Concerned about chameleons color & lack of activity

CharlieRae

Member
My male 1.5 year old ambilobe panther chameleon's color has been off the last month. His sleeping colors arent really there at all. I've noticed its not as vibrant. He also is not as active as he was before. Is this something I need to be concerned about? Do their colors become less vibrant as they age? I have had him since he was 9 weeks old.
His lights come on in the morning & at noon when I get home he hasnt moved. Which is not normal for him.

He's eating great. Crickets are his main food. He also get silkworms & occasionally superworms. I dust with bee pollen & repti calcium WITHOUT D3 every feeding. He gets repashy calcium plus LoD 2x a month. I do not dust the silkworms.
His basking temp is usually around 90° at the high spot & 85° at the lower part of the branch. He's misted 2x a day, he has a dripper that runs for 2 or 3 hrs in the afternoon. His ambient temp is typically 68°.
I have attached pictures of his current coloration, supplements, enclosure and the UVB bulb he gets.
His enclosure is screen & glass. 5ft x 2ft. front and top screen, sides are glass. All of his plants are live. He usually has two more umbrella plants in the front on those pedestals but I had to take them out, they were trying to die.
I will include pictures of what he usually looks like in the the comments.
 

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CharlieRae

Member
This is what he typically looks like.
 

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chamoflage

Member
He's handsome! Has anything in his environment around him changed? A new stimuli could be throwing him off? I remember @Beman saying in a different post her cham got thrown off because the neighbor got a new car and the color change effected him. Basking temps are a bit high, I believe it's 85 max for males but I don't think that should have effected his movement unless they spiked up recently or something.

Hopefully he's just going through a phase though and that he's happy and healthy!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
90 is a bit high... when you say you dust with bee pollen how much are you talking? He looks a bit thick holding weight in his casque. What is his feeding schedule and how much per feeding?

The uvb bulb you have is what strength? The arcadia bulbs like that with the bearded dragon are typically higher strength then a cham should have because they are 12 or 14% bulbs. You would want a 6% and then basking would be 9 inches below the uvb with a single bulb T5 fixture. Depending on what your current distance to the branch below it is he could be dealing with some over exposure issues. Unless your running a multibulb T5 with one reflector then a higher strength bulb would be needed.
 

CharlieRae

Member
He's handsome! Has anything in his environment around him changed? A new stimuli could be throwing him off? I remember @Beman saying in a different post her cham got thrown off because the neighbor got a new car and the color change effected him. Basking temps are a bit high, I believe it's 85 max for males but I don't think that should have effected his movement unless they spiked up recently or something.

Hopefully he's just going through a phase though and that he's happy and healthy!
No changes that im aware of except possibly humidity, we are running our AC now. He was in a glass enclosure last summer.
My humidity gage took a digger. I need a new 1
 

CharlieRae

Member
90 is a bit high... when you say you dust with bee pollen how much are you talking? He looks a bit thick holding weight in his casque. What is his feeding schedule and how much per feeding?

The uvb bulb you have is what strength? The arcadia bulbs like that with the bearded dragon are typically higher strength then a cham should have because they are 12 or 14% bulbs. You would want a 6% and then basking would be 9 inches below the uvb with a single bulb T5 fixture. Depending on what your current distance to the branch below it is he could be dealing with some over exposure issues. Unless your running a multibulb T5 with one reflector then a higher strength bulb would be needed.
I did just change his basking bulb a couple months ago. Its a bit hotter than it was before. I had to get a different brand bulb, the store didnt have the ones i normally buy. I just figured he'd bask less or move lower if it was too hot. 😟
It is a 12%. its a single bulb fixture with reflectors on both sides.
His basking branch is 6" from the top. The next highest branch is 8.75" from the top.
I cant remember what % my last bulb was. My husband had bought it. This 1 was changed 5 months ago. So I'll swap it out.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I did just change his basking bulb a couple months ago. Its a bit hotter than it was before. I had to get a different brand bulb, the store didnt have the ones i normally buy. I just figured he'd bask less or move lower if it was too hot. 😟
It is a 12%. its a single bulb fixture with reflectors on both sides.
His basking branch is 6" from the top. The next highest branch is 8.75" from the top.
I cant remember what % my last bulb was. My husband had bought it. This 1 was changed 5 months ago. So I'll swap it out.
So I would definitely get the lower wattage heat bulb. Your looking for an 80-85 range for temp at basking for him.

Per the 12% that is what I was afraid of. He is in much too high UVI levels with that 12%. Dropping back to the 6% you will have roughly a 3-4 UVI at the 8.75 branch. The 6 inch branch is still pushing it with the 6% Your going to get higher levels especially since you have to account for him rising up higher. This one would put him into an overexposure range. I would make sure the fixture is not sitting directly over this branch or lower it a bit.

Since we do not know everything about what overexposure can do because there have not been studies on it, I can not tell you if this is causing the color change. But I do know that over exposure is basically like you going out in the sun with a sun burn repeatedly. Not going to feel good and it will make you feel like crap. But if he were mine these are the two things I would fix asap. :)
 

CharlieRae

Member
So I would definitely get the lower wattage heat bulb. Your looking for an 80-85 range for temp at basking for him.

