Caved in back?!


New Member
So I'll start with, this is not my cham I'm asking for, it is my friends.
My friend got a three week old chameleon(same time, day, and breeder as I got Loco) and the other day she called me freaking out about her new baby.
His back looks like its caved in or someone pressed on him really hard and broke his poor back!!!
I'm having her fill out the question info and sending me a photo but until then what do you think it is?
She told me that she hardly sees him eating(maybe one small cricket every few days) she doesn't see him drinking even though shes mists heavily 3times a day.
He hangs upside down a lot and his back will cave in like he is reaching up and his back goes so far it gets stuck and she has to take him out to let him straighten himself back out!!! I've never heard of this and she's even more freaked out!
Any ideas?
I'll get all the info needed on him and housing as soon as she sends it to me!


Retired Moderator
No ideas at all yet. Pictures will help. If his back were broken I would expect him to have use of his front legs, not his back legs.
I actually think I know what you are talking about. Is it the region of the back just before the tail? I've seen photos of young panther chameleons, including one of my own, where they have been hanging upside down and it will literally look like their lower back has sunken inwards. Now, my panther that had this problem is perfectly fine now, but when I first saw it I was freaking out. Though I never had to "take him out to let him straighten himself back out." So I don't know what to say about that... My boy would just climb down and ta da, back to normal. He did not eat much when I first got him, and this is when the indentation occurred. However once he started getting more food in his belly I never saw this problem again.
How old is her boy? If still quite young and small you should recommend she buys a culture of fruit flies to try and put something into the little chameleon. The flies should still trigger a natural hunting instinct that will also like trigger appetite. Could also be that the crickets are just far too big.
Side note, please recommend her to join Chameleon Forums so she can do research on her own accord, and not go through you. I feel like that might just be more convenient for your friend.


New Member
It could be a deformity. A malformation of the little chams spine. I once had a Jackson that had been born with an S-shaped spine. It evened out as it got older with both a healthy diet and heavier calcium boosts. Show some pictures, it is difficult to advise without them. If the spine was indeed broken, the chameleon would have a really short life span and minimal use if not complete paralysis of its hind extremities.


New Member
Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon -
The species: Veiled
Sex: unknown
Age: 5 weeks
How long has it been in your care? 2 weeks
Handling - Few mins every couple of days
What are you feeding your cham? Crickets
What amount? 3-4 a day
What is the schedule? No schedule
How are you gut-loading your feeders? Fluckers orange cubes
Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? Fluckers calcium with vitamin D (But not to often because I heard to much can impact them)
Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? Hand misting
How often and how long to you mist? 1-2 times daily for about 2 mins.
Do you see your chameleon drinking? No
Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Black and white, solid.
Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? No
History - No previous history available. Purchased from Pomona super show from private breeder.

Cage Info:
Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? Exoterra 12x12x18 tall glass with screen top.
Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? reptisun 5.0 UVA and UVB
What is your daily lighting schedule? turn of light around 6pm (because of work)
Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? 75-80
Lowest overnight temp? 70
How do you measure these temps? Temp gage
Humidity - What are your humidity levels? 75-80
How are you creating and maintaining these levels? Misting
What do you use to measure humidity? Humidity gage
Plants - Are you using live plants? yes
If so, what kind? 1 orchid, unsure of the other two.
Placement - Where is your cage located? living room/dining area
Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? across from high vent, low traffic
At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor? 58.5 inch
Location - Where are you geographically located? Cali., Orange county

Current Problem - When I got him he started bending his back inwards. I've seen him do this once or twice since bring him home. [[I've also seen him do this once before on our drive home]] Does this a lot when upside down or trying to get upside down.

This is all the info I got from her. She hasn't been able to get a photo yet, but it's pretty scary looking.


New Member
Here are the photos she send me. He was doing it again today..
I know it's hard to see but if you look you can see his back curved inwards. This is actually the better of how his back has been, he's been completely bent over before he gets to this point.


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New Member
That could be anything from an injured vertebrae to nerve damage. I'm by no means an expert with stuff like this, but you should definitely try to get a closer and more defined pictures. Either way, i think this is vet worthy.


New Member
I think a vet would be best, sadly the vet i work for no longer does reptiles):
And shes having a bit of a money squeeze, so until she gets to a vet I found it in best interest to ask around. See if someone else has has something like this going on or seen anything like it, I know she can't be the first to have a problem like this.
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