Pretty sure I’m already failing miserably!

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
Dark cham this morning.. hung up his feeder cup, he watched but ate only one bug out of the cup. He took several things from my hand again, including 2 hornworms that I didn’t intend for him to get all at once (looked a bit difficult to swallow. Of all things I’m worried about, that’s not one of them as he ate two dubias after that and hasn’t thrown anything up). Left him alone for a while, came back in about 1:15 and saw him sitting in the exact same place I left him in when I hung his feeder cup up at 9:30 AM.. definitely looking dark (the breeder says dark is normal, but to me he looked dark brown/almost black). According to my basking gauge, the temp at the top of the cage was at 86 F.. yikes. I currently am not even using a basking bulb. I’ve got the Sansi LED grow light over the basking spot, and even raised up on a 3-4 inch wire basket it seeks to be raising the basking temp. I turned it off for a while to double check that it was in fact the Sansi LED’s doing this - temp came down from 86 to 81. I want to keep my plants alive, but I don’t want to cook my chameleon. He doesn’t look particularly happy today :( could I possibly get a husbandry review? I’ll see if I can dig up the form
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Mine's always dark in the morning until he warms up. Dark colors help absorb heat.

I wouldn't worry about him being in the same spot either, especially if you don't know what he's been doing while you weren't watching. Mine has a few favorite spots he goes to periodically throughout the day; in between he's all over the place, from climbing on the ceiling to checking out the sub-basement (figure of speech).

86 at the top isn't that bad. He basks several inches below that, which should be just about right.

Average Weather in Ambilobe Madagascar​

In Ambilobe, the wet season is oppressive and overcast; the dry season is humid, windy, and mostly clear; and it is hot year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 64°F to 93°F and is rarely below 61°F or above 96°F.
https://weatherspark.com/y/104776/Average-Weather-in-Ambilobe-Madagascar-Year-Round
You can do the same search if you have a different locale.

And if necessary, a thermostatically-controlled muffin fan can draw off surplus heat quite nicely.
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
IChameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?: 4 month old male panther chameleon, though he may be a little older (4 1/2 - 5 months/ his hatch date was anywhere from March to April). I’ve had him since Wednesday.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?: Currently, I don’t. Only interaction has been hand feeding.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?: I‘m set on a morning schedule, feeding between 9-9:30 AM. My feeders vary. Yesterday he received 10 silkworms, 2 hornworms. Today he was offered 3 superworms, about 10 dubia roaches. He took one dubia from the cup, beyond that no interest in eating from it. He also took about 3 dubias from my hand, 3 silkworms, 2 hornworms. This week I’ve been gutloading with a spinach, kale and chard mix (going to change out the greens), baby carrot slices, a few blueberries and cut up Italian squash.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?: Dusting at every feeding with Repcal (no D3). Not giving any additional supplements since we’re so close to the end of the month, but will dust with Rep-cal with D3 on the 1st and 15th of every month, alternating with Rep-cal Herptivite on 8th and 22nd of every month.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?: Hand misting at lights on at 7 AM for 2 minutes, I offer a dripper around 12 or 1 pm (apparently I’m too dense to figure out a dripper. I’ve used all kinds of holes in an empty jug ranging from thumb tack needle size to skewer size to tiniest sewing needle I have size, and water either drips our entirely too fast/pools at the top screen without actually dripping down, or doesn’t drip at all. I’ve tried it with ice cubes and I can’t get it to drip. Can’t get either method to drip for very long. At this point I’m going to just buy a damn dripper). Hand mist again for 2 minutes when lights go off, and again for 2 minutes at midnight. Will be setting up the MistKing for good tomorrow. I’ve seen him drink once, yesterday.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?: Has not been tested for parasites (I‘d like for him to get settled in, which has been a challenge up to this point), and I haven’t found any droppings as of yet.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you: None that I can think of, beyond him shedding almost immediately when he got here, looking a bit dark yesterday (muted blue with brown lateral line) and even darker this afternoon (closeer to dark brown/black). I also have not yet been able to get the temperature DOWN and humidity UP for the last two nights, which I know is not good. Hoping to fix that with the MistKing and ice pack/cool mist humidifier trick.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?: All screen Reptibreeze with left, right and back panels covered in insulating window shrink film (am wanting to replace this with coroplast).
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?: 12 hour schedule with lights on at 7 AM, lights off at 7 PM. Sansi LEDs go on at 8 AM and off at 6 PM. No basking bulb at this point as it doesn’t seem to be needed. I use a 6% Arcadia UVB bulb with a T5 daylight for plants. I use a Sansi 70 watt LED grow light as well.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?: I use 3 Rojuna brand thermometer and hygrometer combo digital wired probes, one at the top/basking area, one mid-level (appears to be inaccurate compared to the other two and needs to be changed out), and one at the bottom. Temps have been challenging with the California Central Valley heat. 84F at the top without the AC on, comes down to 82 F and lower with ac. At this very moment it’s sitting at 78F (the ac is on). Toward
  • the bottom it’s been about 75-81 F. Sits around 75F with the AC on. Not much change in these temps at night which I intend to try to fix using ice packs and an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?: During the day when everything has dried out and I’m not attempting to run a dripper, humidity sits at 39% at the very top. Mid way and bottom of the cage are around 45-50%. This jumps up to 55-65% when I mist or try to run a dripper (and fail).
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?: All live plants. I’m using two pothos, a spider plant, two inch plants (tradescantia zebrina, tradescantia pallida. Will likely be replacing this with a 3rd pothos for more coverage at the top), and a money/pachira aquatica tree.
  • 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?: The cage is located in a spare bedroom toward the front windows. Only traffic in the room is me (don’t have kids, don’t allow my dog in). Thick vinyl shutters over the windows keep sunlight out unless I open them. The cage is near a vent on the floor, but I use a magnetic air diverter to keep air from blowing directly up into the cage. The cage is on a small-ish end table, and the top sits above my eyeline. Basking area is probably about 3-5 inches above my eyeline, could be higher.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?: Central Valley California.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
Dark chameleon. Hasn’t eaten much today, may have swallowed too many feeders at once. Looks dark, Hasn’t moved from the spot I fed him at since 9:30 AM (it is now 2:17 pm as of the time of my writing this), looks dark and is huddled up close to the dowel he’s perched on. Breeder says dark colors are normal.. I worry he may be too dark and is actually showing stress colors. Pictures attached.
 

