Chameleon acting VERY weird.

lexiexxox

Member
Everything wrong with Toad-

NOTE- none of these were happening about 3 months ago. One day he just started to act this way.
  • trying to push a way out of enclosure, even though we have a very large enclosure for him 4’x2.5’x5.5’ (mesh/wood framing)
  • dark in color, haven’t seen him bright green. He changes to dark before I can see him.
  • scatters very quickly to the bottom of the cage every time someone is near
  • will not accept hand fed insects anymore (I hand fed him ever since I got him, never an issue until lately)
  • haven’t seen him eat
  • rarely basking
  • crawls around on bottom
  • “shuts down” when handled and becomes lethargic (he used to be okay with handling)
  • sucks stomach in and becomes very thin when someone is near rather than puffing up (shown in video)
  • whenever i place him down, he either scatters away or lays his head on the surface and looks terrified :( -that one makes me overly sad, I just want him to feel okay
  • gets overly stressed and turns almost black
  • wont accept “force” feeding, if bug gets in his mouth, he spits it out
  • wants to get away from me at all times (again, he used to be fine with me)
  • haven’t seen him open his mouth or hiss
  • haven’t seen his tongue in ~3 months
  • has been constantly shedding/ there has always been at least one piece of shed on him
  • he’s just not as lively and himself and I just want my little Toady back. I can’t seem to find a reason this is happening.
Other Info-
He doesn’t look skinny, and his eyes aren’t sunken. His urates are normal. But he isn’t pooping as often as he used to. I figured he must be eating, as how else would he poop, but he is probably not eating enough because it’s very infrequent. Because he isn’t eating, I have no idea what the supplement schedule is. I try to feed him crickets, dubias, and super worms. Gut loaded with kale and carrots, other leafy greens depending on what we have on hand. I mist the cage daily making sure humidity doesn’t drop past 40. Temps are 85° basking and 70° lower. Using 2 linear T5 and one dual fixture with the compact UVB (i know these aren’t good, that’s why i have 2 other UVB linear bulbs) and a daylight basking bulb. Schedule is 8am-8pm on. Dirt is covered with towels that get changed as needed. No substrate. I clean the cage as needed. His enclosure is a big tree with a cage around it. A ficus tree ((weeping fig) no other plants)). Plenty of branches to climb. Right by a big window, plenty of light. I’m scared to handle him as it majorly stresses him out now, it seems like. I do want to start bringing him outside in the nice weather, but I’m not sure if that’s beneficial at this point.

His arms and legs aren’t bendy and he can climb just fine. It’s just scary that I haven’t seen him eat in a long time and he’s acting so weird. I hope someone could give me some advice as to what’s going on and my steps to move forward.


! None of the reptile vets near me are accepting new patients.

VIDEO:


He’s supposed to be this color:
F48B475C-2F3F-4AB6-96EA-9413466C1FB2.jpeg
 

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Last edited:

skywes13

Member
I'm sorry your little guy isn't feeling well. ): The only question I have is why so much uvb?? You have 2 t5 uvb bulbs and one compact uvb bulb?? Are they all on and working? If they are, that is an incredibly high amount of uvb and he could be getting wayyyy too much uvb, and that could be the issue.

Besides that, I personally don't have enough experience with veileds to be comfortable giving you advice, but I will tag some more experienced keepers to hopefully give you some advice. @Beman @jannb @ERKleRose @MissSkittles
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi. If you could offer more info, it would be a big help in helping you. Copy & paste with your answers please.

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.

--------------

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

lexiexxox

Member
I'm sorry your little guy isn't feeling well. ): The only question I have is why so much uvb?? You have 2 t5 uvb bulbs and one compact uvb bulb?? Are they all on and working? If they are, that is an incredibly high amount of uvb and he could be getting wayyyy too much uvb, and that could be the issue.

Besides that, I personally don't have enough experience with veileds to be comfortable giving you advice, but I will tag some more experienced keepers to hopefully give you some advice. @Beman @jannb @ERKleRose @MissSkittles
The reason I have so much is that I was told to make sure every part of the cage has some sort of UVB exposure. Say, If I only had one linear, it would only cover one side of the cage. So what if he hung out on the other side and got no UVB?
 

skywes13

Member
The reason I have so much is that I was told to make sure every part of the cage has some sort of UVB exposure. Say, If I only had one linear, it would only cover one side of the cage. So what if he hung out on the other side and got no UVB?
Okay I think I understand what you're thinking, and you have good intentions; however, that is a looot of uvb. Too much of a good thing can be bad. If he doesn't have somewhere to get out of the uvb, it would be similar to a human not being able to protect themself from the sun beating down on them. I would recommend you keep one linear t5 on, and immediately go shut off the other 2. As long as he's getting his d3 supplements every week/every other week he should be good with one linear light along with the supplements.

