Baby Veiled Chameleon Passed Away in 2 Days :(

tsorenson242

New Member
Me and my girlfriend just recently got a female baby veiled chameleon on Monday from PetsMart. Unfortunately, Tuesday night she passed away :(

Although I am not super experienced on the matter, we believe the little girl had an upper respiratory infection that was in the final stages when we purchased her.

The pet store said she was about a month old when we purchased her (which seems a little too young to be selling a chameleon at a pet store). We kept her in a 2 x 2 x 4 foot cage. The cage was pretty well filled with branches and fake foliage, and i was planning on adding live plants to the enclosure but did not get the chance to. The temperatures in her enclosure were 85-90 near the basking light and in the 70s throughout the rest of the cage. Initially her humidity was a bit low (40s) but i purchased a supersonic humidifier and was able to get it closer to the 50s and 60s. We had a strip uvb bulb on the top of the cage along with a basking light.

From the moment we got her, she seemed very weak, stressed, and would rarely open her eyes. The second day we had her, she slept all day and would keep her eyes closed when moving around. We made a dripper on top of the cage and misted her cage 4 times, giving her plenty of opportunities to drink from plants near her. Despite this, I only saw her drink one lick of water from the time we got her until her passing. We attempted to feed her tiny crickets and meal worms, but because she would not open her eyes, we could not interest her whatsoever. Even when she did rarely open her eyes, putting food near her stressed her out, making her close her eyes again and turn dark. Because of this, I made a little food bowl with a few crickets and worms, but she never ate. Handling was kept to a minimum. We only handled her to put her in her new enclosure (she fell asleep on my finger for 20 minutes so this was quite difficult) and to try and convince her to eat once. I did this for about 5 minutes and then put her back in. Because she was so weak, she only kept to one part of her large cage, and she barely moved around.

Occasionally, she would raise her nose to the sky and gape her mouth for a second or two, even though she wasn’t anywhere near the basking light. I now know that this was a symptom of her respiratory infection. I also saw a spit bubble in her mouth one of the times, which led me to research about infections.

On tuesday night late, i checked on her to find her hanging by one foot on a branch near the top of her cage. She was very weak and struggling to stay on the branch, waving her hands in the air to find a branch near her. Because her eyes were closed, she did not realize there was nothing near her to grab on to. To help her, i offered her a small branch to get her rebalanced. Upon doing this, she turned black (she had never done this). She became limp and basically stopped moving. I removed her from the cage to see if there was anything i could do to help her. Suddenly, her stomach expanded massively and then got tiny followed by a popping sound coming from her mouth, and i believe this was her last breath. She was then unresponsive and was gone.
Although i believe she was already sick, I worry that I may have done something wrong when caring for her in that short time. Any insight would be helpful. The pictures attached show me trying to transfer her to her cage upon purchasing her, the cage setup, and her after she passed.
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userBandit

Member
sorry to hear about your chameleon, doesn't seem like you did much of anything wrong. Unfortunately that is the risk you take when you buy from local Pet Stores, and that out come happens far too often. I recommend if you get another one find a reptile store and an expo. Somewhere that specializes and breeds their own reptiles.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sorry for your loss. It sounds like she was not doing well to begin with. She was very very young.

Temps in the enclosure would have been too hot for a baby. And most of us do not keep basking any hotter then 85 max for an adult male. Typical basking temps for babies this young would be 78ish. I am not sure what your UVB lighting is but it does not look quite right.

If yall are wanting to learn more then I would suggest this husbandry program before you get another one. https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/

If buying from any store. Your looking for alert babies. eyes open not sunk in. Moving around. 3 months old is a better age as well for your first one.
 

CBee7726

Avid Member
I'm sorry to hear that this happened, how sad :(
It sounds like she was definitely already sick when you got her, and likely wasn't your fault.

Unfortunately, this happens a lot with large chain pet stores. Most of the time, they aren't even knowledgeable themselves, so it's no surprise they wind up selling sick chams (in addition to poor advice and bad supply/husbandry recommendations).

