Night Temp Important?

Discussion in 'Enclosures And Supplies' started by Jeeleon, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. Jeeleon

    Jeeleon New Member

    Hello guys!
    Just a quick question on temperature. During the night, how important is it for chams to receive that 10degree drop? My house is pretty warm and sometime temp wont drop all the way down to 65 or 60. When my cham sleeps the room temp is around maybe 70-75. Is this okay at night? Daytime ambient range 75-80ish, too hot?
    Thanks for the responses.
  2. Echoezra

    Echoezra New Member

    Not too clear if you're referring to room temperatures or cage temperatures with some of those numbers. That would help.
    I know I was loving the nice cozy room temp my husband was allowing me to enjoy this winter, until I checked the thermometers of Bubb's cage before he arrived. I said, wow, really? And had to drop the thermostat to allow him a night drop. I was chillin, but at least I had a chameleon to distract me. :) plus the gas bill savings is a good excuse for getting another Cham. Lol.
  3. Jeeleon

    Jeeleon New Member

    Hi Echoezra,
    Yes I mean cage temperature. Room temp at night is usually from 70-75, and the cage stays at the same temp (according to my thermometers). During the day, room temp is 75-80 and so is the cage temp. My main concern is, If i'm not able to drop his cage temp all the way down to 65 at night, will he be okay?
  4. Cainschams

    Cainschams New Member

    What species are you keeping? Its important for most species to have a good night time drop. Montanes like jacksonii especially should get into the lower 60s if not lower at night.
  5. jcal

    jcal Member

    my house is set to 70 but my chams cage still drops below that. he's in a spare room that has a window that may allow for my difference.
  6. Jeeleon

    Jeeleon New Member

    Im sorry yall, I keep missing the important stuff. He is a 5mo old ambanja panther. Right now the room temp is about 72 and his digital temp therm. reads 70 in his cage. Its dark in the room so I sneak in there every so often to check the temp. What happens if he cant get a 10 degree drop? Will that hugely affect him?
  7. Chris Jury

    Chris Jury New Member

    I live in Kaneohe, on Oahu, in the foothills of the Koolau mountains where Jackson's are especially abundant. They were first released in Kaneohe in the 70's, and have spread since then (in addition to a lot of intentional spreading, but people trying to establish new populations). They are still especially abundant here in, between Kaneohe and Kailua, though you can find them on most of Oahu where there is regular rainfall.

    During the summertime, night temperatures here are usually in the neighborhood of 76-78 F at an elevation of a few hundred feet (where I and most people live). You find Jackson's at these elevations (again, mostly depending on rainfall). Daytime temperatures are usually in the neighborhood of 81-84 F. If you go up to the peaks of the Koolaus (2000-3000 ft) temperatures are usually 5-10 F cooler at any given time. Hence, night temperatures during the summer here, where Jackson's chameleons are thriving, are in the neighborhood of 68-78 F, depending on elevation. Wintertime night temperatures are usually about 10 F cooler (~66-70 F at low elevation, maybe 5-10 F cooler a the highest elevations) with daytime temperatures usually in the mid to upper 70's F. On occasion temps can drop as low as the upper 50's F, but not often.

    I don't see any reason to think that a nighttime temperature in the 70-75 F range would harm most chameleons. They certainly aren't harming the Jackson's here in Hawaii. In their native ranges, many chameleons do certainly experience colder temps (though many montane species do not--montane chameleons in Cameroon, for instance, rarely see the 50's F). Jackson's chameleons regularly see colder temps in their native range than they do here in Hawaii. However, I see no reason to think this is necessary for Jackson's, or probably most other species. A little bit of temperature cycling probably is important for encouraging mating in some species. However, for general care I see no reason to think a priori that chameleons of any species (including montane species) need their nighttime temperatures to be below ~70-75 F.