Here is a post I found by one of the creators of this site about uvb for his veiled:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/too-much-uvb.102216/post-939619

Again, I don't know enough about the veiled species to give you any other pointers, but I do know for sure that is an extreme amount of uvb and it could potentially be causing harm to your cham /:
 

lexiexxox

Member
Hi. If you could offer more info, it would be a big help in helping you. Copy & paste with your answers please.

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.

--------------

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

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
Veiled, Male, I got May 1st last year.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
I used to handle him frequently for short periods of time, to move him to our outdoor setup or to crawl around elsewhere. Now I am scared to do this frequently as stated in the post above.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
Crickets, dubias, superworms
Don’t know the amount as stated
I switch out the cups as needed
carrots, kale, greens that we have on hand (using the gut loading chart)
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
Rep-Cal multivitamin and calcium w/ D3
Flucker’s calcium without D3

Rep-cal alternating every week
calcium every other time

  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
misting cage twice a day, not letting humidity get under 40. I must for about a minute as it is a big cage. My mom told me she saw my chameleon drink yesterday.

  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
infrequent droppings, but they look okay
white or pale yellow urates
we can not test him as no vets nearby will take new patients(it may be a while until we get a checkup)
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
As stated above, he got used to hand feeding and handling pretty early on. He seemed not stressed and healthy. This weird behavior started about 2-3 months ago.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
He started in a small Zoo Med mesh cage, and after 3 months, we switched him to the current one which is a ~4’x2.5’x5.5’ mesh cage with wood framing and a plastic bottom.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
stated above
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
basking- ~85°, lower- ~70°
Night doesn’t get cooler than 65°.
I have a digital temp gun.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
Misting is maintaining humidity between 40-70%. Digital hydrometer
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
Weeping fig tree (live)
  • 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?
Top floor, looking out over driveway and front yard. Not really a high traffic area. No fans/vents. Top of cage is about 5’6.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
Southwest Washington, USA
 

lexiexxox

Member
Okay I think I understand what you're thinking, and you have good intentions; however, that is a looot of uvb. Too much of a good thing can be bad. If he doesn't have somewhere to get out of the uvb, it would be similar to a human not being able to protect themself from the sun beating down on them. I would recommend you keep one linear t5 on, and immediately go shut off the other 2. As long as he's getting his d3 supplements every week/every other week he should be good with one linear light along with the supplements.

Here is a post I found by one of the creators of this site about uvb for his veiled:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/too-much-uvb.102216/post-939619

Again, I don't know enough about the veiled species to give you any other pointers, but I do know for sure that is an extreme amount of uvb and it could potentially be causing harm to your cham /:
Got it :) Also, because he isn’t eating, I don’t know which/ how much of his supplements he is getting. So the whole thing is a mess right now.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ll be putting my feedback in red.
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
Veiled, Male, I got May 1st last year.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
I used to handle him frequently for short periods of time, to move him to our outdoor setup or to crawl around elsewhere. Now I am scared to do this frequently as stated in the post above.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
Crickets, dubias, superworms
Don’t know the amount as stated How many are you giving him each feeding?
I switch out the cups as needed Not sure I understand what you mean.
carrots, kale, greens that we have on hand (using the gut loading chart) Go easy with kale & spinach type greens as they tend to be high in oxalates which bind to calcium. I use collards, dandelion greens turnip greens, watercress, etc.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
Rep-Cal multivitamin and calcium w/ D3
Flucker’s calcium without D3

Rep-cal alternating every week
calcium every other time
Again, not sure what you mean & don’t want to make assumptions. Should be phosphorus free calcium every feeding except one per week, that you alternate using multivitamin and calcium with D3.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
misting cage twice a day, not letting humidity get under 40. I must for about a minute as it is a big cage. My mom told me she saw my chameleon drink yesterday. You could increase misting to 2 minutes each session.

