Chameleon not eating


New Member
Hello, everyone, I am a new chameleon owner, however, I am not new to reptiles. I have owned different snakes and lizards in the past.
I purchased a 5-month-old panther chameleon about 2 weeks ago and I thought she was doing fine but she has refused to eat for the past 3 days, on top of being incredibly dark and even laying on the floor of her cage. she is in a 12"x12"x18" enclosure. She has a uvb light as well as a 50watt basking light. I turn them on when I leave for work at 6 am and turn them off at 10 pm and mist her 3 times a day, every day. She won't eat mealworms but she used to eat the crickets. I gut loaded them and dusted them in calcium powder before feeding them to her but she stopped eating them and quite a few accumulated in her cage. I took them all out the other day as I read they can bite her.
I feel like she is really underweight and am super worried. I read things on force feeding but I can't get her to open her mouth to take the food. I have uploaded a picture of her the day I got her and a picture of her today.


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Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey there and welcome to the forums! Sorry to hear about your troubles, but for us to really help out it would be helpful if you could fill out the following form in full so we can take a look at the specifics of your husbandry.
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.

So far, here are a couple things I can tell you:
(1) That cage is much too small for her. She should be in at least an 18x18x36" tall enclosure.
(2) Chameleons should never be fed mealworms. They are difficult to digest and can cause impaction. Best to avoid entirely.
(3) I would recommend removing the substrate on the bottom of the enclosure unless it is bioactive (w/ microfauna and plants). It gets soggy and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, which you definitely don't want near your chameleon


Chameleon Enthusiast
I thought she was doing fine but she has refused to eat for the past 3 days, on top of being incredibly dark and even laying on the floor of her cage.
While I do agree that you should fill out the how to ask for help form, your first priority is getting your Cham to an exotic vet with chameleon experience. If she is already starting to lay on her side she doesn’t have any time to waste. She needs medical intervention.


Moderatoris Americanus
Staff member
I agree, chameleon vet now! Something more than cage size is wrong here. I would get a fecal done as well as a check up. If you fill out the form above, take it with you to the vet.
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