Behaving Strange!


New Member
My Tootie has been behaving a bit odd the last few days. She usually sits at the top of her cage but recently she's been climbing down a vine to the bottom of the cage then climbing up a stick back to where she was. She did this over and over yesterday. I left for school early this morning so I don't know if she has continued it today. I'm wondering is she going to lay eggs? As I understand it, the chameleon will hang out at the bottom of the cage but Tootie doesn't stop to poke around anywhere. She just keeps going in a circle. Her body is about 4 inches long (not including the tail). The pet shop guy said she's big enough to start laying eggs so I bought her a 20 gallon container and I'm going to fill it with potting soil as soon as I get home. I guess I need guidance and advice because I'm afraid. I know a lot of chams don't make it and I want to do everything right to make sure she's okay. Also, I can't tell if she has gained weight. I just realized she's a lot bigger than when I first got her but that includes length, not just roundness.

Chameleon Info:

* Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? Veiled chameleon. Not sure how old she is. Purchased her on January 4, 2011
* Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? Handled her once since I purchased her when arranging her cage
* Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? Feeding her about 10 small crickets every 1.5 days along with 5 mealworms. Gut-load crickets with potato and carrots
* Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? Using repti-cal twice 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? Use a spray bottle to mist her leaves and such. Spray about 4 times a day. I see her drink about once a day after I spray.
* Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? Dry brown/black feces. She goes about once every other day. She has never been tested for parasites.
* History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. No

Cage Info:

* Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? 24x24x12 Screen cage
* Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? Don't know off the top of my head but has a basking light and a full spectrum light
* Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? I have a gauge to measure the temp. Usually between 75 and 85 depending on time of day.
* Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? Humidity is usually in between 55 and 65% I also have a gauge from Petco to measure it.
* Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? Yes I have a habiscus plant.
* 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?It is in my room by the closet (not inside) No fans, vents or traffic near it. The top of the cage is about 5 ft from the floor.
* Location - Where are you geographically located? Glendale, California.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
Tootie is behaving strange. She spent all of yesterday climbing in a circle. I don't know if she has to lay eggs but I'm going to set up a place for her to do so anyway. I need advice and some kind of instructions as to how to care for her during this time. How long do I leave in the dirt container? How deep do I make the dirt? How do I know she's done? Do I feed her while she's in there? What do I feed her afterward?


New Member
I think I should add that she's been turning brown more lately. This morning she was dark brown before I turned on her lights. She turned green after a while but she's been exhibiting more color than usual. Is that significant?


New Member
The dimensions of your cage seem a little strange-which dimension is the 12"? You need to make sure that you have a UVB light-not just a full spectrum. Are you measuring temps with a digital thermometer with a probe or just one of those round analog dial types? If she is searching for a suitable place to lay she may not stop-which could explain her being at the bottom.


Avid Member
my VC's have been roaming down to the floor the past few days also. They go down and come right back up. I thought it was strange two of mine were doing this but are others doing this 2? as for your care i would change a few things. you definitely want to know what kind of full spectrum lighting you have. is it a cfl, coil, mercury vapor or linear tube? your dusting schedule is lacking as well as your gutload. gut load with veggies and fruits 24 hours before feeding. dusting i would recommend repcal brand supplements. calcium without d3 every feeding, calcium with d3 twice a month and herptivite multivitamin twice a month. post pics so we can tell the size and guess the age.


Chameleon Enthusiast
The container for her to dig in should be opaque and at least 12" deep x 12" x 8" and filled almost full of washed playsand that is moist enough to hold a tunnel. I recommend leaving the container in the cage all the time so that she will always have a place to lay her eggs.

Does she have mustardy/yellow splotches on her? Can you post a picture of her please?

Here's some information you might find helpful......
Exposure to proper UVB, appropriate temperatures, supplements, a supply of well-fed/gutloaded insects, water and an appropriate cage set-up are all important for the well-being of your chameleon.

Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects before you feed them to the chameleon at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

Dusting twice a month with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite.)

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

Here are some good sites for you to read...
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New Member
I gutload the crickets for a while. I put in veggies regularly but I will make sure to add more variety. I do dust them about twice a week. Is that too often? The 12 inch dimension is the length of the cage. I attached a side view of the cage to show you. I have heard of people moving their chameleon into another container when they need to lay eggs and that's what I plan to do since her enclosure is too small to put a container/laying bin in there. I purchased Jungle Mix (I think that's what its called) because all the other potting mix (including what I already bought) has some chicken manure in it and that doesn't seem appropriate. Tootie looked real round in one of the pictures and that also makes me believe she's got some eggs in there. Or maybe she's just fat lol. She is asleep for the night so I plan to put her in the bin tomorrow morning when she wakes up. I should also mention that she's slightly more aggressive and actually hissed or puffed air at me for the first time today. Is this a characteristic of egg laying?


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Chameleon Enthusiast
You said you're dusting, but you need to read what I said in my previous post.

Regarding egglaying...if you don't provide her with a (12" deep x 12" x 8") container in the cage and you miss the sometimes subtle signs of her needing to lay eggs which could lead to eggbinding.


New Member
Personally I'd say you'd benefit from a larger enclosure and more foliage - particularly once you get a laying bin in there. also has she shed yet? When my guy is starting to shed and shedding, he gets much more active and climbs through the leaves and stuff to get the loose skin off

Dave Weldon

Avid Member

While there may be other issues, I'll focus on one of my favorite concerns :)o): Your UVB light source. If your UVB light source is incorrect or poor then sooner or later there will be health issues, so we might as well get it solved now. Tell us exactly what brand and model of UVB light you are using. Is it fluorescent? Who makes it? Which style - Compact or Linear? Is it a 10.0 or 5.0 etc? Is there any plactic or glass between the surface of the light and your chameleon? I'll let the others follow-up on what else might be an issue for now (late for work!)


New Member
Ok so the calcium I'm using does have D3 so I got a different one that doesn't. I took Tootie to the vet where they did some x-rays and found she doesn't have eggs. He said she's still a bit too small. Apparently, she has some poop backed up and that was causing her to look so round. He said her bones are a bit less dense than he'd like so he prescribed some calcium supplement and another medication to clear her intestines. She is doing a lot better now and I just saved the dirt I bought for when she does need it. She is under a reptisun 5.0 light and a generic brand basking light. Thanks to all of you for your help and advice!
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