Relatively new cham owner checking a couple of points

nick4768

New Member
Hi, I have had a panther chalemeon for 3/4 months now (I am from the UK). The cham was supposedly 2-4 weeks when I bought him, but he had developed his colours so I believe he was most likely older. I bought him a local reptile centre and have been relying on the guidance of the owner. He is a local reptile expert and is employed at a couple of the local zoo/animal sanctuaries. I wanted to check a few things that he has told me, as it conflicts with a few things on here. My cham seems healthy (the reptile centre perform free health check ups on him and I have took him recently). I signed up with a pet store and have got a free health check there too, so I will also take him there for a second opinion.

Now to my questions:

1. I have not been dusting his food. I had been told that as long as I gut-loaded his food, and due to the light being used, dusting was not necessary. I have bought a calc supplement based off the advice on here and because the gut-loading does not seem to work as well as I had expected.

2. he advised that for the gut-loading, I should use a mixture of corn flakes, fish food and dog biscuits (crushed up). I haven't been using dog biscuits but have used the others. The bugs do take some, but not nearly as much as I thought. I have occasionally used potato peelings, veg gratings etc.

3. my cham doesn't eat the bugs straight away. he tends to eat them at some point in the morning before i turn his light on, or during the day when i am at work. He is actually quite a shy eater and the couple of times I have seen him eat, he has tried to hide it from me and looked rather embarassed. If this is the case, won't all the dustings have come off the bugs by the time he eats them? I feed him mainly hoppers/locusts.

I will send photos of my tank, light and set up in the next post (as I can't start a new post on my phone). I am aware I need to get some extra plants and some more vine higher to his light, and that is in hand. I get my cham out in the sun 1-3 times a week, and he comes out of his tank most days. He is energetic and happy with handling.

Appreciate the help, thanks.
 

Daesie11

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome to the forums. Unfortunately it seems like all of the information you were given from your "local reptile expert" was incorrect. Just from the fact along that he told you he was selling you a 2-4 week old panther, you should just throw all information he gave you out of the window. No one in their right mind would sell (or should buy) a cham at that age as they are soooo fragile that they could die at even the slightest miscalculation in husbandry. For that, you should be glad this guy didnt actually sell you that young of a cham! I'm not sure on age, but to me it looks like you have either a sub adult or adult cham. Better close up pictures of him and possibly a weight and length measurement(nose to base of tail) would help get you a better estimate.

To be honest and at the risk of sounding harsh, almost everything you are showing us about your husbandry is wrong. The good news is that you came here so we can help you get it on track so your cham lives a long and healthy life :)

Before I start giving you corrections, would you mind copy and pasting this form and filling it out in great detail so that we can help you more easily?

Here is some recommended information to include when asking for help in the health clinic forum. By providing this information you will receive more accurate and beneficial responses. It might not be necessary to answer all these questions, but the more you provide the better. Please remember that even the most knowledgeable person can only guess at what your problem may be. Only an experienced reptile veterinarian who can directly examine your animal can give a true diagnosis of your chameleon's health.


Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • 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?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
 

nick4768

New Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - panther chameleon - 6-9 months old - had for 3/4 months
  • Handling - daily
  • Feeding - Grasshoppers - he eats about 2/3 per day on average - grasshoppers are gut fed with corn flakes and fish food at least a few days before going in.
  • Supplements - none
  • Watering - spray from the top, twice a day, occasionally a third time if hot
  • Fecal Description - Looks like the photos online.
  • History - n/a

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - See pic
  • Lighting - See pic
  • Temperature - No thermometer at present, but check temps are different in enclosure regularly with hand.
  • Humidity - With the light and regular misting.
  • Plants - 4 live plants - unsure of type
  • Placement - on floor in living room. Room/property is very airey with windows on latches in spring/summer
  • Location - UK
 

SharpShooter

Avid Member
Sorry to say that what this guy is spouting and what he has sold is wrong.

As @Daesie11 suggests, please use the form so people can advise on what needs to be changed. Just from your pics what you posted, there are some major issues.

I'm sure you want to do your best for this little guy but changes, involving cost are needed from gut loading to lighting and the exo terra, which is too small I'm afraid.

