1st chameleon death stories


New Member
i know alot of people on this forum have multiple chameleons and some of us only have one at a time only getting another after a sad death. so i'd like to hear about everyones 1st death. if you know how it died. some of us could learn from your stories. i'll start. my 1st was a jackson i got in 1998(i think) and we all didnt have computers for websites like these so we took the word of the petstore. well after 2 years he got a bad foot(swollen) it got worse, he stopped eating and died. i was heartbroken. looking back now i think because we were keeping him in an aquarium(like i said, the petstore told us to) he maybe got a bacterial problem. used substrate and was probably too moist:( im glad things have improved and this forum really helps many:)
also if you have any stories that arent 1st death but will help someone not kill their chameleon that would be great (like wow i didnt know that would kill a chameleon...good to know) oddball deaths????
aaaahhhh im sad you dont like my thread. death plays a big part in keeping chameleons and we usually learn lessons from each one. was just hoping some of us could learn from each other and not feel so alone in our dumb mistakes.
Well I'll bite. I learned to never take advice from a petstore no matter how knowledgeable they seem. Do your own research. For example, my first cham was a jackson's....they told me hot and dry (basically what a veiled would like)...wrong. I basically cooked the poor thing before I realized that was the opposite of what they needed. Its a learning process, but research is vital to proper husbandry.
thanks allicat1229. sharing these stories are like therapy to someone reading that maybe feels bad for doing the same thing or someone new to chameleons reading this might learn some things
I started out with a pair of baby veileds in 1996. They were kept separate in 10 gallon tanks with no UV light, just spot lights. They were dusted with calcium with D3 daily. They both grew well, and as we know the myth now, I bred her at 6 month so she would not be eggbound!
The male died a week later. Upon necropsy (yes I was very attached to him), he had calcified organs.
I sold the babies when they were ready and they were ok. Female lived another 5 years.

Just to add something else. When I moved into my present home 6 yrs ago, I had a pair of Jackson's. I kept them in a small room with door closed, so cats could not get them. I went to work and came home to find that the room was 95 degrees (sun came through window all day) and male was cooked, and so were some tarantulas. After alot of spraying, the female recovered.
Just some stupid mistakes we learn from, unfortunatley.

just so we are learning here, his calcified organs were from? no uv??? d3 dust daily???
The vet said there was too much d3 in his system. I guess the female was ok because she was using it to form eggs.
This is my first post (despite being a regular reader for over a year). Though I hate to start on a negative note, it's a relatively positive story.

I adopted an adult female chameleon of undetermined species from a middle school classroom. She was kept in a 12x12x12 glass enclosure and had an abrasion on her face from rubbing against the cage (presumably to get some fresh air?). After keeping her for 9 months or so, she developed an infection in her mouth and into her jawbone as a result.

After debriding the infection and removing that small section of jaw, she lived for another year and a half. She was really lucky to still be able to eat, considering the damage. I had to give her 2 oral antibiotics daily and we really developed a nice bond. She eventually died of seemingly natural causes. I can only estimate at about 3-4 years. The reason Ive decided to share is that with proper nutrition and care, you can definitely give a chameleon a second chance.

Thanks for reading
I'll tell my story. My first cham was a juvi Veiled Chameleon I bought from a large chain pet store about 10 years ago. I followed everything the pet store told me to do and it was horrible. I had a small 40 gallon glass tank with only the uvb light, no other heat source. I was told to feed 10-20 crickets every week! No dripper, or monitoring humidity, etc. Needless to say, she only lasted about 6 months and then died. about 4-5 years later I started reading up online about chameleons again and realized how much I did wrong!
I've not had a chameleon die, but my first lizard death was a bearded dragon I had owned for some years. He developed a penchant in his 5th year, for eating anything brightly colored. He was always well fed and very healthy, but one day I caught him trying to eat the rubber suction cap from a yellow analogue thermometer I had stuck to the glass.
Fortunately I caught him before he did, but some months after he began to refuse food,
stop pooping and become lethargic and dehydrated.
Having been vary careful (i thought) to eliminate impaction threatening items he might eat, the cause of his obvious impaction was a mystery. Off to the vet.
Note that since he was showing symptoms, his problem had occured some time earlier.

The investigative operation revealed a large chunk of almost totally undigested raw carrot was blocking his lower intestine. This was removed by the vet and post operative care began.
No food was offered immeadiately, overall ambient temperature was increased several degrees, fliuds were given, including a product like pedalyte to assist with increased hydration. He was given shots every two days SC, and began to recover, feeding again and looking better, more active, though basking alot.

