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BABs

New Member
Please be patient and kind with me as I have never owned a Chameleon before and want to give my dude the best chance I can. I got him already very sick and I am doing my best to get him healthy again. He was a work place pet that lived in a constant 74F glass tank with constant humidity of 92%. Half the tank flooring was water and had a water fall in it which we regularly found the chameleon "swimming" in. He was fed 1-3 crickets or mealworms a day, if that, and the feeders were not gutloaded or dusted by the work place, just whatever the petstore had done with them.
One of the Chameleon's eyes is a bit swollen and both are tightly shut. Today I found what looked like a vomited ball of waxworms (what I've been feeding the past couple of days) in the bottom of his tank.
Seeing as his eyes are closed and have been for a while (2+weeks), I have been gently opening his mouth to put the head of a feeder in and he has been gobbling them down pretty regularly. This afternoon we started an oral antibiotic to see if it clears up his eyes.

Is there anything that can be recommended to help my little dude more? Should I change anything or add anything else? Please advise! 🙏

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
Jackson's chameleon. Male. 1 year old. I have had him for less than a week (since Monday 5/16).
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
I currently am handling him daily.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
Crickets (main food source when I can find them), nightcrawlers (rarely), and waxworms (secondary main food). I feed 4-5 crickets or waxworms a day. I believe the chameleon is underweight so I have been feeding him every 12 hours. The crickets are offered gut loading food and I add the powder to the waxworm and night crawler environment.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
Repashy Superfoods Superload insect gutload formula, Repashy Superfoods Calcium Plus vitamin and calcium supplement, and Fluker's Liquid Vitamin. I dust the feeders with calcium every other feeding. Feeders are offered gut loading food at all times, and the liquid vitamin I do 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?
Misting every 3 hours for 30 seconds. I have not seen the chameleon drink.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
I have not seen the chameleon produce any droppings since I have had him. He was tested for parasites and treated for pinworms in October 2021. We also deformed him in April this year.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
I work at an animal hospital that had this chameleon in a vivarium in the lobby. I noticed his eyes being shut frequently, sores on his feet, missing toe nails, and swelling around his eyes. The doctor that typically takes care of him only does relief work now and the chameleons care has gone down significantly. I got antibiotics for him today in hopes it will help him out with possible infections.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
Currently in a 16"w x 16"d x 29.5"h mesh cage with two sides covered to help with humidity and temperature control.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
Using Zoomed dual light fixtures with a Reptisun 5.0 UVB bulb and a 60w daylight blue reptile bulb. I turn the lights on around 6 am and turn them off around 6 pm.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
I have two digital thermometer/hygrometer in the cage, one towards the top and one towards the bottom. Temp ranges from 89F-75F in basking spot and from 75F-70F in the rest of the tank (lower at the bottom of the tank). At night, the tank gets around 68F.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
Humidity ranges from 27% in the basking spot with the light on to about 80% when freshly misted. I have an automatic mister set to go off every 3 hours for 30 seconds. I use water that has gone through a 3 stage filter.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
Currently I'm using fake plants until my pothos ivy sproutings get a little bigger.
  • 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?
Tank is located in the corner of my living room not near any vents or fans and not in a high traffic area. The top of the tank is 45" from the ground.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
I'm located in North West Florida.
 

BABs

New Member
Here is what I think he vomited and some pictures if each of his eyes.
 

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kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Welcome to the forum!

I don't keep that species but I can tell you a few things...
It looks like he is having an issue with the temporal glands in the corners of his mouth...infection likely. With chameleons the pus is like cottage cheese in texture and the antibiotics won't penetrate it to get rid of the infection. The glands will need to be cleaned out and flushed likely while the chameleon is on the antibiotic. You may want to do a culture and sensitivity test of the exudate to make sure he's on the right antibiotic.

I think you have the wrong lights.

Can you post some photos of the while cage including the lights please?
 

BABs

New Member
I hope you've removed the fountain?
Was/is there substrate in the cage?
He is in a completely different environment and cage now. I will share some photos when I can take some. He has the Zoomed eco reptile carpet in his tank now. Before the substrate was soil and dirt of some kind.
 
