The Naturalistic Approach in Humidity and Water Management Unleashed By: Petr Necas

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jannb, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. jannb

    jannb Chameleon Enthusiast

    My good friend Petr Necas is a kind and loving chameleon scientist and has been studying chameleons for many years. Petr has been sharing his finding with chameleon keepers and I have found that I have been doing so many things wrong. Hydration has always been important for chameleons but after talking with Petr I now know that I have been over watering my chameleons for years, which can cause many health issues I now have fogger/humiditifers on my chameleons condo that are on a timer and run from midnight until 4:30 am. I do very little daytime watering other than a early morning mist and late evening mist. I do keep a dripper on in the day time when they are in their outside cages. I wanted to shares Petr’s finding to help all of you to keep your chameleons healthier.


    The Naturalistic Approach in Humidity and water management unleashed. By: Petr Necas

    One of he most frequently discussed topic of chameleon husbandry is the water management...
    What I want to focus now at is NOT a theory and it is NOT a technology. It is an important part of our Naturalistic Approach as it simulates perfectly what happens in the wild.
    while at daytime, usually the humidity significantly drops to levels arouns 60-70% in dense rainforests and to even below 30% in the deserts, all at temperatures that are high. The only significant increase of humidity at daytime comes during the rains, but then, simultaneously, the temperatures drop dramatically too (due to cloud cover of the sun and due to temperature of the rain, which is usually in the 70s!)

    This is what we must take into consideration and simulate in the captivity. It works, as it is natural!

    It is of course much better than doing it differently, destroying natural cycles that chameleons are used to for tenths of millions of years and then compensate their discomfort with something else.

    One example...
    In the wild, chameleons are very rarely observed to drink... I was almost shocked two months back in Kenya, what the Jacksons chameleons did after 4 months drought with no single drop of rain... I was studying one of the populations and observed about 8 animals at one locality exactly at the moment when the first rain came.
    What do you think the chams did?Run for water? Catching every single drop after thirsty 4 months?
    NO!!!
    They hide in the bushes and slept in!
    Why?
    Because they were perfectly hydrated and wanted to escape the rain!

    Many chameleon species are considered heavy drinkers. Such as e.g. T. melleri. Nonsense. They do not drink for months in the wild, simply as there is nothing to drink! But, they perfectly hydrate at night breathing in moist air and fog,
    Which is daily available.
    In the captivity, people often let chameleons desiccate at night having night humidity levels low and then they come in with he fakse observation: they are heavy drinkers! They are not! They just have to compensate through drinking the wrong humidity regime of the captive care!
    If you hydrate properly, you will see them reducing the water intake through drinking significantly to the spot when they might stop drinking at all!

    To be safe, please provide anyway water in the form of drippers and mist if necessary (while switching off the heating lamps to avoid RI).

    Now, is it a new approach?
    NO.
    First, chameleons do it for millions of years in their home-countries. Every day and every night
    And in captivity?
    In indoor care, many (I am unhappy to say even a vast majority of) keepers destroy the natural humidity cycle in captivity, having the cages completely dry at night and misting at daytime only. Then they see chameleons heavily drink and often encounter health problems and disorders like bad shedding, infections of skin, eyes and respiratory tract...
    Automatically, these colleagues who keep the chameleons outdoors, do it! Even though sometimes unknowingly

    Welcome to the world of highest standards of chameleon welfare delivered through the magic and logic of the NATURALISTIC APPROACH in their husbandry.
     
  2. Tucklander

    Tucklander Avid Member

    Wow, great read...I’m doing some things wrong I guess and need to think about night time humidity and (possibly a fogger) I would much rather Harry get a closer simulated habitat...thanks @jannb for sharing this great information. Glad your guy and his offspring won the photo contest, hope it’s cheered you up :)
     
  3. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Thank you for posting this as it's been a topic coming up more and more later. A lot of old outdated information about drying out at night still going around(weve all posted this at some point). A few months back I changed all my chameleons to heavy misting routines early, at or before lights turning on, and right before lights off to allow high humidity during the cool periods. I've noticed better hydration since doing this personally. Our humidity is almost 100% at night during summer, but I plan to add a fogger in the winter when lights are off.
     
