Eating and activity have decreased


New Member
Alright guys I am new here so please bare with me and any annoying questions. I will start by outlining basic info requested by Brad.

Cage: wire screen 24"w x 24"T x 12"d
lighting: UVB spiral, 50 watt. basking bulb on timer 12hrs. on 12hrs. off.
Temp.: basking area 88, cool area around 78, evening drop to around 75
Humidity: Between 60%-70%
Plants: Just vines and plastic vine plants ( plenty of cover)
Location: Bedroom. Not a lot of traffic and not by any air vents.
Chameleon: Panther-male about 4-5 months old.
Feeding: Crickets and wax/meal worms every day around 10 am.
supplements: Rep-Cal calcium with vit. D-3 every day. Herptivite vit. twice a week.
watering: PRO-Mist on a timer misting for 2 minutes at 9:00,12:00,3:00,6:00 and 8:00. I water often because nozle doesn't cover entire cage and sometimes he isn't misted.
Fecal: Looks normal and hydrated.
History: Has been eating and growing very well so far. Bought from a reputable breeder.
Problem: Has not been eating as well, seems to pace his cage more and does this thing where it looks like he is yawning but more like he is trying to re-align his jaw. He is beside a young female but he cannot see her there is a barrier between them. Any ideas. This is the first time owning chameleons. 20 snakes and about 40 beardies but I have been told to keep a closer I on chameleons because they seem to be a little trickier then other reptiles.
Hello Crow :)
Welcome to the Chameleon Forums

Great summary of your setup. It is very helpful to others when trying to offer advice. Your setup looks good for your cham's age. When he is older he will need something taller, and at that time I would try adding at least one live plant.

The behavior you describe sounds like he is ready to shed. Have you seen him shed before? My chameleons will usually become more active while shedding and will sometimes 'yawn' to help the shedding process.

Is he doing the yawning behavior in any specific areas of the cage, like while under the basking light? Chameleons will do something similar when they are too hot. Soon after you will usually see them move to a lower temperature. A chameleon might also pace if he is too hot, trying to find a cooler spot. From your setup description though, that does not seem to be the case.

An upper respiratory infection(URI), even if minor, could cause your cham to do a gulping or swallowing motion. If this is the case, you will usually see a cham breathing with their mouth open at times. This could be what you are describing, but I am not sure. This can be caused by many things; one cause being low temps.

Try some silkworms. I highly recommend them. They are better for your cham than your other feeders, and your beardies will like them too.
Thank you for your response Brad. He is not shedding I just checked his temps and they look a little hot. Hottest spot is 102 (3" under the basking bulb) other end of his cage is 85 and the bottom is 74-76. I can bump down to a lower wattage bulb but then my basking area is 85 and then everywhere else drops to like low 70s. What do you think? Also I ordered silk worms yesterday to fatten up my breeder beardies before I put them down for brumation.
102F is too hot for a panther, especially at his age. I would move down to the lower wattage basking light, or possible raise your current light a few inches. What kind of basking light are you using?
I am using zoo-Med spot lights(basking lights). The 102 I'm getting is on a branch just underneath the bulb 3". Branches around 10" away are reading around 88. He has plenty of cage to thermo-regulate. I'm not sure where heat measurements should be taken.
You might want to experiment around a little and see how your cham reacts. Measuring temperature gradients is always a hassle, especially if your chameleon is already in the cage. I highly recommend getting a tempgun if you don't have one already: tempgun.

For basking, I use normal incandescent bulbs. I have recently been using the GE Reveal brand. They have a bluish tint to them and really bring out the colors on the cham\cage. I prefer the normal incandescent to the spot-light bulbs; the heat seems to be more consistent.
Thanks for the info Brad. I do have a heat gun and thats what I use to measure all my heat gradients. Will experiment with some different bulbs. Thanks for the feed back.
Hi Crow,

In addition to what Brad has already mentioned to you, there are two other things that struck me that may need to be addressed. First of all, another sign of a chameleon being restless in his cage and wandering around a lot is that they may not be quite happy with their setup. You said you only use plastic vines... try adding a plant that may give him some more security and a place to feel safe and like a more natural surrounding. This may make him a bit happier in his habitat. It will also raise humidity levels for him.

Another thing you mentioned is that you are dusting him with D3 everyday. I would highly recommend you cut down some on his dusting. Over dusting can actually be toxic to a chameleon. Since he is about 4-5 months old, try dusting him perhaps 2 days a week, no more than 3. As he grows to adulthood, he will only need dusting once a week.

The re-aligning the jaw sounds to me like Brad hit it right on the head. Sounds like he's getting ready to shed. But overheating as well can cause this.

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