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CasqueAbove

Chameleon Enthusiast
So I am not a panther specialist, but everything is looking good. If it has only been 4 days I would not be too concerned. He is likely scared and stressed from travel. I imagine it can get rough, that with the heat wave makes for an unhappy cham.
Once you get the mister set up give longer mist times in morning and night, like 3 to 4 minuets. If you notice he likes a particular time you can increase that length.
I would not worry about eating too much at once, yes it could be an issue, but it is already over so he is OK.

For a panther you may add an after noon mist, but if it is hot add a fan as well, this will help cool some.
I see you are misting at midnight. If this gets the night humidity up good. Don't panic right now we are all suffering the heat wave. Some nights here haven't gone below 72. The chams do not like. More stress colors, dark. The cool mornings is when they are lighter and happy. So thought it is not where you want your temps on average, short periods, even days won't cause issues. Just make sure they have plenty of hydration.

Also, I have never used a dripper. It is a good idea when you hand mist as they can be shy and it is not like rain. With the mist King and longer more even mist times a dripper becomes obsolete.

He looks good, Just a rough flight a little Jet Lag, new place. e is OK to be upset.

I really don't know what I would change. You are doing things right, it is just this extreme heat throwing off our perfect balance, and you are dealing with that as we all are.
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
Is that the only help the breeder has offered, that dark colors are okay? Doesn't matter because you're here now where you'll likely get the best advice anyway.
Feedback so far has been that dark colors aren‘t abnormal, make sure he has enough places to hide as he won’t always want to be seen, and to try to stop checking in on him so often. I can say that it has been really difficult for me to keep from doing that. Since I brought him home Wednesday afternoon, I’ve gone into the room several times to make sure temps aren’t too high/off. Yesterday I added two new branches I thought he could use, but I’m sure he didn’t appreciate the adjustments. Today I messed around with the homemade dripper at the top of his cage, which I know scared him. As long as I’m anxiously checking in on him, my plants, the lights or whatever else, he won’t have time to adjust. That’s on me and I know this! I’ve got to stop. That all being said, his colors were pretty dark when I first checked in on him this morning, and I’m not convinced it’s just a normal thing, but this is the first chameleon I’ve had in years. What might completely send me into a panic probably doesn’t phase the breeder (full disclosure, here. Beyond my chameleon, I am quite the anxious one and worry a lot 🙄). I don’t want to dissuade or discourage anyone from going with the same breeder; they haven’t been unhelpful. I‘ve just been a little torn between not wanting to constantly bother them and/or constantly post here, especially since I’ve been posting so often. Regardless, I so appreciate the help and feedback I get here.

I agree with @Highway61 in that dark colors mean something. It is important to get to the cause. I this case we can identify cause, but we also know stress can lead to other issues so we watch closely.

