Chameleon wants to get out?

Carolienbb

New Member
Hi everyone,

I’ve had my (first) veiled chameleon for about 5 months now. Got him when he was 2-3 months (responsible and well known breeder), which makes him about 8 months old. Literally the perfect little guy, very friendly from the start. Because of the every day handfeeding, he is completely fine with you coming in to his territory. He has an Exo Terra Large cage (95x95x60 cm), as you can see on the pictures. His cage seems perfectly fine to me, but for the last couple of weeks (about 8-10) it looks like he is trying to escape.
He is either digging in the earth at the bottom of his cage or at the highest spot trying to climb on the mesh at the top. When I open his cage he just runs at me, which is very cute don’t get me wrong, but I feel like it’s not for the right reasons.

Can somebody help me? The reasons why it gets on my nerve is because he is destroying his own cage. In the back of the cage is a layer made from styrofoam, which he completely destroys as well. I’m scared he will accidentally ingest some (most times I just blow the little pieces off of him, but of course i’m not always home).

I often bring him outsides, so we both can enjoy the sun :). Looks like he loves that. First I thought, maybe he liked it so much he wants to get to the sunlight. So I put a towel on the side of his cage. Sadly, no difference.

I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s such a waste if his cage gets destroyed over time… It was really expensive. And of course I just want him to feel good in there!

Somebody advise? Is there something wrong with him?
 

Attachments

  • A1F13AEA-D5C5-44CF-87CA-46F9600C06D3.jpeg
    A1F13AEA-D5C5-44CF-87CA-46F9600C06D3.jpeg
    186 KB · Views: 59

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome. I’m not an expert on veileds but I have heard this is what they do, destroy their enclosure I mean. As for always wanting out, that might be because there’s something in the enclosure or husbandry that isn’t right. Can you tell me what lights you are using, supplement etc.
I’ll tag in some people who have experience with veileds and they might have some ideas for you.
@Beman @MissSkittles @kinyonga
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome! :) Usually when a chameleon wants out of their enclosure, it’s something that they don’t like about it. In your case, I highly suspect he wants more space. The minimum enclosure size for an adult is 60x60x120 cm. What are your basking and ambient temperatures? Humidity level? It’s hard for me to see which light is your uvb…what kind do you have and how long is it?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think more then likely it is what @Brodybreaux25 mentioned above. I do think Veileds really like more space though. The exo terra you have him in would be small for a male veiled.

But just a note. I do not see anything but compact UVB bulbs. You should look into replacing these with a better fixture like a T5HO and a 5.0 bulb. The compact bulbs can result in them developing MBD.
 

Carolienbb

New Member
Thank you all for the quick responses! Multiple chameleon owners said that the compact UVB 10.0 Reptisun was fine, so that’s very confusing to me. I have two of those, combined with two LED bulbs. His basking spot is around 33 degrees Celsius and the average temperature lays around 25 degrees celsius. The humidity normally lays between 45-65%, but that’s before spraying. At first I was worried it was too high, but I live in the Netherlands, where it can get very humid outside, so it’s almost impossible to decrease. We do have little ventilators on the top of the cage (doesn’t blow in any cold air, it just takes some humidity out). Other chameleon owners who live here say it’s just fine.

Food wise he would eat between 10 and 20 insects a day (black soldier flies (larvae), crickets, grasshoppers, silkworms and hornworms (as a snack). We always powder with calcium (without D3). Now he’s getting older and sometimes won’t eat for a couple days, but I believe that’s completely normal. Once a month we also give him multivitamins and calcium with D3. His feces look fine btw!
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
He has an Exo Terra Large cage (95x95x60 cm), as you can see on the pictures.
I don't find that exact size. Min. suggested sizes are 24"x24"x48" (60cm x 60cm x 120cm) or 36"x18"x36" (90cm x 45cm x 90cm); ideal size: 48"x24"x48" or larger.

