Overheating or something else?

HighAlpine

New Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
As stated he is a panther chameleon, I was told by the breeder he is around 5 or 6 months old.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
I have just started handling him every few days for a few mins.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
Right now, 10 crickets and 4-5 dubai roaches a day. Occasionally giving him a hornworm. He is being fed in the morning maybe 30 mins after he wakes up. All are being gut-loaded with repashy bug burger and homemade gutload.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
lightly dusting feeders with Repashy Supercal NoD at every feeding and am going to use Rapashy Calcium Plus LoD twice per month.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
Using a MistKing system 2 mins at 7am (wake up), 1min at Noon, 2 mins at 7pm. 45-50 seconds every 3 hours during sleep. I have seen him drinking once but not since. I have also started using a dripper for a few minutes a couple of times per day.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
Dark brown with mostly white urates.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
Not much previous history.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
Exo Terra XL tall glass palludarium 36 x 18 x 36. Using a computer fan on the screen up top to ensure better airflow. Enclosure is bioactive.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
Repti Zoo 39W Reptile t5 HO UVB, Repti Zoo 8.5" Reptile light w/ 65W incandescent basking bulb. Sansi LED grow light.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
Temp ranges from 70F at floor to around 82-85F max at basking spot. Lowest overnight temp being around 62F. Measuring with a digital probe.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
Day time humidity sits around 50-65% most of the day spiking to 70-90% for an hour or so after misting. Night time is generally in the 75-100% range depending on whether the fan is going.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
Yes all live plants. Pothos, Lipstick plant, schefflera amate, polkadot plant, bromeliad, rabbit foot fern.
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
Cage is in my office, I am typically the only traffic in the area (sitting at my desk), my kids do come in to look at the chameleon a few times a day. Top of cage is at about 60" from floor possibly slightly higher.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
Located in high altitude Colorado.

Current Problem - As of yesterday I noticed him start to gape a bit but it's only when he's on his favorite basking branch or perched on a vine right below his heat lamp and he stops when he either moves away from his basking area or I turn the lamp off. I don't think I see any real signs of an URI but I wanted to post here and get some opinions. Also his appetite and activity has been totally normal.
 

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Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
Do you have the computer fan pulling air up and out of the enclosure from the top or blowing air into the enclosure from the top.

Where is the temp probe located? I do not see it on the branch. Can you post a pic of the entire enclosure with the lights so we can see distances?

Sansi lights can produce some serious heat. Is the basking bulb a flat bottom bulb for focused heat?
 

HighAlpine

New Member
Yeah here you go, there are a ton of branches in the enclosure sort of hard to see because of all the growth.

Yes there is a computer fan on the top, I have it blowing air in now because I found it less effective when I had it configured to pull air out.

Temp probe is on the branch he is on in the previous pictures but it's underneath him in those.

The sansi is hanging from the ceiling so not visible in the picture but it's about a foot above the enclosure.

Basking bulb is domed.
 

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Nice enclosure. I think it needs more branches.
Those polka dots are hanging on by a thread. Lol mine never made it either. Your leca ball layer is uneven and it’s hurting my eyes. 😂
I had to have my muffin top be an exhaust fan. Having it blow in would drop the humidity too much. But my enclosure is screen sided and glass front.
As for him gapping, why did you decide to mist mid day for 1 minute?
I would try not doing that and see if he stops.
Also how long do you keep your basking lamp on? There are dimmable domes. So the heat output can be lessened.
Although my chameleon did go through a phase where he would gap all the time. Even tho everything was on point.
He could as be looking at himself in the glass. I had to put car window cling on the my front doors. Lol
 

HighAlpine

New Member
The enclosure currently has 9 horizontal branches that are foamed into the background and three diagonal... some are hard to see because of the pothos, schefflera, and lipstick plant. Honestly not sure I can fit many more.

Yeah the polka dots aren't doing so hot and the drainage layer has bothered me from the get go but it's deep enough so I'm not messing with it. The humidity stays at around mid 50's pretty consistently spiking into the 80-high 90 range at night with a decent temp drop. I actually recently dropped the mid day misting so it's not happening as of last week, I was initially doing that due to the fact that I live in a very dry climate.

Basking lamp stays on all day 7am-7pm as does his UVB and sansi. I do have them all on a timer so I can change that.

