1 year old Cham, scared of everything, grumpy and will not eat logically .

Hello Everyone,

I'm Chris and from England, I recently brought into my home a 1 year old Chameleon. I have named her Aloy after the character in Horizon Zero Dawn. I recently lost my bearded dragon Fluffy as I came upstairs to find him passed away , it looked like he ate too many greens at once and got them stuck in his throat. After a grieving period and Losing one of my Rats Sam (Sammy) to cancer and my dog Babuk to liver failure (its been an emotionally brutal year) I needed a new animal friend. After caving into my girlfriend ( I wanted to do a lot of pre research and learning) we cam home with Aloy last Friday.

She's 1 year old ( the shop says), they said she would regularly come onto their hand and ate fine, she would eat their stock locusts and brown crickets, they also put a bowl of greens in for her 2 to 3 times a week. The shop keeper said he would keep a bulb on 24/7 (ceramic at night) so she was always in 38c ish temps all day long. when I bought her I noticed none of the animals in the shop had their day bulbs on at all. She had a big bowl of water under her 1 ladder and a bowl of what looked like really juicy grubs?

she moves slower than an old lady, she will not eat, I've offered her crickets, locusts, water cress every day, silk worms, even made a little food trap she could whip them off with her mouth laser. yet she ignores the greens and has eaten nothing all week, not even tried to hunt, I have seen her twice try to eat the same fake plant, and then give up, i have stated putting real greens on top of that plant but now she wont even try. I locust went up to her yesterday. she backed of and hissed at it and then ran away for half an hour.

She is petrified of me, hides, even hangs upside down to be away from me, i have at least gotten her to drink, she has a big dripper and when i mist she will drink after a while. I have a live fuchsia plant, reptile bark and a humidity gage (currently 64% at 17:43pm ), I have a cool side of around 25/26c and a warm side of 33 to 37c. a good reptile UV bulb and a basking bulb, she's got a nice flat belly so does not look gravid, but today out of paranoia I have placed a bucket in her enclosure with organic soil in it, moist enough to dig but will retain its structure. also the floor of the enclosure gets saturated with misting water and dripper water, I had to bail it out today. is there a way to deal with water that doesn't mean drilling a hole in my glass enclosure?

I think she hates her new home and her new owner, which is such a disappointment. She's always dark and these brown patches come out when she's worried, only time i see her light green is when she sleeps. I'm worried I'll find her dead from starvation at this point. She's only pooped once since i got her, which was the day she moved in.

Thank you for the amazing forum, I have read so much on this site already. here are also some pics, please feel free to be brutal with your advice, I am a new keeper and her life means more to me than her ego. thank you.

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Last edited:

AnamCara

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hello Everyone,

I'm Chris and from England, I recently brought into my home a 1 year old Chameleon. I have named her Aloy after the character in Horizon Zero Dawn. I recently lost my bearded dragon Fluffy as I came upstairs to find him passed away , it looked like he ate too many greens at once and got them stuck in his throat. After a grieving period and Losing one of my Rats Sam (Sammy) to cancer and my dog Babuk to liver failure (its been an emotionally brutal year) I needed a new animal friend. After caving into my girlfriend ( I wanted to do a lot of pre research and learning) we cam home with Aloy last Friday.

She's 1 year old ( the shop says), they said she would regularly come onto their hand and ate fine, she would eat their stock locusts and brown crickets, they also put a bowl of greens in for her 2 to 3 times a week. The shop keeper said he would keep a bulb on 24/7 (ceramic at night) so she was always in 38c ish temps all day long. when I bought her I noticed none of the animals in the shop had their day bulbs on at all. She had a big bowl of water under her 1 ladder and a bowl of what looked like really juicy grubs?

she moves slower than an old lady, she will not eat, I've offered her crickets, locusts, water cress every day, silk worms, even made a little food trap she could whip them off with her mouth laser. yet she ignores the greens and has eaten nothing all week, not even tried to hunt, I have seen her twice try to eat the same fake plant, and then give up, i have stated putting real greens on top of that plant but now she wont even try. I locust went up to her yesterday. she backed of and hissed at it and then ran away for half an hour.

She is petrified of me, hides, even hangs upside down to be away from me, i have at least gotten her to drink, she has a big dripper and when i mist she will drink after a while. I have a live fuchsia plant, reptile bark and a humidity gage (currently 64% at 17:43pm ), I have a cool side of around 25/26c and a warm side of 33 to 37c. a good reptile UV bulb and a basking bulb, she's got a nice flat belly so does not look gravid, but today out of paranoia I have placed a bucket in her enclosure with organic soil in it, moist enough to dig but will retain its structure. also the floor of the enclosure gets saturated with misting water and dripper water, I had to bail it out today. is there a way to deal with water that doesn't mean drilling a hole in my glass enclosure?

