Could use help and guidance - new veiled owner with new rescue

wodesorel

Member
I have trouble saying no to an animal in need. We rescued two leopard geckos about two months ago from a person on Facebook who was selling off their collection of animals. Since then, they've doubled in weight, if that tells you anything about the state they were in when we got them.

This person also had a veiled chameleon for sale, and it was in really sorry state. The first photo I saw of it, it was laying on the bottom of the cage. It's taken this long to save up and for them to come down on price to where we could get it. It was kind of a last minute thing, since another person was inquiring and the first thing they asked was "does it bite". Yeah, great research you've done there...

Anyway, I was hoping the wonderful people here could give me a better idea of what I may be looking at. I know from the geckos that this person was not offering enough food or providing proper heating for anything in their care.

From the state of the dripper (bone dry, caked with crud and with a spider inside) this gal was being given bowls of water. I also know she was not being given UVB - in the photos that were posted back in June there was none on her tank. The bulb that was sent home with her is so burnt that it has to be several years old.

I spent an hour taking her cage apart completely, bleaching it, and reassembling it. Then another two hours spent freezing on the front porch to build a new jungle gym. Mcgyvered her a dripper out of spare parts, too. Will have a new UVB bulb here on Tuesday. Also need to pick up some plain calcium tomorrow - thought I had some but both jars have D3.

She is supposed to be a year and a half old - six months old at purchase and then a year with the person. I was told she's laid eggs twice. She weighs 80 grams.

I don't know chams so I can't say for certain, but she seems like she's weak. She's also missing food that's not being a moving target a few times before she gets it.

I'm adding a bunch of photos of everything to give y'all a sense of what's going on.
 

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SocialNumb

Established Member
The gurus need to chime in here but I just want to say the state of that cage and dripper is horrible. Personally never seen anything like that. So sad. She's tough.

You're an angel!



In case you haven't yet: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/

Get her lots of foliage https://www.chameleonforums.com/plants/ like she deserves and get some nutrients in her.

I leave it up to the more experienced members to tell you if she has MBD or not.

Copy and paste from the blog section:

Gutloaded insects should be the primary diet for your veiled chameleon, but they sometimes also enjoy directly eating vegetables, flowers, and small amounts of fruit.


pieces of leafy greens
• romaine
• kale (not daily - some is great, but a lot may not be)
• collards (not daily - some is good, but a lot may not be)
• hibiscus leaves
• dandelion
• endive
• basil
• mint
• cilantro
• mustard greens
• arugula /rocket
• clover (not daily - some is good, but a lot may not be)
• endive
• sprouting alfalfa
• baby's tears (Soleirolia soleirolii)
• oregano
• spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
veggies - Make everything of a size that would fit in your chameleon's mouth easily
• shaved/shredded pieces of carrot
• small pieces of steamed (and cooled) squash
• small pieces of steamed (and cooled) sweet potatoes
• small pieces of steamed (and cooled) yam
• zucchini
Flowers
• pumpkin /squash flowers and leaves
• hibiscus - leaves and flowers
• nasturtium blossoms
• arugula flowers
• jasmine flower
• okra flower
• pansy flower petals and leaves
• coneflower Echinacea (not rudbeckia)
• Campanula / Rampion / Harebell / Canterbury Bells - leaves and flowers
• aster / michaelmas daisy - leaves and flowers
• Antirrhinum /snap dragon - leaves and flowers
small, occasional pieces of fruit - very small amounts
• thin slices of mango flesh
• bits of papaya
• half a seedless grape
• blueberry
• thin slice of apple
• a piece of pear small enough to fit into the mouth
• thin small pieces of organic sweet red peppers (of the non-organic foods that have pesticides on them, these are one of the worse - it goes right through the thin skin and into the flesh - so use organic)

More:

Feeder Nutrition & Gutloading

It is important to feed the prey insects well, in such a way as to ensure they provide the correction nutrients for your chameleon. This process is called gutloading the insects.

