Forcefed young chameleon.

lx21

Member
My veiled chameleon has only been eating once a week. I noticed today that his eyes were a little sunken, his poop was orange so I knew he was dehydrated. His cage has plenty of plants and branches for him to climb on. I mist the encloser 3x a day. He has a 75w heating lamp and a reptisun t5 ho. I decided to forcefeed him since I saw that his eyes has been kind of closed during the day. I think I stressed him out too much by forcefeeding. His color turned really light and he just gave up. He closed his eyes. I put him back but it seems like he's just given up and died. He's not moving anymore. He's not even attempting to climb the branches. Did I just kill my chameleon or will he recover if I just leave him be? I dont usually handle him. I only go into his cage to mist and put in or take out his food bowl. I know his cage is kind of small right now, but since he is still very tiny I didn't think it would matter quite yet. Right now he is in the 16x16x24. I am building a 24x24x48 for him and it's almost done, but now I am just worried that I killed him by strrssing him out with the forcefeeding.
 

T_Nicole

New Member
Hi! Im really sorry that your chameleon is sick. I don't have much experience but I have read on the forum that force feeding can be really risky because of the location of their airway.
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lx21

Member
When I first put him back, he wasn't moving at all and was just laying down, didn't try to climb the vines or anything at first. But now, he seems a little better. I think I just needed to give him a little time to overcome the stress. He's still not very active, but his eye's are open and he's hanging on the vine now. I've only had him a little over 2 weeks, and maybe I just traumatized him a bit with that handling. Before It was just a quick handle to transfer to and from areas for cleaning and stuff. That was the first time I ever actually held onto him and forced him to eat, so I think that just traumatized him. Hopefully he will be okay.
 
I also have a young veiled who hasn't been eating much. He spent some time today looking at the crickets in his feeder bowl, then left them alone. Not long after, I caught him on video striking a leaf on the live pothos plant in the cage and I believe he ate a small gnat/fly off the leaf. I started out with 500 1/4" crickets a couple weeks ago and many of them have grown to more like 3/8"+ and I think they're too big for him. I've scoured my colony for 1/4" or smaller crickets I will gutload for tomorrow, and I hope he gets full on them. I would make sure you have the smallest feeder insects you can get for a baby veiled, even if he ate bigger bugs before. Another thing, my veiled (his names Apone) doesnt seem to give a dang about water sitting on leaves, he wants to drink water dripping off of something. If you don't have a dripper dripping water on a plant or vine he has easy access to, he might not be drinking at all. Going without food is one thing, without water is a sure death sentence. Also, I'm sure no one here would recommend force-feeding your chameleon. Good luck!
 

lx21

Member
I also have a young veiled who hasn't been eating much. He spent some time today looking at the crickets in his feeder bowl, then left them alone. Not long after, I caught him on video striking a leaf on the live pothos plant in the cage and I believe he ate a small gnat/fly off the leaf. I started out with 500 1/4" crickets a couple weeks ago and many of them have grown to more like 3/8"+ and I think they're too big for him. I've scoured my colony for 1/4" or smaller crickets I will gutload for tomorrow, and I hope he gets full on them. I would make sure you have the smallest feeder insects you can get for a baby veiled, even if he ate bigger bugs before. Another thing, my veiled (his names Apone) doesnt seem to give a dang about water sitting on leaves, he wants to drink water dripping off of something. If you don't have a dripper dripping water on a plant or vine he has easy access to, he might not be drinking at all. Going without food is one thing, without water is a sure death sentence. Also, I'm sure no one here would recommend force-feeding your chameleon. Good luck!
Yes, I always try to find the smallest bugs to feed him with, but I will keep trying to put his food in a feeding cup and hopefully he will eat. I also have a dripper going now too.
 

bbyoda

Avid Member
Glad he's up and about again. If you haven't done so already, please fill out this form and share pics of your chameleon so members here can do a husbandry evaluation for him.

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.

