Quick questions

jacksonooti

New Member
Hey guys, stumbled on this site a few days ago and i have to say it has been very informative. A little background...I had a Veiled Chameleon about two years ago that lived to be about 5 years old. I'd like to get back into chameleons and have been researching for the past two weeks about the "right" setup and conditions for my new one, since from what I have read, my previous one was not kept in a prime environment. I purchased a Jackson's chameleon today at a reptile shop..."Snakes" in South Fl. if anyone knows of it.

A few questions:

1- For some reason, once i got my chameleon home and put him in his cage, he turned dark black. However, once i took him out and placed him on my arm to hold, he changed back to a light shade of green and appeared calm. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

2- I bought crickets, gut load, and rep cal vitamin duster. How often should i gut load the crickets? And dust? Also, how many crickets should i feed him a day (i believe he is only a few months old...about 5 inches from snout to the base of his tail)

3- I purchased a reptisun 5.0 UVB bulb and am currently using the old housing fixture for it. However, it appears that not much light can pass through because the plastic part that covers the bulb is pretty opaque. I've tried to see the setups of other members but their pictures never show the underside of their light fixtures...is the bulb open to the air or is there some kind of cover on it?

Thankyou for taking the time to read all of this...I really am trying to put a great deal of effort into making the best possible environment for my cham.
 

VerteX

Avid Member
Welcome to ChameleonForums.com!

One great place I found as a reference is www.chameleonsdish.com. When we got our first veiled, that site helped me get a jump start on my husbandary skills. I highly recommend reading that site throughly for general reference. You will be able to find answers to your questions there. Knowledge is power.

For your 3rd question, I don't have any experience with reptisun products but I heard that some bulbs/tubes come with plastic film cover that are supposed to be removed before using them. I'm guessing that is not the case here.

Good luck!

$0.02
 

Cherron

New Member
1- For some reason, once i got my chameleon home and put him in his cage, he turned dark black. However, once i took him out and placed him on my arm to hold, he changed back to a light shade of green and appeared calm. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Perhaps your temperatures were not high enough. Chameleons will turn darker in an effort to soak up as much light (heat) as possible when they are too cold. For an adult veiled chameleon basking temps should be between 88 and 95 degrees. Ambient temps in the mid 70s are good and they benefit from a temperature drop at night, so as long as the room doesn't drop too low (below 62 or so, i'd say), no heating is needed at night. There may be other reasons for the dark color, but this is definitely a common one. For a younger cham, the same ambient temps and night time temps but the basking spot should be a bit cooler.. around 85 or so.

2- I bought crickets, gut load, and rep cal vitamin duster. How often should i gut load the crickets? And dust? Also, how many crickets should i feed him a day (i believe he is only a few months old...about 5 inches from snout to the base of his tail)

Many people keep their crickets on a "maintenance" diet and only gutload the ones that are going to be fed next. So, pull the 15 or so crickets that you are gonna feed the next morning, put them in a seperate container with your gut load and fresh veggies and let them go to town. ALWAYS feed gutloaded feeders. Everyone's dusting schedule varies some, so I will just tell you what I do for my adult veileds (hatchlings and juvies need a little more frequency). I dust with PURE calcium (no D3) 3 - 4 times a week. I dust with calicum WITH D3 once every other week and I dust with vitamin supplement once every other week. With a smaller guy, I would up the pure calcium to 5 times a week and calcium w/d3 once a week (especially after reading question #3!) The vitamin supplement can be used once or twice a week at this age.

3- I purchased a reptisun 5.0 UVB bulb and am currently using the old housing fixture for it. However, it appears that not much light can pass through because the plastic part that covers the bulb is pretty opaque. I've tried to see the setups of other members but their pictures never show the underside of their light fixtures...is the bulb open to the air or is there some kind of cover on it?

Plastic and glass block as much as 95% of UVB rays. This is like not having a UVB bulb at all! UVB is essential for calcium absorption and without it your chameleon will eventually die. This is a slow painful death for the chameleon. Remove the plastic part that covers the bulb ASAP and if you are not able to remove it, purchase a different housing immediately. This is very very important for your chameleon, especially a young guy.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have or for clairification of any answers :)
 
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jacksonooti

New Member
Hey, thanks everyone for replying so quickly. Okay, so to get this straight, all of your UVB bulbs are exposed to the air and do NOT have any type of covering over them, only the fixture that it connects to for power? Can i place the bulb directly onto the top of the mesh cage or do i need to elevate it somehow?