The "wet" portion of the gutload, which should be your principle gutload, can includes things like (switch it up with a different couple of items every other week): dandelion leaves, squash (butternut, spaghetti), hibiscus leaves and flowers, grape leaves, orange, papaya, carrot, alfalfa sprouts, mustard greens, romaine, spearmint leaves, arugula (rocket), basil, apple, mulberries , clover, garland Chrysanthemum, chickweed, cilantro, okra, a few blueberries, small amounts of raspberries, very small amounts of cooked quinoa, peas, sunflower sprouts, small pieces of steamed (then cooled) yam, leek bulb, Fuki, ... Fruits and veggies such as these are important both for the nutrients they give (via the insect) to your chameleon, and also because well hydrated prey results in a better hydrated chameleon.

The dry portion (the lesser portion) of a gutload can include (blend/grind fine with a coffee grinder or food processor): spirulina; dried seaweed/kelp/dulse; bee pollen; dried alfalfa; organic raw sunflower seeds; sesame seeds; flax seed; hemp seed; poppy seeds; fennel seed, dehydrated cranberry powder; beet powder; zucchini powder; dried Mulberries; fig powder; ground dried hibiscus; ground almonds; small amounts of ground brazil nuts; small amounts of ground/chopped beechnuts; small occassional pieces of oak leaves; small amounts of kale powder; small amounts of quality whole grain breakfast cereal (especially fortified, like GM whole gran Total); barley /oats / cracked rye /wheat germ / stabalized rice bran; small amounts of quality monkey, avian or ignuana food (read the ingredients, be cautious of too much Vitamin A or animal fat).

Limit your use of grains and other items higher in phosphorous than calcium (a little can be very good, a lot is not unless you compensate to fix the ratio). Good grain choices are stabalized rice bran and crushed whole barley.
Limit use of broccoli, beans (phytic acid), cabbage, bok choy, beet leaves, parsley, cassava, watercress, kale, collard greens, spinach, swiss chard, Soy/edamame , bran, buckwheat, almonds, rhubarb, sesame seeds, pine nuts, apricot, figs, kiwi, asparagus (anything high in phytates/Phytic acid, Oxilates/ Oxalic Acid, Goitrogens). Some is fine, possibly beneficial. Just not as a regular item.

Avoid dog food, cat food, fish food, and other prepared foods that are heavy sources of animal protien and/or fat and may provide excessive preformed vitamin A and also D (a little now and then is okay, but too much can lead to gout and other issues). Similarily avoid/limit milk, meat, eggs, etc.
 

Lathis

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would suggest a vet visit based on the condition of her legs. She looks to have a MBD -certainly not the worst case we have seen here but it's definitely there. On of the legs also looks broken. A general check up and perhaps a calcium injection will get her on the right track.

Thank you for taking her in. Her cage was abysmal. She's in a much better place now.

Lots of care, good food, a proper supplement schedule, and good hydration will do wonders for her.

Two resources: General chameleon care: https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/chameleons/

Veiled chameleon care sheet: www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/
 

wodesorel

Member
I would have thought someone would have scooped her up during the six months she was listed for sale. Thought that about the geckos though, too. I got involved in the whole situation after thinking about the geckos for months and then scraping the cash together and sending a message, hoping to know they had been taken by someone. They hadn't, so I did and this person invited me in to see everything. It was not pretty and I left and tried to report it to the local humane society but they wouldn't lift a finger unless it was warm blooded. I think the other animals they have left now are newer and have more time, they didn't look too bad. I'm pretty sure they clearing out everything for personal reasons, at least I hope they are. There was a Panther in much better shape that someone else got and that was a relief. Everything was from chain stores and expos, and I think they went by that care information instead of researching anything. (Which is a royal shame because we have an awesome mom & pop down the road who specializes in herps.)

Vet visit scheduled for two weeks. I sent him photos and he's pretty sure she just needs some recovery time in proper conditions. He doesn't want to stress her out again right away and I can always call if something comes up.

Working on tweaking the cage so she's comfortable. Added a heat light because her basking area wasn't warm enough, now she's sacked out under it. She's taking superworms from a hanging cup but can't hit a loose cricket. Will look for more plant coverage tonight. Need to pick up a ceramic heater for night use, been using a red bulb. My other animals in that room can't drop too low at night so there has to be a heat source.

