Baby Veiled Chameleon - Concerns! Female? Bloated Stomach? Overfeeding? Calcium Overdose? Possible D3 Overdose? Right Habitat Conditions? Color change

#1
Hello.

I recently purchased a baby veiled chameleon. I have never owned a reptile before. I have some concerns. I will try to provide as much detail as possible.

Reptile:
Veiled Chameleon

Age:
Not exactly known, but believed to be about a month and half, maybe two months

Sex:
I was told he was a male when I purchased him. At the time, I did not research how to tell the sex of chameleons, but I think it may be female

Enclosure:
Open air aluminum screen 24 x 24 x 40 inches
Dracaena live plants inside enclosure. Different sizes and species. Vertical wood branches, and a horizontal one for basking and cricket cup feeding

Lighting:
24 watt Reptisun 5.0 T5 H.O fluorescent lamp strip
100 Watt Reptile Basking Lamp

Both lights are placed directly on top of the cage over the screen. Approximately 14 inches away from the chameleon

Humidity:
Hand misting 4 to 5 times a day for about 5 minutes each time. Hot water is put in the spray bottle so it comes out warm. Water temperature is always tested before spraying. Humidity levels: 30% when dry. 50-60% around the plants after misting. 40% around basking area after misting.

Temperature:

76.5 open area. 70.0 around the plants. 83.8 and 86.5 basking area

Feeding:

Crickets, pinhead sized and a bit larger. Fed 3 times daily, about every 3 hours. Not fed later than 3:00 p.m. Eats 10 crickets per feeding. At time 5 crickets in between, but does not eat more than 40 a day. Crickets are kept in a 20 gallon glass tank with a screen cover. I have placed egg cartons inside, and they are currently being gutloaded with kale, carrots, oranges, strawberries, sweet potato, butternut squash, and apples.

Supplementation:

Repti Calcium with vitamin D3
Repti Calcium without vitamin D3

Weight:

~ 12 grams. Weighed on February 5, 2019

Shedding:

Last shed on January 29, 2019

Pet visit:

February 5, 2019




Questions and concerns:



Is my chameleon a female?

When I purchased my chameleon, I was told it was a male. I did not check it was indeed a male, and at the time I had not researched how to differentiate between male and female veiled chameleons.

I am concerned about my chameleon having a bloated stomach (more details below), and as I was researching what the bloatedness could be, I came across female veiled chameleons being egg bound. I started to look more closely, and I think my chameleon may be a female. I do not think it has any tarsal spurs. I thought I could see what could be its hemipenis? But now I am really not sure if it is male or female.

I took him to the vet for a physical last Tuesday February 5, 2019. I specified he was a male. I was not told he was otherwise. To be honest, I do not think the vet checked. I did not have doubts at the time, so I did not ask about it.

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Overfeeding? Bloated stomach.

Even if my chameleon is a female, I read that they can start producing eggs as early as 4 months old. If this is true, and if it is a female, I believe the bloatedness is not that she is egg bound.

If it is a male, I am not sure what the bloatedness is due to. I have tried researching into the different causes, but I cannot seem to come across anything useful.

Is it possible that he is just eating too much, and he is getting chubby? And is this okay? His bowel movements are normal, he goes once a day, and so far has gone twice a day once. He had a fecal exam done this past thursday, and the results came back normal. I believe he is well hydrated. It is rare to see him drink water, but his urate seems normal, his eyes I believe are also normal, so I do not think there are any signs of dehydration. In terms of his feeding, I was told that he could eat about 15 to 20 crickets a day, however, when he gets hungry he is always roaming around the bucket where I place the crickets inside the enclosure. Right now, as I stated above, I feed them around 30 to 40 crickets a day; though I am sure he could eat more if given more. I was told by the seller, the vet, and also I have read, that it is okay to feed baby chameleons as much as they can eat, and was told it was good he was eating that much.

I started noticing the bloatedness two days ago.

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Calcium overdose? Vitamin D3 overdose?

When I purchased my veiled chameleon I was told by the seller to dust with calcium containing vitamin D3 for every feeding until he was about a year old, then from then on to dust with calcium without vitamin D3. Seeing that my chameleon ate double of what I was told he could eat, I asked if I should still dust with D3 every meal, and I was told it was okay to do so.

