5 month old panther not eating.

Arbolito

New Member
Hello everyone, I’m new to this forum and sort of new to chameleon care taking. Had veiled a while ago but never did the correct research and care. This time I did and have a 5 month old male panther chameleon, ambilobe. But he is not eating and keeps himself pretty dark all day long. I’ve had him for 2 weeks now.
I have him in a medium reptibreeze cage for now, I do have the extra large cage ready when he gets older. Both cages have corrugated plastic on sides and back to help humidity.
Cage specifics
5.0 HO
Basking temp of 85-88
Lights are 12hours on and 12hours off.
Ambient temp of 75-78
Humidity is always above 40. Stays 40-60 during day and higher during night.
I use repashy calcium plus every feeding. (Even though he hasn’t eaten).

So my main problem is He’s not eating. At first I let crickets free in cage and realized he wasn’t eating. I took away all food for a day or two and hand fed him. That day he about 4-5 crickets and 2-3 dubias (a week ago). Tried the day after and no luck. Not one item. Went back to leaving crickets in cage to see if would eat on his own and nothing. I haven’t seen him eat anything in 4-5 days. I went to store and got waxworms, mealworms and a hornworm. He seemed interested but didn’t eat any of them. I luckily work at a vet clinic so I took a fecal sample and no parasites. My vets don’t do exotics at all which doesn’t help.
Is it normal for them not to eat for this long at this young age? I thought the younger they are the more they eat and he just won’t. I don’t handle him often at all and try to not get close to scare him or stress him more.

which leads to my second issue. He is pretty dark all day long. I only see him lighten up after his lights go off at night.

overall I don’t think he is sick. Don’t see obvious signs. Poop was normal until today in morning when it was white and mushy completely. No brown at all. Don’t know if it’s because hasn’t eaten? Am I missing something? Doing something wrong ? Or is this still normal?
I’ll include pic of him before he was shipped to me and pics of him in his enclosure at home. I just put a black cup in cage with worms to see if will eat them.
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi. Not sure if I can help, but I’ll try. Do keep in mind that the colors he had as a baby are going to be different as he approaches maturity. There’s also his ‘fired up’ colors and resting colors, which are very different from each other. Colors indicate moods and heat absorption.
What is the distance between your lights and basking area? Is your uvb a linear T5 or a screw in bulb? Temp is a bit high…I’d try not to go above 84-85.
Even though he hasn’t really been eating, you’ll want to get a phosphorus free calcium without D3 to use at every feeding. Then use the Repashy Calcium Plus for one feeding every other week.
Your enclosure is a good start, but definitely add some large live plants. Something like a centerpiece of a schefflera would be really nice and give him not only a nice shady spot, but also a hiding place to feel more secure. As you replace the fake plants with live ones, you can attach the fake to the outside of the enclosure for extra privacy for him.
If he’s eating by hand feeding, continue trying that. I use a shooting gallery feeder and have to hold my panther in front of it most of the time (his expressed preference). I don’t like the idea of just setting the crickets loose as any that aren’t eaten or removed will be hungry and can/will bite your chameleon. If you do that, you need to leave a little something on the bottom for the crickets to eat.
Even though he’s gotten a clean fecal, there could be something else going on and it’s always a good idea to have a vet wellness check. Maybe another member will have better ideas than I.
 

Arbolito

New Member
My t5 HO is linear and is approximately 6 inches from the highest branch.
So the repashy calcium plus itself everyday will not do it?
I did have a croton live plant but quickly got gnat larvae in soil. I had rocks over the soil which I had also switched to organic soil. So I didn’t want to risk it and took it out, I was also told panthers don’t really need live plants?

thank you for the help! I hope he starts eating soon:(
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the forum!

I was also told panthers don’t really need live plants?
I'm afraid you may have been told some things that... weren't entirely accurate. This seems to be all too common a situation in this endeavor.

ALL chameleons should have live plants. Live plants help increase and maintain humidity.
A little more foliage couldn't hurt his feeling of security either. ;)

Just a few observations:

I would move him to the larger enclosure ASAP. My panther (at 3 months) went directly from the breeder to his permanent 48 x 24 x 48 enclosure.​
I don't see mention of misting or of a dripper. How is he getting water, and is he drinking?​
Is that enclosure on the floor? Chameleons feel most secure when their basking site is at or above our eye level. This usually means placing a 48"H enclosure on top of a 29"-30" stand or table.​
It looks like the enclosure might be in a corner of the room, but what's the ambient (household) traffic situation? Noises, lights, quick movements?​
Basically, I'm looking for possible sources of stress beyond normal relocation.​
 

Arbolito

New Member
Welcome to the forum!


I'm afraid you may have been told some things that... weren't entirely accurate. This seems to be all too common a situation in this endeavor.

