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  #1  
Old 03-19-2011, 05:46 PM
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Jackson sitting with mouth open??? Help Please

Hey there, I have a new Jacksons chameleon male. I got him about two weeks ago from a reptile expo, he is captive bred. I have never had a chameleon before but I have several other species of reptile and amphibian, plus I am majoring in Herpetology so I figured I could handle him.

My problem is this, just starting today he has been sitting on his jungle vine with his mouth slightly open. I am currently housing him in a 18x18x24 exo terra terrarium with an umbrella plant, jungle vine, and bromiliad, I was told this was fine by the breeder, however I am in the process of getting my spare room set up to free roam him. I have a thermohydrometer set up in his tank, he has a basking spot of 82, plus it is at 72% humidity. I mist the cage several times a day and he eats gut loaded crickets that I periodically dust with calcium and vitamins. I have only seen him drink once and his urates are white with a small hint of yellow at the end.

He will come sit at the front of the tank until I open the door, then he crawls out onto my hand and I let him walk around on me. I have heard no noises coming from him to lead me to think it is a respiratory infection, but it is the same temp and humidity in there that it has been the past two weeks.

What do you think???

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 03-20-2011, 07:16 AM
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mine was getting too hot ands thats why he was gasping, its not so hot in there now an so hes stopped doing it. Maybe thats why yours is doing it?
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:24 AM
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Jacksons are a species that need plenty of air flow and good humidity. Are you measuring your temps with a digital thermometer? Analog thermometers often do not give you a good reading, and he could have his mouth open due to being too hot. I would look into getting him a screen cage.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:20 AM
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Yes I have a Flukers digital thermohydrometer, It says 81 for the temp and 71% for the humidity. Like I said I was told he could have a glass terrarium but when I went home and did research realized he could not stay in there. I am actually turning my spare room into my reptile room, so I was planning to set up a few trees, bushes, and vines in there so I could free roam him.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:56 AM
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Welcome to the forum!
A future herpetologist--that's great--- and you're smart enough to be asking questions before your cham is in serious trouble.
You'll see by my avatar that I have a male Jackson's ---one who doesn't enjoy being the subject of photos, hence the stress pattern on him.
You already know that gaping can be a sign of a respiratory infection or overheating.
The fact that your cham sits by the door waiting to come out leads me to suspect that it's hotter in his home than he can bear.
I have a Fischer's cham (also a montane type) who was overheating while being shipped.
So strong was his desire to escape the heat that he pressed his face against the shipping container for so long and so hard that his horns are permanently bent to the side
As for measuring temperatures in the basking spot, unless the thermometer reading was taken directly below the basking lamp an inch or two directly above the branch or vine where he sits, it will be much hotter than you would think.
Jackson's come from mountainous areas, so they can't tolerate the higher temps that many other cham species require.
Please be aware that Jackson's also cannot tolerate the significantly higher amount of supplements that other, non-montane species need.
It's a tough balancing act trying to keep enough humidity, while allowing for enough airflow to ensure a healthy cham.
Until you get a free-range area going, you can always increase the airflow in the terrarium by opening the doors or even just one door and affixing a towel to the opening with duct tape or similar.
It may not look pretty, but it will definitely increase the airflow.
The one sad fact about chams is that they stress easily and, being solitary animals in the wild, they are stressed by being handled.
I would love to hold my chams and have them sit on my arm, shoulder or head, but I want them to thrive and have long lives, so I resist the temptation.
Captive bred Jackson's are very seldom found on the market, so the seller may (or may not) have been selling a story as well as chameleons.
Hope this helps you out.
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:09 PM
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What are the temp. readings around the rest of his cage? Gaping maybe a sign of a too warm habitat. I would change to screen cage also.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:36 PM
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His mouth being open means thathe is agrivated. My jackson does that when she is mad.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:01 AM
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I have to amend my reply

It seems that Chris Anderson who has more experience with chams than most of us, if not all of us, keeps his chams in glass terrariums--not fish tanks or glass "reptile tanks" but special terrariums, like the ExoTerra terrariums.
http://chameleonnews.com/10JulAndersonGlass.html
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:46 AM
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If the gaping is accompanied by an extremely light coloration, he is probably too hot. They will sometimes turn an extremely light yellowish-green and even a light almost ash grey color when they are overheating. Your set-up and temp readings sound good, however I would still recommend a fully screened cage. Another thing I incorporate into my Jacksons enclosures is an ultra-sonic cool mist humidifier. It seems to fall on deaf ears alot of times when I mention this, but montane species enjoy cooler temps as well as higher relative humidity levels than lowland species, and ultra-sonic cool mist humidifiers are very beneficial. You can spend as much as $120 for one or as little as $40. Mine was $40 from the pharmacy and it works great. But I would think that your temperatures mentioned would not be too hot.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:51 PM
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It's always possible there's a problem with the thermometer. I'd try knocking the temperature down 2 or 3 degrees and see if that helps.
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