Too much time outside of cage?

chloe924

Member
245658



Hello
So my panther chameleon has always been a wanderer since I got him and his restless climbing of his mesh cage made me create a free range area for him. This has since grown in size until my entire living room looks like a madhouse jungle gym.
His time outside his cage is entirely dependant on my shifts at work. He can get a couple of hours in the morning before I go, or hours wandering if I am off or working the late shift. I do periodically lock him back in his cage for a bit for misting/to bask under his uvb on days he is allowed to roam for long periods. However I've recently been talking to someone who makes me feel like this is harmful. So I was wondering how much time you can keep away from uvb? I research all I can and have heard that they can self regulate and he does walk back to his cage often when he is out, but will the time away be a detriment? Especially since he doesn't have the best appetite. I have a stronger Uvb bulb I can put in the cage if so, if that would work?

I'm not sure to be honest. My chameleon is very active and loves roaming around his free range. As soon as I open the door he practically leaps on my hand to try and get out. When he is out I leave him alone too, aside from if he tries to wander off his free range or If I want him back in the cage, so I don't feel like I overly stress him out. Unfortunately I rent so adding UVB/Heat lamps outside his cage aren't an option as they're heavier than the no nails hooks I have can deal with. His cage is the largest reptibreeze which is very well planted too.

In the pic you can kind of see him chilling in the window. Behind me there is also a 5 foot fake ficus and more bamboo levels for him to climb. At most he kind of warily glares at me as he wanders by. He will also only poop outside of his cage and does hold it if I can't let him out for a while, which worries me in keeping him locked up more. Also If I'm honest I would hate to keep him cooped up with how active he is. So any advice on how to keep a partial free range and still meet all of a chameleons health needs would be very welcome.
Thank you for reading =)
 

chloe924

Member
I live in England so direct sunlight is limited most of the year. He also hates being outside. I have tried my best to ease him into it and tried an outdoor reptibreeze cage that was well planted but he freaks out. I don't believe he was let outside at all when he was younger and I got him at the tail end of summer so couldn't get him out much for most of his life. This is me with him at the doorway. He flattens himself to my hand and grips on hard and when I get him back inside he is frozen in fear for a while. Enough to not make me try too much.
245659
 

chloe924

Member
I could probably set up a standing lamp with a coil uvb bulb? I know they aren't recommended, but as an outside cage measure he won't be stuck under all the time?
 

absolutbill

Chameleon Enthusiast
A couple of hours in the morning shouldn't be a detriment to him, but I'd be wary of having him out all day long. Yes, they will thermoregulate, but that's pertaining to a heat lamp, not UVB. Could you get another linear UVB with a hood and sort of drape it over where he hangs out the most? This way you don't have to put holes in your ceiling (I remember my renting days too!). Just an idea. Or do you have a baker's rack that you could incorporate into his free range and somehow attach the UVB to that? Good luck, and great that you are thinking about this!
 

Hillary anne

Established Member
Seconding direct sunlight. I am nursing a sick chameleon and the sunlight allows him to metabolize and digest. I think it’s awesome you have space for him to explore, but know very little of free ranging. I do know that with enough natural sunlight it’s great for your little guy and makes up for time missed under UVB while he can go where he pleases.
 
You said he doesnt like to go out, but what about windows? I have a younger male who is ultra skittish. Every now and then I put him in front of a window, in a shorter hibiscus, and let him get used to that. If he seems alright, pop the window open. [obviously check screen first!!]. I'm not sure if that works for you with the climate however.
 

absolutbill

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is a good idea, except the OP is from England, so it's only going to work for a few months out of the year for her. However, maybe someone in a warmer climate will take this idea and be able to use it!
 

chloe924

Member
Thank you all for the advice.
I only ever feed him in the cage and give him time to bask afterwards. Similarly after misting I let him dry/warm up. I have been debating joining the two xl reptibreeze cages I have together to give him more space , but that would be after I've saved enough to essentially duplicate his current setup.

Last winter I used a clamp lamp with a heat bulb as an extra (he's only out when I'm in the house so can keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't burn himself) but he rarely went near it and instead wandered back into his cage to warm up. As he tends to patrol the room in sections each ending with a stint in the cage. The bakers rack could be a good idea, but his fave spot outside changes by the week, so ideally I would like something I could move. So a compact uvb or arcadia uvb flood would still be a bad idea? Even for short periods outside the cage?

He loves looking out of the windows but I can only open a small section at the top of them so they offer little but warmth even in summer unfortunately. :( I just wish he wasn't so scared of the outdoors, but I get it. Suddenly seeing open sky would freak me out too!

Here is the link. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/free-ranging-death-and-what-i-learned.146195/
It isn't exactly your situation but there is much to be learned from it.
Very interesting read thanks. it's a shame as if I lived in a warmer climate with my own house, I would love to free range permanently. I'm starting to think it might be in his best interest to limit his time though, especially now summer is over.
 
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