If you decide in the future to try again, I might recommend going with a reputable breeder. They might be a little more expensive, but you'll be getting them from someone who is knowledgeable, so you'll have a much higher likelihood of adopting a healthy cham which will give you a greater chance at success. But before you do that, continue learning as much as you can now. That way, you'll have a better handle on caring for a cham, as well as what red flags to look for early on. I have found this forum to be not only a great resource, but also super supportive and a great place to ask questions.
 

tsorenson242

New Member
Sorry for your loss. It sounds like she was not doing well to begin with. She was very very young.

Temps in the enclosure would have been too hot for a baby. And most of us do not keep basking any hotter then 85 max for an adult male. Typical basking temps for babies this young would be 78ish. I am not sure what your UVB lighting is but it does not look quite right.

If yall are wanting to learn more then I would suggest this husbandry program before you get another one. https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/

If buying from any store. Your looking for alert babies. eyes open not sunk in. Moving around. 3 months old is a better age as well for your first one.
Thank you for the recommendations. The uvb was an 18 inch thrive strip bulb. The bulb wasn’t turned all the way in the fixture which is why it looks dim in the picture but i was able to fix it. We will definitely get another chameleon but we will likely go through a breeder to ensure it’s health and previous quality care.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you for the recommendations. The uvb was an 18 inch thrive strip bulb. The bulb wasn’t turned all the way in the fixture which is why it looks dim in the picture but i was able to fix it. We will definitely get another chameleon but we will likely go through a breeder to ensure it’s health and previous quality care.
K and I believe the thrive one your talking about is a T8... So you will want to upgrade to a T5HO fixture and a 5.0 or 6% bulb. THat husbandry program will walk you through that info as well.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m so very sorry that this happened to you. Poor little cham. 😢 Sounds like she was already too far gone when you got her. Do make sure to check out the site that Beman suggested and learn all that you can. You may also want to check Neptune the chameleon on YouTube for great learning. I’d suggest keeping an eye on the forum as every now and then there are chams for sale and sometimes members needing to rehome their cham.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Most everything's already been said.

Some things to keep in mind when making your next purchase (from Purchasing a Chameleon in the Resources section:
A Healthy Chameleon

healthy chameleon

Review these features and behaviors to help ensure the chameleon you are interested in is healthy.
  • A healthy chameleon should be active in its environment and standing up rather than laying on its perch.
  • The chameleon should be able to move about the cage with good balance without falling or stumbling.
  • The eyes should be full, open at all times and actively looking all around.
  • The arm and leg bones should all be straight, toes should all be intact and the chameleon should have a strong grip.
  • Skin should have vibrant coloration all over the body and all the spines on the back should be present.
  • Patches of shedding skin are normal if present.
  • The tail should be able to grasp branches and curl up smoothly.
An Unhealthy Chameleon

Unhealthy Chameleon

The symptoms below are possible signs of illness. Unhealthy chameleons should not be purchased except by very experienced owners.
  • Sleeping during the day at all.
  • Sunken or swollen eye turrets.
  • Laying on the bottom of the cage.
  • Legs that are bent, curved, appear to have multiple joints or have swellings at the joints.
  • Wrinkly, crusty or dry skin, bumps, cuts or bruises, or patches of abnormal colored skin.
  • Blood at the mouth, swollen jaw, or jaw that doesn't align properly.
  • A tail that cannot curl or is black at the end.
  • Falling off branches, having a weak grip, stumbling or appearing very clumsy.
 