Super awesome that you're going to take care of him! I'm not an expert here but one thing you'll want to do for sure is remove the reptile carpet and keep just a bare floor in the enclosure, preferably with holes in the floor for drainage (and something underneath it to catch the water, of course). The reptile carpet holds EVERYTHING (poo, dirt, bacteria, water, etc.) and is a breeding ground for illness. Someone who's familiar with Jackson's will certainly help out. I've learned tons on this forum and folks here will certainly steer you in the right direction.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don’t know enough about Jackson’s to review all of your husbandry, but I can offer some advice. Night crawlers are not recommended for chameleons. I’m attaching feeder and gutloading graphics for you. It’s best to have at least a couple of good staple feeders for variety. It’s also best to just feed your bugs fresh produce, like dandelion greens, mustard greens, various squashes, sweet potato, etc. There are some good commercial prepared gutload mixes, but they are not the Fluker’s. I like/use Repashy Bug Burger.
Jackson’s are very sensitive to supplements. Usually you’ll want to use a phosphorus free calcium without D3 at every feeding and then one feeding a months use something like Repashy calcium plus LoD.
Although Jackson‘s do like it more humid at around 40-50% , you do want your enclosure to dry out in between misting. Usually the standard for most chams is to mist for at least 2 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Adding live plants will help increase and maintain humidity. You can also wrap 2-3 sides of your enclosure with something like shrink to fit window insulation to help keep humidity in.
You’ll need to lower your temps. 89 is too high for basking and you’ll need to provide him with cool humid nights as much as possible.
Right now as your little guy isn’t doing well, your size enclosure is ok. As he regains his health, he will be needing at least a 2x2x4’ enclosure.
This, along with need for a vet visit is all I know to tell you. I am attaching another graphic from Chameleon Academy on husbandry guidelines. I wish you both the very best, and hopefully an experienced Jackson’s keeper will be around shortly to offer better help.
80BC0A66-0003-4EF9-A36A-ADB09A2663AE.jpeg
CBEBAA3D-434E-4EA8-AEC8-5E6B19AF9C1D.jpeg

82EB52BA-1789-4F9F-A9E7-6259813168B9.jpeg
 

BABs

New Member
I don’t know enough about Jackson’s to review all of your husbandry, but I can offer some advice. Night crawlers are not recommended for chameleons. I’m attaching feeder and gutloading graphics for you. It’s best to have at least a couple of good staple feeders for variety. It’s also best to just feed your bugs fresh produce, like dandelion greens, mustard greens, various squashes, sweet potato, etc. There are some good commercial prepared gutload mixes, but they are not the Fluker’s. I like/use Repashy Bug Burger.
Jackson’s are very sensitive to supplements. Usually you’ll want to use a phosphorus free calcium without D3 at every feeding and then one feeding a months use something like Repashy calcium plus LoD.
Although Jackson‘s do like it more humid at around 40-50% , you do want your enclosure to dry out in between misting. Usually the standard for most chams is to mist for at least 2 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Adding live plants will help increase and maintain humidity. You can also wrap 2-3 sides of your enclosure with something like shrink to fit window insulation to help keep humidity in.
You’ll need to lower your temps. 89 is too high for basking and you’ll need to provide him with cool humid nights as much as possible.
Right now as your little guy isn’t doing well, your size enclosure is ok. As he regains his health, he will be needing at least a 2x2x4’ enclosure.
This, along with need for a vet visit is all I know to tell you. I am attaching another graphic from Chameleon Academy on husbandry guidelines. I wish you both the very best, and hopefully an experienced Jackson’s keeper will be around shortly to offer better help.
View attachment 324586View attachment 324587
View attachment 324588
I appreciate all the valuable information! I am a registered veterinary nurse so I have been using my connections to get veterinary advice and care for him. :)
 

BABs

New Member
Here are some photos of the cage and lights. I added a couple more perches for him recently.
 

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kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Those short UVB lights can sometimes cause eye issues as can the blue light you have for a basking light.

He most recommended UVB lights are the long linear Reptisun 5.0 and the long linear Arcadia 6%.
Blue and other colored lights are not recommended either...most often we recommend that tou use a regular incandescence household bulb (not coiled, etc) of a wattage that produces the right temperature in the basking area.
It's also wise to test it to make sure it's not going to burn your chameleon. You do that by holding your hand as close as possible to it, palm side up, inside the cage. If you want to move your hand then the light is hot enough to burn the chameleon.

