Chameleon Won't Eat Anything

Albarber

New Member
My Cham, Perry, used to eat about 8 crickets a day but very recently hasn't touched any food I have put in his cage for him-it has been about a week and a half and I haven't noticed any missing crickets.
He also had his first shed since owning him, and it was quick, but now he has random shedding spots.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
Veiled Chameleon, pet store told me he is a male but I havent sexed him myself, store wasn't sure how old but he is about 7 inches long without his tail, i've had him 1.5 months
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
I never handle him, however today when I was cleaning his cage he climbed out so I picked him up and put him right back in. He does not appreciate being touched
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
Right now I am feeding him large crickets, and superworms. I keep a small dish with about 8 worms in the cage near the main plant, and when I first got him would put about 8 crickets in the cage in the morning. Up until recently i would feed him everyday because he would eat that many, recently I out a few in the cage and then when I get home I take them back out. I am gutloading with Flukers Orange Cubes along with various greens-crickets also have a calcium block in their cage

I recently ordered silk worms and dubios roaches, and he hasnt touched them as far as I can tell
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
I dust the crickets with calcium powder a few times a week, no schedule at this point
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
I spray the cage for about 5 minutes with a spray gun and get the leaves very wet and dripping. I see him drinking occasionally. I also have a fogger that I leave on during the day on low so that moisture forms on the top of the cage and drips down. The fogger is also helping the humidity stay high because it is a pain keeping a mesh cage humid
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
Usually brown, occasionally orange and white. Never been tested
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
Bought him at PetSmart and have been figuring out proper care from these forums ever since
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
Screen cage 38x20x20
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
I bought a mercury all in one 100W bulb recently because the kit I bought came with a 50W bulb, and I recently saw him climbing to the top of the cage to get near the bulb. Upgraded so that he wasnt cold, havent seen him climb closer since. Light comes on at 730am and turns off at 730pm
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
Basking spot is 85-90 typically, and the lower half is typically room temp( 70-75) At night it gets around 65, I have a thermometer in the cage
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
When I get up and before his first spraying humidity is at around 35% but with the spraying and the fogger it gets up around 70%. I have a meter in the cage to tell humidity levels
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
I have one Hibiscus and one Hosta and a few fake vines around the cages sides for protection from the light when needed
  • 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?
The cage is in my room, as my roommate has cats which arent allowed in there, there is an air vent above his cage but no one goes in there except me when I go to sleep, the top of the cage is about 5 feet from the floor-it is sitting on a bookshelf.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
I am in the DC area
Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
He isnt eating anymore, and has been "shedding" for about 2 weeks now.
 

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Daesie11

Chameleon Enthusiast
There are definitely some issues with husbandry here, most notably the gut loading of your feeders, the supplements you are using and the schedule (or lack thereof), and your lighting. I am not an experienced keeper, and especially not of veileds but @Beman is! Becca, can you help this baby out? They made a post on Sunday and no one helped them out.
 

Albarber

New Member
There are definitely some issues with husbandry here, most notably the gut loading of your feeders, the supplements you are using and the schedule (or lack thereof), and your lighting. I am not an experienced keeper, and especially not of veileds but @Beman is! Becca, can you help this baby out? They made a post on Sunday and no one helped them out.

Thanks for responding!
Since that post on Sunday I have started putting various dark green vegetables in with the crickets to make sure they are gutloaded. I havent been dusting the feeders with calcium lately becaue I want them to seem as appealing as possible to get him to eat something.
Whats wrong with my lighting? Just recently bought that bulb after talking to a gentlmen who has a veiled as well.
 

Daesie11

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for responding!
Since that post on Sunday I have started putting various dark green vegetables in with the crickets to make sure they are gutloaded. I havent been dusting the feeders with calcium lately becaue I want them to seem as appealing as possible to get him to eat something.
Whats wrong with my lighting? Just recently bought that bulb after talking to a gentlmen who has a veiled as well.
The UVB needs to be a linear T5HO that stretches across the entire top of the enclosure so that there is an even spread of UVB. Now, someone can jump in and correct me because like I said I'm not one of the more experienced here and I'm not familiar with the "all in one" bulbs, but I've been trained that the linear bulbs are the ones that our chams need!
You should still continue to dust your feeders. You just dont want them to be completely coated in the stuff. Just a light dusting to ensure he is getting adequate vitamins and minerals in his meals. You also dont specify if your calcium is with or without d3, and whether you are using any multivitamins?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
There are definitely some issues with husbandry here, most notably the gut loading of your feeders, the supplements you are using and the schedule (or lack thereof), and your lighting. I am not an experienced keeper, and especially not of veileds but @Beman is! Becca, can you help this baby out? They made a post on Sunday and no one helped them out.
Yeah I am not at home right now but I will look when I get back. :)
 

Albarber

New Member
There are definitely some issues with husbandry here, most notably the gut loading of your feeders, the supplements you are using and the schedule (or lack thereof), and your lighting. I am not an experienced keeper, and especially not of veileds but @Beman is! Becca, can you help this baby out? They made a post on Sunday and no one helped them out.

