Chameleon Poop 101

Help please! I have a 10 month old panther chameleon. He has been very picky the last 7 days and refused crickets and all other insects except superworms. He has now been doing 1-2 superworms per day, but he is not eating them at will, I have to try many times. Also, his poop today did not look very good at all....

The environment is to perfect spec, 50-70% humidity with gradient, dusting properly and ~90 degree basking temp. He gets misted automatically 5 times a day for 7 minutes at a time.

What could cause him to stop eating so abruptly? And is there any cause for concern?

Please see photo attached of his poop earlier this morning
very dehydrated
 
Thanks Kelly, I know for sure he is dehydrated based on the poop, and I gave him an extra 1 hour shower today. But I don't see how he is so dehydrated with 5 misting sessions per day at 7 minutes each. Perhaps because he is not eating? How long do these hunger strikes last? How long can they go without eating?
 
Thanks Kelly, I know for sure he is dehydrated based on the poop, and I gave him an extra 1 hour shower today. But I don't see how he is so dehydrated with 5 misting sessions per day at 7 minutes each. Perhaps because he is not eating? How long do these hunger strikes last? How long can they go without eating?
So you have a dripper?
 
Do

do* I can't remember if you said you had a fecal done or not. Just bec the mister is going off doesn't mean he is drinking. Mine will go sit under the dripper and let it hit his face. He hates Mistking sessions and showers, but he loves dripper water.
Interesting, I do not have a dripper but I do have a mist king setup. We have not done fecal yet, but he is going to vet very soon and I'm afraid all I have is his dry poop, I can't imagine they can use that?

Can you tell me what type of dripper you are using and how quickly it drips? Where do you position the dripper relative to the basking light? Is there a specific position you'd recommend? If you have any photos that would be very much appreciated.

Thank you for the quick reply
 
Interesting, I do not have a dripper but I do have a mist king setup. We have not done fecal yet, but he is going to vet very soon and I'm afraid all I have is his dry poop, I can't imagine they can use that?

Can you tell me what type of dripper you are using and how quickly it drips? Where do you position the dripper relative to the basking light? Is there a specific position you'd recommend? If you have any photos that would be very much appreciated.

Thank you for the quick reply
It's called "The little dripper" petco sells them
 
It's called "The little dripper" petco sells them
You adjust the little knob to make it go slower or faster. Best results is when I mist him for 3-5 minutes, get him smacking his mouth an dthem put the dripper right over his head. Or you can also just place it anywhere on top and have it to drip on some plant leaves. It just gives them the option to drink throughout the day. You just need to find ways to get him to drink every day for the next few days.
 
I just recently started trying it inside the cage. I am forever switching spot due to me purposely trying to get him to drink on his own. It works most of the time. I've had a poop like yours once or twice. I just have to make sure I am on top of refilling that dripper and constantly making an effort to getting him to drink it.
 
I just recently started trying it inside the cage. I am forever switching spot due to me purposely trying to get him to drink on his own. It works most of the time. I've had a poop like yours once or twice. I just have to make sure I am on top of refilling that dripper and constantly making an effort to getting him to drink it.
I have actually seen my chameleon on many occasions sipping the leaves and licking water, which is why I don't bother with dripping. I have previously tried dripping for 24-48 hours and he didn't seem to take any interest, though I will try it again. I will probably give another 1 hour shower tomorrow to compensate if necessary.....

Hoping for the best, his eyes are not sunken.

How long has your chameleon gone on food strikes? How many days?

Thanks a lot for the help, it is much appreciated.
 
@chamegizzy if you want a quick cheap dripper, using a pin (heated up if you have trouble) just put a small hole in the bottom of a plastic pitcher or other plastic container that you already have (and do not mind sacrificing to the cham gods). When I used a dripper that is what I did. I had a little dripper that I got from petsmart and I found getting it to drip at the correct rate VERY frustrating! It would either not drip at all after a min or so or drip way to fast and all the water would be gone in about 5-10 min (or less).
 
@chamegizzy if you want a quick cheap dripper, using a pin (heated up if you have trouble) just put a small hole in the bottom of a plastic pitcher or other plastic container that you already have (and do not mind sacrificing to the cham gods). When I used a dripper that is what I did. I had a little dripper that I got from petsmart and I found getting it to drip at the correct rate VERY frustrating! It would either not drip at all after a min or so or drip way to fast and all the water would be gone in about 5-10 min (or less).
I took the little tubing off and it eliminated the problem.
 
I have actually seen my chameleon on many occasions sipping the leaves and licking water, which is why I don't bother with dripping. I have previously tried dripping for 24-48 hours and he didn't seem to take any interest, though I will try it again. I will probably give another 1 hour shower tomorrow to compensate if necessary.....