    Honestly, I think this is one of several poorly founded myths (= dogmas) that have floated around the chameleon keeping arena for years. If it were true, the Jackson's chameleons here in Hawaii should be dying, not thriving, but thriving they are.

  8. Cainschams

    Cainschams New Member

    This may be true for jacksonii xanths in Hawaii and even other species that might be more tolerant or adaptable. In Cameroon, yes, species like cristatus only have a minimal night time drop. In the few articles I have read about jax jax and jax merus it calls for at least a 10 degree night drop and temperatures in the 40s can be tolerated as long as they are able to warm up at night. Hoehnelii are known to have significant night time drops in their range. Chameleons like goetzei, ellioti and bitaeniatus benefit from night time drops to lower 60s and lower. This is why it is important to know the range and what conditions the species you keep come from.

    You can call it a myth, dogma or whatever you like. I call it trying to replicate natural conditions. With so many un-natural aspects we put the chameleons through in captivity we should at least try to replicate any natural conditions possible. Night time temps being one of them. JMO.
  9. Chris Jury

    Chris Jury New Member

    Gotcha. In Madagascar where F. pardalis are found, during the warm season (when eggs are hatching and juveniles are growing) nighttime temps are usually in the 70-78 F range with daytime temps in the 85-95 F range. During the cool season temps are about 5-10 F cooler all the way around. For a juvenile panther I wouldn’t intentionally let the temp drop much below 70 F. A nighttime temp of 70-75 F seems very reasonable to me along with daytime ambient temps in the 75-80 F range, provided that the animal has access to a basking area where it can warm up to higher temps than that (e.g., 90-95 F in the basking area). I wouldn’t change the temp regime you have, except to make sure the animal has access to warm temps (basking) when it wants to warm up. These guys, along with many other chameleon species, tend to maintain body temps in the mid 80’s to low 90’s for normal activity during the day. They do that by shuttling back and forth between sunlight (hot) and shade (cooler) to behaviorally thermoregulate.

    You can find T. goetzei, T. ellioti, T. hoehnelii, and T. bitaeniatus in the same or very similar habitats in East Africa as T. jacksonii jacksonii, T. j. xantholophus, or T. j. merumontanus. T. j. xantholophus are as much classical montane species as are any of these others. In their native ranges all of these can and do see nighttime temperatures in the 50’s and even the 40’s and tolerate them just fine, provided they are able to warm up during the day. However, generally temps that low only occur during the cool season, when juveniles aren’t usually present.

    These species maintain body temps in the mid to upper 80’s F during the daytime, when they are able to, similar to other chameleon species. See here and here for example. While these species tolerate cool or cold nighttime temperatures, I don’t see any reason to suggest that they “need” or necessarily benefit from these colder temps. T. j. xantholophus is as representative of these chameleons as any other species might be, and they thrive here in Hawaii with nighttime temps in the neighborhood of 70-78 F during the summer (and 5-10 F cooler in winter).

    Yes, cooler nighttime temps seem to be what most articles and discussions suggest as preferable, and specifically a 10 F drop in temp, but why? Everyone seems to recommend it because, well, everyone seems to recommend it. The only empirical data we have suggests that these animals can live and breed very happily for generations (30+ here in Hawaii) with much warmer nighttime temperatures than they see in their native range. The data we have also shows that these species prefer to maintain operating body temps in the mid to upper 80’s F most of the time, just as lowland species do.

    You say that some of these species “chameleons like goetzei, ellioti and bitaeniatus benefit from night time drops to lower 60s and lower.” I ask, benefit how? How do you know (i.e., what data or observations lead you to this conclusion)? T. j. xantholophus is ecologically as similar to these species as they are to each other, and they don’t require nighttime temps this low for normal good health, especially as juveniles.

    Absolutely, and I see no problem in doing the best you can to replicate the conditions these species experience in nature (other than avoiding obvious negative influences, like predation, parasites, etc.). I do think that some degree of seasonality in temps can be very useful, especially when it comes to encouraging breeding behavior in many species, but I think it is a mistake to tell the average hobbyist that if they can’t get their room temp below ~70-75 F it will harm their chameleon. The available evidence suggests that view is simply wrong, and for young chameleons in particular it may not be desirable to push their low temperature limits.

