2yr old Jackson -problems eating


New Member
My two year old Jackson cham has trouble shooting his tongue. Also sometimes he shakes as he's trying to shoot his tongue. He seems to have lost his appetite, after a few tries he misses and then is not interested. We tried hand feeding him and he didnt eat then either. The other day i noticed his balance was off.

Does anyone have any suggestions that would get him to eat or what the problem may be?


Avid Member
Aww, the poor cham.

I love Jackson's because they are so sweet.

Tongue problems can have various causes but often result from injury, dehydration or nutritional problems. With the balance issue, it seems likely to be tied to nutrition or dehydration.
Is the shaking not the normal cham shake and seems more like imvoluntary movements or twitches?

He is frustrated when he can't get the insect, so he just gives up trying :(

We can probably figure it out if you copy and paste the questions from https://www.chameleonforums.com/how-ask-help-66/ and then add all your answers.

The more honest and complete your answers are, the more accurate the replies can be.
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Established Member
have you tried to offer him some blue bottle flies. i found that flies are hard to resist. evem a few house flies chould help.

Bush baby

Avid Member
The flies are a good idea, but if he can't shoot his tongue then they won't do much good.

Offer him some calcium-dusted slow moving prey like wax, silk or horn worms.

Speaking of calcium; what does your supplement dusting schedule look like? I've found that, if it's not due to injury, the inability to shoot his tongue is due to low calcium levels, as it will effect muscle function….


New Member

Chameleon Info:
• Your Chameleon – Male Jacksons Cham, about 2 years old
• Handling – Hardly ever, he is free roaming so sometimes if he climbs down to walk around on the floor we will pick him up and let him get back into his trees
• Feeding – We have crickets and superworms. We give him 2-5 crickets a day -when he does decide to eat. Gutloading with Flukers and Quencher
• Supplements – ZooMed Repti Calcium one with and one without D3, and ZooMed ReptiVite with D3
• Watering- Right now we are misting with a spray bottle throughout the day. He drinks great
• Fecal Description – brown and white and we just recently noticed some orange/red in the urine, no hasn’t been tested
• History – ordered from backwater reptiles, shipped from FL , we are in PA

Cage Info:
• Cage Type – Free Roaming /Previously in Zilla Screen Cage 30hx30lx18w
• Lighting – ZooMed Deluxe Porcelain ClampLamp 5 ½” , 50watt ZooMed Basking Spot Lamp, ReptiGlo 5.0 Strip Light 30%UVA 5%UVB, 6:45am-7:15pm
• Temperature – Basking 80-85 , 68-80 varies throughout the room, Lowest overnight temp? 65 and we use an Exo Terra Digital Thermometer/Hygrometer
• Humidity - What are your humidity levels? 70-80in cooler and 40in warmer areas. How are you creating and maintaining these levels? Misting with a spray bottle.
• Plants – he is free roaming with all fake plants, that have been thoroughly cleaned
• Placement – In bedroom, low traffic. Two windows, not directly in front of. Live in two 7ft trees with vines connecting
• Location - PA

Current Problem – Eating. He is having trouble shooting his tongue, and therefore has not been eating as much. We need a way to get him to eat so we can get his vitamins to him. We've tried crickets, and superworms but he gets discourage after a few tries of missing. He is basking, drinking, and climbing regularly. Any suggestions would be helpful. We will have more pictures soon.


Avid Member
How often do you dust his feeders with calcium?
How often with calcium with D3?
How often with the multivitamin?
Are the vitamins expired?
They do lose strength over time and that's the reason for the printed expiration date on the bottle.
How old is the UVB bulb?
Is the basking light near the UVB bulb?

His tongue issues, if they came on gradually--as a shorter and shorter shooting distance--could very well be caused by nutritional deficiencies.
One of our forum's longtime chamkeepers, Sandrachameleon wrote an excellent blog about the causes of tongue problems , found here https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/sandrachameleon/232-tongue-troubles.html

The orange/red in his urate indicate that he needs more water.
It can be caused by too low humidity, too little water intake, too high temps or even parasites or internal bleeding.
Dehydration will cause incoordination and tongue problems, too.
Hopefully that red isn't actually some blood in his urine.

A fecal test would help rule out parasites which rob your cham of nutrients, can dehydrate a cham and which can actually do damage to the organs they inhabit--which can show a sign such as blood in the urine.

I do see 2 issues and not knowing the answers to the questions above, there may be more than 2.

The first thing is that he is likely getting too much D3 for a Jackson's, which are especially sensitive to any oversupplementing.
If you switch to Reptivite without D3, that would be better for him.

If all he ever is fed is crickets, he would probably go nuts for some tasty , calcium rich Phoenixworms.
They are very wiggly and the motion is quite alluring to chams. They are also slow enough to be caught fairly easily and an added benefit is that if his calcium level is low, the Phoenixworms can help to correct that.
I order mine from here where they raise them http://www.phoenixworm.com/servlet/StoreFront
If you could get hold of some safe land snails--ones known to not have any pesticides and preferably captive raised--you would be amazed at how wild Jackson's are about snails.
They eat snails shell and all.
Some have said that land snails don't contain parasites that could afflict your cham but raising your own is the safest.
Water snails on the other hand are known to harbor parasites that could infect your cham--so avoid all water snails.

The other problem is that the commercial gutload you mention really doesn't add much nutritionwise, so your feeders aren't nearly as nutritious as they could be.
A good, inexpensive homemade gutload where you add raw scraps of fruits and veggies that your family eats would be a big improvement.
More details are here https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/food/

Since you're in PA it may still be a good time to let him enjoy a little natural sunlight basking time. Days in the 70s are perfect Jackson's weather.
A cage will keep predators from snatching him and a plant for cover and a vine for standing on, plus spraying him and/or a dripper to keep him hydrated will be needed, too.
The benefit of natural sunlight is that his body will produce its own safer-than- supplements form of D3, in case for some reason he is actually low in it.
Sunning is truly most Jackson's favorite activity and outdoor time can sometimes perk up a lethargic Jackson's.

I hope this helps you to get your sweet Jackson's feeling better.
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