I do think you will be fine. You are in the right place and we will help
Thank you so much for your input and reassurance. It means a lot and I just want to do right by my cham. It’s really difficult to feel that you’re coming even remotely close to doing that when you wake up to dark colors and them gluing themselves to one spot for the greater portion of the day (especially when they’re so young and should still be active). If I were to wager a guess, I’d say he’s stressed over the sudden change in the environment (I brought him home Wednesday afternoon, so this is all still pretty new). I’m likely stressing him out every time I pop into the room to check on him. At any given time there only seems to be a 3 degree difference from the top of his cage to the very bottom, so I’m thinking he’s not enjoying that very much either. I also managed to scare the crap out of him this afternoon when I was trying to adjust the dripper at the top of his cage (I had to move light fixtures around and was a little bit clumsy about it). He hasn’t been getting a suitable night time drop for the last couple of nights, either. It’s difficult trying to figure out how to make corrections to his cage while also avoiding stress and leaving him alone.
 
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PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
Mine's always dark in the morning until he warms up. Dark colors help absorb heat.

I wouldn't worry about him being in the same spot either, especially if you don't know what he's been doing while you weren't watching. Mine has a few favorite spots he goes to periodically throughout the day; in between he's all over the place, from climbing on the ceiling to checking out the sub-basement (figure of speech).

86 at the top isn't that bad. He basks several inches below that, which should be just about right.


You can do the same search if you have a different locale.

And if necessary, a thermostatically-controlled muffin fan can draw off surplus heat quite nicely.
Thank you for this! Temps in ambilobe aren’t too far off from temps inside my house. I wouldn’t be so concerned about the dark colors if he were to lighten up later, but it has been an all-day thing, as well as him laying up against the branch in the exact same spot. A few hours in one spot is fine, but this has been since 9:30 AM (and he definitely isn’t all over the place like yours is). The muffin fan may be a necessity after all.
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
i Feel for you @planet remulak! I’m a worrier to if you haven’t been able to tell so far! Lol! I know how you feel because I have felt the same way with Eustis and I’ve had him I think for 6 weeks now. I don’t even want to clean his cage because I know it will upset him But I need to. I haven’t cleaned it since I put him in his bigger enclosure about a month ago because I’m afraid of traumatizing him. Your little guy will be ok just like mine will. I’ll say a prayer for you and your baby. He’ll be doing better soon.
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
i Feel for you @planet remulak! I’m a worrier to if you haven’t been able to tell so far! Lol! I know how you feel because I have felt the same way with Eustis and I’ve had him I think for 6 weeks now. I don’t even want to clean his cage because I know it will upset him But I need to. I haven’t cleaned it since I put him in his bigger enclosure about a month ago because I’m afraid of traumatizing him. Your little guy will be ok just like mine will. I’ll say a prayer for you and your baby. He’ll be doing better soon.
Thank you so much!! ❤️❤️

It’s still early, but today has been a stressful one for sure, I hope he ends up being just fine like your Eustis turned out to be. I totally get you wanting to save yourself and your cham the drama and avoid cleaning his cage. Cham keeping is definitely challenging when you already have a fair amount of anxiety, isn’t it lol
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes it is. It’s like having a newborn baby and your not used to caring for one and you don’t want to do anything to hurt it or make it cry!:oops:
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
Still no ideas? He did a lot of branch hugging yesterday, seems to be doing it again today. It’s one thing for him to bask, but it seems to me like he’ll stay in one spot and hug the branch for hours. I’ve only been able to find older threads here about branch hugging being a sign of calcium deficiency/MDB.

I’m not actually running a basking bulb at the moment. Just have his UVB/t5 daybulb and Sansi LED grow light on. Could this be the issue? If I had the Sansi light The basking spot gets up to 86-87 F with the Sansi LEDs directly over the screen. It’s a little cooler at 85 F when the LEDs are raised up on a wire basket (It gets down to 79 F at the lowest when the AC has been on for a while). He did eat quite a bit today.

Trying not to immediately resort to panic. It just seems strange to me that a 4-5 month old chameleon would stick to one spot for so long (I’ve also never had one this young, A million years ago when I had a veiled chameleon, he came to me full size and just under a year old).
 
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dinomom

Avid Member
Still no ideas? He did a lot of branch hugging yesterday, seems to be doing it again today. It’s one thing for him to bask, but it seems to me like he’ll stay in one spot and hug the branch for hours. I’ve only been able to find older threads here about branch hugging being a sign of calcium deficiency/MDB.