  4. Kat_72

    Kat_72 Established Member

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been reading up on this lately and adjusted a few things allowing for a dew in the am before lights come on etc. I’d say it’s all good info!
     
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  5. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    Great to see this posted here!
     
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  6. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    One thing that makes me wonder about this is how it applies to different species. And how long are these chameleons in the wild living? After all, if they're living a year or two in the wild, versus ours living 5+ in captivity how can we really say that should be changed? I'm totally for having wet/mist/rainy periods during cool times of the night/early morning/or when lights are off. One thing makes me wonder about these claims though... That they dont drink, or not often, with high night time humidity... My parsons and even Panthers will regularly drink with mouth open during a mist session, dont run for cover in the slightest, and experiences 90-100% humidity every night(condensation forms at times even). Most other's do this as well. I'd imagine they run from the rain in the wild because it comes down hard and startles them. Of course I'm no expert, I love reading what petr necas has to say, but a lot goes into it when comparing the wild to captivity.
     
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  7. aguallo123

    aguallo123 Member

    Is this a suggestion to keep my reptifogger on throughout the night?
     
  8. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    I think that has less to do with the rain in the wild, as much as it does, being the wild. There is predators to deal with, deadly plants, lack of food, deforestation, dry seasons that can get so dry it can kill them. The list goes on

    I know you mentioned this in the other thread, about that just being Veilieds it isn't.

    I was just reading some stuff the other day about that, when talking with you. Chameleons lungs use humidity like ours use oxygen, a chameleon can die with no humidity, as their lungs do not function. There is a whole lot of factors that go into lifespan in the wild.

    That's not to say, whether Petr/Bill/Dr Steins ideas are wrong or right, or whether they are better or not. I'm just saying, discrediting with they live longer in captivity doesn't equate to me.

    The same thing could be said about humans. The average lifespan of a human use to be 30, without the luxurys we have today it likely still would be. Chameleons in captivity share those same luxurys. There is no vets in the wild, parasites just kill them, along with millions of other things.


    As for the initial question of is it really nesscary (I think that's what you were saying?)

    Well, there is what 180 chameleon species? And we are able to keep what 20 of those successfully, if that? So tlya obviously something, or alot of things are not working.
     
    #8 cyberlocc, Aug 5, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  9. Carlton

    Carlton Chameleon Enthusiast

    Thanks Jannb. Not that I dare argue with the expert, but a couple of comments for thinking's sake.

    One aspect that probably plays into this more in captive situations that does NOT have the same role in open wild situations is build up of pathogens, fecal matter, and the proximity our captive chams end up living to it. Compared to those huge natural lungs called wild habitats. The massive amount of air exchange and the dilution of bacterial loads in an open setting. There's no drenching rain to dilute it, no wind to disperse it. Few if any microorganisms to metabolize it. I'm not saying wild habitats are miraculously clean places...they aren't. But that the animals are not forced to live right in it.

    I can sure see how we overdo the relative humidity levels in our tiny little rainforest cages compared to having an animal surrounded by acres, tens of acres, hundreds of acres of moisture-storing habitat. The reserves of all that habitat structure can store during dry times and release again at the right time of the daily cycle. Again like a huge lung exhaling a breath. There's a lot of inertia in such a large system, an entire open airshed that moves moisture around on a continental scale. Larger systems tend to be harder to disrupt. Tiny systems are less stable so they hit their tipping points faster. Free ranging chams can retreat to smaller sheltered micro habitats in order to wait out the thirsty times too. Again, something our captive chams don't have the opportunity to do nearly as well. Just the way we provide heat, provide air exchange, provide light in a captive cage can't be compared to those things the wild provides.

    As for melleri being water hogs, I've seen them get that way, but I've also seen well hydrated, stable LTC melleri stop such constant drinking too. If they get the opportunity to fully sate themselves and achieve a top body condition they do NOT drink all that much. Most of us receive pretty stressed out, wizened, compromised chams that take months to stabilize. I'm sure there are compromised chams in nature; for all sorts of reasons, but there are also stable animals at perfect balance with their habitat that are not always teetering at the edge of endurance too.
     