I think the cage is too small for the long term, but figure it's perfect for her for now. Will be moving critters around in the coming months and I think I can create something much bigger (48x18x? that'll sit at at least waist height) for her that'll be cost effective.
 

Lathis

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looks like you've got it in hand. :)

You could keep the red light for your other animals and just drape her cage at night like a bird. Just a thought. She doesn't need heat at night and would actually benefit from a drop in temperature.

I agree with keeping her close and comfortable right now, especially because of that one leg that looks off. Be sure to dust her super worms with calcium at every feeding - she needs the calcium desperately right now. That may help with her tongue issues too because calcium is important for muscle control.

Best of luck to you both!
 

brownie64

Avid Member
Welcome to our forum.

Well she has a slight case of MBD like Lathis said, and she is a little skinny. However as hard as it is to believe she does look hydrated, and I think with a vet visit, and some quality care from you she will be just fine. Good thing you found her when you did, and I like the fact that one of the first things you did was to seek help shows she is in good hands. Her cage definitely needs more foliage I personally would use live plants it helps with the humidity, but that's entirely up to you. Get that dripper going, give her the calcium, some well needed food, and a visit with a qualified vet she will be good to go. And we will be here to help you along the way. Like Lathis said check out the care sheets. :)

Oh yah you need to get a laying ben in her cage too.
 
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wodesorel

Member
Thank you!

We have a great reptile rescue not too far from us. It's given me more courage then I normally would have, since if I get in over my head I know there is a place that can help. I've always been involved in animal rescue, first cats then hermit crabs. (You want to talk about myths and abuse - they live 30-40 years with proper care.) We adopted a snake from a friend who was downsizing, and then adopted a special needs corn from the rescue about a year ago who has a severe case of Charcot's. I was going to stop there, but when picking up some hermits from the rescue earlier this year I fell in love with this skinny tailess fat-tailed gecko they had up for adoption, and it doubled in weight for me and watching that transformation got me hooked on helping where possible. I would never buy from a bad store, but if I see something in the classifieds and we can do it, so be it.

And honestly, this cham is really freaking cool. I used to peer in at them at the pet store and wonder, but yeah, I'm loving the idea more every hour. Seriously have a whole expansion planned out and it hasn't even been 24 hours! Got bit by the bug, I think.

Few more questions if you don't mind - The laying bin - I saw 12x12x12, that's most of her current cage. Is it possible to go smaller safely since she's still petite? Does the sand need to be wet, or is it kept dry?

I will try draping the cage and see if that works! :)

Just got back with a pothos for the tank and some organic kale. I also have organic apples. It's a bummer that it's winter here now, I have a garden full of organicly grown safe goodies. I think the only thing left out there now is the dandelions. Can she have/want dried flowers? I have a ton of hibiscus blossoms dried for my hermits.
 

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brownie64

Avid Member
Thank you!

We have a great reptile rescue not too far from us. It's given me more courage then I normally would have, since if I get in over my head I know there is a place that can help. I've always been involved in animal rescue, first cats then hermit crabs. (You want to talk about myths and abuse - they live 30-40 years with proper care.) We adopted a snake from a friend who was downsizing, and then adopted a special needs corn from the rescue about a year ago who has a severe case of Charcot's. I was going to stop there, but when picking up some hermits from the rescue earlier this year I fell in love with this skinny tailess fat-tailed gecko they had up for adoption, and it doubled in weight for me and watching that transformation got me hooked on helping where possible. I would never buy from a bad store, but if I see something in the classifieds and we can do it, so be it.

And honestly, this cham is really freaking cool. I used to peer in at them at the pet store and wonder, but yeah, I'm loving the idea more every hour. Seriously have a whole expansion planned out and it hasn't even been 24 hours! Got bit by the bug, I think.

Few more questions if you don't mind - The laying bin - I saw 12x12x12, that's most of her current cage. Is it possible to go smaller safely since she's still petite? Does the sand need to be wet, or is it kept dry?

