Average Time I Spend on my Chameleons Daily

Friday, March 30, 2012

An Average Day For My Chameleons And Me

This is an example of what I do and how much time I might spend on my chameleons on a fairly average day*, to provide new keepers with a very general idea of what their days could look like as chameleon owners. Most of my set-up is automatic. I will also include some of my personal preferences and opinions on why I do what I do. 

*Keep in mind, I am a college student with frequent daily breaks. A working person’s schedule may vary considerably. Also, I live in Florida; Things like misting times/frequencies will depend on your individual hydration and humidity needs. 

7:00 AM - We all wake up. I get up for classes and my light timers turn on. I turn my timers on according to when the sun rises, so they don’t turn on while it’s still dark outside. As the days get shorter, my chameleons’ light cycles will also get shorter to match. 
- If I did not do so last night, I will add another bucket (2.5 gal) or two into the Mistking reservoir (my automatic misting system) just so there is enough water in it for the day. 
- I take this time to check that all the bulbs are still on and working correctly and check the readings on the temp/humidity gauge. 
(Time taken: ~5 minutes)

7:30 AM - The Mistking goes off for 15 minutes. I believe that misting sessions should be showers, not just quick sprits. Mine will often sit under the water the entire time it is going off, either drinking, washing out their eyes, or just enjoying the mist with their eyes closed. 

1:00 PM - The Mistking goes off again for 5 minutes. 
- I am back from classes now, so I may feed everyone. Mine are adults and may not get fed every day, but I usually give them at least one-two insects a day. I hand feed as well, so I will supplement them and hold the insects for everyone to shoot at. 
(Time taken: ~5 minutes)

- I check on the insect bins. I have:

1. Roach bin with 3 species (P. Nivea, B. Discoids, and B. Lateralis)
2. Cricket bin (with about 300 in it)
3. Superworm bin (with a couple hundred in it)
- I may also have hornworm cups and containers of butter worms to check on as well. The butter worms don’t require any care, I just remove any dead ones, and empty the poop from the hornworm cups. The chores I do with my insect bins usually consist of removing old wet food (fruits, veggies, or pre-made commercial food like Rapashy’s Bug Burger), adding a handful of my own home-made dry gut load, Bug Burger, and/or fruits and veggies, and picking out at least some of the dead insects. 
- I try to keep my bins clean, and this usually consists of removing the dead insects and passing a moist paper towel across as much of the bin as I can, removing as much of the insect poop as is possible. The roaches live in a dirt substrate, so this is harder. But I will change up the substrate every so often. 
- I also check the temp/humidity gauges again, since this is the warmest part of the day. I make sure that the room isn't getting too warm and affecting the basking temps, making them way hotter than they should be. 
(Time taken: 10-30 minutes)

- If it is a day of the week I do cleaning of the chameleon cages, I will take paper towels and remove all the dry leaves and poop from the cage floors and wipe them down with some pet-safe product or just normal dish soap. I will also empty out the water that drains through the cages from misting, which collects in 5 gal buckets under each cage. I might have to drain these out once a week. 
(Time taken: 5-30 minutes)

5:00 PM - The Mistking goes off for 20 minutes.
- In the afternoon I check in on the chameleons again, making sure that they’re all good. I might take out each chameleon for a little while of sunshine now. 
(Time taken: 5 minutes - 1 hour) 

- I will usually take this time to do any other chores I might have to do before their lights go out. This might be anything like cleaning off my cham “work station” table, with all my supplements, any tongs or tweezers that I used for cleaning up old insect food will be disinfected, and I’ll throw out the trash bin in the cham room that might have dead leaves, insect shipping boxes, and other rubbish in it. 
(Time taken: 5-15 minutes)

5:45 PM - Automatic lights turn off. The chameleons settle down for the night while the sun finishes setting and I close their room door for the night. I prefer not to disturb them once their lights go out. 

Rough Estimate of How Much Time is Spent on Chameleons and Their Chores: 35 minutes to 1.5 hours +
This figure depends on day and what I have to do. But on an average day I spend less than an hour total time on what I'd call chameleon chores. This does not include the time I might take them out to interact with. 