    #9 Carlton, Aug 5, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  10. Goose502

    Goose502 Avid Member

    Mammals use the nasal mucosa to help humidify dry air, preventing irritation and damaging sensitive lung tissue. I’m curious how the anatomy of reptiles, chameleons in particular, compare to mammals. I mean, if frogs can breath through their butts, why couldn’t chameleons drink through their nose?
     
  11. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    As a resolve to that, what about a proper Bioactive system.

    If I understand what your saying correctly. Like you said the pathogens and extretants polluting the air (just assuming that's what you meant?) Then you just use plants with an insane ability to clean the air.

    Check out NASA's top 50 air cleaners, some of those plants are native to areas where our chams are located and a handful of them are able to clean enough air fast enough to keep space men able to breath on a spaceship. So a couple in a cage, can surely provide that with ease. They suggest 1 of the better ones per 100sq ft of house, 4 or 5 in a all cage, could clean well.

    However I would also venture to say hiding from germs is never a realistic option. It hurts your immune system, so why would it not hurt a Chameleons? The only way to build an immune system is to get sick, to be exposed to pathogens and germs, a bubble boy can die from a cold. I mean us humans, introduce the Flu into our own bodies to prevent the Flu. Now I am not a vet or an expert, just an observation.

    That said, these are great points, you should bring them up with the people that are doing this/stating this idea.

    The Chameleons Enthusiasts Fbook group good place to go and ask this, and you can see what Petr, Dr. Stein, Bill, ECT say, I can ask for you if you would like? And let you know what they say :).

    Edit: Also to the wind thing, if you wanted you could implement wind, why not? Rain same deal.
     
    #11 cyberlocc, Aug 5, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
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  12. Tucklander

    Tucklander Avid Member

    .
     
    #12 Tucklander, Aug 5, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  13. Carlton

    Carlton Chameleon Enthusiast

    ]As a resolve to that, what about a proper Bioactive system.

    If I understand what your saying correctly. Like you said the pathogens and extretants polluting the air (just assuming that's what you meant?) Then you just use plants with an insane ability to clean the air.

    Check out NASA's top 50 air cleaners, some of those plants are native to areas where our chams are located and a handful of them are able to clean enough air fast enough to keep space men able to breath on a spaceship. So a couple in a cage, can surely provide that with ease. They suggest 1 of the better ones per 100sq ft of house, 4 or 5 in a all cage, could clean well.


    Maybe, bioactive setups certainly do have advantages though it takes a lot more fine tuning than most keepers are ever going to appreciate in order to do it correctly. It can go very wrong. I guess what I was really trying to suggest was the sheer scale of moisture, air quality, temperature change, and the other physical mechanics of a wild habitat provide so much more of a buffer for the creatures living in it, and the creatures living in it have a much greater flexibility to find just the right spot to be at any given moment than our chams do. They may not consciously "decide" when to seclude themselves from harsh conditions, but they can sort of follow "the ideal" in order to protect themselves. A creature that has evolved along with the system and became successful is tuned to it, not another place. I'm sure there are other physical factors that give a cham the upper edge for survival in a wild system that are missing in our tiny fragmented artificial systems. I'm not knowledgeable enough to tease those out. Then of course there are the physiological aspects of the chams themselves. Ours are constantly exposed to stressors they are not exposed to in a free state. The wild sure has it's hazards, but the animal has evolved to tolerate many of them. When you think about it, how many generations have any cham species been exposed to the novel stressors (and novel microorganisms) of a captive environment? Very few. Evolutionary adaptation/selection takes hundreds.

    However I would also venture to say hiding from germs is never a realistic option. It hurts your immune system, so why would it not hurt a Chameleons? The only way to build an immune system is to get sick, to be exposed to pathogens and germs, a bubble boy can die from a cold. I mean us humans, introduce the Flu into our own bodies to prevent the Flu. Now I am not a vet or an expert, just an observation.

    Of course. An immune system that's under constant stress can be overwhelmed, especially if it is not in perfect condition in the first place. Low grade or constant malnutrition, stress, body reserves, etc. all take their tolls. I agree that it doesn't do any good to "hide" from pathogens, but there's only so much the system can do.

    That said, these are great points, you should bring them up with the people that are doing this/stating this idea.