Hope this helps!
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi @BABs and welcome to the forums. Good you took this poor fella in.
I do agree with @kinyonga your boy has a temporal glands infection, which needs to be treated by a vet.
The outmost important thing right now is dropping the night temps to at least 60, to give your his deserved nighttime rest. When temps are above 65 they can’t come in their deeper sleep, which in long term will weaken their immune system. This is probably why he suffers from a temporal glands infection. The colder the better for them at night. As for the heat lamp, I only use it from 07:00 till 10:00am, more is not needed.
Another thing is supplementation, they‘re pretty sensitive for over-supplementation and they need plain calcium every feeding and only once a month multivitamin.
I only mist in the morning and evening and they’re big drinkers. Personally, I would take everything out of the enclosure and put in one centerpiece plant like a schefflera or something similar with dense foliage and twigs.
 

BABs

New Member
Those short UVB lights can sometimes cause eye issues as can the blue light you have for a basking light.

He most recommended UVB lights are the long linear Reptisun 5.0 and the long linear Arcadia 6%.
Blue and other colored lights are not recommended either...most often we recommend that tou use a regular incandescence household bulb (not coiled, etc) of a wattage that produces the right temperature in the basking area.
It's also wise to test it to make sure it's not going to burn your chameleon. You do that by holding your hand as close as possible to it, palm side up, inside the cage. If you want to move your hand then the light is hot enough to burn the chameleon.

Hope this helps!
The UVB bulb is a reptisun 5.0. I will look into switching out the blue bulb, though that is a similar bulb to what my veterinarian uses. Thanks for the info!
 

BABs

New Member
Hi @BABs and welcome to the forums. Good you took this poor fella in.
I do agree with @kinyonga your boy has a temporal glands infection, which needs to be treated by a vet.
The outmost important thing right now is dropping the night temps to at least 60, to give your his deserved nighttime rest. When temps are above 65 they can’t come in their deeper sleep, which in long term will weaken their immune system. This is probably why he suffers from a temporal glands infection. The colder the better for them at night. As for the heat lamp, I only use it from 07:00 till 10:00am, more is not needed.
Another thing is supplementation, they‘re pretty sensitive for over-supplementation and they need plain calcium every feeding and only once a month multivitamin.
I only mist in the morning and evening and they’re big drinkers. Personally, I would take everything out of the enclosure and put in one centerpiece plant like a schefflera or something similar with dense foliage and twigs.
Do you have an example cage set up I could refer to? Also, how would you recommend feeding a Chameleon that cannot see? Every time I have tried to gently "force feed" him, he spits the bugs back out. Also, how can I cool the cage down at night? I live in a hot and humid environment so it's not feasible to set my whole house to 60F.
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
Do you have an example cage set up I could refer to? Also, how would you recommend feeding a Chameleon that cannot see? Every time I have tried to gently "force feed" him, he spits the bugs back out. Also, how can I cool the cage down at night? I live in a hot and humid environment so it's not feasible to set my whole house to 60F.
That’s the biggest for most keepers and why a lot of us can’t keep Jackson’s. Mine is living in the basement, where it’s a lot cooler then upstairs. An option is locally cooling it down, with i.e. a small airco unit. Or like I’m using a aquarium cooling fan, (https://www.whitecorals.com/en/dry-goods-/heating-and-cooling/fans/jbl-cooler) but this will only bring it down a few degrees.

If you don’t get those temps down, you’ll eventually loose him, sorry to say, because he just won’t recover and only sicker.

The eating is probably the infection, this is really painful for them and he needs to see a vet to get it treated.

For an enclosure setup check my below blog, this will give you an impression.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/low-budget-enclosure-setup.2462/

And like already mentioned, you need a linear uvb fixture for him, because the coils aren’t good enough for them. But this is for later concern. Those nighttime temps and fixing the infection are for now the most urgent things to fix.

Don’t hesitate for any more questions.
 

BABs

New Member
That’s the biggest for most keepers and why a lot of us can’t keep Jackson’s. Mine is living in the basement, where it’s a lot cooler then upstairs. An option is locally cooling it down, with i.e. a small airco unit. Or like I’m using a aquarium cooling fan, (https://www.whitecorals.com/en/dry-goods-/heating-and-cooling/fans/jbl-cooler) but this will only bring it down a few degrees.

If you don’t get those temps down, you’ll eventually loose him, sorry to say, because he just won’t recover and only sicker.

The eating is probably the infection, this is really painful for them and he needs to see a vet to get it treated.

For an enclosure setup check my below blog, this will give you an impression.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/low-budget-enclosure-setup.2462/

And like already mentioned, you need a linear uvb fixture for him, because the coils aren’t good enough for them. But this is for later concern. Those nighttime temps and fixing the infection are for now the most urgent things to fix.

Don’t hesitate for any more questions.
He has already been seen by a veterinarian and is currently getting Baytril by mouth once a day.
 
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