EATING DIRT!!

Freedom

New Member
I recently put a laying bin in the enclosure for my female veiled chameleon due to being more active and wandering around the bottom of the cage. I just checked on her and she is eating the dirt. Should I take out the laying bin???
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
I never had that problem with my female. My male yes but I wouldn’t say take it out if she want to lay. Hopefully someone else come in just trying to bump this up
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I just looked through your past posts to see if you ever filled out the help form... Someone did recommend you fill it out. I think you really should so we can check everything. Eating dirt is something they do when their supplementation is not correct. Also I saw a post you did where you commented about having a night light? No lights at all at night for chams. 12hours on 12hours off with total darkness...

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • 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?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
 
I just looked through your past posts to see if you ever filled out the help form... Someone did recommend you fill it out. I think you really should so we can check everything. Eating dirt is something they do when their supplementation is not correct. Also I saw a post you did where you commented about having a night light? No lights at all at night for chams. 12hours on 12hours off with total darkness...

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • 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?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
Thanks so much for including this! It is soooo helpful when these questions are answered!
 

Freedom

New Member
  • My chameleon is a baby veiled female chameleon. She is currently 8 months old and has been in my care for about 3 months.
  • I handle my chameleon once or twice a day depending on if she's in the mood to come out or if she expresses any type of stress.
  • I feed my chameleon crickets and mealworms (won't eat any type of vegetable or fruit yet). When I first got her I didn't know any better and was feeding her about 28 crickets or mealworms a day, now I'm slowly lowering the amount I feed her each week by lowering her cricket count by 2. I am gut-loading my crickets with sweet potato, lettuce, and different berries.
  • I currently am dusting my crickets every week with Fluker's Repta calcium which contains vitamin D3
  • I spray her cage every morning for about 2 minutes with warm water ( I make sure to spray on top of cage so water drips down unto leaves throughout the day) and once more in the day and at night (I make sure not to spray her directly an hour before she goes to sleep) Every other day I will spray her for about a straight minute. I have seen my chameleon drinking off leaves and the sides of the cage.
  • Her recent dropping have been normal colored (Dark brown and white). They are easy to remove from cage and don't stick if I clean right away. My chameleon has never been tested for parasites as far as I know.
  • She was at Pet Smart In a cage by herself so if she lays eggs they won't be fertile
Cage Info:
  • Her current cage is screened in and is 16''x16''x30''.
  • In the morning usually around 7-7:30a.m I put on her daylight bulb (60 watt Brand name-Zoo med) and a UVB light (13 watt Brand name- Zoo med). At around 7:30-8p.m I take out daylight bulb and UVB light to put on a red light with 60 watts (Brand name also Zoo med) for 30 min to let her know that it's night time. (When the red light is on I don't take her out of her cage so she can relax) At around 8-8:30 I turn off the red light and let her get some rest. About 3 times a week if possible I get her outside so she can soak up real sunlight.
  • The floor of the cage has reached a lowest temperature of 65 degrees while the basking spot can get up to 80 degrees. (The middle of the cage varies but mostly sticks in the upper 70s) I think the lowest overnight temperature was 61 degrees. I measure the temperature with a thermometer that hangs down into the cage
  • The humidity stays at 70%-80% most of the day but can drop as low as 40% in the night. I maintain these levels by using a spray bottle filled with warm water and using it 3 to 4 times a day. I use a humidifier to measure the humidity in the cage.
  • I just recently got a medium sized croton plant which I put rocks over soil to cover dirt.
  • The cage is located in the warmest room in the house with only one outside wall. It's near a fan which we barely use. Her cage is a little more than 4 feet off the ground and is sitting on a small but stable table.
  • I live in Northern Virginia near Washington D.C.
  • The current problem- I've noticed her going down to the bottom of the cage and wandering around more so just to be safe I put a laying box in there. She hasn't gotten dark or any blue spots yet and she's still eating crickets. I just recently caught her eating some dirt in her laying box and then wandering back up to her basking spot. Should I take the laying box out?? Does she need to lay even though she isn't showing any dark colors or blue spots??
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Freedom
  • My chameleon is a baby veiled female chameleon. She is currently 8 months old and has been in my care for about 3 months.
  • I handle my chameleon once or twice a day depending on if she's in the mood to come out or if she expresses any type of stress.