  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
infrequent droppings, but they look okay
white or pale yellow urates
we can not test him as no vets nearby will take new patients(it may be a while until we get a checkup) I’m an advocate for wellness checks.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
As stated above, he got used to hand feeding and handling pretty early on. He seemed not stressed and healthy. This weird behavior started about 2-3 months ago.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
He started in a small Zoo Med mesh cage, and after 3 months, we switched him to the current one which is a ~4’x2.5’x5.5’ mesh cage with wood framing and a plastic bottom. Great size!
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
stated above As has already been said, you shouldn’t need so many uvb lights. Usually just one T5 with a 5.0 or 6% bulb is fine. I do notice your fixtures are short though. Get rid of the screw in bulb uvb...it’s worthless.Use the lights you currently have and spread them out in one even line (end to end) across the width of your enclosure top.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
basking- ~85°, lower- ~70°
Night doesn’t get cooler than 65°.
I have a digital temp gun. Temp guns are ok but only measure surface temp. You also want to measure air temps, which a digital thermometer with a probe end will do.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
Misting is maintaining humidity between 40-70%. Digital hydrometer Ok, but you really don’t want it to go above 50% during the day. 30-50% is ideal range. At night when it’s cool, for naturalistic hydration, it can reach 80-100% either thru extra misting or a cool mist digger.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
Weeping fig tree (live) This is great, but.... from your pics you haven’t added any additional branches or vines for him. Give him more little roads to travel upon. You could also add some more plants, like a pothos which would grow nice long vines for extra cover and travel.
  • 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?
Top floor, looking out over driveway and front yard. Not really a high traffic area. No fans/vents. Top of cage is about 5’6. If you could raise this a bit, it would be great. They feel safest when looking down at us.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
Southwest Washington, USA

So some of the behaviors you mention are basically him growing up and into the infamous veiled grumpiness. The constant shedding may be related to supplements and humidity. Also, when shedding it’s itchy/uncomfortable and they may have less interest in eating and be irritable.
However, it also sounds like something may have changed that is causing him chronic stress. Are there any other animals that he can see? A mirror or other reflective surface near him? What about your weather? Keep in mind that any sun coming thru the window will be adding heat to his enclosure which could cause him to go lower to get cooler. I’d try covering the side of his enclosure that faces the window and see if that has any effect. He might even be seeing birds flying around that are scaring him. Also, looks like he’s in your living room. Is he getting complete darkness for about 12 hours every night? Any lights would disturb his sleep. So take a good look around his environment and you might find something that has been causing him stress. In addition, as I said earlier, I’m an advocate for veterinary wellness checks and think one would be a good idea for your Toad.
 

lexiexxox

Member
I’ll be putting my feedback in red.
My response in blue.

How many are you giving him each feeding?
I put about about 3-4 bugs in the cup. They stay there and sometimes just die, especially recently. What I meant by I change them as needed is when they die i have to refill it and make sure there’s still the correct supplements in the cup. I don’t know how to feed a not eating chameleon without having the bugs just die in the cup.

Rep-cal alternating every week
calcium every other time
Again, not sure what you mean & don’t want to make assumptions. Should be phosphorus free calcium every feeding except one per week, that you alternate using multivitamin and calcium with D3.
Yes, sorry I was in a time crunch so I couldn’t elaborate much. That’s what I do as well.

we can not test him as no vets nearby will take new patients(it may be a while until we get a checkup) I’m an advocate for wellness checks.
me as well, but we are trying every day to find a rep vet near us that will accept new patients due to the covid buildup

As has already been said, you shouldn’t need so many uvb lights. Usually just one T5 with a 5.0 or 6% bulb is fine. I do notice your fixtures are short though. Get rid of the screw in bulb uvb...it’s worthless.Use the lights you currently have and spread them out in one even line (end to end) across the width of your enclosure top.
Yes I know the compact one is worthless, but I only use it because that’s the only fixture we have for the basking light and I don’t want to keep the other light socket open. And I will do that :)


Weeping fig tree (live) This is great, but.... from your pics you haven’t added any additional branches or vines for him. Give him more little roads to travel upon. You could also add some more plants, like a pothos which would grow nice long vines for extra cover and travel.
Sorry, I didn’t show the branches in the pics. I did tie some branches sporadically throughout is cage, along a few around his basking area. I suppose I could add more! I’ll add some plants on the bottom.

