Freddie isn't settling in

Ssboorad

New Member
Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Male Veiled Chameleon, approx. 10 months old. I've had him for 2 weeks?
Handling - Rarely, he is very aggressive when disturbed?
Feeding - Locusts as the pet shop had been, though this is the problem I need help with, you can see the size of these in one of the attached pictures just behind Freddie (top of the wall).
How are you gut-loading your feeders? Carrot just now until I see him eat at which point I will do some research on the best strategies for gut loading
Supplements - Exo terra calcium + D3 - again he hasn't eaten anything yet so this is something I will do more reading on?
Watering - Enclosure has an automated misting and dripping system. Misted morning afternoon and early evening for 7 mins each time. Dripper works 3 times a day at similar intervals but stays on for 1 hour each time. Water is run through a water filter similar to that you'd use on a front loaded water dispenser on a fridge.
Fecal Description - I will attach picture of most recent stool and urine?
History - This guys about 10 months old. he was returned to the pet shop and has been there for about a month. I don't think the previous owner was good with him purely based on his temperament. His crest is broken suggesting a fall?? Anytime you approach he moves quickly away after a territorial display. I think he may have been handled too regularly and based on his attitude possibly snatched out of his previous enclosure as and when previous owner chose??

Cage Info:
Cage Type - The cage has been built into an upstairs cupboard (images attached. its approx. 31 x 31 x 57 inches with large mesh screens on two of the sides

Lighting - Two 20w Exo Terra Repti Glo 5.0 uvb strip bulbs that are 24 inches long, 100w exo terra daytime basking spot bulb, 40w exo terra night time ceramic bulb. daytime uvb and basking currently run 8 am - 6 pm, night time 6pm - 8 am. Both controlled by their own microclimate thermostat (dimmer for day pulse for night)
Temperature - Average daytime temp 29 degrees C, night time 21 degrees C. reading taken nearer top of enclosure. Basking spot around 34 degrees. lowest recorded is 12 degrees at the very bottom of enclosure (it has been unusually cold here recently) though as the term is regulated by thermostats there is always somewhere available at the average temps I've mentioned.
Humidity - Approx. 45% which raises to 85% when being misted
Plants - 3 live plants, one photos, one fictus and one HOWEA FORSTERIANA - which I have read are non toxic.
Placement - Cupboard is in centre of house on top floor. one side faces the landing, the others into spare bedroom. I chose this place as it is in the main air circulation zone in the house. Full cupboard is approx. 100 inches and the enclosure as mentioned above sits at the top of this
Location - Manchester, England

Current Problem - I've had him two weeks and I don't believe he's eaten anything. Hand feeding seems too stressful for him and he just gets defensive (though this is how the pet shop said they were feeding(I don't know if I believe them) I have placed about 8 locusts in with him for the 4 days and their numbers appear to be the same.

I've not bugged him - just left him to it, handled to get him into enclosure, then one further time after 10 days when cleaning which again he didn't like so put him back after 1 min.

Just looking for any tips that any of you experienced keepers have.

This is the second chameleon I have owned - the first was a female veiled who died approx. 7 months due to being egg bound. I've spent 2 months out, done a lot of reading, build a brand new enclosure for the chameleons benefit (ie not so I get the best views etc, I've really tried to create an environment as natural as possible, no expense spared (its has better water than I drink!) and I really want to get this right - any advise at all would be greatly received

Thank you all

Simon
 

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johnnyev

New Member
I find it makes things worse to leave prey items in the enclosure if the animal is not really interested. Usually in my experience, they just stress the animal, especially if they are climbing all over him. If they are interested in feeding, they usually do so right away, or at least show some interest. I normally leave them a day or two before offering food again. Though two weeks without eating, i would have thought he'd be looking weak. Which looking at your pic, he looks to be quite alert for an animal that hadn't eaten for a fortnight?
Have you tried any other prey/feeders? I had a similar thing with a male fischers i purchased a few months back. Shop said he had been feeding on large locust, four or five everyday without fail. I haven't seen him even look at one, let alone eat four or five. To this day he hasn't eaten one. I have got him feeding on banded crickets (prefer this species of cricket for chameleons especially), waxworms, blue bottle flies & morios, which he never refuses & almost seems to be hooked on. I suspect that this was all he was fed when in the shop. I'm not surprised though, as i have found chameleons to almost get addicted to these, to the point of refusing all other prey.
Is he drinking ok?