I'm in the UK as well and use Exo Terra's but the small extra tall is not big enough.

I know you and your wallet probably don't want to hear this, but it's essential he gets the correct care. The alternative is slowly declining health and then death.
 

nick4768

New Member
Thanks - I have filled the form in. Yes, he has had a growth spurt the last fortnight and I realised he is probably going to need a bigger tank. In fact, that was going to be my next question after the above got sorted. What are people's recommendation for the next cage - i have seen conflicting messages regarding exoterra.
 

nick4768

New Member
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/panther/

This caresheet will get you on the right track.

Supplements, I recommend Repashy Calcium plus LoD used lightly with every feeding. This is an "all in one" supplement so you wont have to keep track of three separate jars of powders.

Gutloading, follow this:
View attachment 241276
Thanks- I actually already purchased that based off you posting this on another post. If my cham isn't eating the hoppers for a few days, won't the powder just fall off, or be washed off by the misting?
 

Graves923

Chameleon Enthusiast
Screen cage is the most widely recommended. Atleast 48 inches tall (122cm) will be good for an adult panther.

Lighting: You will need a T5HO linear fixture. The fixture should be as long as the new cage. Use a 5.0 UVB tube or a 6% arcadia bulb. The dome fixture you have now will be used for the basking bulb. Use a regular incandescent house bulb for heat. You NEED a thermometer to measure what his basking temp is to avoid thermal burns.

Thanks- I actually already purchased that based off you posting this on another post. If my cham isn't eating the hoppers for a few days, won't the powder just fall off, or be washed off by the misting?
You should dust them right before feeding. I recommend using a feeder cup to keep the feeders from roaming the cage and so you can monitor how much he eats. If he is not eating right away, it is probably due to his enclosure not being warm enough.
 

Graves923

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have seen the repti breeze mentioned a few times - would you recommend this one?

https://www.internetreptile.com/arc...=6d62f7994db91f42f21cc81a6fbcd15d&fo_s=gplauk - this bulb?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/323854995336 - is this what you mean by feeding cup? Won't they just jump out of there?
Thats the right fixture type. If you go with a reptibreeze cage I would get a 24 inch long light opposed to the 34 inch you linked.

Feeding cup I use is just a small deli cup. Most of the time the crickets stay inside. Never really had an issue with escapees.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi. Being on somewhat of a budget, I bought an XL repti breeze 2x2x4 and have no complaints with it so far. I did add Dragon Strand ledges which makes it so much easier to secure branches and vines. Since chams like to climb high and hide, you do need to add more branches and greenery to the top half of your enclosure. Even though I feel like I don’t have as much greenery or branches as I would like, most of the time I have to search intently to find my cham. In my previous enclosure there was a good sized hole that I took advantage of to secure a small bowl type of feeding cup. Crickets had a hard time escaping it. It lacked drainage holes though so I was vigilant about keeping it clean/dry. Any crickets that did manage to escape always ended up climbing the screen and my girl seemed to enjoy the hunt.

My enclosure. (I have a girl so have a lay bin)
EA6ECAF6-5068-43FB-A316-F1401CED4811.jpeg
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Just make sure that your UVB lighting spans the length of the enclosure top. You’ll want to place it pretty much in the center with the basking light as close as you can get for maximum exposure. Branches for basking should be about 8 inches (20 cm) below I believe. Too close and he could get a burn. You’ll want to have branches and vines at different levels so that your guy can choose what temp he feels like being in.
 

nick4768

New Member
Thats the right fixture type. If you go with a reptibreeze cage I would get a 24 inch long light opposed to the 34 inch you linked.

Feeding cup I use is just a small deli cup. Most of the time the crickets stay inside. Never really had an issue with escapees.

he prefers hoppers. they are quite jumpy, so i cant see them staying in anything. do you also dust hoppers?

thanks for your help so far, i am making a list of things i need.
 

Jevin

Chameleon Enthusiast
Also with the gutloading, do not continue to use the fish food or dog food, basically feed the food in the picture that @Graves923 posted. I have guinea pigs, so I basically just use what I feed my guinea pigs, which is a mix of fresh fruits, veggies and greens, as a gutload for my crickets.
 
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