    The Chameleons Enthusiasts Fbook group good place to go and ask this, and you can see what Petr, Dr. Stein, Bill, ECT say, I can ask for you if you would like? And let you know what they say :).


    Feel free. I certainly haven't really looked into this so I'm certain I am being too simplistic. These are huge ecological processes we are talking about and I'm sure those folks know a lot more about them than I do. I don't have the better informed knowledge about cham physiology behind this thinking either. Probably be blown out of the water by those folks! I can never get Fbook to work. Some glitch with my original registration I've never been able to fix, and can't get any help from them about it either. Just gave up.

    Edit: Also to the wind thing, if you wanted you could implement wind, why not? Rain same deal.

    Again, "wind" is more than an air current blowing on a cage in a room. Rain is more than dropping water on a cage in a room.
     
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  14. Carlton

    Carlton Chameleon Enthusiast

    It might be as simple as the size of the water molecules and the absorption ability of the mucosa the animal has available as well as what other structures that mucosa connects to.
     
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  15. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    I agree fully, with the Bioactive thing. People think that Bioactive is easier, less cleanup but like you said, it really is much much harder.

    As for the water thing, and chams being able to hide from it. I fully agree, however that's what they are talking about here.

    Spraying a mister is not normal, and it has to be stressful. Furthermore the Chameleons areas still have dry seasons, where it doesn't rain all day everyday. Which is part of this premise.

    However humidity, which is the main factor here, as we all already mist, he is saying mist less, and raise humidity at night. I can't speak for every species, as I haven't looked enough into it. However in the case of Panthers, none of the places they are found ever see humidity below 80% at night, and a Cham cannot escape humidity. Going under a tree, hell in a tree, doesn't reduce humidity. Humidity isn't wet, it's in the air, and has became a part of it.

    So the idea here is to raise the humidity, to reduce the water sprayed during the day, the water the cham can hide from in the wild, and in captivity.

    As far as wind, that litteraly is exactly what wind is lol, it is the chimney effect that we can simulate in glass cages. Wind is just hot air rising, and cold air falling, and it creates a swirly pattern. This effect also changes the Atmospheric Pressure due to the hot air rising while gravity pulls it. A fan, can defaintly help to recreate this in a sealed cage, like a glass cage. Look up wind tunnels, I know it doesn't seem like wind is something so simple, but it really is.

    Rain is just water in the air, that rises into the atmosphere and condenses enough to become heavy a fall, so water dropping from the sky, yep it's really that simple too lol. A dripping system, over a tank, with RO water, is a perfect recreation of Rain.

    Now other things accompany rain, the clouds darken due to water in the air condensing it makes the clouds thicker and so they darken. This can also be achieved, with lighting, well the appearance. Lighting, well we wouldn't want to recreate that, and thunder is a by product of lightning.

    So which part of water dropping in a cage isn't rain?
     
  16. Kristen Wilkins

    Kristen Wilkins Chameleon Enthusiast

    This is an amazing article @jannb thank you for posting it . I read it some time ago . I will say this is similar to how I keep phoebe, and Septiseye . I’m not an expert And do not have years of experience for anyone who is reading this . Please do not go off anything I post as chameleon gospel ;) ( that’s my disclaimer for today ) .

    We have always kept a fogger at night . Or should say diffuser . It started with Frances do to her health issues . She does have more watering (one extra) . Septiseye and phoebe - 2 longer watering Am and pm . We have a dripper at all time for them . Neither have ever had any health issues . Also I want to add I use a diffuser . The bottom of the condos do not get soaked .

    Frances I add lavender, and white thyme oil for health purposes . She has gone from every 6 weeks with URI to maybe twice a year . I do Believe there’s something to this approach .
     
  17. OldChamKeeper

    OldChamKeeper Chameleon Enthusiast

    I agree with Carlton on the points brought up.

    Here's my two cents... we have so many keepers in this hobby that can't even look at a cham in a big chain store and say to themselves "this animal is not well" or be persuaded to buy the right lighting at the time of purchase. Trying to get these average keepers to create a bioactive habitat is laughable. I still agree with getting keepers up to to the level of just making sure their cage is clean and the dripper gets used. Trying to hydrate your chams with nothing but a fogger is interesting to talk about, in that nature may do it that way, but the animals are no longer in nature once in our care.

