Chameleon Poop 101

Tattersb

Avid Member
Help please! I have a male Jackson's, and I'm curious about his urates. They are white overall, but they have orange "bits" in them. The actual fecal portion looks fine, brown, formed and soft. The urates are always dropped with a lot of clear mucus. He passes both urates and bowel movements every day. He has live plants, a dripper and gets misted 3-5 times daily. I see him drinking at least once daily. Humidity is 72-76%. His appetite has picked up quite a bit during the past two weeks. Urates have looked like this (a little more or less) for the past two weeks. This is from a week ago, urates were more white with fewer orange bits this morning. Is this normal?
 

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opheliaeatsbugs

Avid Member
I have been worried about my chams poop, too. It was suggested to me to get a fecal test for parasites. Has he been tested for parasites?
 

Tattersb

Avid Member
He has, and it was clear. Those bits are actually separate from the urates, they seem to be embedded in them. If it were happening in the stool I would just think it was unprocessed insect parts. I've tried changing his food and his supplements, but so far that hasn't made a difference. He seems healthy overall, appetite's good, active, bright eyes, and growing like a weed.
 

zordtaz

Member
He has, and it was clear. Those bits are actually separate from the urates, they seem to be embedded in them. If it were happening in the stool I would just think it was unprocessed insect parts. I've tried changing his food and his supplements, but so far that hasn't made a difference. He seems healthy overall, appetite's good, active, bright eyes, and growing like a weed.
Mine is happen like that too. But he poop every other day. I was told from the vet as long as he has clear mucus. It should be fine as well. The orange crystal that you see might come from how much he absorb water in his stomach. If you still see white part than orange part, it should be fine. Might need more advise from experience one too.
 

Tattersb

Avid Member
Okay, thanks. I haven't been too worried about it since he's eating, drinking and moving so well I was just curious. Thanks for the info!
 

broderp

Avid Member
I have a pothos that I put in there with him! Since his bowel movement he has been climbing everywhere now that he has some new greenery! He looks a lot happier. View attachment 157619
He does bend a lot. I will try and get him to the vet asap
I was wondering if this poor cham ever got to a vet.

I'm also wondering why I read 9 pages about poop and looked as dozens of pictures.:confused:

At least I now know my Chams poop is perfect. :D You gotta learn about the poop..:cautious:
 
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Valentine

New Member
My guy's pop is always runny and wet...and so are his urates. I notice cricket bits in the poop as well-- His diet is mainly crickets. He gets proper dusting of them. I have had his poop tested several times, and each time they have found nothing. Is this normal?
 

KyloVeiled

New Member
IMG_3739.JPG
Guys, I really need your help!
I know the orange in this is not good and indicates dehydration and I'm trying my hardest to get him back to pearly whites again..
But my question is- (although I feel stupid for asking!) is it common for the poop and urate to be connected like this??
Thanks guys x
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
They are usually stuck together like that. They are released from the vent together after collecting in the cloaca where they get stuck together.
 

ahood

Member
My chameleon's feces looked like this today. How can I get him to drink more water?? I offer him water from a syringe twice a day. Sometimes he drinks 5 syringes worth, sometimes he drinks none of it.
 

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melble68

Established Member
My chameleon's feces looked like this today. How can I get him to drink more water?? I offer him water from a syringe twice a day. Sometimes he drinks 5 syringes worth, sometimes he drinks none of it.
Get him to drink more, but offering him more. IMHO you should be misting him / his enclosure multiple times a day either w/ a pump sprayer or an automated misting system. He would be drinking the drops off leaves and such. Or I have also had great success w/ drippers. Things like "the big dripper" or the "little dripper". I'm pretty creative, so I make my own. Now with the two options that I mentioned, you are also going to have to deal with the excess water. I have also created custom drip pans to deal with that. Pretty sure if you look at my albums on my profile you can see examples.
 

opheliaeatsbugs

Avid Member
My chameleon's feces looked like this today. How can I get him to drink more water?? I offer him water from a syringe twice a day. Sometimes he drinks 5 syringes worth, sometimes he drinks none of it.
Do you have a constant water source? Dripper or auto mister?
 

opheliaeatsbugs

Avid Member
I h

i have one, but took it out because I never see him drink from it. I also used the chameleon fountain, but I never saw him go near it, so o just switched to syringe
I am still new, so I could be way off here, but I've learned that even friendly Chan's that hand feed can still be hesitant to drink with an audience. You may get him to drink from a syringe a lot, but HE might prefer to drink when he wants and you might not see him doing it but he still is. I might suggest that you try the mister and/or a dripper and see if the poop changes. I have a poop journal, I'm weird. But it helps me keep track of my efforts and how that translates to healthy poop. I had a poop like this once. Actually, it was worse. I took the advice given to me (which I'm sharing), a vet trip found she had worms which was corrected with medicine and now she has the best poop ever lol

there may be a health reason, too. I dont know enough to be helpful here. Has he been to a vet to eliminate any medical issues?
 

ahood

Member
I am still new, so I could be way off here, but I've learned that even friendly Chan's that hand feed can still be hesitant to drink with an audience. You may get him to drink from a syringe a lot, but HE might prefer to drink when he wants and you might not see him doing it but he still is. I might suggest that you try the mister and/or a dripper and see if the poop changes. I have a poop journal, I'm weird. But it helps me keep track of my efforts and how that translates to healthy poop. I had a poop like this once. Actually, it was worse. I took the advice given to me (which I'm sharing), a vet trip found she had worms which was corrected with medicine and now she has the best poop ever lol

there may be a health reason, too. I dont know enough to be helpful here. Has he been to a vet to eliminate any medical issues?
Okay, thanks. I'll add that back in and see if anything changes. And no, he hasn't been to the vet in the past year. I don't have a good one around here. I'll be moving to a new area soon though. I think there might be a few good ones there.
 

AyyMedina

New Member
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.
 

chamegizzy

New Member
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
 

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