weather data chart of N. Madagascar


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Here is a weather chart of Antisiranana, a city in the range of the Panther Chameleon. I thought it might be of interest to any other obsessive chameleon owners out there. I am always looking for new data in an attempt to duplicate ideal conditions for my chams. One thing I noticed is that the overnight lows aren't as low as is commonly suggested. This has always been a point of concern for me since it is difficult to acheive nighttime temps in the 60's in my outdoor setup here in S. Florida during the summer months. But this data shows dips into the 60's to be uncommon. Any thoughts/observations? The first number is the high, second is the low, and the third is humidity.

Antsiranana - north coast / altitude 100 feet

Month- Av Hi- Av Low- Humidity

January 88- 75- 80

February 89- 75- 82

March 88- 75- 81

April 88- 75- 73

May 88- 74- 66

June 85- 71- 64

July 84- 69- 60

August 84- 69- 58

Septemb 84- 69- 59

October 86- 71- 61

Novembe 88- 74- 65

Decembe 89- 75- 71
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Lower temperature access when they are sleeping will not hurt them. When most reptiles get cold it does a couple of things. The most benificial is that it slows their heartbeat down. It is believed by alot of scientist that animals life spans under optimal conditions and diets will ultimately be decided by how many times the heart beats. You as a human have so many heartbeats in your life. When you say smoke a cigeratte your heart is sped up. This is where they get those statistics that smoking a cigeratte will take of "x" amount of years to your life. When ever you here statistics like this it is based on this theory. True? Well the theory is sound. Whether or not a cigeratte will actually effect you that much is undeterminable without a case by case analyses. Now when you look back at reptiles and try to apply the similar theory you soon realize that the ones with the longest life expectancies are the ones who can slow down their hearts the most during rest periods. Turtles and crocdilles are commonly believed in certain cases to break the 100 year mark. Some have been speculated to be at or over 300 years. In rest periods under water crocdilles hearts can beat as little as 1-5 beats per minute. Turtles are no different when at rest. By allowing your panther to experience the lowest temperatures that would naturally occur in his enviroment you are giving him optimal conditions. Realistically he maybe able to take 30's or 40's but it is to hard to say since he does not naturally experience these. While it may slow his heart it could effect other body systems that are not set up for this in an adverse way. Staying within the parameters of their natural enviroment you can do this in a safer manner. Parsons are the longest lived chameleons. They have some of the coldest temperatures and periods of dormicay. I have heard up to twenty years. Far over the 2-8 you would hear with say a veiled.
The one thing to be careful about when researching weather data for the purpose of setting up your home habitat, is that in the wild chameleons have far more freedom to find a micro-habitat within an area that where the temperature/humidity is quite different from the prevailing ambient temperatures.

For instance, in Saudi Arabia there are periods of very little rainfall, and low humidity. Yet the Veiled chameleons that live there are able to find valleys/wadis to live in where the humidity is quite high - high enough for condensation in the mornings to provide drinking water.
In South Africa too, our native chameleons have a knack for picking out micro-climates in areas where the surrounding ambient climates are quite harsh.

However in your cage at home, you give them basically one spot to live - if the range of temperatures in there are not adequate, they have no way of escaping to a more tolerable climate (another reason why temp/humidity gradients in the cage are so important).

Now in your case, the data you listed for Madagascar should be adequate for most species, so there's nothing wrong with using those figures as a guide (which is why chameleon life is so prolific on that island I think - it really does suit them).

I only post this caution because it would be dangerous for people to use data from the Middle East/some parts of Africa as a guide for keeping their chameleon.
Valid point...

Many veiled keepers for years beleived veileds to be tolerant of arid conditions based on photos and weather data of Yemen, but recent research has shown veilded are more prolific in coastal/valley areas of high humidity, completely different than the Yemen most people picture.
My main reason for posting the northern madagascar data is because I noticed the overnight lows in the northernmost range of panthers where most locales are from to be higher than I previously suspected, most panthers in madagascar spend the night in temps in the 70's for the majority of the year. However, nightime temps in the southern part of the panther range may dip as low as 48 degrees F.(Vicinity of the Tamatave locale). Panthers from the hotter northern areas probably spend the night closer to the ground in vegetation like mine do, where it's a little cooler. This shows the versatility of the panther chameleon. I do think the theory previously posted about lifespan being longer when nightime lows are lower is plausible. This is unfortunate for my florida chameleons, since getting temps that low in summer would be difficult. But hey, they get the benefit of real sun year round.
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