    And having said all of this, the species in question here is a juvenile F. pardalis. During the warm season, when F. pardalis are hatching and growing in Madagascar, nighttime temps are usually in the 70-78 F range where F. pardalis are found anyway. Hence, temps cooler than ~70 F would be unusually cool for this animal in its native range.


    Action Jackson likes this.
  10. Cainschams

    Cainschams New Member

    First off, thanks for the links! I scanned through them and they seem interesting. Cant wait to get some time to read them.

    Personally, I feel giving them a cooler season benefits them in breeding, as you said, and just all around natural to them. Im not going to play with my animals to see just what they can tolerate especially since its hard enough for me to get pairs of what I want to keep. Even though they may be able to tolerate or even do just as well as jacksonii xanths do in Hawaii.

    My observations with my goetzei and ellioti are that they seem to like the cooler nights. Whether this benefits them beyond simulating seasons to breed , I dont know. I can say in the winter months my animals seem more "comfy" at night when my temps can drop much lower than in the warmer months when I keep them outside. I see quite the change in resting colors. They are all much much lighter in color which I view as more relaxed in the colder months. I saw this with pardalis even, although I would not subject them to as cold as temps as I do my animals now which are all montane species. Ive seen this with animals I have kept for longer than a year (goetzei, tavetana, tenuis and uthmoelleri) and am also seeing it with the animals I have kept from spring/summer time till now (ellioti and oxyrhina). Along with the observations I feel the biggest benefit is subjecting them to what they would encounter in the wild as best as possible. As for data proving the night time drops are beneficial beyond simulating breeding seasons for some species, I dont have any. I dont have enough of one species to subject them to different situations just to see if they could thrive. Nor would I if I did have enough. Just me being anal about trying to replicate natural conditions the best as possible.;)

    I think it would be neat to track the longevity of xanths in their native habitat and non native habitats. Especially since this species is supposed to have a decent life span. Of course there would be many other factors at play besides night time drop but still neat none the less.

    Of course, the average hobbyist usually get species that are more tolerant of less than optimum natural conditions. I wouldnt tell someone their panther, veiled or even multituberculata would be harmed not getting below 70 degrees but as for the multi I would suggest trying to get the temp a little lower. As for the panthers and veileds they would be doing fine with those. That is why its important to note the species when asking such questions as the OP or any question at that.
    Again, the reason one needs to give more specifics when asking questions and to also know natural conditions of what you are keeping.

    I do agree that some chams can thrive or at least reproduce and continue with different conditions than their natural habitat. Even outside of the panthers, veileds and jacksons. I see this with my animals in the summer time. I have kept montanes outside in the warmer months since I have started keeping them. Even out to 85 and sometimes slightly higher daytime temps. Of course with plenty of shade and lots of monitoring. For the most part my ellioti neonates did quite well in somewhat warmer temps than what would normally be suggested for them as well as the tavetana neonates from last year. As far as collecting data to see if the species I am interested in would thrive for their estimated life span and keep producing at different temp ranges or even constant temp ranges inside their habitats I am not going to do it. I would much rather subject them to what they would encounter in the wild. After all, they have been treated quite well with what mother nature throws at them.

    Definitely a good topic and a brain churner:)
    #10 Cainschams, Feb 10, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  11. Jeeleon

    Jeeleon New Member

    Thanks you guys for all your answers. They helped a lot. Cainschams and Chris Jury, I enjoyed all that you two had to say. I do agree that it is a good topic and that beginners and average hobbyist should be informed about the temperatures. I had the notion that it was absolutely necessary for the 60-65 degree drop at night. But after your guy's debate, I will feel more comfortable keeping the room warm. Thanks again!

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