I’m not actually running a basking bulb at the moment. Just have his UVB/t5 daybulb and Sansi LED grow light on. Could this be the issue? If I had the Sansi light The basking spot gets up to 86-87 F with the Sansi LEDs directly over the screen. It’s a little cooler at 85 F when the LEDs are raised up on a wire basket (It gets down to 79 F at the lowest when the AC has been on for a while). He did eat quite a bit today.

Trying not to immediately resort to panic. It just seems strange to me that a 4-5 month old chameleon would stick to one spot for so long (I’ve also never had one this young, A million years ago when I had a veiled chameleon, he came to me full size and just under a year old).
I had the same problem with the Sansi-veiled was gaping and I was very concerned about RI. I had already removed his basking lamp, it is too hot in the room he is in to need it until winter. Measuring under the Sansi was 87-90-gah! and he stubbornly would sit under it, get too hot, and gape. Until I can come up with a better solution, I have the square Sansi sitting on four stainless steel condiment cups, which raises it about 2.5 inches off the top. Now it is down to 83 or 84 when ambient is high, no more gaping.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes it is. It’s like having a newborn baby and your not used to caring for one and you don’t want to do anything to hurt it or make it cry!:oops:
I read the above last night, and then saw these headlines this morning.🤯


――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――

Still no ideas? He did a lot of branch hugging yesterday, seems to be doing it again today. It’s one thing for him to bask, but it seems to me like he’ll stay in one spot and hug the branch for hours. I’ve only been able to find older threads here about branch hugging being a sign of calcium deficiency/MDB.
This is a thing? :unsure: 🤷‍♂️
I found only one mention of "branch hugging" in one thread from 5 years ago.
Aside from that I got...

It looks like there aren't many great matches for your search


I'm not disputing anything; I've just never heard of it before, and am not finding anything about it.

For a calming thought, branch hugging in babies can also just be from fear/stress. I have seen it. Like I am gonna hide right here.

as always keep an eye on. But it doesn’t have to be something permanent or dangerous
That sounds reasonable. My cham didn't move much the first few days (except to hunt/eat―he's been a chowhound since Day One) I just chalked it up to relocation stress. Then he gaped & hissed at me and I knew everything was going to be fine! 🤗 (y)(y)

I’m not actually running a basking bulb at the moment. Just have his UVB/t5 daybulb and Sansi LED grow light on. Could this be the issue? If I had the Sansi light The basking spot gets up to 86-87 F with the Sansi LEDs directly over the screen. It’s a little cooler at 85 F when the LEDs are raised up on a wire basket (It gets down to 79 F at the lowest when the AC has been on for a while). He did eat quite a bit today.
See? Chowhound. 😁

Trying not to immediately resort to panic. It just seems strange to me that a 4-5 month old chameleon would stick to one spot for so long (I’ve also never had one this young, A million years ago when I had a veiled chameleon, he came to me full size and just under a year old).
Caveat #1: They're all different.

 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Both spinach and kale bind calcium, so I'd switch out those for better gutload ingredients ASAP. Also, what is the distance from the UVB bulb to the basking branch?
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
I had the same problem with the Sansi-veiled was gaping and I was very concerned about RI. I had already removed his basking lamp, it is too hot in the room he is in to need it until winter. Measuring under the Sansi was 87-90-gah! and he stubbornly would sit under it, get too hot, and gape. Until I can come up with a better solution, I have the square Sansi sitting on four stainless steel condiment cups, which raises it about 2.5 inches off the top. Now it is down to 83 or 84 when ambient is high, no more gaping.
Way to give to give you a heart attack! 🙄 They’re such brats, lol. What’s your veiled‘s name?

I really dig that Sansi grow light, but it puts off quite a bit of heat - more than I expected, anyway! I had to move mine up about 5 or so inches on a coated metal wire basket from the Dollar Tree. it still gets the basking area warm enough that I’m not currently using a basking bulb.

For a calming thought, branch hugging in babies can also just be from fear/stress. I have seen it. Like I am gonna hide right here.


as always keep an eye on. But it doesn’t have to be something permanent or dangerous
This absolutely was a calming thought. I saw this the day you replied and it was greatly appreciated. I apologize for the amount of time it took me to reply and thank you for your input. You were right - he was scared. I was getting myself worked up and in no way, shape or form was that helping him. A relative told me “don’t love him to death” and I took that advice. Things are still new, I don’t have temps and humidity down to an exact science and it’s not 100% perfect (especially given our super hot CA weather), but he seems to be far more settled in. He’s up. He’s alert and he shows me his pretty blue and teel tones when it’s time to eat.

I read the above last night, and then saw these headlines this morning.🤯


――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――


This is a thing? :unsure: 🤷‍♂️
I found only one mention of "branch hugging" in one thread from 5 years ago.
Aside from that I got...