Just as suddenly, he began to go off food again and one morning soon after, died.
A system wide infection had set in due airborn contamination during surgery. It shut down his renal system and it was all over.
I had made a habit of leaving raw carrot in the enclosures, along with greens to keep the insects gutloaded.
I never suspected a beardy was capable of biting off a peice and swallowing it, or that it would be inclined to for that matter,
but it was obviously bright colored enough to attract his fetish, silly bugger. :)
It was quite sad and had been this vets 'debut' reptile operation, assisted by my current vet who is a reptile specialist, by phone.
A first for the surgery, the staff were all quite upset at losing their first reptile patient, but these things happen, we can only do our best.
I have photos taken during surgery,somewhere if I can find them. :)
thanks for sharing teamblack. glad you made your 1st post here. thats an amazing story. glad she found her way to you and got some extra time. would love to see those pictures joejackson. lost the one and only bearded dragon i had too. still not sure what happened. he was 5years old so i dont know if it was just his time or the only other thing i can think of is i never knew to change the bulbs back then. i loved that lizzard and still think about him all the time.
It was 1972 and I was 7. My mother indulged me by purchasing what, many years later, I concluded must have been a Senegal. I was completely transfixed. We were sold an aquarium, a piece of driftwood and a bag of sand. I spent two glorious days netting bugs and dropping them into the aquarium. On the third morning my mom woke me up and told me my chameleon was dead. The death mask colors and the mouth filled with sand are still a vivid memory. Countless other critters, endos as well as ectos, have come and gone. If you work with reptiles, fish....really anything living, then you are going to be a part of those beings' lives and deaths. Death is ever present in nature as well as captivity. If you are continually learning, and if you have an ever growing sense of reverence for the beauty of life, then you are honoring all the pets you have loved and lost.
niceley said monzon. i agree. i started this thread because my chihuahua is sitting in the animal hospital for the 5th day. still not sure he will make it through. i have been an emotional wreck and my mind has been consumed with the deaths of past beloved pets. everyone sharing their strories has made me revisit the past and know how far we've come in learning to care for another living being. yesterday was the 1St time things were looking up for my little elvis(chihuahua). thanks everyone for sharing and making me feel not so alone. (or like im some crazy grim dark person for wanting to start this thread.) like i said my mind has been consumed with death and how it just comes along with owning a living thing that you are responsible for
All very good stories. You will often here reptile keepers say they learned more from the deaths then from the animals that live, so this is a good subject and helps others to learn. I lost my first chameleon when researching at a reptile store -believe it or not-they guy had been in business for awhile and still is, but is mostly a snake person. We looked for several months and then I decided to get my husband a Veiled for Christmas (yeah-and look who the chameleon addict is now!). Well, when you finally want something there are none to be found, so I put my name on some waiting lists-and finally what I now know is that a petstore had someone drop off some 1.5ish month old Veileds-so I picked it up, put it in a 10 gallon with some fake plants and a vine, a UVB bulb, and a red heat lamp that I was told to leave on all the time. Well, I cooked him. He lived 4 days I think. :( Now you all know why I harp on temps. Over the years I have lost chams to prolapse, mouthrot, toe infections, strokes, old age, follicular stasis, and have had some MBD rescues die on me after a few years-which is good for the extreme cases I have had. I learned a great deal from each and every death, which has made me a better keeper.
this is a sad topic but a good one for educational purposes.my first chams were a pr of pygmy chams,the female was gravid(i did not know this and neither did the pet store i purchased them from) i brought them home,set them up in the perfect pygmy enclosure and was happy they seemed to be happy.a few days later my female was acting funny,she was spending alot of time walking around the bottom of the enclosure,i thaught it was strange but assumed it was what that species did.i started to see her digging around the plants and i watched her up close to see what she was doing,a cpl days after that she found a spot she seemed to like and was trying to lay her eggs,her eyes were closed and i thaught i would shine a flashlight at her rear end to watch the egg laying process,i only shone it at her butt not her face,but she decided to get up and walk back up to the top of her enclosure,i assumed she wasnt ready to lay,the next day i rushed over to see her and she was laying upside down on the bottom of the enclosure almost dead,i scooped her up and just held her,she would look at me and i was almost in tears,she died in my hand roughly an hr later:( i was heart broken,i still am and am now in tears again.....since discovering this forum i have learned to never ever watch a female that is about to lay,it is so very stressful on them,also the flashlight im sure didnt help and neither did my husband and his son peeking at her,or the male in the enclosure i failed to remove...so saddly she passed away.lessons learned the hard way...i still have the male pygmy and he is doing wonderful:) also i have 2 veilds,the oldest one MOE almost died on me not too long ago,thanks to jo jacksons info i was able to save him;) i had recently purchased a big plant for moe's enclosure and i washed all the roots and repotted it in organic soil but i failed to see a tiny tiny piece of perlite(little white foamy looking stuff used for hydration in planting soil)well my cham shot at a crix(i assume) and stuck to this little piece and he got impacted and wouldnt eat,i noticed this within 3 days that he seemed to be acting odd...i woke up on day 4 and he was hanging by his tail and laying on his side,there was a very runny poop by him,i dropped everything in my hands and rushed in to pick him up,he was so limp but had a strong grip,i placed him in knee high luke warm water and soaked him for an hr 3 times that day,each time he looked a little better,then on day 3 of his soaking he seemed way better,i placed him back in his home and he pooped:D immediately after pooping he was zooming all over and acting the way he normally did..if not for the advice on here from mr.jackson,he would have died...so WASH WASH WASH your plants and then when you are finished washing them..WASH THEM AGAIN!! the luke warm soaking often softened his poop and helped him pass the perlite....still so very greatful for the advice mr.jackson:D sorry this is such a long post..had alot to say lol
My first cham was sold to me as a male Veiled, for 1/3 of the standard price.

She had what I now know to be mbd, and her spine was badly twisted. If she moved faster than a slow walk she would grab her own front legs with the back ones and fall over......I had a waterfall for a while, but it was impossible to keep properly clean, so I removed it.....
Anyway, she layed the first totally unexpected batch of eggs on the day we moved house......
Little Stuart was very challenged, but got to just over 2 1/2 years.
I bought a veiled chameleon from a petsmart, she has mbd developing, and coccidia. she was shaking when she walked, but now on the bright side, taken to the vet got shots and meds. now her shaking is 80% gone! she hasnt pooped in a while though. well atleast that I know of.:p but shes doing so much better! and she talks to me, strange, but she does. lol

I had 2 animals die in my care, a leopard gecko, and 2 frogs. the leopard gecko got sick and I didnt know what to do. his toes started to bleed, and um well we had to flush him down the um....... toilet.....:( it haunts me. one of the frogs got dropsy and we had to humainly kill him or he would literly explode.
the second frog got out of his cage and dried up.:( :( it still haunts me.....
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