I mentioned my concerns to the vet about D3 overdose, and I was told that if he is in the open area a lot, that he should be getting enough UVB and did not need to supplement every feeding with D3. I was advised to supplement with vitamin D3 twice a week, and to still dust every feeding, no matter how many crickets per meal, with calcium without D3.

I was also told that the gutload diet I currently provide my crickets with is good, and that no multivitamin would be needed.

So for about a week now, I have been dusting about 30 to 40 crickets a day with calcium without D3. I have also been careful about not overdusting.

However, for about two days now, I noticed that my chameleon is getting white powder coming out of his nostrils at least once a day. How can I fix this? I have not supplemented his food for two days, just given him the crickets without calcium until i can figure out how not to overdose him. Should I only dust half the crickets he eats in one day?

(sorry did not take pictures of the white nostrils)


Color change?

I also noticed that when I first purchased him he was a much deeper, though still bright, green. As the days past, he started getting much lighter. I asked the vet, and I was only told it was normal. I did some research and read that it could be the temperatures too high causing him to turn lighter to absorb less heat. My basking temperature at the time was 88. I rearranged the enclosure, and now his basking temperatures are around 83, 86. He is still very light green. I just hope that he is healthy.


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I think I have provided as much detail as possible. Please let me know if I should provide you with any other information, or more pictures Thank you in advance for all your comments and suggestions. Also, some feedback as to if I am doing something right or wrong will be greatly appreciated :)
 
#2
Wow did you come prepared! Love it! Great job! Soooooo You have a GIRL!!!!! No tarsal spur on her back hind feet. As I can not speak specifically to a cham that is a neonate but others will be able to chime in more to the specifics. Make sure you have a ton of horizontal branches or vines with vertical vines to go between. Here is a link to the care sheet https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#4
Wow did you come prepared! Love it! Great job! Soooooo You have a GIRL!!!!! No tarsal spur on her back hind feet. As I can not speak specifically to a cham that is a neonate but others will be able to chime in more to the specifics. Make sure you have a ton of horizontal branches or vines with vertical vines to go between. Here is a link to the care sheet https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/
Female, it’s going to take me some time to wade through the rest!
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#5
You have a 4mo female. Still ODing on D3. Pull her off all supplements for two weeks. The white crust your seeing is her body trying to purge itself of the excess supplements. Sounds like your misting schedule is sufficient, no changes required. Run as much water through HER as you can.

She is not eggbound.

Exactly what are you gutloading with?

Throw away whatever supplements your using and get this one. Put it on every single feeder starting two weeks from now.
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#6
Wow did you come prepared! Love it! Great job! Soooooo You have a GIRL!!!!! No tarsal spur on her back hind feet. As I can not speak specifically to a cham that is a neonate but others will be able to chime in more to the specifics. Make sure you have a ton of horizontal branches or vines with vertical vines to go between. Here is a link to the care sheet https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/
Thank you.

Wow! Although surprising, it is very exciting!!

I did have more branches in the initial setup before I brought my chameleon home, however they were very slippery, so I took them out of the enclosure. I am in the process of sanding some rough and sharp edges on this one manzanita tree branch I ordered. I will also be buying some artificial vines until I get a non-toxic live vine plant. He, well she, seems to be really loving the thermometer and hygrometer cables.

Thank you for the two links as well. I did read through these when I was doing research on caring for veiled chameleons, but I will have to go through them again since I did not inform myself well enough on how to care for female veils.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#9
@Brodybreaux25 what about her UVB being 14 inches away from the Cham? That would be too great a distance to get a uvi reading correct?
Yes, put the light a couple of inches above the screen, take a temp reading at the very top of the viv to ensue they won’t get burned, then move the basking branch as close to the top of the viv as you can get it without her getting overheated.
 
#10
You have a 4mo female. Still ODing on D3. Pull her off all supplements for two weeks. The white crust your seeing is her body trying to purge itself of the excess supplements. Sounds like your misting schedule is sufficient, no changes required. Run as much water through HER as you can.

She is not eggbound.

Exactly what are you gutloading with?

Throw away whatever supplements your using and get this one. Put it on every single feeder starting two weeks from now.
Thank you, and

sorry to ask, but how can you estimate she’s 4 months old?

