Why Not To Mist At Daytime

21/09/2019

If we speak about indoor caging, the most keepers do terrible disservice to chameleons reverting their hydration cycles. This kills the chameleons slower or faster way and cuts a substantial part of their lives.

Why?

For millions of years chameleons were sitting at the night at low temperatures in high humidity, often in fog that turned in the morning into dew.

And what we do to them now when we put them in terrariums?

We put them into a terrarium and let them sit the whole night in the driest air during the whole day cycle at relatively high temperatures (because we do not as a rule simulate the natural night drops of the temperatures) and then at the daytime, we even increase the temperatures (usually to higher levels than in the wild), add a permanent, very hot basking spot and during this, when the temperature is extremely high, we spray the terrarium with water.

It means, we completely revert and modify the natural cycle instead of:
WILD: cold moist night and warm dry day we provide
CAPTIVITY: warm dry night and hot moist day
This of course is harmful for the health id chameleons as this breaks the homeostasis and their natural cycles.

People object often: But there is also a rain in the wild and it happens not only at night but also at the daytime!

Yes, this is true but you forget a very important factor! When there is the rain and the daytime, the clouds cover the sun, it becomes dark and the temperature drops substantially as the temperature of the rain even in the tropics is maximum 27°C, usually much much lower: around 21°C or even lower if at high altitude.

The combination of hot air together with high temperature and slow air movement, which is the result of misting in the daytime at high temperatures is one of the best environment in which bacteria and fungi reproduce and as a result respiratory diseases develop because all it is absolutely unnatural.

What to do?

If you want to Spray the cage, the best time is in the evening after the lights are off or early morning before the lights gets on and during the night. Very best, you get a fogger (at night only!) and then you can often even skip to mist.

If you for whatever reason want to mist your cages at daytime, please switch about an hour before all sources if heat off and best also all lights, then mist and then after another an hour switch the lights back on.

If you want to be sure, the chameleon has enough water to drink anyway, the best option is a dripper. This does not spoil the environment with too much extra humidity as it is used only locally and amounts of water are little.

In outdoor caging, the situation is more complex, as misting is often used in areas too hot for the chameleons to lower the temperatures for them during hottest periods of the day. It is quite risky too and brings health problems, as we force the animals to live in conditions, which are unnatural for them, but under circumstances, they can survive this and even more reproduce. They however never make longevity records and often die at half of their lifespan or even less.