Parson's keepers - how am I doing?

Jonah

New Member
About a six weeks ago I received my first chameleon in almost 20 years - a baby Parson's (~6 month). As a teenager in California I kept Jacksons and Panthers but had always longed for a Parson's. When I randomly decided that I wanted to get back into the hobby as an adult, I just went for it and ordered up a Parson's baby girl. I read everything I could get my hands on and may have gone a bit overboard with the planning, but I'm eager for feedback from the group on how I'm doing thus far.

Housing: Currently I've got her (I assume its a "her") in a 24" x 48" cylinder pvc coated screen cage. I built it to keep her in during the summer months, mostly outside, in my backyard. The cage has got a pothos and a jasmin plant, plus a few sanded manzanita branches. I've also built a second more permanent enclosure 24" x 36" x 72" , made of wood, acrylic and pvc coated screen. For the winter months I will move her into that cage which will sit in a custom greenhouse that I built attached to the side my house. The outdoor cylinder is actually in the greenhouse at the moment (see pics), since the weather was down into the 40s last night and I thought that even for a Parson's - which I understand are pretty cold hardy - that may too cold. I plan to move her back outside later this week when it moves into the 70s and 80s and will aim to keep her outside until October, unless it gets REALLY hot, which can happen where I live in Maryland. When Winter rolls around I'll have a space heater to keep the greenhouse toasty, two overhead heat lamps, and a T5 HO arcadia 12% UVB that I'll turn on for maybe a few hours a day for supplementary UV, since the greenhouse roof blocks most UV rays.

Food: She's eating a TON right now, which I take as a sign of good health. Yesterday she even ate out of my hand for the first time. Dubia roaches seem to be her favorite. Crickets not so much, but she's reluctantly eating them. I've just introduced orange head roaches from Nick Barta and she seems to like those, and she'll take a superworm a couple of times a week. I tried hornworms, but she completely ignored them. Same for waxworms and butter worms. She looked at those and then at me like I was crazy. I've also caught her eating some wild bugs that hang around the trees near her cage in my backyard. I even saw her pick a moth off a fence probably 18" away from her cage through the .5"x.5" hole in the screen. It was a sniper shot!

Supplementation: Almost none so far. As I understand it supplements are just that: they are used to supplement those areas where nutrition is lacking. Since she is mostly outside I figured calcium and D3 may be unnecessary at the moment. I've dusted with calcium w/o D3 maybe twice since she arrived. I have not introduced any vitamins. I've been gutloading all the feeders with cricket crack and my leftover vegetables and am using water crystals for hydration. I think I'll start adding some more calcium and other supplements into her diet once I move her inside for the winter, but for now I think the natural sunshine, gutloaded feeders, and the occasional wild bug should keep her healthy. But please correct me if I'm wrong.

Water: Everyone says that Parson's are drinking machines. But I have not encountered that yet. I'm speculating its because the humidity is so high where I live. It generally fluctuates between 50% and 90%. In any case, I've got a misting system hooked up to a garden hose that goes on twice a day, unless there is rain in the forecast (we get big downpours multiple times a week here). The mister runs in the morning about 5 minutes and then again in the afternoon for about 45 minutes. At most, she seems to drink for 2-3 minutes. After that she just sits in the mist looking pissed off. Again, I figure its better to give her more opportunities to drink than fewer, but it is strange that she doesn't seem to be drinking very much given everything that I've read about Parson's and their love of water.

Handling: Rarely. Basically only when friends come over. She doesn't seem to appreciate it.

Concerns so far: Not too many. There were two small things: 1. she seemed to have developed some kind of an abrasion on her knee (I noticed it was a little bloody one day) and 2. she was gaping and flailing around like a maniac for a whole day last week. The abrasion seems to be getting better. I don't plan to visit the vet unless things start to look worse/infected. But I have no idea what the gaping and flailing around was all about. I was worried it was a respiratory infection and then considered that she might have been letting out some pre-shedding tension. But she didn't shed...so...I have no idea what that was all about. I haven't witnessed the behavior since.

What do you Parson's or experienced keepers think of how I'm doing? Any room for improvement?
 

