Chameleon Housing

Chameleon Housing

Postby dannylomb » Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:02 pm

Hi all,

I have a few questions that I would like to see what different keepers use.

What would the best setup be to keep a Chameleon the Flexarium seems the best to me it's flexible easy to transport and insect escape safe, I have heard about the zip busting but that's what I have a ouma for.

On lighting I see two options either the the tube or using the Solar Glo or the Power Sun that offers me a basking light, UVA and UVB the problem I face is what must the distance be between the light and the Flexarium remember nylon melts in previous experience of smoking in a tent.

Heating now back to the nylon to use a IR will probably melt it, and I hear that the rays are also not good for the animals.
I have seen different ideas on the net where people use a emitter on the inside but the Chameleon could reach the emitter and there's one guy that actually uses a setup that he has the Flexarium with a Flextray a Jungle Chunks and peat moss substrate with heat cord on a thermostat.

If anybody has any advice that would help me.
dannylomb
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Re: Chameleon Housing

Postby Chamssss » Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:51 pm

I use flexariums for my chams.

You just have to watch out the crickets sometimes chew on the mesh and make holes.
If you leave it outside birds also peck holes in trying to get at the crickets or chameleons.

You need to watch out with those powersun bulbs they can be unsafe with the amount of UV they give off which can give the cham UV burns.

The safest lighting setup I use is a reptisun or exo terra repti sol UVB linear tube 5.0 with a reptile basking bulb of about 75 watts.
The UVB tube sits right on the cage, does not burn the nylon. And the basking bulb sits about 10-15 cm away from the cage.
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Re: Chameleon Housing

Postby Chamssss » Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:53 pm

Oh and its best if you stay away from substrate that has large chunks of wood/bark.

The chams might try to eat it, or they eat some by accident while eating their food, and then it can cause impaction.
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Re: Chameleon Housing

Postby dannylomb » Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:32 am

Thanx for the reply Chamssss using the powersun I'm just thinking penetration capabilities here if I calculate the distance it could penetrate to establish how high I should place it above the enclosure and using the mesh to filter out some of the rays, do you think it would be viable to use that light?

I was also thinking with regard to the heat I know the basking spot will keep a proper day time heat but what I'm worried about is night time temp's could I fit a ceramic heat emitter with a wireframe fitting on the inside of the enclosure connected to a thermostat to control the night heating? And to make sure the Chameleon doesn't decide to go to the heat I could try to adjust the vegetation to refuse access to the emitter.

Also the emitter will only work at night I haven't heard of nocturnal Chameleons so the chances for burns are almost impossible.
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Re: Chameleon Housing

Postby dannylomb » Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:59 am

Another question came to mind can the linear UV tube be placed on the inside of the Flexarium?

I use ballast kits that has these clamps included it would be possible to mount the clams to the plastic frame.
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Re: Chameleon Housing

Postby chamcode » Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:25 pm

Hi dannylomb

I want to commend you on doing homework and asking lots of questions!

I would not recommend placing any light fittings/bulbs inside the chameleon’s cage - that includes heat emitters and wire frames. This will for one, limit you in terms of misting inside the cage. I would place the basking lamp on the outside, at a sufficient distance from the cage, for the sake of the chameleon. The heat emitted by basking lamps are concentrated in the centre (like a magnifying glass) and I have seen too many chameleons with horrible burns – even from concerned and caring keepers. Take any precautions necessary to avoid this!!! Place your basking lamp at a safe distance - measure the temperature on top of your flexarium where the heat from the lamp is concentrated. If you can hold your hand in this spot on top of the screen for 2-3 minutes and not feel pain, it is safe to mount your basking lamp at that distance. Make sure you provide a perch close to the top screen inside the cage (far enough away from the top screen for your chameleon to comfortably fit between its perch and the top screen) and use a thermometer with the probe on the spot/perch where the chameleon will be basking. This way it can get itself as close as possible to the heat source, without getting burnt. Many chameleons like to hang upside down from the top screen to bask - and many get burned this way if the heat source is too close. It is worth mentioning that your basking lamp might work great today in 25ºC weather, but tomorrow, at 34ºC outside, it is suddenly a lot hotter in the same spot. A thermostat is always a good investment!

Notes on basking lamps and fittings:
By mounting your fitting to something other than your flexarium, it is easy to move the flexarium outside without having to disconnect any wires etc.
I can recommend Exo Terra’s Sun Glo Halogen Neodymium lamp as a basking lamp (it emits UVA in addition to heat and visual light).

UVB bulbs can be placed directly on top of the screen, since they do not emit enough heat to cause the type of burns mentioned above. I have no experience with UV burns, but will take Chamsss advice to heart. If your chameleon’s perch is close enough to the top, it will most certainly use the opportunity to absorb whatever heat it can from the UV light, so you should not have to worry about UV depth. Replace your UV bulbs every six months to ensure proper UV exposure.

Here’s a useful link to Exo Terra’s Reptile Lighting Guide: http://www.exo-terra.com/en/explore/guides.php

Your chameleon needs a night time drop in temperature for optimum health and should not need a heat source at night. It will also need a overall temperature drop during winter. If you want to provide some additional heat during winter nights, I would recommend that you heat the room where the chameleon is kept, and put the heather (wall-mounted ones work well) on a thermostat. There is a new wall-mounted heather for sale that has a built-in thermostat.

I have observed more than one of my chameleons traveling down to the pots of their plants, shooting at a piece of motionless bark, chewing on it and swallowing some, despite my best attempts to get it out of their mouths. My chameleons haven’t had any impaction issues - touch wood - but I would not recommend a substrate consisting of bite-sized pieces ;)
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