I asked the seller for the age when I purchased the chameleon, and I was told that it spent about a week and half after birth with the breeder, then 3 weeks at the store ( I am not sure if it was three weeks up until the day i purchased him, or counting the two extra weeks he kept him to make sure he was healthy before I brought him home. I brought her home exactly two weeks ago. So I guess a total of about 8.5 weeks (3 weeks at store + 2 extra weeks) or 6.5 (3 weeks at store including the two extra weeks). Sorry I forgot to include these details when I typed in the info above.

As far as supplementation, she has been off any supplements for three days now including today, right after I noticed her nostrils. I was not sure exactly for how long to keep her off, so thank you, and will do.

Now, as far as running water through her as much as possible, I try, but she is not a fan of the water. Every time I try misting she runs and hides, I do try to gently make sure she gets some water on her, but I do not persist for long to not stress her, but I do make sure she gets wet and try to make sure her eyes get some water too. Just to clarify, I do not spray her directly, and I put water in bottle in hot so it comes out warm when I spray. She does like to play with the water in the sink when I let it run, at times she thinks its a vine and tries climb it, maybe to get away, but at least it gets her wet a bit, and I do not see any stress colors or behavior when I do this, so I do it from time to time. I spray the cage from the outside so that the screen is left with water drops, and this is how I have seen her drink water.

I will be doing more research into egg bounding. My previous research was on males as I thought I had purchased a male.

In terms of gut loading. I have done quite a bit of reading on gut loading mainly from this forum. To be honest I am still quite a bit confused and figuring out the best gut loading diet. So far I am gut loading with carrots, apples, strawberries, kale, oranges, sweet potato, and butternut squash. I do know I need to add more to it, and do more research on this. I did ask the seller and the vet on gut loading advice, and I was only told to throw in veggies and fruits, that what I was doing so far was good and sufficient, but that was it.

I will look into the Repashy Calcium Plus.

Thanks :)
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#11
Thank you, and

sorry to ask, but how can you estimate she’s 4 months old?

I asked the seller for the age when I purchased the chameleon, and I was told that it spent about a week and half after birth with the breeder, then 3 weeks at the store ( I am not sure if it was three weeks up until the day i purchased him, or counting the two extra weeks he kept him to make sure he was healthy before I brought him home. I brought her home exactly two weeks ago. So I guess a total of about 8.5 weeks (3 weeks at store + 2 extra weeks) or 6.5 (3 weeks at store including the two extra weeks). Sorry I forgot to include these details when I typed in the info above.

As far as supplementation, she has been off any supplements for three days now including today, right after I noticed her nostrils. I was not sure exactly for how long to keep her off, so thank you, and will do.

Now, as far as running water through her as much as possible, I try, but she is not a fan of the water. Every time I try misting she runs and hides, I do try to gently make sure she gets some water on her, but I do not persist for long to not stress her, but I do make sure she gets wet and try to make sure her eyes get some water too. Just to clarify, I do not spray her directly, and I put water in bottle in hot so it comes out warm when I spray. She does like to play with the water in the sink when I let it run, at times she thinks its a vine and tries climb it, maybe to get away, but at least it gets her wet a bit, and I do not see any stress colors or behavior when I do this, so I do it from time to time. I spray the cage from the outside so that the screen is left with water drops, and this is how I have seen her drink water.

I will be doing more research into egg bounding. My previous research was on males as I thought I had purchased a male.

In terms of gut loading. I have done quite a bit of reading on gut loading mainly from this forum. To be honest I am still quite a bit confused and figuring out the best gut loading diet. So far I am gut loading with carrots, apples, strawberries, kale, oranges, sweet potato, and butternut squash. I do know I need to add more to it, and do more research on this. I did ask the seller and the vet on gut loading advice, and I was only told to throw in veggies and fruits, that what I was doing so far was good and sufficient, but that was it.

I will look into the Repashy Calcium Plus.

Thanks :)
I breed them part time, casque, body size, and coloration.

About the water- NEVER mist with hot water, they don’t sense heat the same way as you and I do. Never use water warmer than 85*.

Gutload- some foods can actually negatively effect your Cham. Stick to the ones recommended here. Or both of these are available on Amazon.
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#12
Yes, put the light a couple of inches above the screen, take a temp reading at the very top of the viv to ensue they won’t get burned, then move the basking branch as close to the top of the viv as you can get it without her getting overheated.
Soo, lighting distance.

When I purchased the chameleon I was told to buy a 100 watt basking light since I had a big enclosure, but I also bought a 75 watt just in case, since I read that baby veiled require cooler basking temperatures than adults. I did end up setting up the 100 watt to get enough warmth throughout the cage, but I did have to lower the basking branch to get the right temperature, so yes right now it is at around 14 inches.