I think she hates her new home and her new owner, which is such a disappointment. She's always dark and these brown patches come out when she's worried, only time i see her light green is when she sleeps. I'm worried I'll find her dead from starvation at this point. She's only pooped once since i got her, which was the day she moved in.

Thank you for the amazing forum, I have read so much on this site already. here are also some pics, please feel free to be brutal with your advice, I am a new keeper and her life means more to me than her ego. thank you.

View attachment 245182View attachment 245183View attachment 245184View attachment 245185View attachment 245186View attachment 245187View attachment 245188View attachment 245198
Love the notes next to the cage. Give her more sticks and live plants and places to hide. She needs to feel safe and hidden to adjust to her new space.

Remove any substrate unless your going bioactive. They harbor bad bacteria. If youd be interested in a full husbandry review you can fill out the "how to ask for help" forum located in the Health Clinic in this site.
 

Randers88

Established Member
Get rid of the bark, asking for bacteria growth when adding a puddle of water into the mix. I keep a shop vac next to my cages to get the water out daily as I haven't added drainage to my setup yet as well. I'd add a lot more foliage / live plants as well, the more hiding places... the better, Horizontal / Verticle branches are also needed. A basking branch 6-8" below the heat bulb, You're cage is far to empty, you should make more use of all that available space that you have. With the limited places she has to go, I'm not surprised that she's angry.

These animals are famously grumpy so not liking you shouldn't be surprised by her not liking it. Acclimation does take time but not eating for that long would worry me as well. Hornedworms have always done the trick when one of my new guys is being stubborn. I'm no where near as experienced as most of the members on the forum are so please just take my info as opinion not fact.

I'd also recommend filling out the Chameleon care sheet as anybody who can give you a truly in depth answer is going to request that you fill it out.
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the forums and thanks for being open to feedback. First off, don't take her behavior towards you personally. It takes chameleons some time to get adjusted to a new home. It's only been a week so I'd give it more time. This is also true with appetite. Make sure you're not trying to watch her eat, as that can be nerve-wracking for them. She'll eat eventually :)

I agree with everything @AnamCara said. All that space at the top is useless unless there are things for her to climb on. Also giving her more places to hide might help her feel more comfortable.

Here is the "How to ask for help form". Copy and paste and fill in your answers.

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

--------------

Please Note:

  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
 

Randers88

Established Member
Love the notes next to the cage. Give her more sticks and live plants and places to hide. She needs to feel safe and hidden to adjust to her new space.

Remove any substrate unless your going bioactive. They harbor bad bacteria. If youd be interested in a full husbandry review you can fill out the "how to ask for help" forum located in the Health Clinic in this site.
Agreed.
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
"I think she hates her new home and her new owner"

Yep, that's a veiled chameleon all right! They aren't known for being friendly critters haha. She just isn't used to you and chameleons are highly prone to stress even from small changes. So changing her location AND keeper is a combination to assure your cham will want little-to-nothing to do with you while she adjusts. All you can really do is give her as much space as possible. She has to learn that you are not a threat. Sometimes situations like this result in hunger strikes as well. Luckily, chameleons can go a fair while without eating before they get unhealthy.

I'll add another +1 to the recommendation of getting rid of that reptibark crap. It is just a disaster waiting to happen. If it's not removed ASAP, it will harbor dangerous bacteria and get your girl sick. You want to go bare-bottom for the easiest cleanup. Otherwise, you have the option to go bioactive (look this up in the search bar if you're unfamiliar), which imo is the most aesthetically pleasing and functional option
 

Graves923

Chameleon Enthusiast
Bare bottom enclosures are way easier to clean. That bark gets super moldy in a chameleon set up with all the misting and humidity.

Best bet unfortunately would be going with a screen cage and drilling the floor for a drainage system. Glass is a pain to drill if you've never done it before.

As others mentions, fill that help form out. It makes it easier to sort through the details of your set up so we can help you the best we can
 
Wow you’re all super helpful! Thank you everyone for your help and ideas. Isn’t it funny how I was told I HAD to have that substrate no questions asked otherwise I couldn’t get humidity, pet shops are wonderful lol so would you suggest just paper towels?

Thank you, you are right I’m not using my space properly, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to suspend anything without the possibility of it falling.

I will fill out the help sheet and post it back shortly. Glad to hear she’s acting as you would expect after such a change.
 

AnamCara

Chameleon Enthusiast
Wow you’re all super helpful! Thank you everyone for your help and ideas. Isn’t it funny how I was told I HAD to have that substrate no questions asked otherwise I couldn’t get humidity, pet shops are wonderful lol so would you suggest just paper towels?

Thank you, you are right I’m not using my space properly, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to suspend anything without the possibility of it falling.

I will fill out the help sheet and post it back shortly. Glad to hear she’s acting as you would expect after such a change.
Screen cage is easier to hook things up in. Live plants will help increase humidity. Humidity drops during the day are fine you want to increase it at night as much as you can.
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Wow you’re all super helpful! Thank you everyone for your help and ideas. Isn’t it funny how I was told I HAD to have that substrate no questions asked otherwise I couldn’t get humidity, pet shops are wonderful lol so would you suggest just paper towels?

