Seeking feedback on husbandry ideas!


Established Member
Hey! I am planning on getting a 3-4 month old panther chameleon within the next month, and after countless hours and hours of online research, i think i have all of the information i need to create ideal conditions for my future cham. Sorry in advance for the long post, but i just want to make sure that i am doing everything right and that i'm not forgetting about anything. So if you all could read it over and give me your feedback i would be so appreciative! This forum has given me tons and tons of good information; i am impressed at the vast knowledge and experience of a majority of the members and i trust and appreciate all of your opinions!

I'll start with the enclosure:
- since the cham i am planning on getting will be about 3-4 months old upon arrival, i plan on using a 38 gallon reptarium (16.5X16.5X30) while he is young and little. As he matures, i am going to be building a custom cage from wood and screen that will probably measure out to be around 48" (maybe 60") tall X 36" long X 18-24" deep. I also plan on using the 38 gallon reptarium as an outdoor cage, it would be very easy to transport in and out of doors for basking in the real sunlight.
- with the reptarium i plan on using an 18" reptisun 5.0 bulb and a lower wattage (probably around 60) basking bulb depending on the ambient temperatures of the enclosure. Once the cham is moved into his adult cage, i plan on using the 36" reptisun 10.0 bulb in a double fixture with the reptiglo 2.0 broad spectrum daylight bulb. Then a basking bulb of appropriate wattage to get the temp. right.
- i plan on feeding a variety of insects including crickets, butterworms, silkworms, grasshoppers (when available), moths, superworms, occasional mealworms, waxworms, hornworms etc. Mainly, crickets and the more nutritious worms. I plan on gutloading my crickets and other gutloadable insects with the following:
-a nutritious comercial dry gutload
- a/d canine/feline perscirption moist food
- a variety of greens including collard, mustard, dandelion, turnip, and endive, along with veggies such as squash and sweet potato
- watering with flukers calcium enriched cricket quencher
- i am planning on dusting the insects with rap-cal herptivite one or two times a month, rep-cal calcium with d3 once or twice a week, and the rep-cal pure calcium at every other feeding.
- i plan on misting up to 3 times a day for up to 5 minutes each time, and probably use some sort of drip system for a few hours each day.
Does anyone have any feedback about using a fogger for short amounts to get humidity up in the cage?

Live plants:
- i recently purchased two nicely sized pothos that are already starting to grow nice hanging branches. These are small enough to both fit in the 38 gallon and i plan on using them in the adult cage too. I was also planning on getting some schellefera (sp?) for the enclosure as well. I will also include some fake climbing vines and branches.

Well...i think thats about it! i'm sure i probably forgot something, even though it seems impossible with such a ridiculously long post! Thanks to everyone in advance, like i said before, i really just want to make sure that i'm doing everything right and not missing anything important before i jump into the wonderful world of chameleons!! Thanks!
I think that everything sounds pretty good except for using dog and/or cat food to gutload with. Dog food is high in fat and can actually carry bacteria that is harmful to a chameleon. Cat food is the same AND it includes preformed vitamin A which can build up in a chameleon's system. Leaving out the cat and dog food, the rest of the gutloading sounds good.

You may also want to extend your misting duration to 10 or 15 minutes each time. It often takes chameleons a bit to realize that it is time to drink and after they realize they drink slowly for quite a few minutes. Little guys often won't drink from a dripper. I think that this is a learned behavior that comes with time. I always offer it with mine that are a few months old just so that they get used to it, but it usually takes a few months before they get the hang of it.

Good luck with your cham! It already sounds like he/she is going to have a great start!
sounds good except for what Cherron already said about the dog food.

I personally don't follow any specific "gutload" formula, I just mix it up a lot, and feed a wide variety of healthy foods from different lists I find online, plus commercial gutload products (Don't use commercial products alone though, because they aren't completely balanced) So they basically get gut loaded with something different each week. This method seems to be working out good for me, although I'm no expert on the subject.

Also, You can take cuttings from your pothos and put them in water, and they will eventually sprout roots. You might want to go ahead and do this If you'll want more pothos for your bigger enclosure later, that way you don't have to buy another one! I got a little 4 inch pothos a couple months ago, and have been taking cuttings from it every few weeks, so now I have more pothos then I know what to do with.

I also wanted to add that you don't have the buy the expensive fake vines at the pet store... the cheaper vines that you find in the fake flower section at wal*mart or Hobby lobby work just fine, plus you get a bigger selection. Just make sure you wash them off really good, and inspect them for any loose parts or sharp points before you put them in the cage. (don't get the kind with wire in the stem)
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