She likes to also spent a lot of time hanging upside down right under the UV light, she has tried to go towards the basking light, but she knows not to, but I still keep a close eye on her so she won’t get burned.

You are right about the distance though! Also bringing up the light will make sure she will not get burned on accident when she’s not hanging from the top, even though she avoids it.

I guess that if the lower area of the cage it’s too cold, I can provide another heating source.

Thanks, I will bring up the basking light above the cage! :)
 
#13
I breed them part time, casque, body size, and coloration.

About the water- NEVER mist with hot water, they don’t sense heat the same way as you and I do. Never use water warmer than 85*.

Gutload- some foods can actually negatively effect your Cham. Stick to the ones recommended here. Or both of these are available on Amazon.
I used to put warm water in the bottle, and it would come out cool, but I noticed how he didn’t like it. Then in this forum I read how the water should be put hot in the bottle so that it is warm when sprayed. I tried this, always testing the water before to make sure it would not be hot. She still hides, but seems to like it slightly better, as she stays around longer getting water on herself before she runs and hides.

I will test that the water is not warmer than 85 :)

Thank you for the gut loading info as well, I will adjust the crickets diet.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#14
Cool!

She likes to also spent a lot of time hanging upside down right under the UV light, she has tried to go towards the basking light, but she knows not to,
She does no know not to go there, it is your job as her keeper to ensure it isn’t even possible for this to happen. Chams do not feel heat the same way we do, there is a delayed reaction. By the time she actually feels the heat it’s already too late, she is burned. And watching her to be sure she doesn’t climb there isn’t an acceptable form of prevention.
 
#15
Cool!


She does no know not to go there, it is your job as her keeper to ensure it isn’t even possible for this to happen. Chams do not feel heat the same way we do, there is a delayed reaction. By the time she actually feels the heat it’s already too late, she is burned. And watching her to be sure she doesn’t climb there isn’t an acceptable form of prevention.

When I first brought her home, she tried to go near the light, but I turned the lights off, and I tried to bring her back down to the branch. I also turned off the UV light since I was not sure if it was safe or not. When she used to kept trying going to the light I turned it off. She now goes from time to time on the UV but on the opposite side where the heating light is. She has gotten more used to her enclosure now, she spends more of her time basking or roaming throughout the cage, very rarely she goes up to the UV light now, but then again still away from the basking light. Bringing down the branches to adjust the temperatures did help from her going to the top of the cage, but she hasn't stopped completely.

But you are right, only watching her, or even turning the lights off is not an acceptable form of prevention. I do not want her getting hurt, and I am doing as much research as i can to keep her healthy and from getting hurt. I will purchase what I need to bring the light up higher
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#16
When I first brought her home, she tried to go near the light, but I turned the lights off, and I tried to bring her back down to the branch. I also turned off the UV light since I was not sure if it was safe or not. When she used to kept trying going to the light I turned it off. She now goes from time to time on the UV but on the opposite side where the heating light is. She has gotten more used to her enclosure now, she spends more of her time basking or roaming throughout the cage, very rarely she goes up to the UV light now, but then again still away from the basking light. Bringing down the branches to adjust the temperatures did help from her going to the top of the cage, but she hasn't stopped completely.

But you are right, only watching her, or even turning the lights off is not an acceptable form of prevention. I do not want her getting hurt, and I am doing as much research as i can to keep her healthy and from getting hurt. I will purchase what I need to bring the light up higher
I’m not trying to be hard on you, it’s just that baby’s get burned unbelievable fast and we don’t want that to happen to you.

Results of a keeper not monitoring his temps: https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/burn-infection.167614/
 
#17
I’m not trying to be hard on you, it’s just that baby’s get burned unbelievable fast and we don’t want that to happen to you.

Results of a keeper not monitoring his temps: https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/burn-infection.167614/

No worries, you are absolutely right. I like to know what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong. Any type of feedback is greatly appreciated. I do try to monitor my temperatures all the time, I have rearranged the enclosure several times to ensure the temperatures are within the right range, I would not want my chameleon to get burned. I understand the light is something that needs to get fixed ASAP, going to the reptile store soon actually :) .. I would never want my chameleon getting burned like the one in the link above :( that's horrible!
 
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