Okay, I will look into getting a linear light, that is an easy fix.
It is without D3, and I have some multivitamins being shipped as we speak.
I guess I didn't realize that not getting his vitamins would make him not eat, so I will be sure to put together a schedule.
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok one take the wrap off those plants put river rocks down there. I don’t think your supplements right witch could be the reason he isn’t eating. He also look skinny. You need to get a fecal test done. You don’t want a fogger on during the day only at night. The lights and fogger can cause ri problems. You need to gutload your insects better and dust them every feeding.
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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
Veiled Chameleon, pet store told me he is a male but I havent sexed him myself, store wasn't sure how old but he is about 7 inches long without his tail, i've had him 1.5 months So I can not tell from that pic the gender. See if you can get pics of back feet or view mine at the bottom. Males have tarsal spurs on their hind feet.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
I never handle him, however today when I was cleaning his cage he climbed out so I picked him up and put him right back in. He does not appreciate being touched
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
Right now I am feeding him large crickets, and superworms. I keep a small dish with about 8 worms in the cage near the main plant, and when I first got him would put about 8 crickets in the cage in the morning. Up until recently i would feed him everyday because he would eat that many, recently I out a few in the cage and then when I get home I take them back out. I am gutloading with Flukers Orange Cubes along with various greens-crickets also have a calcium block in their cage So curb back on the superworms... They should only make up about 20% of what you are feeding. Your gutload needs to be improved upon as well @JoXie411 posted graphics for this. You want mostly leafy greens. Basically you want to be feeding about 12 feeders a day. Granted this changes based on age and gender as well.

I recently ordered silk worms and dubios roaches, and he hasnt touched them as far as I can tell
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
I dust the crickets with calcium powder a few times a week, no schedule at this point So you have to follow a supplements schedule it is very important for their health. You will want to do a calcium without D3 every feeding and then 2 times a month a calcium with D3 and 2 times a month a multivitamin. Lightly dusted and fed. It can be easier to keep track of if you are putting them in some sort of a holder in the cage. see the graphic that was posted.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
I spray the cage for about 5 minutes with a spray gun and get the leaves very wet and dripping. I see him drinking occasionally. I also have a fogger that I leave on during the day on low so that moisture forms on the top of the cage and drips down. The fogger is also helping the humidity stay high because it is a pain keeping a mesh cage humid Ok so it is a fine balance we do with balancing fogging and misting and humidity. Fogging should only be done at night say from 12-5 when the cage is very cool. Listen to this podcast it is amazing. https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-89-naturalistic-hydration-for-chameleons/ In fact all of his are.. And he is the GOAT of Chameleon Keepers. You can put a shower curtain on the back and the sides leaving the front and top open to help with humidity. But you really only want daytime humidity to be between 30-50% at most. Night time is when you want it high. Little drippers are good for providing water while not overdoing the spraying during the day.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
Usually brown, occasionally orange and white. Never been tested Orange indicates dehydration.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
Bought him at PetSmart and have been figuring out proper care from these forums ever since
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
Screen cage 38x20x20 I am thinking this must be the chameleon kit that is actually 16x16x30... will need to be upgraded to a larger size.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
I bought a mercury all in one 100W bulb recently because the kit I bought came with a 50W bulb, and I recently saw him climbing to the top of the cage to get near the bulb. Upgraded so that he wasnt cold, havent seen him climb closer since. Light comes on at 730am and turns off at 730pm
I think this is the PROBLEM> Mercury Vapor bulbs should NEVER be used for a small cage and never used without a solarmeter 6.5 to measure your UVI levels from the bulbs. Veileds should only have a max UVI of 3-4 at their basking level. I believe he is being blasted with way too high of heat and UVB. You need a regular household white bulb like 60 -75 watt. You can buy these in a reptile form as well at petco. from the looks of it I am thinking your basking branch is approximately 7-8 inches below the fixture so I would start with a 60watt bulb. You want a temp of about 83 right at the basking branch because 1-2 inches higher will be the 85 that the little one will need and no more. Use either a heat gun or a wired thermometer with probe hooked in at the branch below the heat. YOu have to get a T5HO fixture and a 10.0 uvb linear bulb. These are the safest and best for Chams.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
Basking spot is 85-90 typically, and the lower half is typically room temp( 70-75) At night it gets around 65, I have a thermometer in the cage At the very hottest it should be is 83-85.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
When I get up and before his first spraying humidity is at around 35% but with the spraying and the fogger it gets up around 70%. I have a meter in the cage to tell humidity levels ok you want a level of 30-50% max during the day. Fogger only used at night to get it higher. See other section on watering.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
I have one Hibiscus and one Hosta and a few fake vines around the cages sides for protection from the light when needed I am not familar with the Hosta plant or if it would be safe for him. As @JoXie411 said you must remove all of the plastic wrap...This is a huge impaction risk should the little one get a piece off. replace with 1 inch or bigger river rock covering the soil. This will keep him and feeders from getting to the soil.
  • 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?
The cage is in my room, as my roommate has cats which arent allowed in there, there is an air vent above his cage but no one goes in there except me when I go to sleep, the top of the cage is about 5 feet from the floor-it is sitting on a bookshelf.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
I am in the DC area
Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
He isnt eating anymore, and has been "shedding" for about 2 weeks now.

