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I just got my first chameleon about two weeks ago. It is a baby veiled and I have him in a lagoon habitat with about six inches of water in the bottom, a rock waterfall, a log poking out of the water, as well a leafy and bare vines for climbing. The little guy is pretty active, eating well and so forth. I mist the whole habitat 2-3/day and let ice cubes drip through the enclosure top.

With all that said, I often find him entirely submerged while holding a vine with his tail. He will poke his head up for water then go back under. Sometimes he climbs across a vine, goes down the waterfall and swims back to the log area.

I've read that they would normally not go to a dish to drink and that swimming is somewhat unusual. So, I am wondering, is he not getting enough moisture with the daily misting or is he just enjoying the lagoon?
That is the weirdest thing I have ever heard about Chameleons, They live high up int he trees, the fact that he is swimming is crazy, to me anyways, I would have to think the humidity would be 100% with water in teh bottom as well as mistings and such, they thing i would be most worried about is fungal bacteria growth in teh waterfall, I had one all they did was poop in it. I opened it for cleaning on day 4 and it was sickening, no way would i let them drink from it or anythign else let alone swim in it, i would like to see some pics of your setup and i dont think it is nearly large enogh,, but thats my 2 cents worth.
Straaaaaaaange. For the cleanliness reason, I have to agree with Ren that's not safe. I posted recently about a 3 month jacksonii i have that I caught soaking up to his/her nose in standing water after I left their mister on too long. He/she's still fine but was completely submerged and even tried to bite me when I reached into the cage. Helleniusi (sp?) is known to actively swim but I don't think any other species....

Oh yeah, and I don't recommend ice cube drips anymore, especially for little ones. Tropical lizards don't drink or have dripped on them near freezing temperature water. I've been hearing more and more that drinking very cold water is even bad for humans so.....
Swimming pool for your Veiled? Erm................ I don't think anyone here will agree with it. Your chameleon is weird. Entirely submerged into the pool? or accidentally dropped into the pool and nearly drown? Standing water will actually be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. As for you chameleon to dipped in there ............. " Would you swim in a sewage?" If the answer is no, so do you think your chameleon would like it?. I really don't suggest to have swimming pool for them. Water is cold and will draw heat away from your chameleon. Hypothermia occurs and it will kill your chameleon. I would think your chameleon accidentally drop into the water and looses heat and can't climd up. Thats my opinion, maybe someone have somethign different.. good luck!
I can think of at least two other times that I have been told about chameleons submerging themselves in water.
If I get crap for this it will only be the second time today...so here goes.
You need to do some serious research on chameleon husbandry.
Aside from the fact that you mention having vines in the enclosure...everything is wrong!!! Yes, that's right and I don't believe you will have this animal long if you continue to keep it this way.

Nah once is enough i think :)

Plus, i dont necessarily disagree with you on this one ...


Instead of Ice cubes, if you want a cheap dripper, you can buy one of those 42 oz. or whatever soft drinks from McDonald's for less than a buck. Drink (or toss) the pop, clean the cup, then poke a pinhole from the inside out. This allows for the best flow of water. These drippers, while top heavy and could be prone to tipping over, tend to be inexpensive and easy to make. But to be honest, if money is no object, a misting system would be best.

I also have to agree that the waterfall, while nice to look at, probably isn't best for your animal.
I guess I just don't understand why you would ever decide to keep your arboreal chameleon in a lagoon type habitat. It is completely unsuited for this type of animal. Not only is a pool of water underneath your chameleon completely dangerous, but it is a breeding ground for bacteria...like everyone else has said. I guess I'm just confused...did you choose this type of habitat specifically for this pet? or is it something that you just has lying around that you thought you'd make do...it just doesn't make sense to me. I guess I would be more open to new husbandry ideas if it made sense for the well being of the animal...but to me, this just doesn't.
I just got my first chameleon about two weeks ago...
Howdy Howard,
Looks like you found us just in time :). By now, you've probably gathered that the water setup doesn't fit in with the traditional approach to keeping a veiled chameleon. Most of us have come to the conclusions that we have about chameleon husbandry by reading books, internet sites, other more experienced keepers, going to reptile shows and speaking with breeders, vet office visits, and so-on. There are certainly a lot of opinions about how to go about keeping chameleons healthy but as you, like the rest of us, compile your chameleon knowledge base, you will find that many ways have been tried and the outcomes often speak for themselves :eek:. Those keepers who have been "at it" for 5-10-15 years have "seen it all". Many husbandry norms come from keepers spending years with no success (early death) and then, (hopefully) eventually with success. This means not just surviving, but thriving and reproducing. To that end, general husbandry rules, if followed, will tend to keep a chameleon thriving for 5-10 years. There are many other techniques that can be tried but their outcomes may be short of thriving and may actually be short of surviving.