Hoping for the best, his eyes are not sunken.

How long has your chameleon gone on food strikes? How many days?

Thanks a lot for the help, it is much appreciated.
Just because you are not seeing him bother with it doesn't mean he isn't using it whil you are gone. I see mine lick leaves sometimes too. But, if you chameleon isn't drinking on his own you may want to try it again. And just keep showering. Try even just letting water drop onto his nose right after a mist session.
 
One way we can monitor the health of our chameleons is monitoring their bowel movements (poop) for any problems. To be able to identify problems, first you need to be able to recognize what is or is not normal. There are two parts to a bowel movement in chameleons - a brown part (feces) and a white part (urates).

Feces
The brown part is feces from digested food like any animal will make. It should be brown or almost black, soft but firm, and have a well formed shape. Generally chameleon feces do not smell very much, if at all. If undigested insect parts are seen in the feces temperatures may not be appropriate or intestinal parasites may be altering digestion (see below). If many soft bodied worms are fed it may cause runny feces due to the extra hydration from the worms.

Image compliments of Trace

Urates
The white part of a bowel movement is called 'urates' and represents a more solidified version of urine. Reptiles have evolved to use water more efficiently so instead of urinating, they only excrete a concentrated solid waste and retain most of the fluid. This is especially useful in regions when water is not plentiful to prevent dehydration. Urates should be white, soft but firm and may have a chalky texture. A yellow tinge is okay but orange urates indicate that your chameleon may not be getting enough water. If your chameleon defecates infrequently the end of the urates may be more orange but the rest still looks white. The longer the urates sit in the body the more fluid is reabsorbed from them back into the body. A small amount of mostly clear fluid with the urates is true urine and indicates good hydration, but is not always present.

Image compliments of Trace

Frequency
How often your chameleon defecates depends on how often it eats, how much it eats and how long it basks. Basking is necessary for good metabolism and digestion of food, so low temperatures can delay digestion. Each chameleon can have a different pattern. Some will defecate every day (especially when younger) while other may be once every few days, once a week or once every two weeks. Most adult chameleons defecate once or twice a week generally.

Sperm Plugs
With the bowel movement of male chameleons you will usually see sperm plugs. These are a pair of white soft waxy deposits that dry out quickly.



Hemipenes
Sometimes you will see a red organ come out during a male's bowel movement for a short time and then to back into the body. That organ is a hemipene - the male reproductive organ. As long as it goes back in then it is nothing to worry about.

Parasites
Intestinal parasites can alter digestive processes as well as the bowel movement consistency or smell. Very soft, liquid or smelly feces could indicate an intestinal parasite problem. Only rarely with a large parasite burden will you be able to actually see the worm in the feces. For almost all intestinal parasite infections the only way to detect them is to look for the microscopic ova (eggs). The worms remain in the intestines and periodically shed ova that come out of the body in the feces where it can infect other animals if given the opportunity. Most parasites are not contagious to humans but always wash your hands well when you come into contact with fecal material.



Fecal exams
To detect parasites in feces collect some of the fresh feces (brown) portion with a tissue or paper towel and keep it in a sealed ziplock bag. If the feces are dried out wait for a fresher sample. You can store the fecal sample in a cool place for up to eight hours before delivering it to the vet. You can store it overnight in the refrigerator if you need to. Since excess heat or cold can kill the organisms in the feces, thus defeating your purpose for collecting it to begin with, don't freeze it or leave it in your car. Urates are not needed for fecal testing.

The primary fecal test the vet will do is a fecal flotation to check the feces for the presence of worm ova. A specific mineral solution is combined with the provided feces so that the ova separate from the feces and float to the top where they can collected and looked at under the microscope. Some intestinal parasites like protozoans are microscopic and can be seen in the feces themselves by performing a direct smear, where diluted feces are placed on a microscopic slide immediately for examination. Medication will be administered depending upon the type of organism found.

It is recommended to have fecal exams done on at least a yearly basis to detect parasites.

Some owners may want to do fecal exams themselves and can purchase the microscope and necessary supplies. If a parasite or ova is found the sample should still be taken to the vet for confirmation and to prescribe appropriate medications at the correct dosage. Dez has made a video on performing fecal floats for those interested. https://www.chameleonforums.com/how-do-fecal-float-video-111996/

Examples of bowel movements:


Normal bowel movement


Normal bowel movement and sperm plug on the rock next to it.


Normal feces and urates


Orange urates from inadequate hydration.


Large normal bowel movement


Mostly white urates and normal feces. This bowel movement was about a week after the previous one, so a little orange of the urates is okay.


Diarrhea due to a lot of hornworms in the diet which are very juicy.
 
