The Parson chameleon. Care and needs simplified.

OldChamKeeper

Chameleon Enthusiast
#22
I use the brewers yeast for the extra B1 they need and the bee pollen is a natural multivitamin. I know they eat pollinators in the wild and the pollen would be a natural source for some of their nutrition. That and it sticks well with the brewers yeast
 
#23
Q- What about medical care?

A- What about it? If you can't afford to take a pet to the Vet then don't own one. Considering these animals and their set up cost more than most dogs I would hope a person owning one has enough forethought to look up and find a good Herp vet prior to owning one. The sad truth of keeping any chameleon is that at some point you will need some type of medical help. The difference between your chameleon living and dying can come down to whether or not your vet is experienced with chameleons, or instead just says "they see reptiles".

I was very lucky in my early years to meet a wonderful Vet who was more than happy to teach me about basic reptile medical care while I taught him about equipment and environmental factors. Whenever a customer came in with a sick reptile, I sent them to him. Whenever he had a sick reptile come in, he sent them to me for the right gear. I saw first hand how good he was with reptiles, but even he hated working on a chameleon "because you don't have a lot of room or time to work with."

If your animal is sick, you don't have a lot of time to wait around, or to wait until your next paycheck. You need to be able to take your critter in when it needs it. If you can't do that, don't buy one. Also don't give me that crap about "My animal will be fine, I've got the perfect set up blah blah blah" because all your animal has to do is fall and you end up with a vet visit like this....
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He fell. Nothing more. Busted his middle horn well into the base and despite a solid attempt by a great herp vet and having an owner more than capable of caring for his rehab, he died. Crap happens with any pet you keep, be prepared for the occasional vet visit and even if your Parson is healthy take in a fecal sample once a year and have it checked for parasites. Personally I give my animals a dose of Panacur once a year (three doses at two week intervals) as a routine.

Q- Do I have to let my animal go through brumation?

A- No. I've kept Parsons for years without letting them go into that semi hibernative state. Same with tortoises. I've kept tortoises for years that never hibernated and thrived. It's just about providing them the environment they need to stay active.



So, that synopsis:

1 - Always set up your habitat first and make sure everything is working before you buy that Parson. Seriously.

2 - Consider a long cage instead of a traditional tall one. A size of 48"L X 48" H X 24" deep is fine for a young solo animal up to about 500g, That fact right there will help a lot of you getting your first Parson. Don't go bonkers on the size of the cage.

3- I recommend a single quad fixture for that size cage. One bulb should be a plant light and another a UVB bulb. I'd go with a 6% bulb for any cage 48" or less in height. Bigger cages I use the 12% bulbs or if they are densely planted. Use your head when deciding that. Put the fixture on a timer and give the animal 10-12 hours of it daily.

4- You need a Mist King. None of this " I'll use a hand sprayer for now" crap. Make sure you know how much water your set up can handle before doing this. You should set the timer to give 2-3 long mistings at 5 mins each with additional mistings set for 1 minute throughout the day. I don't mist at night. 2-3 times a week a good long soak in the shower for 20+ minutes is really important. If you have a set up that lets you just turn the water on for however long you like, more power to you.

5- Temps. I keep my animals indoors at 75-88F using a gradient. The Quad fixture puts out a ton of heat so it is warmer up top and gets cooler down below. My Parsons just go where they feel comfortable. Providing that gradient is my job as a keeper. How you do it is up to you, you just need to have it. Night temps stay above 55F outside but indoors my animals are never below 70F. This is the reason why they will never go into brumation.

6- Humidity. I let it fluctuate. I don't stress over it. The Mist King and damp potted plants tend to give them enough Humidity from my experience. Just make sure you have some air flow going through the cage in some capacity.

7- Feeding. I offer food daily. They don't always eat daily. Sometimes they'll eat five days in a row and then not want anything for a day or two. I try to use hanging feeders but also cup feed from my hand. I do not free range any insects in their cages. I use Repashy calcium with medium D3 since my animals are mostly kept indoors and lightly dust their food items with it three days a week. Once a week I use Herptivite lightly one a few feeders. Once a week I use Brewer's yeast mixed 50/50 with bee pollen. These chams do seem to have a need for more B1 than other species. I go light on all my dusting and there are some days I don't dust the feeders. All feeders are gut loaded fresh veggies.

As for my animals, I use Orange head roaches mostly and really huge super worms. I offer a mouse fuzzy twice a month. Other feeders I obtain randomly or when available.

8- Handling. I don't. Pretty simple. In truth I only pick them up to shower them. The rest of the time I leave them alone, to quote a friend they are more like living art and art should just be looked at and appreciated for what it is.

I do hope this gives some of you young and coming Parson keepers the basic info you are looking for while cutting through the B.S. from some of the more elite keepers out there.

Some good references:

Lighting - Todd over at lightyourreptiles.com- His quad fixtures are great.
Caging - Bill over at Dragon Strand - His Atrium cage is the only one like it out there and they are well made.
Feeders - Nick Barta over at full throttle feeders. - Talk about a variety of food items.

Those three guys take care of their customers, know their stuff, and would have made keeping a Parson much easier if they would have been around back in the 80's and 90's with their products and experience. So right there as a new Parson keeper you have some advantages over me.

In conclusion, a Parson is a fairly hardy chameleon but ONLY if you provide it with what it needs from the start. Lastly, always do your best to buy from a reputable source. That will give you the best chance for getting a healthy animal to start out with. Do check on the reputation of anybody you decide to buy one of these great animals from. if you start out with a sick animal, you may not be as lucky as I was.

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"What the F*** are you staring at! Get outta my sight!" - Atlas
Have you ever offered bee pollen
I use the brewers yeast for the extra B1 they need and the bee pollen is a natural multivitamin. I know they eat pollinators in the wild and the pollen would be a natural source for some of their nutrition. That and it sticks well with the brewers yeast
and you do this once a week? Which brands of calcium do you use?
 