So some of the behaviors you mention are basically him growing up and into the infamous veiled grumpiness. The constant shedding may be related to supplements and humidity. Also, when shedding it’s itchy/uncomfortable and they may have less interest in eating and be irritable.
However, it also sounds like something may have changed that is causing him chronic stress. Are there any other animals that he can see?
Nope, our cat is scared of that room.
A mirror or other reflective surface near him? There is a mirror, but it’s across the room and it is not movable (closet), but I doubt it has any affect as it’s a pretty large space and is far enough away imo. What about your weather? Keep in mind that any sun coming thru the window will be adding heat to his enclosure which could cause him to go lower to get cooler. I’d try covering the side of his enclosure that faces the window and see if that has any effect. Spring here is pretty unpredictable, stormy one day and sunny the next. The direct sun only reaches his cage for maybe 3 hours a day as otherwise it’s blocked by the big trees or the space between the windows. I will try closing the blinds to see if that helps.
He might even be seeing birds flying around that are scaring him. Also, looks like he’s in your living room. Is he getting complete darkness for about 12 hours every night? Any lights would disturb his sleep. It’s like the man cave/office sort of, so it’s mainly used in the daytime. We make sure all lights are off and shut the door to ensure he doesn’t get disturbed. There are also no lights in view from the windows at night.
So take a good look around his environment and you might find something that has been causing him stress. In addition, as I said earlier, I’m an advocate for veterinary wellness checks and think one would be a good idea for your Toad.
I will do that. I could look this up, but roughly how much are vet check ups? It’s not an issue, as I knew this would be a part of getting a chameleon, but just wondering. I’m worried that this could be a bigger issue. Of course stress is bad, but usually it can get better. Do you think this could be something like the beginning of MBD/ parasites (as to why he isn’t opening his mouth much)? Should I try harder to find a vet even if they are far? I don’t want to have to scamper around if there isn’t a big concern for his health other than things I can change if that makes sense. I do want to rule out any extremes.

Thank you so much for your information and advice.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Vet visits vary widely in costs, even in the same general area. I’ve been paying around $60 for general visit and then things like radiographs, blood work and fecal checks are add ons. Then there’s the matter of just because a vet will see your Toad, it doesn’t mean they are experienced in chameleons. You may have to scroll thru a lot of pages, but you may find a good vet here. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/area-by-area-country-vet-list.32880/
To my eyes, I don’t see any signs of mbd. He’s got plenty of uvb and correct supplements.
I’m not as experienced or knowledgeable as some members, so maybe I’ve missed something in your husbandry that they will point out.
For feeding, if you’ve the time try to give him just one feeder at a time and see how he does. Maybe even try something new like a juicy silkworm.
I wish I had more answers to offer.
 

TayloredExotics

Established Member
There is a mirror, but it’s across the room and it is not movable (closet), but I doubt it has any affect as it’s a pretty large space and is far enough away imo.

You'd be surprised how far/well they can see. I've had one of my male panthers fire up and get super angry because he saw someone pass through carrying a tiny male baby about 20 feet away... You could try closing a sheet in the door to cover the mirror for a couple days and see if he improves at all

Yes I know the compact one is worthless, but I only use it because that’s the only fixture we have for the basking light and I don’t want to keep the other light socket open. And I will do that :)

If you want to keep the socket filled without increasing heat, you can throw in a super bright LED. Those in the 5000-6500k color temperature are really good for plant growth, and it should only put off a negligible amount of heat. I like to use LED flood in some of my baby enclosures; they get to a comfortably warm temperature, but nothing dangerous, and stay much cooler than fluorescent bulbs.
 

lexiexxox

Member
Vet visits vary widely in costs, even in the same general area. I’ve been paying around $60 for general visit and then things like radiographs, blood work and fecal checks are add ons. Then there’s the matter of just because a vet will see your Toad, it doesn’t mean they are experienced in chameleons. You may have to scroll thru a lot of pages, but you may find a good vet here. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/area-by-area-country-vet-list.32880/
To my eyes, I don’t see any signs of mbd. He’s got plenty of uvb and correct supplements.
I’m not as experienced or knowledgeable as some members, so maybe I’ve missed something in your husbandry that they will point out.
For feeding, if you’ve the time try to give him just one feeder at a time and see how he does. Maybe even try something new like a juicy silkworm.
I wish I had more answers to offer.
Got it. Thank you so much :)
 

lexiexxox

Member
You'd be surprised how far/well they can see. I've had one of my male panthers fire up and get super angry because he saw someone pass through carrying a tiny male baby about 20 feet away... You could try closing a sheet in the door to cover the mirror for a couple days and see if he improves at all



If you want to keep the socket filled without increasing heat, you can throw in a super bright LED. Those in the 5000-6500k color temperature are really good for plant growth, and it should only put off a negligible amount of heat. I like to use LED flood in some of my baby enclosures; they get to a comfortably warm temperature, but nothing dangerous, and stay much cooler than fluorescent bulbs.
I’ll try that!
 
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