I will try draping the cage and see if that works! :)

Just got back with a pothos for the tank and some organic kale. I also have organic apples. It's a bummer that it's winter here now, I have a garden full of organicly grown safe goodies. I think the only thing left out there now is the dandelions. Can she have/want dried flowers? I have a ton of hibiscus blossoms dried for my hermits.
You better be careful once you catch the bug you can't stop you'll own 5 or 6 before you know it. You could probably go a little smaller on that laying ben, but not too much because they like to root around to find a good spot. If she don't feel comfortable she might not lay the eggs which could in turn cause her to become egg bound. You don't want that unless you want to spend hundreds on a vet to do surgery that she will only have a 50/50 chance of surviving. Now that I have scared the crap out of you I'll get back to the questions. I haven't had eggs for some time mine are live bearers now, but I think it's kept moist. I know there is threads on here that tell you how to set up laying bens see link below. Sorry I couldn't be of more help there. And yes chams love hibiscus flowers I don't know why dried ones won't work if you could get her to eat them. Good luck :)

https://www.chameleonforums.com/receptive-female-chameleons-educational-video-62869/

P.S. The cage is starting to look nice a little more foliage and you have it.
 
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wodesorel

Member
My critter room is 8 feet by 5 feet. It has seven 20 gallons, five 10 gallons, two 15 gallons, a 30 gallon, two 55 gallons, an incubator (temporary), supplies, feeding bins and containers, and now the cham's cage. The plan is to get rid of the 55's, replace one with a shorter enclosure, and that leaves like a 48 x 18 x 48 block of space for a permanent enclosure for the cham. Unless I can have two in there, I have to stick with just her. ;) It's really a great way to put limits on my hobby. The cats have run of the house elsewhere and I do not trust them in any way, with any cage. If I can fit it in that room in a proper sized enclosure and still have space to move around to do things then it's a go.

I've heard horror stories about egg binding. Size non-negotiable. Noted.


One thing I forgot to ask - humidity levels. What do they need? I don't see it in the caresheet. Our house is bone dry throughout the winter - like 16% in the main parts. Because of all the tanks in the critter room evaporating, it's a bit better around 25%-30%. Depending on what she'll need I may need to close off her cage a bit, or look into getting a humidifier.
 

brownie64

Avid Member
[QUOTE


One thing I forgot to ask - humidity levels. What do they need? I don't see it in the caresheet. Our house is bone dry throughout the winter - like 16% in the main parts. Because of all the tanks in the critter room evaporating, it's a bit better around 25%-30%. Depending on what she'll need I may need to close off her cage a bit, or look into getting a humidifier.[/QUOTE]

When I kept veileds I would shoot for 70% when spraying, and left it to dry out to about 50% in between the sprayings. Veiled aren't as sensitive as say like a Jackson's, or any other montane species. You'll find wants you get the real plants all in there it wont be that hard to keep the humidity up with regular misting's. However if you do a cool mist humidifier would work out nice as long as it's not over done and kept too moist it must have that dry out between misting's. If you don't have any desert species in your lizard room I would just humidify the whole room. Again good luck. :)
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
Heya Wode, I am from Hermit Crab Association, lol I have a 110 gallon and a kind of rescue too. XD I don't know if you remember me or not, I haven't been on in a while, this is my main forum right now.

So I have done a veiled rehabilitation too. It can cost a pretty chunk of change to get them where they need to be, and it can take a ridiculously long time. My girl took 3 and a half months of hand watering and force feeding of a liquid diet every day. Now she's in her new home and is so happy. she came to me with a severe vitamin A deficiency and a slight calcium deficiency. Her growth was also severely stunted. Her new care-taker just updated me on her progress and I don't even recognize her anymore, she's huge and healthy, a happy girl.

So it is possible to do ^^ it just takes a while, because chameleons do everything slowly. Your girl seems to be in slightly better condition sad to say, cause your girl isn't in the best condition anyway. If you notice her getting dehydrated (like if you notice orange colored urates) give her a shower. I would suggest getting some hornworms or silkworms to give her some extra calcium and some extra hydration in a fun way for her.

Black Soldier fly larvae/calciworms/phoenix worms or whatever else they are called, are a great way to get lots of calcium into her in a natural way. They usually can be found at petco. If they transform into flies just open the container inside her cage when she's strong enough to catch them herself, and she'll probably love the hunt. She could probably eat seven black soldier fly larvae a day.