ALL chameleons should have live plants. Live plants help increase and maintain humidity.
A little more foliage couldn't hurt his feeling of security either. ;)

Just a few observations:

I would move him to the larger enclosure ASAP. My panther (at 3 months) went directly from the breeder to his permanent 48 x 24 x 48 enclosure.​
I don't see mention of misting or of a dripper. How is he getting water, and is he drinking?​
Is that enclosure on the floor? Chameleons feel most secure when their basking site is at or above our eye level. This usually means placing a 48"H enclosure on top of a 29"-30" stand or table.​
It looks like the enclosure might be in a corner of the room, but what's the ambient (household) traffic situation? Noises, lights, quick movements?​
Basically, I'm looking for possible sources of stress beyond normal relocation.​
Yeah it’s always something different. I had also been told too big of an enclosure is bad for small chameleons ha. But I do have a 2x2x4 ready so I could change him over now. Might add more stress though.
I did have a live plant, croton, but somehow got gnat larvae so fast from the humidity. I did change the soil to organic and had rocks as the top layer but somehow still got them. I was also spot cleaning daily. I caught it early so I removed it just to minimize risk for him.
I do have a mister that runs 3 times a day and will add dropper occasionally. Haven’t seen him drink water actually.
The enclosure is high up above where level and he is in my room where I spend most of the day in :(. I have kept the door closed every time I leave to avoid the cats and dogs to not be in there.
Thank you for all the help!
 

Arbolito

New Member
Hi. Not sure if I can help, but I’ll try. Do keep in mind that the colors he had as a baby are going to be different as he approaches maturity. There’s also his ‘fired up’ colors and resting colors, which are very different from each other. Colors indicate moods and heat absorption.
What is the distance between your lights and basking area? Is your uvb a linear T5 or a screw in bulb? Temp is a bit high…I’d try not to go above 84-85.
Even though he hasn’t really been eating, you’ll want to get a phosphorus free calcium without D3 to use at every feeding. Then use the Repashy Calcium Plus for one feeding every other week.
Your enclosure is a good start, but definitely add some large live plants. Something like a centerpiece of a schefflera would be really nice and give him not only a nice shady spot, but also a hiding place to feel more secure. As you replace the fake plants with live ones, you can attach the fake to the outside of the enclosure for extra privacy for him.
If he’s eating by hand feeding, continue trying that. I use a shooting gallery feeder and have to hold my panther in front of it most of the time (his expressed preference). I don’t like the idea of just setting the crickets loose as any that aren’t eaten or removed will be hungry and can/will bite your chameleon. If you do that, you need to leave a little something on the bottom for the crickets to eat.
Even though he’s gotten a clean fecal, there could be something else going on and it’s always a good idea to have a vet wellness check. Maybe another member will have better ideas than I.
My t5 HO is linear and is approximately 6 inches from the highest branch.
So the repashy calcium plus itself everyday will not do it?
I did have a croton live plant but quickly got gnat larvae in soil. I had rocks over the soil which I had also switched to organic soil. So I didn’t want to risk it and took it out, I was also told panthers don’t really need live plants?

thank you for the help! I hope he starts eating soon:(
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
My t5 HO is linear and is approximately 6 inches from the highest branch.
So the repashy calcium plus itself everyday will not do it?
I did have a croton live plant but quickly got gnat larvae in soil. I had rocks over the soil which I had also switched to organic soil. So I didn’t want to risk it and took it out, I was also told panthers don’t really need live plants?

thank you for the help! I hope he starts eating soon:(
You should have basking area be about 8-9” below your lights for optimal uvb level.
The Repashy Calcium Plus is an all in one multivitamin and vitamin D3 and your chameleon should only be getting those twice per month, or every other week. The D3 and some of the other vitamins are fat soluble and take longer to be broken down and excreted and can easily build up in your cham to unhealthy levels.
As someone has already pointed out, live plants have benefits of humidity. Plus they must feel better to your cham than plastic and of course, they look so much nicer. Unfortunately soil gnats can sometimes happen and are a pain to get rid of. I have 4 chameleons in bioactive enclosures and use sundew plants (drosera capensis) along with a couple of Katchys in the room to keep them under control. In a few months I’ll be able to get some mantis ooths to hatch in my enclosures for the baby mantids to take care of the gnats.
Some great resources to check out are https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/ and Neptune the chameleon on YouTube.
I hope your guy starts eating soon.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yeah it’s always something different. I had also been told too big of an enclosure is bad for small chameleons ha.
First time I heard that one, I thought, "How small is Madagascar?" :unsure:

But I do have a 2x2x4 ready so I could change him over now. Might add more stress though.
IME, doing things as quickly and matter-of-factly as possible attenuates any stress.

I did have a live plant, croton, but somehow got gnat larvae so fast from the humidity. I did change the soil to organic and had rocks as the top layer but somehow still got them. I was also spot cleaning daily. I caught it early so I removed it just to minimize risk for him.
Crotons like humidity, but also require good drainage. I think everyone with house plants must've done battle with fungus/soil gnats at one time or another... We use a combination of control methods including those MissSkittles mentioned.

There are many other great plants safe for chameleons:
https://chameleonacademy.com/plants/
https://www.madcham.de/en/pflanzen-fuers-terrarium/
https://www.chameleons.info/l/safe-and-unsafe-plants/

I do have a mister that runs 3 times a day and will add dropper occasionally. Haven’t seen him drink water actually.
The enclosure is high up above where level and he is in my room where I spend most of the day in :(. I have kept the door closed every time I leave to avoid the cats and dogs to not be in there.
Thank you for all the help!
(y) (Some are shy drinkers/eaters.)
 
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