  • I feed my chameleon crickets and mealworms (won't eat any type of vegetable or fruit yet). When I first got her I didn't know any better and was feeding her about 28 crickets or mealworms a day, now I'm slowly lowering the amount I feed her each week by lowering her cricket count by 2. I am gut-loading my crickets with sweet potato, lettuce, and different berries. Do not feed mealworms they have a very low nutritional value. At her age you should be limiting the number of feeders and she should be on an every other day feeding schedule of a max of 7 feeders. The more you feed the more eggs she will lay. She should have a varied diet as well. Gut load needs improvement you want more leafy greens not fruits. See image below.
  • I currently am dusting my crickets every week with Fluker's Repta calcium which contains vitamin D3 She needs a calcium WITHOUT D3 every feeding except when she gets calcium WITH D3 2 times a month and a multivitamin 2 times a month. These two should rotate week to week. See image below.
  • I spray her cage every morning for about 2 minutes with warm water ( I make sure to spray on top of cage so water drips down unto leaves throughout the day) and once more in the day and at night (I make sure not to spray her directly an hour before she goes to sleep) Every other day I will spray her for about a straight minute. I have seen my chameleon drinking off leaves and the sides of the cage. Do not spray with warm water. You should be using distilled water or RO water only. You need to have a constant water source like a little dripper. The water will evaporate much too quickly to be available to her constantly from spraying 1 time in the morning.
  • Her recent dropping have been normal colored (Dark brown and white). They are easy to remove from cage and don't stick if I clean right away. My chameleon has never been tested for parasites as far as I know.
  • She was at Pet Smart In a cage by herself so if she lays eggs they won't be fertile
Cage Info:
  • Her current cage is screened in and is 16''x16''x30''. This should be upgraded to a larger cage so you can incorporate a permanent lay bin and give her additional room to move around.
  • In the morning usually around 7-7:30a.m I put on her daylight bulb (60 watt Brand name-Zoo med) and a UVB light (13 watt Brand name- Zoo med). At around 7:30-8p.m I take out daylight bulb and UVB light to put on a red light with 60 watts (Brand name also Zoo med) for 30 min to let her know that it's night time. (When the red light is on I don't take her out of her cage so she can relax) At around 8-8:30 I turn off the red light and let her get some rest. About 3 times a week if possible I get her outside so she can soak up real sunlight. Her lights should be on a timer every day turning on and off at the same time. You do not have the right UVB lighting. She needs a T5HO fixture and a 10.0 UVB bulb for it. This is important the screw in UVB bulb provides very little and will lead to MBD. Absolutely NO red bulbs. This is very bad for her. She needs a 12 hour lights on and 12 hours total darkness schedule.
  • The floor of the cage has reached a lowest temperature of 65 degrees while the basking spot can get up to 80 degrees. (The middle of the cage varies but mostly sticks in the upper 70s) I think the lowest overnight temperature was 61 degrees. I measure the temperature with a thermometer that hangs down into the cage Make sure your basking temp is at 82 for her or she will have issues digesting her food.
  • The humidity stays at 70%-80% most of the day but can drop as low as 40% in the night. I maintain these levels by using a spray bottle filled with warm water and using it 3 to 4 times a day. I use a humidifier to measure the humidity in the cage. You want her day time humidity level to be 30%- 50%. Higher at night.
  • I just recently got a medium sized croton plant which I put rocks over soil to cover dirt.
  • The cage is located in the warmest room in the house with only one outside wall. It's near a fan which we barely use. Her cage is a little more than 4 feet off the ground and is sitting on a small but stable table.
  • I live in Northern Virginia near Washington D.C.
  • The current problem- I've noticed her going down to the bottom of the cage and wandering around more so just to be safe I put a laying box in there. She hasn't gotten dark or any blue spots yet and she's still eating crickets. I just recently caught her eating some dirt in her laying box and then wandering back up to her basking spot. Should I take the laying box out?? Does she need to lay even though she isn't showing any dark colors or blue spots?? What are you using for the lay box? What are the dimensions? What is the soil your using? She is eating the soil because she is lacking the proper nutrients in her feeders because they are not being gutloaded correctly and mealworms having very low nutritional value. Plus you are not providing her with the correct supplementation so she is trying to correct it by eating the soil. This can be dangerous depending on what type of soil you are using....
Additionally. She is at risk for MBD.. This is particularly dangerous in females when it comes to egg laying. She is at risk for having a lot of eggs due to her diet not being restricted which will take its toll on her. Females have to have the correct husbandry. Do you have any pictures of
her or her enclosure? Here are some helpful images and links to read through.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/egg-laying-and-the-laying-bin.345/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/

Supplements pic.jpeg
Gutloading 101.jpeg
UVB lighting pic.jpeg
nonUVB pic.jpeg
Basic Feeder pic.jpeg
 
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