Re reading your thread, that's a lot of misting. Veilds dont require very high humidity. Misting twice a day & the dripper running is ample for a yemen.
 

Ssboorad

New Member
Hi Jonny,

Thanks for the reply.

As the cage is quite large the feeders haven't been sitting on or near him though I take your point and will evict them asap. It was really a last resort idea.

Regarding drinking I haven't seen him touch water, that said I have seen droplets over him suggesting that he has at least been in the line of the misters when they came on, did you see the picture of the urine? I Didn't think it was too dark? Certainly not lapping water as I'd hope to see but given the frequency and availability of water I'd say he may be choosing not to eat/drink. Again I will heed your advice and remove a watercycle.

How do you acquire such a wide range of food? The local places to me aren't great and I'm close to a large city and assorted pet shops. Do you order online? Can you recommend somewhere?

Thanks for getting back to me
 

johnnyev

New Member
Firstly, if he isn't drinking he's unlikely to feed. But judging from what i can see in the pic, he doesn't appear to be dehydrated. Try using a small hand held spray bottle, with a fine mist & direct it at his mouth. It may take several attempts, but persevere & you might need to spray him for five minutes or so, at a time before he begins to drink. Doesn't always work, but has done nine times out of ten for me, if your patient. Though must admit i have found the veiled i had, to be the hardest to get drinking from manually spraying (possibly because like yours, my male was also ultra aggressive, while in his enclosure anyway). Dripper usually works best in my limited experience with veileds (only ever kept one veiled) & much depends how water was provided before you got him?
Again judging by the pic, his urates don't look too unusual, considering he hasn't eaten for two weeks.
Try livefoodsdirect.co.uk i have found these to be good.

I forgot to add, Dubia roaches to the list, but tbh, none of my chameleons seem to be overly fussed about eating them. All depends what mood they are in, one day they will, the next they wont.
I breed them, so if you cover postage, i can send you a box to try? Send me a pm if you want mate.
 

Ssboorad

New Member
Thanks again Jonny, wil try the manual mist and the food website. As for roaches I wouldnt get them past the Mrs! Thanks for the thought though.

Ordered crix and blue bottles so will see how we go.
 

camimom

New Member
Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Male Veiled Chameleon, approx. 10 months old. I've had him for 2 weeks?
Handling - Rarely, he is very aggressive when disturbed?
Feeding - Locusts as the pet shop had been, though this is the problem I need help with, you can see the size of these in one of the attached pictures just behind Freddie (top of the wall). Your feeder bugs should be no wider than the space between his eyes. a good variety is needed to keep him healthy. thought locusts can be a staple
How are you gut-loading your feeders? Carrot just now until I see him eat at which point I will do some research on the best strategies for gut loading sandrachameleon has great blogs on gutloading
Supplements - Exo terra calcium + D3 - again he hasn't eaten anything yet so this is something I will do more reading on? you want a calcium with no d3 for every feeding, a calcium with d3 for twice a month, and a multivitamin for twice a month
Watering - Enclosure has an automated misting and dripping system. Misted morning afternoon and early evening for 7 mins each time. Dripper works 3 times a day at similar intervals but stays on for 1 hour each time. Water is run through a water filter similar to that you'd use on a front loaded water dispenser on a fridge. If you mist every 2 hours for a couple minutes, its much better. obviously no water needed over night.
Fecal Description - I will attach picture of most recent stool and urine?
History - This guys about 10 months old. he was returned to the pet shop and has been there for about a month. I don't think the previous owner was good with him purely based on his temperament. His crest is broken suggesting a fall?? Anytime you approach he moves quickly away after a territorial display. I think he may have been handled too regularly and based on his attitude possibly snatched out of his previous enclosure as and when previous owner chose?? the picture is too small, but it looks like his casque was burned at some point, and when this occurs, the dead casque can fall away, creating that dented shape. but I would need closer up pics to confirm.

