Advice on not eating crickets

spikes owner

New Member
My son has had a veiled hooded chameleon for 6 months. Spike was around 9 months when Jonathan got him. He (or maybe she) had been thriving until recently. He is in a large glass acquarium with a mesh top. He receives natural sunlight and has a basking light at around 90 degrees. The rest of the habitat is 74-90. He has a rock waterfall with constant moving water and is misted 1-2 times a day. We have not changed locations.

He orginally ate crickets that were dusted and we gradually introduced mealworms. He was eating both. Now he is only eating the worms and the crickets that he did not eat are trying to take over (i.e., taking his food, climbing on him, etc.)

He originally was in shades of green. After 4 months he was more browns and oranges with stripes after we added a orange/brown basking rock and removed the decorative foliage background. He shed when we first got him and then 2-3 months later and then recently. This last shedding seemed slow and there are still remnants left. His stool is brown and "normal" for him but maybe a little dry.

We live in Texas outside of Dallas if any one has any suggestions or can recommend a good vet. Thanks for your time!:)
 

emersonc

New Member
there are a couple of things that i would change. First you might want to get a new cage, the glass aquariums work, but i think it is better to get a cage that is all mesh, on all sides. this lets there be more ventilation and more climbing space because your cham can climb on the sides of the cage. Just make sure the mesh isnt too small or your chams toenails can get stuck on the mash walls and get pulled out.
Also try make sure that you dont leave the crickets in the cage overnight, this can really piss off your cham b/c the crickets will crawl all over her when she is trying to sleep, plus crickets are not the cleanest insects.
And as far as the shedding goes, i wouldnt be to worried, i have had some peoblems with my cham sheddin (ie some skin not comming off) maybe try to increase the humidity of the cage, or you can give your cham a shower. This works really well. Just put a large plant in the shower, but have half the plant not directly under the water so your cham can move in/out of the water. Also make sure that the water is NOT hot, but only luke-warm
 

Heika

New Member
spike'sowner said:
My son has had a veiled hooded chameleon for 6 months. Spike was around 9 months when Jonathan got him. He (or maybe she) had been thriving until recently. He is in a large glass acquarium with a mesh top. He receives natural sunlight and has a basking light at around 90 degrees. The rest of the habitat is 74-90. He has a rock waterfall with constant moving water and is misted 1-2 times a day. We have not changed locations.

He orginally ate crickets that were dusted and we gradually introduced mealworms. He was eating both. Now he is only eating the worms and the crickets that he did not eat are trying to take over (i.e., taking his food, climbing on him, etc.)

He originally was in shades of green. After 4 months he was more browns and oranges with stripes after we added a orange/brown basking rock and removed the decorative foliage background. He shed when we first got him and then 2-3 months later and then recently. This last shedding seemed slow and there are still remnants left. His stool is brown and "normal" for him but maybe a little dry.

We live in Texas outside of Dallas if any one has any suggestions or can recommend a good vet. Thanks for your time!:)
Hi...

Welcome to the forums. From reading your description, I can see a few problems. As mentioned, an aquarium is not a good choice for the type of chameleon you own. A screen cage will provide ventilation and also a heat gradient that an aquarium can't. The big deal about ventilation is to prevent that water you are misting him with from breeding bacteria, which will make your chameleon ill.

Another issue is the waterfall. Unless you are cleaning it daily, and even then, it will breed bacteria that will make your chameleon sick. Most chameleons use moving water like we use a toilet, and then they are forced to drink from it too. Regardless, crickets drown in them, they get dirty, etc. and they pass those illnesses to your cham. When you say you are misting your chameleon... how long? 1 to 2 times a day is not enough. A chameleon really needs, at a very minimum, 2 times a day for 10 minutes each time. This is so they can clean their eyes and also so that they will drink. Many chameleons won't drink right away when they are being misted. Most people either mist 3 times a day for 10-15 minutes each time, or 2 times a day for 15-20 minutes and they also provide a dripper. My chameleon is on an automated system that I built, and his is set for 20 minutes at a time 4 times a day right now.

When you say he receives natural sunlight, how does he get it? Do you take him outside to bask? Or, is it sunlight coming through the window and then into his aquarium? If it is the latter, you may be seeing signs of metabolic bone disease. Window glass and aquarium glass filters out the UVB that your chameleon requires to process vitamin D. In addition, sun shining in through a window and hitting an aquarium will turn that aquarium into an oven. If you aren't actually taking your chameleon outside to sit in the sun for several hours a day, then you need to provide it with a good quality UVB light, such as a ZooMed Reptisun 5.0 or 10.0.

Mealworms are not a great diet addition for a chameleon, at least not on a regular basis. Not only are they not that great nutritionally, they have a lot of chiton. Once in a while is fine.. as a staple food, not so great. He may be bored with the crickets. The larger the variety of feeders you have, the better off your cham will be. Have you looked into any of the other common feeders? Roaches, silkworms, waxworms, butterworms, hornworms, etc? Many people use silkworms as a staple food and mix in other insects as well.

By orange/red basking rock, are you describing just a plain rock you put in for decoration, or a hot rock? If it is a hot rock, you need to pull it. They are dangerous for most lizards, and chameleons don't use belly heat. If it is a decorative rock, chams really don't change colors to match their environment. They change in response to light, their mood, their health, and temperatures.

When you say his poo is brown, is it only brown? What about the urates? There should be a white portion to his poo.. that is the reptile equivalent of pee. If it is bright white, congratulations! Your chameleon is well hydrated. If it is yellow or orange, you have some work to do.. he is dehydrated. If it isn't present at all.. well.. then you are in real trouble. Another way to tell if he is dehydrated or not is by his eyes. Are they nice and round and full? Do they poke out from his head, or are they sunk in? If they are sunk in, he is dehydrated and needs some major misting ASAP to try and prevent kidney damage.

Brad has links to vets, and may know of one anyhow since he lives in Texas as well.

Pictures would help, but I am glad to hear that you are planning to take him to a vet.

Heika
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
There is some great info in the replies above.

emersonc said:
Also try make sure that you dont leave the crickets in the cage overnight, this can really piss off your cham b/c the crickets will crawl all over her when she is trying to sleep, plus crickets are not the cleanest insects.
spike'sowner said:
Now he is only eating the worms and the crickets that he did not eat are trying to take over (i.e., taking his food, climbing on him, etc.)
As Emersonc said, crickets walking over your chameleon will add a great deal of stress and will adversely affect the health of the cham. I have read a chameleon can become a source of food for hungry crickets. Try adding some cricket food(fresh vegies) to the cage, and remove them at night.


A screen cage, a couple live plants, and a few vines or branches would be ideal. You did not mention any plants or branches. As Heika said, the heat rock is not recommended for chameleons.

Chameleons are delicate animals. Once they begin to show signs of poor health their illness is often well developed. If you are going to make some changes, I recommend doing them as soon as possible. A trip to a qualified vet would probably be a good idea to make sure your chameleon is in good health.

[THREAD=67]Veterinarian Resources[/THREAD]
I would look at arav.org first. There are a few listed veterinarians in or near Dallas. If you are interested in the vet I use in Austin, send me a private msg.
 
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