Shanar808

Avid Member
I’m soo sorry about your little one 😢 it’s really hard to lose a pet especially when you just did all you could to give them the best start in life, but at least you know you tried and that little one was loved during its last days here. The Chameleon Academy has a podcast episode especially made for mourning your loss, along with many great and informative podcasts for Cham care. I hope you are not discouraged and see this as a start of a journey into the chameleon world, from what you’ve said and done so far I think you’re going to make a great chameleon owner! My condolences and best wishes to you.
 

tsorenson242

New Member
I’m so very sorry that this happened to you. Poor little cham. 😢 Sounds like she was already too far gone when you got her. Do make sure to check out the site that Beman suggested and learn all that you can. You may also want to check Neptune the chameleon on YouTube for great learning. I’d suggest keeping an eye on the forum as every now and then there are chams for sale and sometimes members needing to rehome their cham.
Thank you so much for the support, she was so sweet it was hard losing her :(
 

tsorenson242

New Member
I’m soo sorry about your little one 😢 it’s really hard to lose a pet especially when you just did all you could to give them the best start in life, but at least you know you tried and that little one was loved during its last days here. The Chameleon Academy has a podcast episode especially made for mourning your loss, along with many great and informative podcasts for Cham care. I hope you are not discouraged and see this as a start of a journey into the chameleon world, from what you’ve said and done so far I think you’re going to make a great chameleon owner! My condolences and best wishes to you.
I appreciate the kind words. It has been a bit discouraging but we will definitely look into those podcasts and find another sweet chameleon to give a great life to. Thanks so much :)
 

tsorenson242

New Member
K and I believe the thrive one your talking about is a T8... So you will want to upgrade to a T5HO fixture and a 5.0 or 6% bulb. THat husbandry program will walk you through that info as well.
I attached pictures of what i have installed for lighting. I couldn’t find anywhere on the thrive boxes that state whether they are T8 or T5. I also have my basking bulb hanging from the ceiling now to decrease the heat output. Thanks!
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CBee7726

Avid Member
If you look at the linear bulb itself, there should be a label at one of the ends with the Thrive logo... what does it say there?

It is weird that the packaging of neither the bulb nor the hood actually say.
 

Shanar808

Avid Member
That is odd but the t5 is thinner than the t8 right? So maybe if u can measure the width.
 

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Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I attached pictures of what i have installed for lighting. I couldn’t find anywhere on the thrive boxes that state whether they are T8 or T5.
The T number is just the diameter of the bulb in 1/8 of an inch.
T5 = 5/8" dia.
T8 = 1" dia.

We still have a few T12s (1½" dia.) around. IDK if they even make them anymore. 🤷‍♂️
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I attached pictures of what i have installed for lighting. I couldn’t find anywhere on the thrive boxes that state whether they are T8 or T5. I also have my basking bulb hanging from the ceiling now to decrease the heat output. Thanks!View attachment 285128View attachment 285129View attachment 285130View attachment 285131
It is a T8 hun... And I hate how they do their bulbs because they don't clearly label the strength for the UVI output like other brands do... So two options. Go buy either an arcadia 12% T8 18 inch bulb or a reptisun 10.0 T8 18 inch bulb and then fixture placement would be on the top of the enclosure with basking approximately 7 inches below it for the UVB to get the right UVI out put.... Now if dealing with a baby that will screen climb the top you want to raise the fixture 2 inches off the top then basking branch would be 5 inches below the screen for a total distance of 7 inches. Both of these methods with either of the mentioned bulbs would give you an approximate 3 UVI level at basking.

This way you would not need to replace the T8 fixture for a T5.
 

tsorenson242

New Member
It is a T8 hun... And I hate how they do their bulbs because they don't clearly label the strength for the UVI output like other brands do... So two options. Go buy either an arcadia 12% T8 18 inch bulb or a reptisun 10.0 T8 18 inch bulb and then fixture placement would be on the top of the enclosure with basking approximately 7 inches below it for the UVB to get the right UVI out put.... Now if dealing with a baby that will screen climb the top you want to raise the fixture 2 inches off the top then basking branch would be 5 inches below the screen for a total distance of 7 inches. Both of these methods with either of the mentioned bulbs would give you an approximate 3 UVI level at basking.

This way you would not need to replace the T8 fixture for a T5.
Sounds good, I appreciate the help!
 
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