Here are some great sites that will build-up your knowledge base and allow you to make informed decisions regarding the husbandry techniques you'll embrace :)


http://www.chameleonnews.com/ especially http://www.chameleonnews.com/ref.html


(Note: You might want to invest in a few books too! See Signature)

Good Luck!
And please don't take any of this as a personal DIG at you, you said yourself that you have only had this animal for a short period of time and its impossible to know everything in that amount of time as well, start reading and as soon as you can get him the setup he needs, you need some lighting changes and supplementation as well as anything else please read and we will all be glad to help you in your journey... Also if you hae the means please post some pics of this setup...
I havent read all the entries but the waterfall thing is bad all kinds of bacteria and what not. and i would jus take the water out of the cage all together but thats just me. Oh and the ice cube trick is nifty but i read somewhere that its too cold for chams.
Well, I am aware that the enclosure is small. I discussed this with the pet store and was told it would be good for about a year, at which time I plan to build a larger enclosure and move him to my office.

I've had the habitat for years. It used to have turtles but I released them when we evacuated for hurricane Rita, then it got a complete cleaning and I went back to fish, but I kept the lagoon setup. I maintain it with regular water changes, chemicals, etc for the fish. The waterfall utilizes a powerhead and undergravel filter and I have a submerged filter with high waterflow on the other end, so there is plenty of circulation and filtration. Also, because of the cage top, I get significant evaporation, so a small amount of fresh treated water is introduced daily.

He most definitely did not fall in. I watch him climb in and out. He spends most of his time in the leafy vines or on the log under the heat lamp. I've never seen him venture onto the waterfall. Even so, I spray the waterfall daily with water and a bit of Nutrafin Waste Control. The rocks do have algae growth though.

I appreciate all the advice. He seems to be doing very well to me. He is active and eats from my hand. Maybe I should move toward his next enclosure now rather than later just to be safe?

In any case, he does sometimes actually hang onto a vine with his tail and submerge his whole body. He will lift his head out and then go back under. Maybe he is trying to catch fish?:)


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although this does not sound like an ideal enclosure. if you and your chameleon are happy(healthy) with it then keep it. im sure plenty of people will have bad things to say but you seem to know how to keep it clean. good luck with your cham and keep us updated on how he does.

p.s. get a dripper. ice is bad for chams.

No matter how great your filter, that water will never be clean enough for a chameleon.
These animals drink dew and rain from leaves which is extremely pure.
Additionally, as happens in the trees (this arboreal animals habitat) the enclosure needs to completely dry out between mistings, preventing bacterial growth and allowing the cham a warm dry environment in which to bask.
Breezes blow through the trees and bushes as well, and this is a condition we try to simulate with a well ventilated enclosure.
Chameleons are reptiles but should almost be treated more like tropical birds.
I doubt you would consider keeping a parrot in a lagoon environment like the one you are keeping your cham in.
As for taking the advice of the guy at the petstore....I don't blame anyone who does...you would think this a good resource for information, but 9 times out of 10 they don't know their a** from a teakettle when it comes to chameleons. Do you realize how large this animal will be in a year?
I am not attacking you....a primary purpose of the forum is to collect info from other keepers. I have learned a great deal here and have been guided to other sources of information by the members here.
There is a ton of info to be had by utilizing the search option. I don't think we will ever stop learning about these animals, but what has been learned in the last several years has greatly improved the success we experience in keeping them and should not be ignored.

Well, I am aware that the enclosure is small. I discussed this with the pet store and was told it would be good for about a year, at which time I plan to build a larger enclosure and move him to my office.

My Veiled is 8 months old and over 16" long now. They can grow very fast. I moved him into his 24X24X48 cage at 4 months.
Also seems like a great envronment for a respiratory infection.
How do you keep from boiling the fish (if youhave some in there) with a basking light?
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I appreciate the feedback. I guess I have much to rethink about this. The simple solution is to move him sooner rather than later.

A good inexpensive short term cage is a Reptarium-you can get a 22 or 38 gllon for under $30.00.
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