His cage seems perfectly fine to me, but for the last couple of weeks (about 8-10) it looks like he is trying to escape.
He is either digging in the earth at the bottom of his cage or at the highest spot trying to climb on the mesh at the top. When I open his cage he just runs at me, which is very cute don’t get me wrong, but I feel like it’s not for the right reasons.
IMO the reason he runs at you is that he knows you're the avenue out of the enclosure.
Screen climbing is natural—nothing to be concerned about as long as there are no hazards.

Can somebody help me? The reasons why it gets on my nerve is because he is destroying his own cage. In the back of the cage is a layer made from styrofoam, which he completely destroys as well. I’m scared he will accidentally ingest some (most times I just blow the little pieces off of him, but of course i’m not always home).




Destroying their enclosures is what reptiles do. Sorry, but this is foreseeable.

I often bring him outsides, so we both can enjoy the sun :). Looks like he loves that. First I thought, maybe he liked it so much he wants to get to the sunlight. So I put a towel on the side of his cage. Sadly, no difference.
That can still be the reason he wants out.
As the song goes... How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)?
Blocking his line of sight is not going to erase his memory or curb his instincts.

I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s such a waste if his cage gets destroyed over time… It was really expensive. And of course I just want him to feel good in there!

Somebody advise? Is there something wrong with him?
IMO, there is nothing wrong with him; he's behaving like a chameleon. This is just one reason I encourage nothing in enclosures that isn't in their natural habitat—plants, vines, branches.

I think there may be some behaviors you weren't aware of/prepared for.
At 8mos. he's also at the age where he may be on the lookout for some female companionship. ;)
 

Carolienbb

New Member
I don't find that exact size. Min. suggested sizes are 24"x24"x48" (60cm x 60cm x 120cm) or 36"x18"x36" (90cm x 45cm x 90cm); ideal size: 48"x24"x48" or larger.


IMO the reason he runs at you is that he knows you're the avenue out of the enclosure.
Screen climbing is natural—nothing to be concerned about as long as there are no hazards.






Destroying their enclosures is what reptiles do. Sorry, but this is foreseeable.


That can still be the reason he wants out.
As the song goes... How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)?
Blocking his line of sight is not going to erase his memory or curb his instincts.


IMO, there is nothing wrong with him; he's behaving like a chameleon. This is just one reason I encourage nothing in enclosures that isn't in their natural habitat—plants, vines, branches.

I think there may be some behaviors you weren't aware of/prepared for.
At 8mos. he's also at the age where he may be on the lookout for some female companionship. ;)


Thank you for the response! It’s okay if he ‘destroys’ his cage and digs in the earth. I just want to make sure it’s not because of him wanting to escape cause he’s not feeling wel in it. The hormones make sense tho. And i’ll also look into getting a larger cage!

The styrofoam does worry me a bit, kind off unhandy in the inside of a reptile cage if you ask me. He made a hole where crickets can get through :/. I’m also scared he will ingest some pieces. But maybe I can put something in the corner.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you all for the quick responses! Multiple chameleon owners said that the compact UVB 10.0 Reptisun was fine, so that’s very confusing to me. I have two of those, combined with two LED bulbs. His basking spot is around 33 degrees Celsius and the average temperature lays around 25 degrees celsius. The humidity normally lays between 45-65%, but that’s before spraying. At first I was worried it was too high, but I live in the Netherlands, where it can get very humid outside, so it’s almost impossible to decrease. We do have little ventilators on the top of the cage (doesn’t blow in any cold air, it just takes some humidity out). Other chameleon owners who live here say it’s just fine.

Food wise he would eat between 10 and 20 insects a day (black soldier flies (larvae), crickets, grasshoppers, silkworms and hornworms (as a snack). We always powder with calcium (without D3). Now he’s getting older and sometimes won’t eat for a couple days, but I believe that’s completely normal. Once a month we also give him multivitamins and calcium with D3. His feces look fine btw!
So the issue is with the compact bulbs they produce light right below the bulb. The only way you will be able to tell if they are effective is to test the basking spots with a solarmeter 6.5. Looks like yours are sitting pretty close to him so this is good as long as they are producing the right amount at that distance. Too high and there can be overexposure and too low underexposure leading to MBD.

