I often hear/read questions repeatedly:

What is the right hydration schedule?

When should I fog? How long should I mist? Is 3 times 2 hours enough? Do I need to keep the dripper on all day? etc., etc., etc...

And, we engage in endless debates... "But they told me..." "But the Chameleon Academy says..." "But my chameleon..." But but but...

So, what is wrong?

The questions are wrong.

Understand me correctly, I can imagine these questions bother you, and they are, of course, valid. But, believe me or not: the only person who can answer them is nobody else in the universe but YOU YOURSELF.

You ask questions about the measures and what to do. But the measures are meaningfully defined by MEANING and PURPOSE only!

So, the PURPOSE OF PROVIDING WATER to the cage of the chameleon is:

1. HYDRATION to keep your chameleon properly hydrated, and

2. HUMIDITY to maintain the environment in the cage within the required parameters (dryer during the day, humid at night)

All the measures you take should result in only a


in a


So, you are the only one who has to decide:

- whether the chameleon is hydrated or not,

- whether it is overhydrated or dehydrated

- whether you reach the proper humidity levels during the daytime and at night

- and

you are the only one who can adjust and meaningfully add, remove, or modify some of your measures.

Basically, if you combine:




you are using the right measures to achieve what is necessary, and you even have more than required under normal circumstances.

For example, I have been using just a fogger in some of my cages for several years now, and I do not need any other measure, as my chameleons are perfectly hydrated - but I cannot guarantee that it will work for you as well. Keepers living in extremely dry conditions cannot skip misting. Keepers living in excessively warm areas cannot rely on fogging. Etc.

You need to:

1. DECIDE (make your choice of what combination of measures you will use, install and test them),

2. MEASURE (You need to know the exact values of your parameters; otherwise, you can only blindly experiment without knowing the results),

3. OBSERVE (observe the animal and its health indicators like eyes, skin, activity, poop, and urates),

4. ASSESS (learn about standards, norms, and benchmarks: how it should be, how it should look, and define deviations, eventually scale them),

5. ADJUST (meaningfully increase or decrease the intensity, duration, timing of the measures and repeat the process).

Take responsibility and do not delegate the responsibility to others to tell you what to do. You are the only one capable of doing it.

Respect the following hints and best practices:

- Hydrate in the most natural way possible.

- Hydrate properly; do not overhydrate or underhydrate.

- Use a fogger only at night and below 18°C (65°F) to prevent respiratory infections.

- If fogging, do not aim to fill the entire cage with fog. Ensure your chameleon is in the fog or fog stream; it is enough if its nostrils get fog.

- Better use intermittent fogging, as in the wild, the fog also comes and goes periodically. Adjust the intensity, timing, and duration of fogging based on the chameleon's healthy hydration signs (skin, eyes, poop and urates are the best indicators).

- Mist in the early morning before the lamps (especially the basking light increasing temperature) turn ON and in the evening after the lamps turn OFF.

- Avoid misting during the daytime, and if you do, ensure the air does not remain overly humid for longer than necessary for the species being kept during the day. An alternative is to switch off the lights, particularly those generating heat, about an hour before misting, let the temperature decrease, mist, wait for the water to evaporate (approximately one hour or more), and then switch the lights back on. These precautions help prevent respiratory infections. (Rain also occurs in the wild at lower temperatures and light intensities, not during full sunshine.)

- There is no need to mist in the morning when there are sufficient water droplets (dew) on the leaves of live plants before the lights turn on.

- There is no need for misting in the evening if you fog at night during cool temperatures and the chameleon is well hydrated. Proper fogging automatically raises the humidity to the required level.

- Avoid misting altogether if the chameleon is adequately hydrated from fogging or dripping, and the humidity levels are within the recommended ranges day and night.

- If you use automated misting systems, ensure you have a drainage system in place to collect excess water (which will almost inevitably spill into the cage) to prevent overhydration, overwatering the plants, and water accumulation on the floor or flooding your facility.

- Use a dripper as an additional and/or safety measure for only a few minutes, up to one hour during the day. Depending on the volume of water dispensed, excessive water can hydrate the plants, but if there is too much, set up a drainage system.

- Combine all systems as needed. My personal recommendation is: If nighttime temperatures permit, prioritize in this order: Fogger, Dripper, Mister. If not, prioritize in this order: Mister, Dripper.

Author: Petr Nečas