I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone be rude towards beman, probably ever. She’s one of the most established and helpful people on this forum. I think a lot of chameleon owners owe her a lot, and our chameleon’s do too. I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for this site and her wise words. It sucks to hear that you’re kind of doing a crappy job at being a reptile parent but you have to learn from your mistakes. Nobody on this forum will ever try to be rude and disrespectful, this place was created for us to have a support system, and to have a place to vent our crazy stories without seeming like crazy people. I’m a little shocked by this reaction towards beman but regardless of it, we’re here to help. Please don’t see us as bad people, we really just try to help but, unfortunately if you can’t see that, then I don’t think it’s wise to keep returning here to be mean to others. We are all very sorry for your loss, and as a community we are heartbroken for you. Just try to be understanding to criticism from here on out.OK and this is why I asked if you were looking for answers before I bothered wasting my time on your thread. I am done here... You are either open to feedback or not. Clearly YOU are NOT!
We see it every single day here... Dead cham. And the owner always wants to think they did everything right. There is a reason why the keepers here have chams that live full long lives. Because we know what we are doing and our husbandry is on point. NO chams in aquariums... Aquariums are for fish.
Very well said!This is really unfortunate (for the chameleon, first and foremost).
I’m very sorry for your loss. I don‘t know that there is anything I can add that hasn’t already been said, but I’d like to speak from direct personal experience with my first ever chameleon as I feel like it applies to your situation (I’d like to preface by saying that I know your Senegal girl was not your first chameleon, nor am I implying in any way that you know nothing about chameleon keeping).
I was 16 years old when I first saw a chameleon for sale in a pet store. It was a female Jackson‘s chameleon, and I fell in love. I used Christmas money, I used birthday money. I scrounged up every last dollar I possibly could to go get her. I followed the pet store clerk’s advice, was told that she was “easy” to take care of and that I really only needed to mist her 3 times a day. I brought her home in the 18” x 18“ x 24“ screen cage they had her in at the store (and the cage only opened from the top). She came with a bulb they said was a “fish tank fluorescent bulb.” Gut loading her feeders wasn’t even a topic that was brought up. It ended with the pet store making about 400 dollars off of a 16 year kid and my chameleon dying in just a few months. Needless to say, it was a heartbreaking experience. In the last few days leading up to her death, I found a forum similar to this and described her condition. I received several responses telling me that my husbandry was entirely off, that it was wrong to follow the store clerk’s advice, and honestly it was incredibly difficult to hear. While the responses I got were intended to be helpful, they were also very frank and straight to the point. It was so hard NOT to internalize the feedback I got and feel like a horrible person that allowed my chameleon die. My immediate reaction was to get defensive (I never responded after I posted). I loved my chameleon and wanted so badly for her to thrive under my care.
I wasn’t sold a Jackson’s chameleon so much as I was sold a bunch of useless crap and a ton of wrong information, essentially dooming my sweet girl from the start. Thanks to websites such as this forum, I now know that a Jackson’s chameleon is not a good fit for me (they require a significant temperature drop at night, and based on the climate I live in/the ambient temperatures in my home, I would not be able to provide this drop. I had no idea this was something my chameleon needed when I got her). I’m not sure where you got your chameleon, but based on the pictures of her lighting and enclosure, it appears a similar thing happened to you. No one here is judging you for it, and no one thinks you’re a bad person or a bad chameleon keeper because of it (if you were to stick around and frequent this forum, you would see that it happens all the time! ). The coil 5.0 bulb you had over her tank was not providing adequate UVB. The UV rays on those coil bulbs can’t even penetrate deep enough through the top of a thin screen cage, much less a thick terrarium screen cover (despite this fact, these bulbs are STILL sold in stores like Petco and Petsmart to unsuspecting cham owners). What you needed instead was a linear/long T5 5.0 (or 6%) fluorescent UVB bulb. By nature, your girl was an arboreal tree-dwelling animal; you definitely should have been sold a vertical enclosure, even if it was glass. Live plants absolutely should have been recommended to you over fake ones.
Your specific situation was made even worse by the fact that your chameleon was a Senegal. Not only are Senegal chameleons a very sensitive, intermediate-level species with specific humidity requirements (they like their humidity pretty high during the day, which can be a challenge for many keepers to adequately provide), nearly ALL Senegal chameleons are wild caught and sold as pets. Unfortunately for the chameleons AND for us, there are quite a few species outside of the three most commonly kept (veiled, panther, Jackson’s) that just don’t have an established captive bred population within the pet trade. There is a very good chance that your girl was sick when she was sold to you. You wouldn’t have known it because chameleons don‘t often express pain or illness in the way that an animal like a dog or a cat would (and even then, animals like dogs and cats are still pretty good at covering up how bad they’re feeling). That isn’t your fault, it’s instinct and just the nature of the chameleon. Show any sign of weakness and you become someone’s dinner!
Again, please know that no one here is judging you or saying you were a bad chameleon keeper. ALL of us here have made mistakes in our husbandry, and no one here professes to be a chameleon expert that‘s totally free of any flaws. I’d like to urge you please be open to the advice and suggestions given to you in this thread - it will be crucial should you ever decide to get another chameleon. Please also take a deep breath and reconsider your defensiveness toward @Beman. Not only is she one of many members here that has successfully kept healthy chameleons, she is a wealth of knowledge on the forum. Beman regularly takes the time to respond to posts where new users are asking for help with an issue regarding their chameleon’s health, and she has been so kind as to answer about a billion of my questions (I‘m not inexperienced, either! I kept a veiled chameleon for nearly 8 years). Something else to consider: it is very difficult to infer a person’s tone through text alone. When it comes to this forum, it’s usually safer to assume that another member’s response to your posts are neutral. I can understand how it might be difficult not to lash out when you’ve just lost a pet, but the intent here is to help and share useful information, not to upset you.
I know you’re hurting and it may be too soon to even think about now, but should you decide you’d like to try with another chameleon, I absolutely recommend doing all of the following:
- Pick one of the three commonly kept species -veiled chameleons, panther chameleons, Jackson’s chameleons. Captive bred babies for all three of these species are usually readily available (this is especially true for veiled and panther chameleons) and you will have far better luck with a healthy animal that was born in captivity.
- Check out The Chameleon Academy and read all of the modules. Excellent resource! It has helped me immensely.
- Watch these videos on YouTube: Neptune the Chameleon
Once again, I am so very sorry about your sweet girl.