Cage Info:
Cage Type - The cage has been built into an upstairs cupboard (images attached. its approx. 31 x 31 x 57 inches with large mesh screens on two of the sides

Lighting - Two 20w Exo Terra Repti Glo 5.0 uvb strip bulbs that are 24 inches long, 100w exo terra daytime basking spot bulb, 40w exo terra night time ceramic bulb. daytime uvb and basking currently run 8 am - 6 pm, night time 6pm - 8 am. Both controlled by their own microclimate thermostat (dimmer for day pulse for night) NO LIGHTS AT NIGHT. they need darkness to sleep, if you've been running bulbs at night, this could be why he isn't settling. unless temps dip below 50 at night, you don't need any heat at all. if they do, a ceramic heat emitter is fine. for basking, you can just use regular house bulbs
Temperature - Average daytime temp 29 degrees C, night time 21 degrees C. reading taken nearer top of enclosure. Basking spot around 34 degrees. lowest recorded is 12 degrees at the very bottom of enclosure (it has been unusually cold here recently) though as the term is regulated by thermostats there is always somewhere available at the average temps I've mentioned. a basking temp of 93 (34c) is the highest I would go, and I don't even go that high inside.
Humidity - Approx. 45% which raises to 85% when being misted
Plants - 3 live plants, one photos, one fictus and one HOWEA FORSTERIANA - which I have read are non toxic. if you add more foliage towards the top, it can help him feel more secure
Placement - Cupboard is in centre of house on top floor. one side faces the landing, the others into spare bedroom. I chose this place as it is in the main air circulation zone in the house. Full cupboard is approx. 100 inches and the enclosure as mentioned above sits at the top of this
Location - Manchester, England

Current Problem - I've had him two weeks and I don't believe he's eaten anything. Hand feeding seems too stressful for him and he just gets defensive (though this is how the pet shop said they were feeding(I don't know if I believe them) I have placed about 8 locusts in with him for the 4 days and their numbers appear to be the same.

I've not bugged him - just left him to it, handled to get him into enclosure, then one further time after 10 days when cleaning which again he didn't like so put him back after 1 min.

Just looking for any tips that any of you experienced keepers have.

This is the second chameleon I have owned - the first was a female veiled who died approx. 7 months due to being egg bound. I've spent 2 months out, done a lot of reading, build a brand new enclosure for the chameleons benefit (ie not so I get the best views etc, I've really tried to create an environment as natural as possible, no expense spared (its has better water than I drink!) and I really want to get this right - any advise at all would be greatly received

Thank you all

Simon
Ive added some comments in green.

it can take them some time to settle in, especially when a bit older.

just give him some time, and as long as he is drinking (which you might not ever see) you should be fine.

My male is 4 years old next month, and I rarely see him drink. some chams are shy eaters, so if you stand and watch, he probably wont hunt.

you can try cup feeding, and just put the bugs in the cup, then place the cup near where he happens to be basking, and leave him alone. its also possible he doesn't recognize locusts as food, if he grew up on other bugs.

if you have any questions, feel free to post them here, and ill help ya out.

Welcome to the forum!
 

Rango3d

Avid Member
Don't leave exposed dirt with those little white balls. Cover the dirt with pebbles. He'll eat them.
It looks like the white stuff next to the poop are sperm plugs. I could be wrong.
 

Ssboorad

New Member
Thanks for the feedback from both of you.

I've adjusted the water cycle to 3 2min intervals (max three with the system I have). I have also ordered a wide range of food but still no sign of feeding.

I have added some extra foliage at the top and rest assured no lights are on at night - just a ceramic heater as it can reach below 50 at this time of year.

The soil has been covered over with pebbles too.

I have put approx. 10 crickets (smaller than gap between eyes in with him) as hand feeding, tong feeding and feeding when I'm there have all proved unsuccessful.