--------------

Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
 

lx21

Member
Glad he's up and about again. If you haven't done so already, please fill out this form and share pics of your chameleon so members here can do a husbandry evaluation for him.

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.

--------------

Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
Chameleon: Named Dexter, Veiled Chameleon, young male (not sure of exact age), been in my care for 2 weeks.
Handling: I do not handle him very often at all. I handled him only to clean the cage once a week or when I need to move him somewhere else.
Feeding: I feed him twice a day through the bowl. I put about 4 wax worms, 5 black soldier ant larva, 5 dubias roaches. He is still very tiny, so I always try to find the smallest ones to feed him with. I dust them with calcium without D3 daily. If he doesn't eat them, which he hasn't I just leave the bowl in there until the end of the day, then remove it. I gut load the bugs every night with kale, potato, carrot and mango.
Supplements: I dust the bugs in calcium without D3 everyday/feeding. I dust calcium with D3 once every other week and mulivitamins once every other week.
Watering: As of right now I am handmisting until I have his new cage set up. I mist 3 times a day roughly 2 min each. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once right before lights go off. I also have a dripper. I have seen him drink when I first got him, but I haven't recently, then again, I have been trying to give him his space so I've been trying not to peer into his cage too often.
Fecal description: As of right now, his fecal is orange, so I am misting him more often with warm water. I have not tested him for parasites yet.
History: I've only had him for 2 weeks, so I don't have much history on him yet. He ate 4 crickets the 2nd day we brought him home. Then didn't eat anything for a week, then he finally ate again 4 days ago, he ate 3 wax worms. Those were the only times he ate since we got him.
Cage type: Screen, but I taped up a background on 3 sides to help maintain the temperature and moisture. Right now the cage is 16x16x24 but I am building a new cage for him that is also screen and I will also tape up the 3 sides again and it will be roughly 24x24x48.
Lighting: I have a store bought 75w lamp for heat. and the reptisun t5 ho. Lights are roughly 12 hours on and 12 hours off.
Temperature: Basking area is around 84, not exactly the floor but it's around 70 during the day. At night it can cool to maybe 60 the lowest. I have 3 thermometers, one by the basking area, one in the middle under the leaves and one at the base of my lowest plant.
Humidity: Levels range from 50 to 90 depending on how much I mist. 50 is usually the lowest it goes. I have a humidity gauge.
Plants: I have a pothos plant, a spider plant and a monstera deliciosa plant, I don't know much about plants, but I think that's what they are called.
Placement: Cage isn't near any fans or vents. It's not in a very high traffic area, but I do come and go in front of it every now and then. It's in my room, which is the most quiet area in the house. Right now it's sitting on top of my dresser which puts the top of the cage about 3/4 the height of my room, I'd say the top of the cage is about 6' tall give or take a few inches.
Location: I live in the US in Minnesota.

Current problem: I was just concerned about the amount he is eating or not eating. I saw that his poop was orange, so he is dehydrated and his eyes were a little sunken in and he had them closed during the day so I was a bit worried. He is also shedding by the way. Maybe I was just too concerned and forced fed him when I shouldn't have, I don't know. After I fed him, he went limp and didn't want to move. He had shut down and turned a pale green. I tried to put him back in his cage but he was so weak he didn't want to hold onto the vine. I left him on a leaf near the top where I could place the heating lamp over him. He didn't move for a while, I would see him move his head every now and then or he would take deep breaths of air every now and then. When I went in to mist, that's when he started to move and started climbing the vine a bit. Still seemed weak and didn't want to move or open his eyes. After an hour or two, he opened his eyes and was looking around, finally started grasping things a bit more and now he's moving around a bit more. Now he is finally upright on the vines instead of hanging upside down. I think I probably just traumatized him with the forcefeeding. Should I just leave him be not worry about him not eating? If so how long can a young chameleon go without eating before I need to start worrying?
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Is there something going on with his mouth?

Can you get a photo of him on something that would give us an indication of his size?