I think the reason for the issue is mainly the Mercury vapor bulb this must be replace asap. Really important.

Let us know what other questions you have. See my pics below showing what a tarsal spur on a male looks like.
tarsal Spur2.jpgTarsal spur1.jpg
 

Albarber

New Member
Oh wow, that was really thorough!

I will go to the store and get river rocks for the plants tomorrow, I didn't realize how much of a hazard it was.
I just went and checked for the spurs on his back legs, I didn't see one. He is sleeping so I couldn't get a good angle, but I'm pretty sure there aren't any. I can post pictures tomorrow when he isn't asleep. Could him being young make them less noticeable?
I will definitely start keeping dark leafy greens in with the feeders to make sure they are properly gutloaded. Do they still need moisture cubes to keep them hydrated or will the greens be enough?
Also I will stop using superworms regularly, I only bought them to try to get him to eat and I was worried he was on a hunger strike.
I will start keeping the fogger off during the day, as I live near DC the humidity is constantly about 40% night or day.
I am working on getting a larger cage
I will definitely switch out the bulb. I bought the mercury one because he was making a habit of climbing on top of the cage to get near his old bulb so I was worried he was getting cold.

Thank you so much for all the advice, I have been really worried about doing everything right. It's good to get personalized answers.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh wow, that was really thorough!

I will go to the store and get river rocks for the plants tomorrow, I didn't realize how much of a hazard it was.
I just went and checked for the spurs on his back legs, I didn't see one. He is sleeping so I couldn't get a good angle, but I'm pretty sure there aren't any. I can post pictures tomorrow when he isn't asleep. Could him being young make them less noticeable?
I will definitely start keeping dark leafy greens in with the feeders to make sure they are properly gutloaded. Do they still need moisture cubes to keep them hydrated or will the greens be enough?
Also I will stop using superworms regularly, I only bought them to try to get him to eat and I was worried he was on a hunger strike.
I will start keeping the fogger off during the day, as I live near DC the humidity is constantly about 40% night or day.
I am working on getting a larger cage
I will definitely switch out the bulb. I bought the mercury one because he was making a habit of climbing on top of the cage to get near his old bulb so I was worried he was getting cold.

Thank you so much for all the advice, I have been really worried about doing everything right. It's good to get personalized answers.
Your welcome. Let us know if you have questions... Get a heat gun they are only like 15 bucks on amazon. Easy way to know exactly what your temps are. And get the T5HO light asap with the 10.0 bulb. If your going to upgrade the cage then I would suggest a 2x2x4 cage. And then you would want to just get the T5HO fixture that will be the right length for the future cage. It will not hurt to have it hang off the sides a bit so that would be a 24 inch fixture with a 22 inch bulb. I really think the main issue is the poor thing is getting over radiated with UVB. Think of a really bad sunburn over and over again. I would get that now and not use the mercury vapor. Just add the heat bulb. Let the little one recoup a little. It wont hurt to not have anything for a few days.
 

Lunatuck

Established Member
Is it a mercury vapor bulb? The issue with those is that you are using it for basking and uvb. But, the optimal distance for each, heat and uvb varies a lot. There isnt a good way to get both.

I wouldve thought the uvb would fall off first, but dont have the meter to test. I think Beman has tested it.

Also, you either need a special glass under the bulb to pass the uvb, or go without glass. But, this is a huge fire/explosion hazard.

I have a basement full of reef tank lighting, but bought a linear uvb bulb. Cause it makes the most sense.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Is it a mercury vapor bulb? The issue with those is that you are using it for basking and uvb. But, the optimal distance for each, heat and uvb varies a lot. There isnt a good way to get both.

I wouldve thought the uvb would fall off first, but dont have the meter to test. I think Beman has tested it.

Also, you either need a special glass under the bulb to pass the uvb, or go without glass. But, this is a huge fire/explosion hazard.

I have a basement full of reef tank lighting, but bought a linear uvb bulb. Cause it makes the most sense.
I have not tested it but from what I have read you do have to have the solarmeter 6.5 to test UVI level because they vary in distance needed most needing to be a few feet away but without having the meter they are really not the best choice. While your UVB level may drop to a more appropriate level at a certain distance the heat does as well. Also They have theirs sitting right on the cage from what I could see from the pics. So I am thinking overexposure to UVB is the main reason for their issues.
 
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