Burns?

Jakama

Member
We purchased our chameleon about four days ago, and on the second day we had her she developed discolored patches on her sides. After doing some research, we tentatively concluded that she was burned. This would make sense, as the ambient temperature was fairly chilly for the first two days that we had her, and I think she may have spent some time as close as nine inches from a heat lamp. Since then, we have raised the ambient temperature, and moved the heat lamp back. The discolored patch is still there- what should we do? Do you think it's a burn? What is the optimal distance for a heat lamp?

 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes is does look like a burn to me. What are your ambient temps and your basking temps? You should have your branch postioned far enough that she cannot touch her body or casque to the screen. Is the basking light raised off the screen or touching the screen?
 

Jakama

Member
I don't have a thermometer, but the ambient temperature is very neutral. As for the basking temperature, I am not quite sure how that is defined, but we just moved the heat lamp up to the top of the enclosure in response to most of the posts on this site. Since she is a juvenile, the tallest branch in the enclosure only goes up to about two feet, and we figured that it would be better to have the heat lamp lower, but now we are unsure of that. The bulb of the lamp is several inches from the top of the enclosure, and the enclosure is about three feet high.
Mostly what I am concerned about is: should we take her to the vet, or will this heal? She seems to be behaving normally- she eats, drinks, keeps active.
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Where are you located? You need to be able to measure the temperature in the cage. The basking afea it where the temp is the highest, where she would "sun" herself. But you need a temp gradient so the cham can get away from the heat.

That is a burn from the looks of it. If you are able to get silvadene cream that would work most likely, but if not I would see a vet. jmo
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't have a thermometer, but the ambient temperature is very neutral. As for the basking temperature, I am not quite sure how that is defined, but we just moved the heat lamp up to the top of the enclosure in response to most of the posts on this site. Since she is a juvenile, the tallest branch in the enclosure only goes up to about two feet, and we figured that it would be better to have the heat lamp lower, but now we are unsure of that. The bulb of the lamp is several inches from the top of the enclosure, and the enclosure is about three feet high.
Mostly what I am concerned about is: should we take her to the vet, or will this heal? She seems to be behaving normally- she eats, drinks, keeps active.
You NEED an accurate thermometer...no getting around that. Remember, what feels "neutral" to you (a mammal with a normal temp of 98.6F) is too hot for a cham.

The best way to determine how far away the light needs to be from her basking perch is to measure the temp right where she'll sit to bask. If it is too hot, either reduce the watt of the bulb or move the lamp farther away. I think the best and easiest way to measure the temp in different spots around any cham cage is to use a temp gun. You can get small simple ones at places like Radio Shack or order them online from herp supplies like Pro Exotics or LLL Reptile. Basically, you point the gun at whatever you want to measure temp on, and it "reads" the surface temp using an infrared beam. Accurate, simple, quick, and portable. You don't have to attach anything to the cage either.

Oh, btw, you should be able to get some silvadene cream at a vet...they often have free samples available. It is a commonly used anti-infective protective burn treatment. If you can't find it, you can still prevent infection and protect the area with a topical antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin (OTC at pharmacies or grocery stores).
 
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