A few problems with my chameleon


I purchased my chameleon about ten days ago. She is a female veiled, about four or five months old. I mist her twice daily, and feed her mealworms and crickets dusted with calcium with D3. Since yesterday, she has been rather sluggish, not moving very far from her basking spot except to get a drink of water once or twice. Hasn't eaten a whole lot. Also, for the past three days she has had salt buildup coming from her nostrils, which I have removed every day with a toothpick. She has been spending much time in the sleeping position, resting her carriage on a leaf and not putting much weight on her legs. Her eyes were closed for some time. What do you think this is?
I think you should complete the "how to ask for help" form...just copy it, paste it into a reply and then type in your information.

I'm going to suggest you stop picking at the white residue around his nose. That is probably him venting excessive calcium. Unless it is causing him problems, it should be left alone.

You may be over dusting your feeders. It's extremely common. I suspect we've all done it at some point. One suggestion I've seen that seems easy is to only dust 2 of the insects being fed...so, if you normally feed 6 crickets, put 4 in without dusting, then 2 in that are dusted.

All that said, I doubt it's a dietary thing, which is why I think you need to do the form. It's probably a husbandry question.
What brand UVB light are you using? Is it a compact, spiral, long linear tube, etc.?

Do you have a place for her to dig in case she needs to lay eggs?
Does she have mustard/yellow splotches on her body yet?
Female veiled chameleon, about five months old. Owned it for ten

days. I handle it about two times a week. I feed my chameleon

large mealworms and small crickets. I do not gut-load them, but

I want to find out how to. On a normal day, she eats about three

mealworms and five crickets. I dust them with reptivite reptile

vitamins with D3. I usually only dust the mealworms with these,

and leave the crickets undusted. I mist her twice a day with hot

water, and I have a cup of water with a hole in it that I fill

up about twice a day. I do see her drinking water from this.

Fecal matter is dark brown and long, with a few bits of very

small detritus poking out. Probably stuff from the substrate. I

have never tested her for parasites. She received a burn on her

left side on the second day we got her, but the situation that

caused this has been remedied- I moved the lamp.
Cage is about 22x22x36 inches, screen. During the day, I use a

100W basking spot lamp from zoo med and a 15W UVB tube lamp (33%

UVA, 10% UVB). At night, I use a 100W night basking lamp, emits

red light. I switch it to daytime lighting at around 7:30 AM,

and switch it to nighttime lighting at around 9:30 PM. Getting a

humidity thermometer tomorrow, then I will know what the

humidity and temperature is like. I maintain humidity with

misted substrate and moss. I am using two live ficus as well. I

have the cage located next to a heat fan that keeps the ambient

temperature up, since it is winter. The table that the enclosure

is resting on is about three feet off of the floor. I am located

in California.

Why would she need a place to dig? She hasn't been in contact with any males, and she is young. She doesn't have any yellow splotches on her body.
No light at night, they need total darkness to sleep. And the water should not be hot but luke warm like room temperature. NO substrate! They can ingest it and it can cause an impaction which can kill a cham. That seems like a really hot basking bulb too, I would use a regular 40 watt household bulb. Females lay eggs even without being mated. I'm sure others will give you more information but that's just a few things you need to change.
Oh and it's not salt, it's calcium from over supplementing. The crickets should still be visible even when dusted, think of it as pepper, a little goes a long way.
Okay but how will I keep the enclosure humid without substrate? Also, I am pretty confused right now, a lot of the information I am getting from this site is contradicting with professional advice I have gotten from store owners. I know they have profits backing them up, but it is also their job to offer good advice to customers.
Also, I don't put hot water in the cup, I use normal temp water for that. I use hot water in the spray bottle so it comes out lukewarm.
Veileds can produce eggs even at that young age without having been mated....but if she doesn't have the yellow splotches then she's not likely to.

When she defecates...is the white part really white or does it have a lot of orange in it? Reptivite is a vitamin, mineral supplement...and D3 and IMHO it should only be used twice a month. You need a phosphorus-free calcium powder to dust on the insects at most feedings.