I just found it odd that he started doing this all of a sudden though I have noticed the temp at his basking area reaching up toward 86-87 the past few days. Just trying to ensure that he isn't dealing with an upper respiratory problem (I don't think he is because there are no other indicators). But better safe than sorry you know?
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
My Jackson’s will sometimes gape when he’s basking. He’s done this a couple different times and if I walk up to him to check on him he will quickly close his mouth. This has been over the past year I’ve had him and it’s never turned into anything. Since I’ve changed the timer so the basking lamp turns off at 3pm I haven’t seen him do it again. They don’t need the basking lamp all day, just for a few hours so they can digest their bugs.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
To create a chimney effect in my glass cages. I always placed the basking light in one corner. This also allows more of the cage to be cooler...varies the temperature as well.
 

Jpeff

Chameleon Enthusiast
When my temps get around 85 mine starts gaping. I don't think one computer fan enough airflow inless it's a bigger fan. I wouldn't mist during day because of airflow. I would just use dripper during day. You could also try lower temps. I try to keep mine around 81 83. I personally think it's a heat thing. You said recently temps been up to 87 which is a little on the hot side. I would also try to keep day time humidity 45 to 50 percent during day 65 alittle high.
 

HighAlpine

New Member
When my temps get around 85 mine starts gaping. I don't think one computer fan enough airflow inless it's a bigger fan. I wouldn't mist during day because of airflow. I would just use dripper during day. You could also try lower temps. I try to keep mine around 81 83. I personally think it's a heat thing. You said recently temps been up to 87 which is a little on the hot side. I would also try to keep day time humidity 45 to 50 percent during day 65 alittle high.
Yeah the fan is a decent size and has a high enough CFM rating, the breeze is noticeable inside the enclosure. I have quit with the daytime misting, he isn't dehydrated or anything. I think I'll just start lowering the temp by a few degrees and see if that helps. It does rest closer to 55% humidity than 65% but it will get up to 65% sometimes but it's more rare. I bet it's just that the basking temp is a bit too hot for him.
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
So with these cages you can not blow air in... You pull air up and out with the chimney effect. This helps cycle the air from inside to outside and works with the vent holes on the front. For the wider enclosures you tend to need 2 one in each back corner to pull air. This helps remove the stagnant air. Otherwise you will cause more humidity build up having them blow air into the cage and you will not be cycling out the stagnant air.
I agree your daytime humidity is a little high. Mist morning and evening when cage is cooler. But you will need a dripper cup so he has access to water if your only misting for one minute.
 

HighAlpine

New Member
So with these cages you can not blow air in... You pull air up and out with the chimney effect. This helps cycle the air from inside to outside and works with the vent holes on the front. For the wider enclosures you tend to need 2 one in each back corner to pull air. This helps remove the stagnant air. Otherwise you will cause more humidity build up having them blow air into the cage and you will not be cycling out the stagnant air.
I agree your daytime humidity is a little high. Mist morning and evening when cage is cooler. But you will need a dripper cup so he has access to water if your only misting for one minute.
Well I'm sort of basing the fan direction on my temp, hygrometer, and airflow meter readings. It's actually creating a pretty decent exchange effect and is cycling fresh air. I should also state that I'm in an airid high altitude environment so the air outside of the enclosure is much less humid than the air in the enclosure which is why I went with glass and not screen. I'm really mostly concerned with the gaping which it seems was a direct effect of the heat being just a bit too high based on my lowering his basking temp slightly today.
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
Well I'm sort of basing the fan direction on my temp, hygrometer, and airflow meter readings. It's actually creating a pretty decent exchange effect and is cycling fresh air. I should also state that I'm in an airid high altitude environment so the air outside of the enclosure is much less humid than the air in the enclosure which is why I went with glass and not screen. I'm really mostly concerned with the gaping which it seems was a direct effect of the heat being just a bit too high based on my lowering his basking temp slightly today.
Ok I can only tell you the recommended way of utilizing fans like this. And you are doing it the opposite way that is recommended to work with the set up of your cage. Your cage is designed with the chimney effect in through the vents on the bottom and up and out. The heat from our fixtures helps pull the air up and out so that there is consistent air movement in that direction. You will not get this same effect blowing it into the cage from the top.

They can gape due to too hot of temps, heat and high humidity, and then you have other issues like respiratory infections. Isolating the cause to rule out an RI first. If the gaping continues with the temps and humidity being correct then you have RI risk. If the cham starts pointing its nose up and extending the throat gaping then you have an RI and immediate Vet attention is needed.
 

Jpeff

Chameleon Enthusiast
Berman is right way you have fan is canceling out the chimney effect. By blowing the back down. You want it to suck the air out to help the chimney effect. Way cage works is hot air rises and pull cool air in though vent and up.
 
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