33C. is going to be too hot. We recommend nothing hotter than 85. Helps them have a longer life if they are not exposed to really hot temps their entire life.

Per the humidity your really wanting to be in a range of 30-50% ambient. It can spike after misting. But make sure your misting in the morning and evening only when the temps are lower. It is not good for them to consistently breath in hot wet air. So if your levels sit higher like they are then just adjust your misting schedule. Maybe have your heat lamps kick on and hour after you mist in the morning and kick off an hour before you mist in the evening. This will allow the temps to be lower.

When you say you have ventilators at the top pulling air out. Are you using the little pc fans? these are what I would recommend to keep the air movement in that cage.

As far as feeding it is time to reduce his food intake. Looking at no more then 10 feeders a day. If he is skipping days then it is time to kick him over to an every other day feeding schedule. Once he is at the 12 month mark you want to reduce to 3 feeding days a week of 3-5 feeders. This will keep him at a healthy weight. You will continue to use calcium without D3 at all feedings. But your multivitamin should be 2 times a month say the 1st and the 15th.
 

Carolienbb

New Member
So the issue is with the compact bulbs they produce light right below the bulb. The only way you will be able to tell if they are effective is to test the basking spots with a solarmeter 6.5. Looks like yours are sitting pretty close to him so this is good as long as they are producing the right amount at that distance. Too high and there can be overexposure and too low underexposure leading to MBD.

33C. is going to be too hot. We recommend nothing hotter than 85. Helps them have a longer life if they are not exposed to really hot temps their entire life.

Per the humidity your really wanting to be in a range of 30-50% ambient. It can spike after misting. But make sure your misting in the morning and evening only when the temps are lower. It is not good for them to consistently breath in hot wet air. So if your levels sit higher like they are then just adjust your misting schedule. Maybe have your heat lamps kick on and hour after you mist in the morning and kick off an hour before you mist in the evening. This will allow the temps to be lower.

When you say you have ventilators at the top pulling air out. Are you using the little pc fans? these are what I would recommend to keep the air movement in that cage.

As far as feeding it is time to reduce his food intake. Looking at no more then 10 feeders a day. If he is skipping days then it is time to kick him over to an every other day feeding schedule. Once he is at the 12 month mark you want to reduce to 3 feeding days a week of 3-5 feeders. This will keep him at a healthy weight. You will continue to use calcium without D3 at all feedings. But your multivitamin should be 2 times a month say the 1st and the 15th.
Thank you for the advise!! Apparently solarmeters are really really expensive so i’ll probably just upgrade the uvb to the T5HO. I will also lower his basking spot

I indeed mist in the morning and evening at those times and yes, for ventilation I use those little pc fans.

I will also give him his multivitamins on the 1st and 15th, thank you!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you for the advise!! Apparently solarmeters are really really expensive so i’ll probably just upgrade the uvb to the T5HO. I will also lower his basking spot

I indeed mist in the morning and evening at those times and yes, for ventilation I use those little pc fans.

I will also give him his multivitamins on the 1st and 15th, thank you!
Ok so with the T5... You want to raise the fixture because his branches sit higher to the top of the cage. You want to buy the 5.0 or 6% bulb for it. Then your total distance from the bottom of the fixture to the branch should be 8-9 inches. Since your cage is 36 inches wide (I think if you have the cage I think you do) Then you want the 36 inch fixture and the 34 inch bulb.

This fixture will also provide a lot more screen area on the top which is good in a glass and hybrid cage. When you have those big bulky fixtures covering the screen it reduces air flow. They hold the heat. :)
 
Top Bottom