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SmithSe

Established Member
Well so far, I’d say you’re off to a spectacular start with your husbandry and enclosure setup! I’m super envious of your greenhouse attachment! You seem very meticulous and well-versed in the research you’ve done to prepare for her. Also, your girl’s an absolute beaut! If you don’t mind me asking, where’d you get her from and what locale is she? I have two juvenile Orange Eye parsonii myself, a male and female, and they’ve been such an absolute joy to work with since I acquired them last year. Truly the pinnacle of chameleon keeping for me. I’ve got just a couple notes in regards to your post:
  • I think there’s a multitude of ways to approach supplementation, whether you’re using a more “natural” method or are adhering to a fairly strict regimen. I will say, however, that when I purchased my male from Garrett, he advised to supplement B1 at least twice a month, since they’re susceptible to thiamine deficiencies which can result in the development of beriberi. When I keep my two outside, I typically supplement with B1, calcium W/O D3 and a light bimonthly dusting of multivitamins. Depending on how you gutload your feeders, I think calcium can be especially important for egg-developing females. Again, this is just my two cents on what has worked for me, so I'll leave the experts to chime in on this one!
  • Though I mist them thoroughly in two hour intervals, I too have found that my parson’s typically only drink for a couple minutes per day and they’re good to go. Some recent research has suggested that many species of chameleons hydrate at night via moisture inhalation when humidity’s at it’s highest, so you may be onto something.
  • Not sure what’s going on with the gaping/flailing, haha. The only thing I can think of is releasing some pre-shedding tension as you mentioned, unless you hear abnormal breathing or see bubbles in her mouth. As much as we worry, chameleons can just be plain weird sometimes. Occasionally when my male gets misted he’ll get the “shivers” for a second and his whole body will spasm when the water hits him, and other times he randomly bites a stick just ‘cause. I’d keep a close eye on that abrasion. Parson’s are notoriously slow healers, but if it starts to look enflamed or infected, I wouldn’t hesitate on taking her to the vet.
 
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JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
About a six weeks ago I received my first chameleon in almost 20 years - a baby Parson's (~6 month). As a teenager in California I kept Jacksons and Panthers but had always longed for a Parson's. When I randomly decided that I wanted to get back into the hobby as an adult, I just went for it and ordered up a Parson's baby girl. I read everything I could get my hands on and may have gone a bit overboard with the planning, but I'm eager for feedback from the group on how I'm doing thus far.

Housing: Currently I've got her (I assume its a "her") in a 24" x 48" cylinder pvc coated screen cage. I built it to keep her in during the summer months, mostly outside, in my backyard. The cage has got a pothos and a jasmin plant, plus a few sanded manzanita branches. I've also built a second more permanent enclosure 24" x 36" x 72" , made of wood, acrylic and pvc coated screen. For the winter months I will move her into that cage which will sit in a custom greenhouse that I built attached to the side my house. The outdoor cylinder is actually in the greenhouse at the moment (see pics), since the weather was down into the 40s last night and I thought that even for a Parson's - which I understand are pretty cold hardy - that may too cold. I plan to move her back outside later this week when it moves into the 70s and 80s and will aim to keep her outside until October, unless it gets REALLY hot, which can happen where I live in Maryland. When Winter rolls around I'll have a space heater to keep the greenhouse toasty, two overhead heat lamps, and a T5 HO arcadia 12% UVB that I'll turn on for maybe a few hours a day for supplementary UV, since the greenhouse roof blocks most UV rays.

Food: She's eating a TON right now, which I take as a sign of good health. Yesterday she even ate out of my hand for the first time. Dubia roaches seem to be her favorite. Crickets not so much, but she's reluctantly eating them. I've just introduced orange head roaches from Nick Barta and she seems to like those, and she'll take a superworm a couple of times a week. I tried hornworms, but she completely ignored them. Same for waxworms and butter worms. She looked at those and then at me like I was crazy. I've also caught her eating some wild bugs that hang around the trees near her cage in my backyard. I even saw her pick a moth off a fence probably 18" away from her cage through the .5"x.5" hole in the screen. It was a sniper shot!

Supplementation: Almost none so far. As I understand it supplements are just that: they are used to supplement those areas where nutrition is lacking. Since she is mostly outside I figured calcium and D3 may be unnecessary at the moment. I've dusted with calcium w/o D3 maybe twice since she arrived. I have not introduced any vitamins. I've been gutloading all the feeders with cricket crack and my leftover vegetables and am using water crystals for hydration. I think I'll start adding some more calcium and other supplements into her diet once I move her inside for the winter, but for now I think the natural sunshine, gutloaded feeders, and the occasional wild bug should keep her healthy. But please correct me if I'm wrong.

Water: Everyone says that Parson's are drinking machines. But I have not encountered that yet. I'm speculating its because the humidity is so high where I live. It generally fluctuates between 50% and 90%. In any case, I've got a misting system hooked up to a garden hose that goes on twice a day, unless there is rain in the forecast (we get big downpours multiple times a week here). The mister runs in the morning about 5 minutes and then again in the afternoon for about 45 minutes. At most, she seems to drink for 2-3 minutes. After that she just sits in the mist looking pissed off. Again, I figure its better to give her more opportunities to drink than fewer, but it is strange that she doesn't seem to be drinking very much given everything that I've read about Parson's and their love of water.

Handling: Rarely. Basically only when friends come over. She doesn't seem to appreciate it.

Concerns so far: Not too many. There were two small things: 1. she seemed to have developed some kind of an abrasion on her knee (I noticed it was a little bloody one day) and 2. she was gaping and flailing around like a maniac for a whole day last week. The abrasion seems to be getting better. I don't plan to visit the vet unless things start to look worse/infected. But I have no idea what the gaping and flailing around was all about. I was worried it was a respiratory infection and then considered that she might have been letting out some pre-shedding tension. But she didn't shed...so...I have no idea what that was all about. I haven't witnessed the behavior since.