Are the insects of the appropriate size? Will fit comfortably into his mouth?
 

lx21

Member
Is there something going on with his mouth?

Can you get a photo of him on something that would give us an indication of his size?

Are the insects of the appropriate size? Will fit comfortably into his mouth?
Nothing going on with his mouth that I know of. I always try to find the smallest bugs possible. Some are long but the width isn't wider than between his eyes. The measurement I used is the size of a playing card.
 

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lx21

Member
Nothing going on with his mouth that I know of. I always try to find the smallest bugs possible. Some are long but the width isn't wider than between his eyes. The measurement I used is the size of a playing card.
 

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kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Nothing going on with his mouth that I know of. I always try to find the smallest bugs possible. Some are long but the width isn't wider than between his eyes. The measurement I used is the size of a playing card.
These bugs look too big for him. That may be why he's not eating much.
 

lx21

Member
These bugs look too big for him. That may be why he's not eating much.
These are the smallest I can find. I've even tried the smallest crickets. The bugs are bigger now but even before when they were a lot smaller he didnt eat them. I'm going to go back and get some more smaller bugs tomorrow, but what I am concerned about was when the bugs were smaller he still didnt eat them.
 

bbyoda

Avid Member
Try fruit flies to start - get a cup of them and just open it up and put it in the enclosure. Easy prey and enticing because they fly around.

Chameleons this young should be eating pretty constantly so keep trying to entice with tasty foods that are the right size for him.

Perhaps baby Silkworms or hornworms would also be enticing for him and provide some hydration. Wax worms should be fed in moderation / as treats only. He might also respond more to free range pinhead crickets rather than being cup fed.

Is the bowl visible to him from his basking spot? Maybe try a shooting gallery that goes on the screen instead.

I'm not as experienced as other members like @kinyonga who is already helping or @Beman who hopefully can review your form soon, but I don't see any glaring issues in your husbandry. And he's only been in your care for a couple weeks. Where did you get him from? A breeder? Petco/Petsmart?

When you mist - you're spraying the leaves/plants at the top of the enclosure? They drink the droplets from leaves as the rain falls down them in the wild, so you want to simulate that. I think with your temps you could also get a fogger to use at night and that helps with hydration as well.
 

lx21

Member
Try fruit flies to start - get a cup of them and just open it up and put it in the enclosure. Easy prey and enticing because they fly around.

Chameleons this young should be eating pretty constantly so keep trying to entice with tasty foods that are the right size for him.

Perhaps baby Silkworms or hornworms would also be enticing for him and provide some hydration. Wax worms should be fed in moderation / as treats only. He might also respond more to free range pinhead crickets rather than being cup fed.

Is the bowl visible to him from his basking spot? Maybe try a shooting gallery that goes on the screen instead.

I'm not as experienced as other members like @kinyonga who is already helping or @Beman who hopefully can review your form soon, but I don't see any glaring issues in your husbandry. And he's only been in your care for a couple weeks. Where did you get him from? A breeder? Petco/Petsmart?

When you mist - you're spraying the leaves/plants at the top of the enclosure? They drink the droplets from leaves as the rain falls down them in the wild, so you want to simulate that. I think with your temps you could also get a fogger to use at night and that helps with hydration as well.
I was planning on getting fruitflies tomorrow, I wasn't sure I wanted to at first because I didnt want them to escape the cage since they are quite small but right now I am willing to try anything to get him better. When I mist I do start from the top to simulate a light rain.
 

bbyoda

Avid Member
I was planning on getting fruitflies tomorrow, I wasn't sure I wanted to at first because I didnt want them to escape the cage since they are quite small but right now I am willing to try anything to get him better. When I mist I do start from the top to simulate a light rain.

Get fruitflies for sure. If the cup you buy has food in it, they will hang there. You can add a banana in the cup of it doesn't already have the pre made food in there.

And if some get out of the cage you can catch and kill with a apple cider vinegar + soap trap easily. But most of the varieties sold for food don't have or use wings. Still they manage to hop around and are enticing prey.
 
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