    Instead, learn to read your pet and know if it needs hydration (or anything else for that matter)
     
  18. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    No one is saying to hydrate your chameleon with only a Fogger at all lol.

    This was only 1 of many many talks about this on the Fbook group, bill also made a Podcast about it.

    However the full idea, is to do this.

    12am fogger turns on.
    4-5am fogger turns off.
    6:30am Mister, for 1-2 mins.
    7:00am Lights come on.
    7:00am Dripper is filled
    7:00pm Lights go off.
    7:30pm Mister, 1-2mins.

    The first mist puts a dew on the leaves, which is how Chameleons drink in the mornings in the wild, especially in the rainy season.

    The dripper still goes,

    The last mist gives a start to nighttime humidity.


    This isn't about hydrating them with the fogger, it's so they don't lose water through the night.

    Also as Petr and Dr Stein have said (shout to James to put me up onto this) If you are running the basking light, while the mister that will cause RIs, heat and humidity is what causes them.

    Also spraying a chameleon in the middle of the day with a mister has got to be stressful. How would you feel if I threw a bucket of water on you without you knowing?

    Also to be clear, when people are saying fogger, they are talking about Ultrasonic Humidifer, there is no water like Kristen said, it's just humidity. It's dryish to touch and cloudy looking, but it's humidity.

    As to them no longer being in nature, well that may be, but this is how their bodies we're designed deying that, for your convenience isn't really right.

    Which you could day, well that way works for them. It does, for the handful of species were able to keep. However there is what 180 species? We keep 20? Obviously what you think is working and okay, Is not, and the ones we can keep are just more tolerable.

    You should never push against advancement just because it's advancement. Science and our knowledge moves forward. A Basking light and a UVB bulb flipping on to all of a sudden brightness (if you want to call it that, as it's not really bright) is also likely a stressor, those things are not good for the Cham, they are good for the owner.

    In which, case, Personally I would say if you can't provide the best solution possible for the animal then you shouldn't have it, sadly that will never change, as people are in business to make money, so proper setups and vetting of customers will never happen. And no, I personally don't believe slapping a UVB light and a basking bulb on a Screen cage is nearly good enough. But such is the way with cheap animals, which Veilieds and Panthers and some other chams are.

    Once you start looking at Parsons you see a slightly different trend IMO. As now the owner has a decent chunk of change to lose.

    However I 100% see where your coming from. I also realize what your talking about, and what has led you to the jadedness (I often find myself feeling the same way, it's part of the reason I left CF for a long time, was taxing on the soul lol, and I was very busy) you probably don't remember me, but I do you :). And I hope don't offend you or Carlton, have always had high respect for you guys, I just lack tack, and sometimes it causes me to come off offensive when I don't mean to.
     
    #18 cyberlocc, Aug 5, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
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  19. Kristen Wilkins

    Kristen Wilkins Chameleon Enthusiast

    This method works for me . @Matt Vanilla Gorilla , @jannb , and @Remkon have helped me so very much . All doing longer less frequent durations . Frances is our first chameleon. She truly is a different case I won’t get into that in this thread because not to many would ever believe Her case . I would have nothing but argument , (we all think our chameleon’s are special cases now don’t we ;)) . I came upon this approach with her . It seemed to work best . Well before I started reading Petr posts . The more I talked with @Matt Vanilla Gorilla , picked his amazing brain the more I realized this is truly their natural habitat . Then @jannb started sharing the same with me . These are 2 keepers whom are long time amazing keeper that use similar methods and or I think was a chameleon in a past life lol :D . Then @jamest0o0 startes posting on this very same subject . Whom is so very knowledgeable , and the go to bioactive Genius . Whom is adapting this very method . Awesome awesome stuff . I hope we can know more on these little Gems one day .
     
  20. Decadancin

    Decadancin Moderatoris Americanus
    Staff Member

    So, I have been waiting for this topic to come up. I will have my comments soon, but I'd love to see what the community thinks first. I am waiting to see the input from certain members to see how they feel about this. Not that I know everything, but I will add my two cents...
     

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