Somnia, the Graceful Chameleon: General Advice

DePseu

New Member
Hello! I'm kind of new here, and decided I'd introduce myself and my graceful, Somnia.

My boyfriend and I have wanted a reptile for some time now, and after searching had finally settled on a chameleon as our ideal pet. After months of researching and preparing for our little lizard friend, we were finally ready to go and pick him/her up. Several of our local pet stores carry veiled (the genus we had settled on), but there was one particular pet store that had a herpetologist and experienced personnel in their reptile room. At the time, they only carried a Jackson's, a Senegal, and a Graceful. The next week was their sale, and though we were nervous (we had heard that graceful chameleons were more difficult to care for) we fell in love with the graceful and decided to purchase her.

Her screen habitat is 18" x 20" x 22", and we've filled it with vines, branches, and several plastic and silk plants.
We have a drip system in the corner over one of the smaller plants that we've slowly been attempting to get her to recognize as a main source of water (so as to monitor if/when she is thirsty and might need more water), and we mist her habitat at least five times a day for three minutes though she doesn't like the sound of the misting bottle too much.
We're currently using a 50W UVA incandescent day bulb that we switch at night for a 60W night bulb, and we keep the cage at a consistent 79 degrees with a drop to 70 at night, and the humidity between 70 - 100%.
When we first brought her home, she slept a lot and didn't move around much, but now roams around her habitat quite happily. Her urate is white, and she's quite the little piggy with her 1/2 inch crickets, which we plan to spray twice a week with vitamin and calcium supplements.
She seems perfectly content with us around.
There's no sign of her being "bow-legged" (MBD), no sign of mouth rot, her color is good, and her eyes aren't sunken.

It's a lengthy introduction, I'm sorry, but the main point is I'm confused. We had planned on doing the same thing for a veiled (with different preferred temps and humidity, of course). Is there anything we should be doing that we are not? We can't find much information online for gracefuls (hence, our apprehension), and though I THINK we're doing a pretty good job with the information we've been provided, we're definitely open for some advice.

Thank you!
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the forums! Are you not using a UVB bulb? Also, you do not need any type of light for night time. What supplements are you using?
 

DePseu

New Member
I don't believe any of our current bulbs are UVB, though I know that UVB is helpful for calcium absorption. I was planning on running to the store to get another vine, so I'll pick up a UVB bulb as well. Thank you!

So, for night, we should just turn her light off?

The supplements we are currently giving her are Zilla's spray Vitamin Supplement with Beta Carotene to aid in calcium metablosim, and Zilla's spray Calcium Supplement.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
you have to have a UVB unless you plan on having your chameleon live outside in the natural sunshine all the time. Where are located? If you can get a Zoomed Reptisun bulb 5.0 preferably the tube kind. Most of us use powders for dusting. Calcium without d3 at ever feeding, calcium without d3 twice a month and a multivitamin twice a month also. Are you gutloading your feeders also, meaning feeding them with fresh fruits and vegetables?
 

DePseu

New Member
We're located in Pennsylvania.

We also have powder, though we weren't quite certain of the difference in effect of the spray and the powder. Is there a specific multivitamin that works best?

We have been gutloading our crickets with romaine lettuce and various fruits.
 

Texas Ranger

Avid Member
We're located in Pennsylvania.

We also have powder, though we weren't quite certain of the difference in effect of the spray and the powder. Is there a specific multivitamin that works best?

We have been gutloading our crickets with romaine lettuce and various fruits.

I like herptivite and minerall (or how ever its spelled.)
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the world of chameleons!

Here is some information that I hope will help....
Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects just before you feed them to the chameleon at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you also dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

Dusting twice a month as well with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite which has beta carotene.)

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

Here are some good sites for you to read...
http://chameleonnews.com/07FebWheelock.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200605020...Vitamin.A.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200406080...d.Calcium.html
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/
http://web.archive.org/web/200601140...ww.adcham.com/
If you can't access the sites above that have the word "archive" in you can do it through the WayBackMachine.
 

veiled

New Member
everytime i go to my local petstore for crickets, i look at the male graceful they have. im really falling for him. he's big and beautiful. i was tell the employees up front "you still have my buddy back there?" hes always looking @ me and i am like "no i cant take you home" but everytime i think more and more about making room. good luck with yours
 

Purp

New Member
Welcome to the forums! It's nice to see a few other people post things about gracefuls on here. Not many people have graceful's. I have a graceful and he is great. He like's his space though... Shy guy.

Meet Slim...

slim2.jpg
 

DePseu

New Member
Cute! :D

Somnia is doing well. She's spirited, and even has a favorite spot in her habitat.

We've been doing all the supplements recommended here and bought her an automatic mister, and she's very alert and growing well. She's been drinking heartily, too.

The only current issue that seems to be going on is that, sometimes, she'll open her mouth for a time, then close it. We've listened for gasping or hissing, but haven't heard either. We think she might be overheating, so each time we turn her basking light off. Only trouble is, the temp is fine, even rather low (65-75 degrees). Turning off her basking light seems to do the trick, but we try to leave her to her own happy devices as much as possible so I can't be sure how often it occurs.

It seemed to occur after the addition of her repti-sun bulb, when we moved her basking light to her favorite part of her habitat.
 

pieter089

New Member
My cham does this when sitting in the sun for a long time, he doesn't move to shade he just sits there mouth open, think its heat related
 

DePseu

New Member
She also has a little bit of a weird bulge under her neck, larger than it was when we first got her. Like the flap of skin there is full... it could just be me, worrying. My boyfriend believes she's fine, and it's been there all along.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
The only current issue that seems to be going on is that, sometimes, she'll open her mouth for a time, then close it.

When my chams have been basking for a while and have just about reached their "operating temp" they will often start gaping to cool off slightly. You may notice that she soon moves farther away from the basking spot. It doesn't necessarily mean she's generally overheated, just that she is about finished with her basking session. As long as she has cooler areas in her cage to move to, and the basking spot temp isn't too hot, she should be fine.
 
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