What do you Parson's or experienced keepers think of how I'm doing? Any room for improvement?
Totally neat set up Start
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Pretty girl!! I’m in Baltimore, what part of MD are you in? My only comment is that I’d be nervous about her shooting through the screen... I’d be worried about her getting her tongue caught or wrapped up when retracting.
 

Jonah

New Member
Pretty girl!! I’m in Baltimore, what part of MD are you in? My only comment is that I’d be nervous about her shooting through the screen... I’d be worried about her getting her tongue caught or wrapped up when retracting.
Any ideas how to prevent her from shooting through the screen? I couldnt find smaller pvc coated wire mesh. .5 x .5 was the smallest I found on the internet. I guess i could rewrap the cage in uncoated finer mesh, but then you have the sharp edges problem. Hopefully she doesn't hurt herself, but I can't baby-proof absolutely everything. My philosophy is gonna be eat at your own risk, girl.
 

Jonah

New Member
If you don’t mind me asking, where’d you get her from and what locale is she? I have two juvenile Orange Eye parsonii myself, a male and female, and they’ve been such an absolute joy to work with since I acquired them last year.
She an OE from BION. I would have gotten local in the USA but hadn't really figured out that these forums have breeders on them. Too late!
 

Dean Pulcini

Avid Member
If kept outside no need for any lighting even in the shade. I keep my male outside 6 months a year with no lighting or heat. If you can position the cage so it gets some sun in the morning , When he comes inside in the winter I dont even use lighting just ambient. I had this guy since 2007 60 to 65 degrees all winter long is perfect for montane chameleons and I use very little supplementation feed it to the insects sparingly I dont dust . 12 yr old male orange eye.
Orange eye Parsonii 009.jpg
DSCN7083.JPG
 
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Jonah

New Member
@Jonah We're BION buddies! My female is from BION as well. Hopefully the transaction went well for you? Mine was delayed a month due to issues with documents.
@SmithSe same here with the delay. But I actually was happy because I wasn't quite ready for her when I first ordered.

Overall it was a good experience with BION. I'd recommend them if no local breeders are available. I've also enjoyed telling people that my chameleon came from the Ukraine when they ask where she's from. People are like, "Wait, there are chameleons from Ukraine? I thought they were from the tropics?"

I've also named her "Kiev" in honor of her proud Ukrainian heritage.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Any ideas how to prevent her from shooting through the screen? I couldnt find smaller pvc coated wire mesh. .5 x .5 was the smallest I found on the internet. I guess i could rewrap the cage in uncoated finer mesh, but then you have the sharp edges problem. Hopefully she doesn't hurt herself, but I can't baby-proof absolutely everything. My philosophy is gonna be eat at your own risk, girl.
No suggestions, you could rewrap in something finer but its probably not worth the hassle. Just a passing thought. One of my guys has a tongue issue so I'm kinda paranoid about it is all. Very pretty little girl. Wish I had the space and expertise for a parson's... maybe one day!
 

Motherlode Chameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your custom made greenhouse and Calumma parsonii parsonii look great.

Two details of concern though if your greenhouse is going to be a tropical montane rain forest greenhouse. You tube enclosure is going to be too small for an adult Calumma parsonii parsonii male or female. Plus I would recommend looking to other materials other than wood to build the greenhouse out of. Most all wood rots in wet conditions. Just a couple areas of concern.

Best Regards
Jeremy A. Rich
 
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Jonah

New Member
Your custom made greenhouse and Calumma parsonii parsonii look great.

Two details of concern though if your greenhouse is going to be a tropical montane rain forest greenhouse. You tube enclosure is going to be too small for an adult Calumma parsonii parsonii male or female. Plus I would recommend looking to other materials other than wood to build the greenhouse out of. Most all wood rots in wet conditions. Just a couple areas of concern.

Best Regards
Jeremy A. Rich
Thanks. On the size of the cage: Yes, I know. I'll build another when she's grown. This is just for this season probably.

On the greenhouse: Too late. As you can see from the pictures its already built. But its made of all cedar and is designed to be outside so I'm not worried about rot for that. The "permanent" cage, on the other hand, definitely could rot. I used an organic sealant on the pine frame, but I suspect it still may go bad at some point. Any suggestions for metal or plastic for a frame instead?
 

Motherlode Chameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Jonah

You probably are going to have some time with the wood enclosure. That enclosure is going to take some time to rot out. However as for plastic or metal, either one could have practical applications for you the type of setting/situation you have. Since you are going to have some time I would start to research plastic or metal for an adult or final enclosure for your Calumma parsonii parsonii now and pick what you prefer.

Best Regards
Jeremy A. Rich
 
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