-Thanks again
 

Cherron

New Member
I put mine directly on the mesh on the top of the cage and there is no need to elevate a tube style UVB (which is what you have). The bulb only penetrates 6 or 8 inches so be sure that your cham can get close enough to it (or away from it) as he chooses.
 

jacksonooti

New Member
Hey Cherron, you don't have any problems with the bulb burning the mesh or anything? I'd hate to accidentally start a fire or something from an overheating light. Also, how long do you guys usually keep the UVB light on for? In addition to the UVB, i bought a repta sun basking bulb that's in a seperate fixture...how long should that be on each day? Thanks
 

Jordan

New Member
Twelve hours on and twelve off is about average light time they would normally be exposed to in the wild. I suggest getting a little timer for the lights. These timers usually cost about $5. You can get these at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's....etc. You may need some sort of extension cord or adapter if so that you can have both lights running off the timer.

Now some other keepers off set both lights this would require an additional timer. Say my flourescent light comes on about a half hour before the basking light does. Then the basking light goes off about a half an hour before the flourescents do at night. Some keepers will actually change the lighting schedule around to mimic the seasons. Say almost up to 14 hours in the summer months and working its way down to a little above 10 hours in the winter.

It is your call as for how far you want to go with this one. At the minimum I would suggest the timer and a 12 hour cycle.

What kind of cage do you have? This can effect if there is a fire hazard or not with the basking bulb.
 

jacksonooti

New Member
I have a large mesh cage and have the UVB light sitting directly on top.

Another thing i noticed this morning is that a cricket (gut loaded of course) walked right up to my chameleon....the chameleon took a few steps back...shot at the cricket...but didnt catch it...just seemed to knock it off the branch. Looked a little strange to me..how often do they miss?
 

jleahl

New Member
My chams often won't even shoot at a cricket if it's too close to them...they'll do some funny gymnastics to get some distance before zapping it. I'd guess he wasn't sure what to do with a cricket so close to him!

What kind of mesh enclosure do you have? Window screen? Nylon? Is it a brand-name enclosure, or homemade? The UV bulbs are generally not REAL hot...the basking bulb fixture will be much hotter. Lots of people use a clamp to position the basking bulb, instead of setting it right on the mesh.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
You said..."I purchased a Jackson's chameleon today at a reptile shop"...the 98F is too hot for jackson's for basking. I would keep it no hotter than 85F...especially since he's a young one. Appropriate basking temperature is important for good digestion.

You said..."For some reason, once i got my chameleon home and put him in his cage, he turned dark black. However, once i took him out and placed him on my arm to hold, he changed back to a light shade of green and appeared calm. Shouldn't it be the other way around?"...is your cage that black mesh? It could be partly to do with that. It could be that he needs to get used to his new cage. Or he could be cold if you don't have the temperatures right.

You said..."I bought crickets, gut load, and rep cal vitamin duster. How often should i gut load the crickets? And dust?"...you need to gutload the crickets for a couple of days before you feed them to the chameleon. Mine are always gutloaded because I give them fresh greens (dandelion greens, kale, collards, endive, ROMAINE lettuce, escarole, etc.) and veggies (potato, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, carrots, squash, zucchini, etc.) all the time.

I dust with a phosphorous-free calcium powder at most feedings. Most of the feeder insects we can give them have a poor ratio of phos. to calcium...so this helps to make up for it. Exposure to UVB light from tube lights or from sunlight (neither of which should pass through glass or plastic) allows the chameleon to produce D3 which allows the chameleon to use the calcium in its diet.

I dust twice a month with a vitamin powder that has a beta carotene source of vitamin A. Preformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system but beta carotene can't. Jackson's are prone to developing gular pouch edema if they are oversupplemented....so don't overdo it. Excess preformed vitamin A can prevent the D3 from doing its job and lead to MBD.

Because my chameleons don't get sunlight often, I dust with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder lightly twice a month. D3 from supplements can also build up in the system so don't overdo it either.

I can't tell you whether its safe to put the lights on the mesh or not....my cages have (metal) screen on the top...so I have no worries with it.

I don't use any substrate on the floor of the cages of arboreal chameleons.

