staples would not go perfectly in) the mesh and got the enclosure ready.

As far as the heating and basking I got zoomed lights, 75W for heat and don’t remember the UV, even though the cham is taken out almost every day to bask in the sun.

I covered the watering needs of the cham by bottle spraying him 3 or 4 times a day, but he hates nothing more than being touched by the small drops of water. I bought some misting devices but found that they do not work very well, so I went low tech and I'm now using a dripper system that has worked perfectly. I'm using a zip lock freezer bag with a very small hole on one corner, which I place over the cage dripping over the plants. This will last over 2 days just in case I leave on vacations. I change the water every day and usually remove it at night.

I also purchased a thermometer with hygrometer, but I could not see the readings through the mesh, so I really suggest that the thermometer be placed outside if you want to check on the temp. The other thing I suggest is to use it just to check that the temps are appropriate at the beginning and then remove it. The cham will find a spot when it feels good, and it's impossible to have everything measured. Whenever you change bulbs, it might be a good idea to re-check temps and humidity all over the cage just to be sure you will not cook or freeze the cham, but I haven't changed bulbs so there is no need to use the thermometer again.

Feeding

The day the cham arrived he would eat everything he saw, missing probably 1 out of every 3 shots he did. The Cham came with some crickets, fruit flies and houseflies (for an additional fee) but I think it’s worth it. I also purchased 1,000 crickets and Zoophobas to start my own breeding as I live in Mexico City and they are not as available as in the US.

As time passed, I was able to feed the small crickets and the flies, but then, crickets grew and became too large for the cham to eat, so I was stuck with the fruit flies, now breeding in my fruit bowl and finger picked crickets that remained small. I have since started breeding houseflies, but it takes some weeks before they come out.

My options for feeding the ever-hungry cham were out on the fields, so I grabbed one of my kids insect collection net (available at Target) and went out searching for pestiside-free bugs. I have tried almost every insect there is and have found that the favorite food item is grasshoppers.

Collection was pretty easy, I would just swipe the net over the grass and bushes and collect all kinds of bugs, among them grasshoppers, dragonflies, beetles, ladybugs and bees.

Bees he will not touch, even though I have developed a good method of de-stinging them with Swiss army knife scissors. Small beetles he will eat only if there is nothing else to eat and it's been like that for a day or so. Ladybugs he will not eat. Other things that were readily available to me and that I was told he would eat were pill bugs and probably slugs, but he will not touch either. He did eat the first pill bug he saw, but I guess it tastes pretty bad and will not eat any more.

So far, the cham has gone through 3 skin molts and has just started to show a little bit of blue on him, mainly close to the head, but I guess it will take some months before he will have his adult colors. I can’t wait for that time as wife insist I was ripped-off for a tiny brown lizard, locally available under most boulders.

I will post some pictures of enclosure on the galeries latter.

Alex
 

slr

New Member
Soundin' good

Alex,

Sounds like you did some research and are off to a good start. I would suggest one thing though ... NO wild caught prey. Even though it may be pesticide free, there is a high chance of parasites. You don't want that! :)

Can't wait to see some pics! I don't know if you can get them sent to you down there, but silkworms are AWESOME! They are among thee best feeders, chams LOVE them, they can be controlled with temps and feeding schedule so they don't grow SO fast, etc etc etc. Lobster roaches are also among the best feeders. I would go with roaches or silks, personally. Lil or no chance of parasites (even raised and ordered crickets can contain parasites, etc), silks do not smell, roaches breed VERY easy (you can order one batch and then raise your own and never have to pay for feeders again!!!), etc

-Shanna
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
...I guess it will take some months before he will have his adult colors. I can’t wait for that time as wife insist I was ripped-off for a tiny brown lizard, locally available under most boulders.
:D HAHA :D

Good to see you did your research before purchasing. You should start seeing some nice color around 6-8 months of age. I purchased an ambanja/nose from the Kammers 4-5 months ago, and his colors have really started to come in. You can check him out here.

I can recommend the silkworms as well. No real first hand experience with roaches; I think I would lose some friends if I started breeding them :p
 

AlexF

New Member
Well, I have found that my cham was born betweeen April 12 - 24 so he's just about to turn 6 months old.

I'm in the process of builiding him a larger enclosure and have found his ability to eat larger insects a real plus. During the weekend he decided to go for his first full sized zophoba and has been eating full grown crickets for about a month now.

Following the breeders advise, I have been dusting one cricket a day for him to get whatever he doesn't get from his food, but there is no difference that I can see on him since he's been eating food suplements.
 
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