  1. Hello,
    I live in Montana at this time and am looking into getting a chameleon. I've had reptiles before and am just looking to move on to a cooler more exotic one. It's very dry in the summers and cold in the winters here. I was just wondering what type of chameleon you recommend, type of terrarium/cage, how many times a day should it be misted and for how long, should I have a mister and a dropper or would just a mister be ok, and any other advice you would have for a first time chameleon owner.:) I've been reading a lot about them, but I just found your blogs to be the most helpful.:)
    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hey Sarah,

      I have several friends who keep chameleons in Montana, so I know it's doable. You could definitely keep something hardy, like a panther or veiled, or try your hand at something else like a carpet (smaller, about the same care as a panther) or something that loves cooler temperatures like a Jackson's.

      Nearly all chameleons tolerate (and indeed, benefit from) a drop in nighttime temperatures so even if your house drops to the 50's at night they will be totally fine as long as that basking light pops on in the morning. So I think the cold is not a problem. And then with the humidity you will have to adjust to your specific home parameters, I can give you a rough guide but you'll have to see for yourself too. In your situation I would actually recommend either a glass/screen combo terrarium or an acrylic/screen combo cage. Having the top and a door strip be screen will still provide ample air circulation but the closed walls will keep humidity and temperatures more stable. And filling it with live plants will also help to keep the humidity higher over-all.

      Once that is all set up I would get a good hygrometer (I like the accuweather ones you can find at Home Depot or Lowe's) and try spraying different routines for a couple days and see where that leaves you. Maybe with 4-6 one minute mistings you might be fine, for example. I prefer a misting system because in your case it will take care of both issues, drinking water AND humidity, which I think it better.

      There's no exact formula! But you will get it, you just need to experiment a little.

      Let me know if you need anything else!


    2. Thank you :) also the cage I'm getting is I think 3×2×6 or something around there, and was just wondering if thats good for the rest of his life.I also read and heard that you shouldn't keep them in bigger cages until there around 6-8months? So around what size should i keep him in until then? I'm not getting him until October, so still have alot more research to do but like i said i just like your advice and blogs the best:). There is also a reptile expo coming to my town in October as well, is it safe to buy one from the expo?:). And one more thing, I'm actually coming to Florida for the next 2 weeks or so.Is there any reptile pet stores, exhibits, or even places with good reading about chameleons that you would recommend me to visit? :)
      Thanks again,

    3. Yea, that's a great size for an adult chameleon! You could probably use something like a 36" tall cage for his first few months, just until he gets big enough where you don't have to worry about him hunting down his food. I usually mine over into their bigger cages between 5-6 months for most of them.

      You can definitely buy from a show, I would just learn to see what to look for or avoid. I wrote a couple blog entries about how to buy from shows so look around for those :) A lot of the rarer species are wild caught but you should be able to find either a panther or veiled from someone that is healthy and great to start off with.

      I believe that there will be a Repticon show in West Palm Beach this coming weekend, I don't know if you would be interested in going! I won't be able to attend this one but I've had good luck seeing chameleons at the Palm Beach shows before (I even bought one of my Meller's there!) I don't know about anything else that might be worth seeing soon, unfortunately you missed the huge Daytona breeder's expo that was last weekend. I would have loved to go but I work most Saturdays so I couldn't drive up!

  2. Sorry one more question my step dad would like to get one now as well haha I got him hooked ;). But he wants to know if he can keep his with mine in the same cage (2 males)?

    1. Hi, sorry for the delay! I get a lot of emails a day so sometimes one slips through the cracks. I would not advise keeping two makes together in a single cage as a rule. Even though it is a very generous size it's still small enough where the two would constantly be in contact with each other and I worry they would fight. I've kept males together in a room-sized free-range, where they could be yards apart if they wanted to be, but never in a cage.

  3. Hello Olimpia! I'm a new cham owner (veiled) and I saw that you have the mist king go off often! This makes me worried I'm not doing it enough for mine! He's a baby and I just got him..I was told spraying at LEAST twice a day was good. So I've been using just a squirt bottle to spray everything down (minus him) so it's good and wet. If I'm home I will spray it more often but never him. Is this bad? Is there something else I should be doing? I reeeealllyyy want to be the best Chameleon owner I can be and he's my first one. Thoughts?


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