Thank you, you are right I’m not using my space properly, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to suspend anything without the possibility of it falling.

I will fill out the help sheet and post it back shortly. Glad to hear she’s acting as you would expect after such a change.
Yeah, it's definitely tougher to attach branches and whatnot in glass cages as opposed to screen. I have two suggestions:
  1. Live plants. These will provide natural perches, increase humidity, and provide snacks. Schefflera and ficus are my go-to's. They also provide structure points that you can balance sticks on
  2. suction cups! I don't see people use this method often, but it's what I do in one of my exoterras. You can find some sticks you want to use, cut them to fit the width of the enclosure, and then superglue a small suction cup to each end of the stick. You have to be patient with getting the length just right, but then you can stick them in such that one end is held firm by each suction cup.
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
To hang things in a glass or smooth sided enclosure 3M makes self adhesive hangers "Command Strips". Some are small enough for Christmas lights get these. Be sure none of the adhesive is exposed to the chameleon they get stuck to things easily. You should be able to hang your branches from these.
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Chameleon Info:


  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
Yemen Chameleon, Female, about a year according to the shop. I've had her 1 week.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
never, she is petrified of me, hissed at my hand. Scared of her own food.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
I've tried feeding her brown crickets, 12 at a time, locusts, again 12. i tried giving these to her every 2 days. havent seen her eat a single one, hasnt touched her daily greens, isnt interested in her silk worms. feeds are being gut loaded with those gel pots and bug cereal.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
i've only dusted once, and she didnt eat any of them, they dont seem to have a brand on them, i got them when i got my cam. shedule would be once a week.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
I have a dripper that runs all day should she wish to drink. I have seen her drink from the leaves it drips on, i also mist once before light come on and once when back from work so twice a day every day. i do think she should be drinking more though.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
shes only pooped once, it was brown and had white urine.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
she was with the petshop for a year, keep says he had constant temperature 24/7, used to be with 2 sisters but they gold sold. she would come out onto their arm when fed. they put greens in the enclosure but she never ate them.


Cage Info:


  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
Glass viv with mesh top, double doors on front that open independently. think its this

Large/Wide90 x 45 x 45 cm36” x 18” x 18” (WxDxH)

  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
using a standard exoterra uv bulb across top of enclosure, and a standard my pet basking bulb. lights are on for 12 hours a day, i do not have a thermostat
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
cool side: 24/26c warm side around 34 to 37c. overnight seems sit at 24c. i have 1 digital thermostat on hot side and a anolog temp dial on the cool side.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
according the the analogue dial its 64% currently. these levels are created thanks to misting and the glass sides plus bark substrate. I also mist twice a day.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
1 a fuchsia "army nurse"
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
cage is located in my computer room against the wall, not near any fans or air vents, low traffic area however it is small so i pass very close to the cage a lot if i'm in there. i'd say its top is about 5ft 6" from the floor.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
England, UK

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

Please read original post at top of thread :)
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the forum and the world of chameleons!
Sorry to hear about your other pets...it has been a tough time for you I'm sure.

You said you offered her greens...what greens did you give her?

Regarding supplements...I dust the insects lightly just before feeding them to the chameleon at almost all feedings with RepCal phos free calcium powder. I dust lightly twice a month with RepCal phos free calcium/D3 powder and twice a month with Herptivite. You need to be careful with prEformed vitamin A and D3 from supplements which is why I only do it twice a month with the Herptivite and the D3 powder. Since Herptivite only has beta carotene (prOformed) you may decide you need to use a prEformed vitamin A once in a while...but I never have with veiled chameleons.

It's important to feed/gutload your insects well. For crickets, locusts, roaches, etc I feed/gutload with a greens such as dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, etc and veggies such as carrots, squash, zucchini, sweet red peppers, sweet potato, etc.

I hope this helps.
 
Wow I’ve a lot to learn about but loading it seems. Gotta up my game. I gave her watercress, spinach and rocket. Some strong leaves in that I know but good ones.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Don't use spinach very often in the insect food or to offer to the chameleon...it binds calcium. Cruciferous veggies should be used sparingly too.

Keeping chameleons has steep learning curves...and we all have to go through them to some extent. That's why this forum is so good...it helps us skip some of them.
 
I’ve just been out and gotten another live plant, plenty of sticks and some hooks (also a garden mister, how amazing are these things?!) so it’s time to get creative.
 
so I've added all the branches and tried to give her as much cover as possible. I come back upstairs after her bedtime to find the scared shy little lady fast asleep on the highest most exposed branch right on the glass!! I really can't pin this Chameleon down lol

p.s photo was taken in an almost dark room, i've lightened it up so you can see Aloy.

night sleep.jpg
 
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