Per the 12% that is what I was afraid of. He is in much too high UVI levels with that 12%. Dropping back to the 6% you will have roughly a 3-4 UVI at the 8.75 branch. The 6 inch branch is still pushing it with the 6% Your going to get higher levels especially since you have to account for him rising up higher. This one would put him into an overexposure range. I would make sure the fixture is not sitting directly over this branch or lower it a bit.

Since we do not know everything about what overexposure can do because there have not been studies on it, I can not tell you if this is causing the color change. But I do know that over exposure is basically like you going out in the sun with a sun burn repeatedly. Not going to feel good and it will make you feel like crap. But if he were mine these are the two things I would fix asap. :)
Ok, I will shut off the UVB fixture & get a new bulb ordered today. I will swap out his basking bulb, also.
& to answer the bee pollen question, I use the handle end of the calcium scoop, to get a little 'pinch'. I will try & get a photo of the amount when I go home this afternoon.
 

Andrew1283

Established Member
He looks beautiful in both the pre and post photos but it’s always concerning when their color changes. I agree something in the environment must have changed. I cracked up thinking about the neighbor getting a different colored car! They are so particular 😂
 

CharlieRae

Member
He looks beautiful in both the pre and post photos but it’s always concerning when their color changes. I agree something in the environment must have changed. I cracked up thinking about the neighbor getting a different colored car! They are so particular 😂
He hates our calico cat, who doesn't even notice he exists. Always has hated her. If she walks into the room he gets all fired up & goes flat. But the white & gray cat doesn't phase him at all. & she's the creeper that sits & stares at him. lol
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok, I will shut off the UVB fixture & get a new bulb ordered today. I will swap out his basking bulb, also.
& to answer the bee pollen question, I use the handle end of the calcium scoop, to get a little 'pinch'. I will try & get a photo of the amount when I go home this afternoon.
Ok perfect and if you have any questions let me know.

Keep in mind I know you are seeing a big push in the hobby about bee pollen but too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. We have seen in the forum where chams are developing edema. Once the Bee pollen is removed from the supplements and put into the gutload the edema subsides. So just something to be cautious about.
 

CharlieRae

Member
Ok perfect and if you have any questions let me know.

Keep in mind I know you are seeing a big push in the hobby about bee pollen but too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. We have seen in the forum where chams are developing edema. Once the Bee pollen is removed from the supplements and put into the gutload the edema subsides. So just something to be cautious about.
I don't gutload with bee pollen. But I will stop adding it to every feeding.
BTW, my idiot crickets don't eat ANYTHING I put in the box. & they are always dying. lmao. So I have started only buying a weeks worth at a time & they really don't get gutloaded. I throw the veggies & fruit in, but it doesn't appear they actually eat it. Is not gutloading a problem?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
How often are you feeding him now? He should only be eating every other day at the most to 3 days a week. And only 3-4 feeders. Depending on how you are keeping them and the type they are they will die off.

chameleon-gutload.jpg
chameleon-food(1).jpg
 

CharlieRae

Member
Not gutloading is a big problem. Do you have any other types of feeders
He eats silk worms, crickets & occasionally superworms & the big green ones. (I cant for the life of me remember the name. lol)
He will not eat roaches. I've tried 5 different types & all sizes of roaches He totally refuses them.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Have you tried other gutload ingredients before and/or a quality commercial one for the crickets?
 

CharlieRae

Member
How often are you feeding him now? He should only be eating every other day at the most to 3 days a week. And only 3-4 feeders. Depending on how you are keeping them and the type they are they will die off.

View attachment 301427View attachment 301428
I feed him every other to every 2 days. 5 bugs at a time. Crickets are from PetCo, I do not know what kind they are. I have them in a large tote with egg crates. It has screened over holes in the sides & top for ventilation.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
try the repashy bug burger. Mix as directed and store it in the fridge. Take out a 1inch cube to feed each day depending on how many you have. If their bin is dirty this will cause die offs faster. I would consider switching to a healthier feeder or adding in others. Really want to shake up what he gets. Kinda like you eating lettuce and only lettuce every day of your life. Not much nutrients and the same nutrients so your body gets nothing else to thrive on.
 

CharlieRae

Member
So, after 2 months of better gutloading, buying crickets form cricket breeders instead of local petco, & feeding more silkworms, this is still an issue. I put in a different basking bulb & brough his basking temp down to 85. He also is still not moving as much. The last couple days he has not moved from his sleeping spot unless forced to move. His color is also more bland.

I'm becoming very concerned. I took him to the vet & she could find nothing wrong. We do not have a legit reptile/chameleon vet within 3 hrs of me that I know of. So I dont have a lot of options anymore. I need somebody to help me because I really think he is dying.
Here's a photo from a couple days ago. His color is fading more than it was 2 months ago when I originally posted.
 
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