I mist the cage a couple of times a day and run a dripper too. Hydration is important.

If you use live plants (and I recommend them), be sure they are non-toxic and well-washed (both sides of the leaves). I also cover the soil so the chameleon can't ingest it.

Here are some sites you might be interested in...
http://www.geocities.com/chamjacksonii/
http://adcham.com/html/taxonomy/species/chjacksonixanth.html
http://adcham.com/
http://www.chameleonnews.com/
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/skintests.htm#discussion
 

Cherron

New Member
Wow. In my response I totally missed that it was a jackson's. That's what I get for staying up all night!
 

jacksonooti

New Member
Hey guys thankyou so much for the quick replies. The cage i have has a window-screen like mesh, and i'm not really sure how flammable that is. Today i made a stand that will hold the light about 1 inch above the mesh, so hopefully that will solve the problem.

This morning i dusted about six crickets and fed him. I misted and he immediately began to lick water off of the leaves.

A few more questions:

1- I'm using paper towels at the bottom of the cage to absorb drips and feces. However, the crickets find this an excellent spot to crawl under and hide from my chameleon. I tried to spread the paper out evenly all along the bottom, but they still make their way under. How do all of you who use paper towels deal with this?

2- I plan on feeding my chameleon in the mornings, but with gut-loading, dusting, and misting, it can take a while. I was wondering if anyone feeds their chameleon in the afternoons, say at around 5 oclock. I'm assuming the mornings are better, since they can bask and digest their food throughout the day. Please give me any ideas.

Thanks again
 

Cherron

New Member
I use paper towels in my baby enclosures. I usually get some rocks that are well washed and baked and place them around the edges or the paper towels to hold them in place.

I also feed my chams in the afternoon. I like to give them time to strech and warm up and patrol their enclosures. I also like to do the first misting of the day before I feed mainly so that I don't wash all of the supplements off of my feeders. This is just my preference though. Most keepers just do what they have found that works well for them.
 

jacksonooti

New Member
The rocks on the corners sounds like a good idea. I'm sorry to ask so many questions, but i really want to do things right this time around. Like I said, I bought crickets (around 25 i think) yesterday and when i woke up this morning two of them had died in their plastic cage (the ventilated type you keep mice in). What's necessary to keep crickets alive while in captivity? Should i provide gutload every day, or just right before feeding my chameleon? How do they drink water..from a sponge or can i just pour a small amount in? Thanks
 

mcfarland

New Member
Because what happens to your crickets will eventually go into your chameleon's system, I like to take pretty good care of them.

Set up a 10-gallon aquarium with a mesh top. On one side, put a paper plate with food, vegitables, or whatever you're loading them with. A wet sponge in a shallow dish is a good source of water, but I just make sure they have a lot of orange slices. It gives them enough water as well as some vitamin C.


On the other side, put in some egg crates with a heat lamp overhead. Warm crickets are happy crickets, and they'll eat more often and die less. Keep the light on 24/7. Clean the tank every few days, and replace any uneaten food as soon as you can.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Cherron...glad to hear that I'm not the only one who burns the midnight oil! (Well, its actually later than midnight every night!) A couple of times my answers have been weird...and I like to blame it on that! LOL!

Jacksonooti said..."I'm sorry to ask so many questions"...don't be sorry...that's how we learn. I wish that I had had people to help me when I started keeping chameleons a very long time ago. There was little information and all the people I talked to said..."You bought a chameleon?? It will be dead in two weeks!"...but it wasn't.

Listen to what mcfarland told you about keeping the crickets. I do basically the same thing...except I don't need a light over them because where I keep them is warm enough without it.

You said..."Should i provide gutload every day?"...my crickets are constantly being gutloaded...so I don't have to worry about when I use them. Some people keep them on a "maintenance" diet and then gutload them a while before they are fed to the chameleon. Both ways are good, IMHO.

I haven't had a Jackson's for a while now and I miss them...but I have merus....their cute little "cousins"!
 

jacksonooti

New Member
Hey guys, my jackson's cham is looking pretty healthy and seems to be adapting well to his new home. One thing that has me worried is this weird movement he always does: while climbing on the side of his cage (mesh) near the basking light, he places all four of his feet close together, tucks his head down, and arches his back. It kinda looks like he's stretching, and he does it about every half an hour (when i'm in the room that is). Any idea what this is?
 
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