I live in SD and it is finally getting winter weather. Kind of late I know hahaha but i have about a 4 month old panther and I was wondering if you should change anything ( lighting, heat, diet, etc) for the winter?
I change the times the lights are on to match the sunlight outside. If we only get sun 9-10 hours a day instead of 12 or more, then so be it. But I don't like having the lights on for them if it's dark outside, it just feels really awkward for me, like they're looking out the window and thinking "huh? Is it nighttime or not?" But I don't change anything else unless I have to - sometimes if your house is much colder than usual you might need a stronger bulb to reach the same temps you were getting with a weaker bulb.
The only thing I change is to increase the wattage if I notice the normal room temp is down.
I used to change the lights so they turn on when the sun is up and turn off when the sun is down, but I live so far north that at this point the sun isn't fully up until about 8:30-9 and it gets dark again at 4-4:30!
Yeah, like Olimpia said, I change my lighting times to closer match the sun.... but not a ton. It is dark out when my lights go out (6pm) but they do get natural sunrise sunlight from the window before the UVB lights kick on in the AM and then the heat lamps come on 45 minutes later.... kinda the same at night... 5:15 heat lamps off and UVB off at 6. Although... in the summer I do have the basking lamp shut off for about 3-4 hours in the middle of the day to help control room temps and electric bill since I do have to run the AC sometimes.
I do have a couple of chameleons that are under lights controlled by a EcoZone Vivarium controller. These guys do get shorter days as well.. but I bring them up because it really does help to allow the 'sun' to set for the chams. the three guys under the EcoZone take their 'bedtime' cue from the lamps dimming. Henry, my big melleri really takes to the light cycle. About 20 minutes before lights out he is in his night time spot in his PJ colors getting ready to roost for the night. It's really neat how just before lights out he will settle down for the night. I should video it sometime, he has a whole routine.
Point? staggering lights or dimming them out or turning off the lights so the sun setting is what darkens your cham room, it helps the chams. Chameleons don't have a timer in their head that says 'ok, it's been 10 hours, i need to sleep'. They take their cue from the lights around them. If the lights are on, the chameleons will stay awake.
I bought a ceramic heater for these cold nights because my house is very poorly insulated. I don't have a heater in my room either, and my cham can't crawl under the blankets like I do to get warm, so I had to get an alternative.