Chamaleon with eye trouble!


New Member
Please help.

My ambanja,nosey blue mix cham, Tiku Ianau (I love you in Malagasy from Madagascar0, has started to close his eyes and they look sunken until I pick hip up, put some water on them, and then they look just normal. He is 2 years old and 2 months. A week ago he shed only a one side of his tail! He was eating and drink (more than usual) until yesterday when he only ate one cricket for me. Today he wants nothing to eat,but he did drink some water. I also gave him a 2 minute bath and sprayed him with shedding aid. After all the handling he got in a frenzy and wanted to run, run run and go to the bottom of his cage. He was puffing up his ribcage (no mouth open breathing). Then he finally calmed down. he does seem to have a lighter color than usual. This is the first time he has had the eye closing situation. the left eye is the one closed the most. Could he be shedding? He does seem to want to hide an to "rub" on his branches?
Does anyone know a proven vet in Minnesota. I live in a small town about 2 hrs from the twin cities. I am willing to take him, but I just had a terrible experience with my western painted turtle one week ago, overdose on vit A.
He is a screen cage, 4 feet tall by 2 ft wide cage with a schefflera (huge) in it with an automatic mister that goes off every 3 hours for 45 secs. He eats about 4 crickets every 2 days hand fed by me besides the lots of crickets I let him roam for. He also eats as treats waxies and meal worms. I try to dus one a week with repcal calcium and alternate with repcal Heptvite. however my vitamins had expired on December and sept of 2010 respectively. I already got him new vites. He has a reptisun 5.0 and also a basking light over his branch that gives him about 80 degrees when basking. He does seem to be basking more than normal now and also he is exposing his sides as if trying to maximize surface area. I wonder if he is shedding????? He really does not look sick, just odd behaviors and lighter coloration.
Please guys help and also if you think we nee to take him to the vet, recommend a good one in Minnesota.


a basking light over his branch that gives him about 80 degrees when basking. He does seem to be basking more than normal now and also he is exposing his sides as if trying to maximize surface area. I wonder if he is shedding????? He really does not look sick, just odd behaviors and lighter coloration.........

Are you certain the temperature reading is correct? you said 'about', how did you measure it? What you describe sounds like typical thermoregulation, including the lighter
color which generally indicates a cooler or warmer body temp than desired (they darker to absorb more heat, lighter to absorb less heat) and exposing his side is indeed to expose more surface area to the heat.
Re the rubbing, yes shedding is a good possibilty, half the tail is odd but not unheard of, they can and do shed in odd stages sometimes.
They eye issue may be benign as shedding related or environmental debris getting in, or it may be (possibly) related to the uv light (some older shortcoil types did cause eye damage). Incidentally if the uv light is older than 6-12 months it may no longer be outputting suitable light frequency.
They can get a bit off the food and lose some apetite while they are shedding.
Try setting your mister to go off a little more frequently and see if that helps, or hand mist it till drops run over its eyes, this can help flush any dust etc.
It may not be nessesary but a vet check up will give you peace of mind, and you could have a feacal exam done at the same time to rule out parasites, which can affect appetite aswell. :)
Best wishes
Hi guys, thank you for the response. I just measured his basking light with an acu-rite digital thermometer and it measured 80.5 F under the light. I also have just changed his repti.glo 5.0 to a brand new one. I also talked to his breeder, Vince, who is a wonderful guy and he suggested to give him baths for the next 5 days. If you guys know of a good herp vet in Minnesota, let me know just to have it in stand-by.

Thanks again for all your help, please write if you have any other ideas, it is better to have people with you when you re worried about your cham. i ove him too much. He has been with me for 2 years!
i had this problem a few months ago with my male 2. it has subsided but im not sure exactly what resolved the issue.

1] im still not sure if he got a fiber from the rope in his eye or something else. sprayed him longer to help clean the eye.
2] thinking that it maybe could be a vitA issue i also. bumped up the multivitmin to once a week for a month.
3] one last thing i did was change his bulb.

one of these three things helped i just dont which.
Thank you ataraxia. You have given me hope. My little guy even ate today fr me and drank. Pretty much the only weird things are the closed left eye and the fact that he got kind of whitish this morning after I gave him a 25 minute shower with 68 degree water ( on recommendation of his breeder) with the water hitting the wall and he getting the bounced off spray. He looks better now but still not his old self. I am not sure if he is in a molt rut. He is kind of voiding basking a much as he normally does and prefers the bottom of his schefflera or the middle ground between canopy and ground!

Thanks for hlping me out and keeping me company. I am scared!:(
You said that the basking area is at about 80 degrees...I would bump it up a bit closer to 85F. I'm saying this because you said he's basking a lot and because IMHO he isn't eating enough depending on how many waxies and meal worms you are giving him in addition to the 4 crickets every 2 days. Mine eat more like 20 crickets every 2 days. Are his head pads inflated? (Its hard to tell from the photo...but they look almost flat.) (BTW...I'm not a fan of meal worms....there are much better choices to use...silkworms, superworms, etc.)

You said...."I just had a terrible experience with my western painted turtle one week ago, overdose on vit A" did it end up overdosed with vitamin A? IMHO the only way that would happen would be if you are giving it too much prEformed vitamin A either from supplements or from the food that it eats. Vitamin A comes in two different forms...carotenoids (prOformed) which have to be converted by the animal into vitamin A or PrEformed sources (such as palmitate, acetate, retinol...or in the meat of another animal). Vitamin A and vitamin D3 also interact and if not in balance can give symptoms that may seem to be something else.

You said you try to dust once a week with repcal calcium and alternate with repcal Heptvite...IMHO I would only dust with the vitamins twice a month and with a phos.-free calcium at most feedings. It would also be good to dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3.

Its hard to be sure what the problem with the eye is...could be a number of things.

Here's some information that might help.......
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 just 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 also 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 as well 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...

Hope this helps!
Top Bottom