I'm not disputing anything; I've just never heard of it before, and am not finding anything about it.


That sounds reasonable. My cham didn't move much the first few days (except to hunt/eat―he's been a chowhound since Day One) I just chalked it up to relocation stress. Then he gaped & hissed at me and I knew everything was going to be fine! 🤗 (y)(y)


See? Chowhound. 😁


Caveat #1: They're all different.

You couldn’t find anything on branch hugging because I’ve the wrong terminology here 😂 I actually searched for “laying on branch.” I googled “chameleon laying on branch” as well. Pretty sure he was trying his best to look like a little bump on a log because some massive pink ape kept checking in on him and shoving its face in his new house (I’m far better at sarcasm and self-deprecating humor in person, so to clarify I’m referring to myself when I say that haha).

I couldn’t relax, could not bring my anxiety down. As a result, I was stressing him out. A relative told me “not to love him to death,” I took that to heart and have relaxed quite a bit over the last several days. Both Beau the chameleon and I are better for it. He’s up, he’s active and he dashes to the cage door whenever I walk by because he assumes he’ll get to stuff his face. He’s got me pretty trained hand-feeding him. 🤨

Thank you again for your repeated words of encouragement. Getting exact temps and humidity down is still a struggle, but I am actively working to correct this (especially where night temps are concerned), and I think as long as I keep trying while NOT allowing myself to get worked up, he will be fine.


Both spinach and kale bind calcium, so I'd switch out those for better gutload ingredients ASAP. Also, what is the distance from the UVB bulb to the basking branch?
Apologies for the time it took me to respond! Your input is very appreciated. I had to take a step back from driving myself insane digging up info here and checking up on my cham. I’m very happy to report that he’s doing well today, he’s showing a little of red mottling on top of blue, and he’s up and active. I’ve got the UVB about 9” from the basking branch - am considering moving it up an inch or adding one that‘s just a little higher (by about a half inch or so). I switched out the greens, got some mango and added a bit of bee pollen and spirulina powder to the gutload.
 

dinomom

Avid Member
Way to give to give you a heart attack! 🙄 They’re such brats, lol. What’s your veiled‘s name?

I really dig that Sansi grow light, but it puts off quite a bit of heat - more than I expected, anyway! I had to move mine up about 5 or so inches on a coated metal wire basket from the Dollar Tree. it still gets the basking area warm enough that I’m not currently using a basking bulb.


This absolutely was a calming thought. I saw this the day you replied and it was greatly appreciated. I apologize for the amount of time it took me to reply and thank you for your input. You were right - he was scared. I was getting myself worked up and in no way, shape or form was that helping him. A relative told me “don’t love him to death” and I took that advice. Things are still new, I don’t have temps and humidity down to an exact science and it’s not 100% perfect (especially given our super hot CA weather), but he seems to be far more settled in. He’s up. He’s alert and he shows me his pretty blue and teel tones when it’s time to eat.


You couldn’t find anything on branch hugging because I’ve the wrong terminology here 😂 I actually searched for “laying on branch.” I googled “chameleon laying on branch” as well. Pretty sure he was trying his best to look like a little bump on a log because some massive pink ape kept checking in on him and shoving its face in his new house (I’m far better at sarcasm and self-deprecating humor in person, so to clarify I’m referring to myself when I say that haha).

I couldn’t relax, could not bring my anxiety down. As a result, I was stressing him out. A relative told me “not to love him to death,” I took that to heart and have relaxed quite a bit over the last several days. Both Beau the chameleon and I are better for it. He’s up, he’s active and he dashes to the cage door whenever I walk by because he assumes he’ll get to stuff his face. He’s got me pretty trained hand-feeding him. 🤨

Thank you again for your repeated words of encouragement. Getting exact temps and humidity down is still a struggle, but I am actively working to correct this (especially where night temps are concerned), and I think as long as I keep trying while NOT allowing myself to get worked up, he will be fine.



Apologies for the time it took me to respond! Your input is very appreciated. I had to take a step back from driving myself insane digging up info here and checking up on my cham. I’m very happy to report that he’s doing well today, he’s showing a little of red mottling on top of blue, and he’s up and active. I’ve got the UVB about 9” from the basking branch - am considering moving it up an inch or adding one that‘s just a little higher (by about a half inch or so). I switched out the greens, got some mango and added a bit of bee pollen and spirulina powder to the gutload.
Yikes I don't know where to reply..cham's name is Dino Quarantino (so I can keep track of when I got him!)

The thing that will be nice is when winter comes, and ambient temps in that room go way down, I van move the sansi down and use as basking.
 
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