#24
Have you ever offered bee pollen

and you do this once a week? Which brands of calcium do you use?
I mix the bee pollen with the brewers yeast and yes I use it just once a week. That is not to say I heavily powder up all the feeders, I lightly dust them and the animals eat 1-3 items with this on it. It is a light supplementation.

I use Repashy brand calcium. Specifically I use Calcium Med. Since my animals do not get a lot of sunlight I use the medium D3 product
 
#25
I mix the bee pollen with the brewers yeast and yes I use it just once a week. That is not to say I heavily powder up all the feeders, I lightly dust them and the animals eat 1-3 items with this on it. It is a light supplementation.

I use Repashy brand calcium. Specifically I use Calcium Med. Since my animals do not get a lot of sunlight I use the medium D3 product
Ok bec I have herd alot of people say I should be using calcium with no D3.I use Repashy LoD and Repashy Calcium plus.My guy use to get outside alot but lately not so much bc of my schedule and he scars his face up trying to get out.
 

Extensionofgreen

Chameleon Enthusiast
#27
Ok bec I have herd alot of people say I should be using calcium with no D3.I use Repashy LoD and Repashy Calcium plus.My guy use to get outside alot but lately not so much bc of my schedule and he scars his face up trying to get out.
You should be using a product with no D3, with parsons and only using D3 twice a month or lower dosed product, such LoD weekly as a maximum. Even with exposure to sunlight, parsons aren’t sun worshippers and as a result require less D3 than other species and evidence strongly suggest that dietary D3 is inferior to D3 synthesized by the animal with exposure to either natural or artificial UVB.

Personally,
I supplement with plain calcium twice a week, Dendrocare 1-2 times a week, and Repashy Plus twice a month. I feed my feeders bee pollen, brewers yeast, and other vitamin-rich dry ingredients. I also feed my feeders Repashy LoD and Reptivite in their dry food occasionally, but not often. People overdo supplements all of the time, including plain calcium, whether it’s parsons or veileds. Gutloading should provide feeders with 85%+ of the nutrients chameleons need, but it really takes a lot of research to understand the relationships of different nutrients and ingredient. Contrary to popular opinion, a premium gutload ( referring to my own mixture ) is a far richer diet, full of more nutrients than most wild insects will have on an individual basis.
A cicada for example will be full of the saps of a handful of trees it prefers. My roaches are packed with many more food sources, all selected for maximum nutrition. The shortcoming in captive diets comes in the lack of variety of types of feeders. Most wild feeders are fairly specific in what they consume, such as only consuming grasses, nectar, or other insects, but chameleons are ingesting enough different types of insects, feeding on different things, to get their nutrition. Your job is to pack the nutrition of 2-3 dozen wild feeder species into a handful of captive feeders and it can be done.
 
#29
I am a cham-momma to 9 panther chameleons (a mix of WC and CB) and Thursday I will be welcoming my first Parson's!!! I noticed the info you had regarding supplements. For my panthers I use calcium carbonate and bee pollen dusted onto feeders every feeding and dust with Miner-all Indoor formula (vitamins) on the first and the 15th of every month. Would a parsons need additional supplements? Or a more frequent dusting of vitamins?
 

OldChamKeeper

Chameleon Enthusiast
#31
I am a cham-momma to 9 panther chameleons (a mix of WC and CB) and Thursday I will be welcoming my first Parson's!!! I noticed the info you had regarding supplements. For my panthers I use calcium carbonate and bee pollen dusted onto feeders every feeding and dust with Miner-all Indoor formula (vitamins) on the first and the 15th of every month. Would a parsons need additional supplements? Or a more frequent dusting of vitamins?
I rarely revisit my old threads so I didn't see your question.

I don't use miner all. I use the stuff I described in the post. I've used a lot of different products over the years and I've stuck with Herptivite the longest with good results. The Repashy a friend turned me on to and he was right, very good stuff. So I use the herptivite a few times a month, the Repashy with medium D3 a few times a week, and the brewers yeast/bee pollen a few times a week. Don't forget to sometimes not put anything on the feeders, instead rely on the gut feeding of those feeders. Every animal is a little different, so learn your animal and adjust your nutrition as needed.
 
#34
I’d like to update this. Since using dendrocare for years and experiencing success, they have reformulated and the amount of vitamin A is HIGHER than comparable products. For this reason, I DO NOT advise using it more than twice a month.
Is this a Pro-formed Vit A or Pre-formed vit A which they raised the content of?
 

Extensionofgreen

Chameleon Enthusiast
#35
From what I understand, dendrocare added PREformed A or created a more absorbable delivery system, because frogs were suffering
from not enough. According to a knowledgeable source, frogs can utliize large amounts of A, much more than chameleons. Dendrocare, when compared label to label with Repashy and Reptivite, isn’t ridiculously higher, but higher enough that caution should be used with montanes and on no account can be recommended to be used more than every other week. I still use it, I just use a scant amount and less often.
 
#36
From what I understand, dendrocare added PREformed A or created a more absorbable delivery system, because frogs were suffering
from not enough. According to a knowledgeable source, frogs can utliize large amounts of A, much more than chameleons. Dendrocare, when compared label to label with Repashy and Reptivite, isn’t ridiculously higher, but higher enough that caution should be used with montanes and on no account can be recommended to be used more than every other week. I still use it, I just use a scant amount and less often.
What about for non-montane species?
 

Extensionofgreen

Chameleon Enthusiast
#37
You can use it for any chameleon type, just use it sparingly and no more than once or twice a month, as is advised with most vitamin supplements that contain fat soluble vitamins.
 
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