IMG_20171017_185806366.jpg
This is good to know. I am new to the group and got my first panther chameleon a couple days ago. He was surrendered at a local reptile store because of his MBD. He's about 4 months old I'm told. I am not new to reptiles I have several including b&w Argentine Tegu, blue iguana, knight anoles, gargoyle geckos and some snakes. My chameleon is eating on his own, takes water from a dropper or off leaves after a good mist. I have uvb and a heat lamp set up and he is in a full screen habitat. Is there anything anyone can share to help me care for him better?
 
One way we can monitor the health of our chameleons is monitoring their bowel movements (poop) for any problems. To be able to identify problems, first you need to be able to recognize what is or is not normal. There are two parts to a bowel movement in chameleons - a brown part (feces) and a white part (urates).

Feces
The brown part is feces from digested food like any animal will make. It should be brown or almost black, soft but firm, and have a well formed shape. Generally chameleon feces do not smell very much, if at all. If undigested insect parts are seen in the feces temperatures may not be appropriate or intestinal parasites may be altering digestion (see below). If many soft bodied worms are fed it may cause runny feces due to the extra hydration from the worms.

Image compliments of Trace

Urates
The white part of a bowel movement is called 'urates' and represents a more solidified version of urine. Reptiles have evolved to use water more efficiently so instead of urinating, they only excrete a concentrated solid waste and retain most of the fluid. This is especially useful in regions when water is not plentiful to prevent dehydration. Urates should be white, soft but firm and may have a chalky texture. A yellow tinge is okay but orange urates indicate that your chameleon may not be getting enough water. If your chameleon defecates infrequently the end of the urates may be more orange but the rest still looks white. The longer the urates sit in the body the more fluid is reabsorbed from them back into the body. A small amount of mostly clear fluid with the urates is true urine and indicates good hydration, but is not always present.

Image compliments of Trace

Frequency
How often your chameleon defecates depends on how often it eats, how much it eats and how long it basks. Basking is necessary for good metabolism and digestion of food, so low temperatures can delay digestion. Each chameleon can have a different pattern. Some will defecate every day (especially when younger) while other may be once every few days, once a week or once every two weeks. Most adult chameleons defecate once or twice a week generally.

Sperm Plugs
With the bowel movement of male chameleons you will usually see sperm plugs. These are a pair of white soft waxy deposits that dry out quickly.



Hemipenes
Sometimes you will see a red organ come out during a male's bowel movement for a short time and then to back into the body. That organ is a hemipene - the male reproductive organ. As long as it goes back in then it is nothing to worry about.

Parasites
Intestinal parasites can alter digestive processes as well as the bowel movement consistency or smell. Very soft, liquid or smelly feces could indicate an intestinal parasite problem. Only rarely with a large parasite burden will you be able to actually see the worm in the feces. For almost all intestinal parasite infections the only way to detect them is to look for the microscopic ova (eggs). The worms remain in the intestines and periodically shed ova that come out of the body in the feces where it can infect other animals if given the opportunity. Most parasites are not contagious to humans but always wash your hands well when you come into contact with fecal material.



Fecal exams
To detect parasites in feces collect some of the fresh feces (brown) portion with a tissue or paper towel and keep it in a sealed ziplock bag. If the feces are dried out wait for a fresher sample. You can store the fecal sample in a cool place for up to eight hours before delivering it to the vet. You can store it overnight in the refrigerator if you need to. Since excess heat or cold can kill the organisms in the feces, thus defeating your purpose for collecting it to begin with, don't freeze it or leave it in your car. Urates are not needed for fecal testing.

The primary fecal test the vet will do is a fecal flotation to check the feces for the presence of worm ova. A specific mineral solution is combined with the provided feces so that the ova separate from the feces and float to the top where they can collected and looked at under the microscope. Some intestinal parasites like protozoans are microscopic and can be seen in the feces themselves by performing a direct smear, where diluted feces are placed on a microscopic slide immediately for examination. Medication will be administered depending upon the type of organism found.

It is recommended to have fecal exams done on at least a yearly basis to detect parasites.

Some owners may want to do fecal exams themselves and can purchase the microscope and necessary supplies. If a parasite or ova is found the sample should still be taken to the vet for confirmation and to prescribe appropriate medications at the correct dosage. Dez has made a video on performing fecal floats for those interested. https://www.chameleonforums.com/how-do-fecal-float-video-111996/

Examples of bowel movements:


Normal bowel movement


Normal bowel movement and sperm plug on the rock next to it.


Normal feces and urates


Orange urates from inadequate hydration.


Large normal bowel movement


Mostly white urates and normal feces. This bowel movement was about a week after the previous one, so a little orange of the urates is okay.


Diarrhea due to a lot of hornworms in the diet which are very juicy.
Great I'm happy with poo now
 
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