Are you the person with the roach allergy? I can't remember... I was gonna suggest them for a second but if I'm right then you can't exactly use them >.<

I wish you and her so much luck, I know how hard it can be waiting for them to get better. But it's so worth it in the end.
 

wodesorel

Member
Hi Andee!! It's nice to see a familiar name. :) I do remember you! I'm used to seeing people drifting away from the HCA once they get the hang of things, and I always wonder how things go for them over the years.

Wow. I could not imagine trying to hand feed a reptile, especially for that length of time. I've done it many times with cats, but with herps I'm too afraid of handling them and hurting them. It's really nice to hear that they can make that much of a recovery. I keep being told by people I trust that they are super delicate, and it was starting to scare me a bit! The photos and stories in the MBD thread are reassuring as well.

I haven't found any waste yet. I would expect at least once a day? I think she was extremely dehydrated, so I'm not going to panic just yet. Her aim has improved and she got a cricket while I was feeding the geckos tonight! I heard the crunch and looked up to see her eating. (I think it's helping that the bottom of her tank is eye level, so she is always over my head.)

I do have the roach allergy and actually just sold off the last of my colonies two weeks ago. :/ Locally all I can get is supers, mealies and crickets. I'm breeding mealies now and am trying with the supers. I haven't been to Petco or Petsmart in a while, but our Petco downsized a few years back to where they only sell rodents and fish/mice feeders and they don't carry much of anything if it's not for dog or cats. Our Petsmart also downsized their reptile and fish section dramatically and I'm not sure if they have anything different. Will check both hopefully tomorrow, if not then Friday. The Pets Supplies Plus has a fridge of different things like waxworms, but everything always looks dead! I think I'm just going to have break down and order online, hopefully from someplace close to Ohio since it's winter. Need to look into how long different feeders will last and try to plan it out so it's good for the cham and the geckos and also a good deal for our wallet. Two of the geckos are super picky about their meals so some more variety would be great for them as well. :)
 

Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
At her size she could have a bowel movement once every other day depending on her hydration and food intake. Sometimes only a few times a week. Don't make her too warm, I would keep her on the female heat spectrum, I would worry about her producing eggs because of her weakened state. Once she's feeling better it could happen and she probably wouldn't be quite ready for their production.
 

wodesorel

Member
She's already laid twice this year, once with 70 eggs according to the previous owner, and that was with no heat! She was not being kept with a lay box either. I have no idea if she was provided with one when she started showing signs or if they were laid on the bottom of the cage out of desperation. If they're sticky like gecko eggs, I'm pretty sure it was bare bottomed because there was residue in one of the corners. I was told she'll have eggs when she starts hissing at me. :eek:
 

wodesorel

Member
Oh sure, bring the forum down when I'm already freaked out and stressed. :p

She's doing good, I think. UVB light arrived a day late, but she's been basking ever since. Basking temps are 85-87 with just the UVB boosting it a few degrees, and she's been glued to the top of the cage ever since. Darkened up a bit too.
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She gets hissy during misting and if I have to adjust anything in the cage. I'm a little worried she's not drinking enough but not sure how to check. I'm trying to make sure her dripper is filled and running all day.

Mealtimes are great. She knows what the cup is for and is tail hanging to eat superworms before I can get the cage door closed! She's catching crickets much easier now, too. She has no qualms chowing down while I'm in the room feeding the other pets.

Still trying to track down calci worms locally. If not, with luck I can order some next week. Maybe even a sampler of goodies. :)

Finally had her first poop. Seeing as it's been 6 days I'm trying not to worry too much about how it looks. The geckos gave abnormal poops for the first two weeks before their system calmed down. I'll get one of hers in to the vet for a fecal when the timing is good next week. (The fresher the better.)
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Andee

Chameleon Enthusiast
Wow that is one weird looking fecal, but I agree it's probably nothing to worry about quite yet. She may just be getting used to eating again and her body may need time to adjust. Either way I think sending in a fecal sample to a vet is a great idea.
 

brownie64

Avid Member
I would get the fecal ASAP. All the stress she has been under could have caused some issues in her digestive tract. But she has an appetite which is real encouraging.:)
 
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