Basic questions

Ivy

Member
I got a male veiled chameleon about a week ago and I have done a lot of research but I still have some questions. How do I tell how old he is? How much calcium should I sprinkle on his food? Are mealworms ok to feed him bc I've heard that they're bad and that they're good. What are some beginning signs of mbd? And finally I've heard that hand feeding is a great way of bonding with him but I do not really like the idea of putting insects on my hand so is there any other good way to bond?
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome on here, and congrats! If you post some pics with size references, people on here can help you age him, but how much they're fed and how they're raised can change growth rates, so it won't be a for sure age, just a guesstimate. You'll sprinkle on the supplements so each feeder is lightly dusted, you don't want powdered donut bugs. Mealworms are fine as treats and variety, not as staples. Here's a great link on MBD:
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-medical-metabolic-bone-disease/
I'd let him settle in for now before trying to do any bonding. Good ways are hand-feeding him, taking him outside or to a free-range enclosure, and giving him treats if he's outside, in a free-range enclosure, or if he climbs onto a stick you're holding on to (helps train them/make it easier for you for if/when you have to take him to a vet)
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Also, since you're new here, we can help check your husbandry as well. If you want to fill out this form in as much detail as possible, including pics of him, his entire enclosure, and his lights, it'll allow us to help you the best:

Here is some recommended information to include when asking for help in the health clinic forum. By providing this information you will receive more accurate and beneficial responses. It might not be necessary to answer all these questions, but the more you provide the better. Please remember that even the most knowledgeable person can only guess at what your problem may be. Only an experienced reptile veterinarian who can directly examine your animal can give a true diagnosis of your chameleon's health.


Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • 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?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

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Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I got a male veiled chameleon about a week ago and I have done a lot of research but I still have some questions. How do I tell how old he is?
For sure? You don't, unless you got him from a breeder that can tell you his hatch date. Some here can guesstimate with a picture—try to include a reference, like putting a ruler (or something of common known size) behind him.

How much calcium should I sprinkle on his food?
Very little. He'll be getting it every day, and it's to supplement what he'd get from his diet, so a light dusting—not a powdering. Some use a plastic bag; I prefer a small plastic container (You can usually get a stack of them at a dollar store). Add a tiny pinch of dust and shake.

Are mealworms ok to feed him bc I've heard that they're bad and that they're good.
They may not be the absolute best thing, but they're not the worst, and they're definitely better than nothing. I prefer to feed giant mealworms; they get bigger and keep longer—just the thing if you run out of crickets or roaches. I always keep some on-hand, and feed a few a couple times a week.

What are some beginning signs of mbd?
MBD can take weeks to months to develop. The most common cause is poor husbandry.
Early symptoms of MBD include bowed or swollen legs, arched spine, bumps along the bones of the legs, spine and tail, bilateral softening of the jaw (commonly referred to as rubber jaw), and softening of the carapace and plastron in turtles and tortoises.
https://avianandexoticvets.com/metabolic-bone-disease-in-reptiles

And finally I've heard that hand feeding is a great way of bonding with him but I do not really like the idea of putting insects on my hand so is there any other good way to bond?
Is the problem mysophobia or the creep factor? If the former, insects—particularly farmed insects—are probably cleaner than your chameleon, and in many cultures insects are increasingly becoming part of peoples' diets. If the latter, in the nicest possible way, get over it. Crickets, roaches, worms, etc. occasionally get dropped or otherwise escape, and the fastest way to recover them is just reach out and grab them. Feeder insects don't bite, and if it bothers you that much, you can always don some surgical gloves.

You can tame/handle without them, but it will likely take longer.

Either way, best practice is washing thoroughly after handling any reptile (we all know how to do that now!); a few insect germs (albeit less likely) shouldn't make a difference.

IDK if "bonding" is the right word. As far as establishing trust for handling purposes:




 

dinomom

Avid Member
I got a male veiled chameleon about a week ago and I have done a lot of research but I still have some questions. How do I tell how old he is? How much calcium should I sprinkle on his food? Are mealworms ok to feed him bc I've heard that they're bad and that they're good. What are some beginning signs of mbd? And finally I've heard that hand feeding is a great way of bonding with him but I do not really like the idea of putting insects on my hand so is there any other good way to bond?
Putting bugs in a little container that you hold makes it seem like part of you and he will come to recognize it.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
And finally I've heard that hand feeding is a great way of bonding with him but I do not really like the idea of putting insects on my hand so is there any other good way to bond?

You can tame/handle without them, but it will likely take longer.
I'm going to change my answer here. My own saga of "taming" with food did not fare so well.

All animals are still individuals. Some (most?) are motivated by food, but there are other motivators as well, and it's up to us to figure out what motivates our pets. My chameleon—as it turned out—is more motivated by the prospect of getting out and spending some time on the Missus' plant table in front of a large window. Once I figured that out, it's been a really simple matter of offering him a hand/arm, which he'll board in order to get to the plants.

At this point, he charges me every time I open the enclosure. Sometimes he gets some "plant time" and other times, we do some chameleon juggling, and he's content to go right back to basking, etc.
 
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