I would be careful of the moss and substrate...I would worry about them leading to an impaction. I never use a substrate with them.

IMHO, its a good idea to have a place for her to dig in the cage to show you when she needs to lay eggs. I use an opaque container of moistened washed playsand...minimum size 12" deep x12" x8".

She sounds like she may be exhibiting signs of MBD...but I can't be sure. Lack of trunkal lifting (not putting weight on her legs, lethargy, lack of appetite, etc.)

Here's some information you might find helpful......
Exposure to proper UVB, appropriate temperatures, supplements, a supply of well-fed/gutloaded insects, water and an appropriate cage set-up are all important for the well-being of your chameleon.

Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects before you feed them to the chameleon with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

Dusting twice a month with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite.)

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

Here are some good sites for you and your parents to read...
Thanks for the information! Going to remove the substrate tomorrow, and purchase a calcium powder without D3. Also, I have seen her ingesting substrate, but we were told by the pet store that that is only natural- although by now I am doubting their credibility. How should we keep the enclosure humid when we remove substrate? Just increase the misting schedule?
Also, she is capable of moving around and putting weight on her legs, and she can move very quickly. Also, her legs appear very normal and unbuckled.
Eating soil is common among a lot of animals....the danger is that we don't know what soils/substrates will pass through the chameleon and which ones will cause a blockage...so IMHO its best not to take the risk.
I'm not an expert, but the wattage on the lighting sounds harsh especially at night. There should be a temp drop at night to somewhere in the 60's. I have a zoomed fogger to keep the humidity up for my guys. It keeps them hydrated too. Water tends to condensate on leaves and inside the enclosure.
The fogger sounds cool, but is also fairly expensive. Would it work to just put an unbleached, uncolored towel in there with her on the bottom of the enclosure and make that moist? Also, what are the reccomended temperatures and humidities during the day and at night?
Okay but how will I keep the enclosure humid without substrate? Also, I am pretty confused right now, a lot of the information I am getting from this site is contradicting with professional advice I have gotten from store owners. I know they have profits backing them up, but it is also their job to offer good advice to customers.

Pet store owners are in it to make a profit. Their job is to sell, not to make sure you know everything (or really anything) about that animal. They do only enough to make sure that animal will survive until someone buys it because anything less would not get the sale and anything more would eat away profits. It is sad and sometimes hard to believe, but it's true! So often times the cage that the reptile is in at the pet store is not adequate to support the lifetime needs of that animal. Nor is the nutrition or lighting most of the time. There are a few good pet stores where the employees are properly trained, or will at least give you a decent care sheet to take home, but for the most part pet stores are the bane of reptile enthusiast's existence. They don't do anything right, tell people wrong information and sell products that are questionable, if not down right bad for the animal.

Here on the forums we have no alterior motive - we're not trying to get money from you, we aren't trying to be your bestest friend in the whole world - we are truly out for the well-being of the animals. :) And we'll be happy to answer your questions based on our successes and failures.

To answer your question about humidity and substrate - the substrate should not stay wet because that will only cause mold and bacteria to grow. So since it's supposed to be dry it really shouldn't contribute that much to humidity anyway. Misting often is the cheapest solution but if you can't do that frequently or your house is particularly dry then you might want to invest in a mistking system, or even just a humidifier. I have a humidifier that is hooked up to PVC pipes so it goes to several of my cages.
The fogger sounds cool, but is also fairly expensive. Would it work to just put an unbleached, uncolored towel in there with her on the bottom of the enclosure and make that moist? Also, what are the reccomended temperatures and humidities during the day and at night?

The towel will start to grow mold and bacteria very quickly. (Trust me)

These blogs would be well worth your time to read:
Raising Kitty the Veiled Chameleon
Complete Veiled Care
They have more information on all aspects of veiled chameleon care, including temps and humidity ranges.
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