The fact he is still passing stools (2 since last post) suggests he's eating though at times his eyes seem sunken as on the most recent picture attached. (that said other times they look just fine.

Does anyone how long they can sustain themselves without food? Its hard for me to say if he's eaten anything as food has been available (left in cage) at intervals over the last 20 days I had him. But a lot of it has either died or been removed.

I have attached a close up of the crown too as Camimom had suggested it may have been burned in the past?

I've not seen him in the basking spot despite dropping the temp at the top to around 32 degrees - he seems to be tucking himself away around the centre of the enclosure which I imagine is around 23-25 degrees. Is this a concern? He has the option and freedom to chose where to be (plenty of climbing and perches available). Possible his is weary of the lights after a potential burn historically??

Thanks for everyone's input so far. Hopefully we can catch him digesting something.

I also tried manually misting him to try and get him to drink but he didn't like it one bit. I don't think that is the best option.

Inside the mouth looks healthy and pink.

I'm loathed to take him to the vet (in the same way I too am loathed to go to the doctors) as I personally feel that the force feeding and antibiotics are what killed my previous female - I think she just gave up.

Has anyone got anymore ideas how I could encourage natural eating with Freddie.

Thank you
 

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jajeanpierre

Chameleon Enthusiast
If he is passing stool, he's eating something. I almost never see my chameleons eat except my female veiled who is a little Miss Piggy. A chameleon in good condition can go a long, long time without eating. Hydration is the key.

I still think your enclosure seems very barren for a chameleon that is not adjusting. Can you densely pack that enclosure with greenery at the top, preferably live plants?

It is possible that something in his environment is stressing him. His staying low, out of the basking light suggests something is really bothering him. Burns are not usually immediately felt by a chameleon--it is a gradual overheating of the tissue that causes tissue death. Veileds really love their heat and basking, so for him not to bask is for me, a big clue that he is under stress.

I see you have glass walls. Maybe he can see his reflection? I've heard that can be stressful. You might want to spray the glass with something that will put a film over it to prevent any reflections. From your descriptions, he is still extremely bothered by something after being with about three weeks. I would go extreme--maybe mix cornstarch and water and spray/wipe it on the glass surface leaving a film when it dries. I know, not exactly how you envisioned your enclosure, but you need to find out what is bothering him because something is. If that settles him down, let him get over this past three weeks of stress and then start removing the film until you find a happy medium--clean enough for you to enjoy seeing him but enough "dirt" to prevent reflection. It might be as simple as hard water marks from a sprayer.

Can he see something that is frightening him? Dogs? Cats? Birds? I see in one picture it looks like you have a dog gate. Is there too much activity in the area? Think about everything from his perspective. It could be something you would never think of such as a flag flapping outside the window that he sees. Put your head in his enclosure and look at what he can see.

His choosing to be away from the basking light suggests stress. You have to find out what that stress is.
 

camimom

New Member
If hes pooping, hes eating, it may just not be as much as he should.

As for his casque, it is crooked, but that could be a genetic thing, or maybe as a baby he didn't get enough calcium, or its an injury, but its nothing that can be fixed now,

He can go a few weeks without food so long as he has water.

Try, offering no food for 2 days, then give him some bugs. see how that goes.

Also, I mist every 2 hours for 2 minutes, from 8 am to 6 pm, and that keeps everyone happy.

Try getting a plastic bin, about the size of a shoe box, put it in his cage, and then put the bugs in there, under his basking spot. then just leave him alone.

more foliage will also help with settling in, and could help with feeding time as well.

how big are those pebbles? If they are small enough to fit in his mouth, get bigger ones that cant.

he probably doesn't feel safe at the top, thus the need for more foliage.

You can get an automister, that removes you from the equation. my male veiled who is 4 years old, rarely drinks infront of me, I think ive seen it maybe 4 times in 4 years.
 

johnnyev

New Member
You don't really need the ceramic either. I kept my veiled in the mid/high 40'sf during winter nights. Without any problems.
Veileds don't really need lots of spraying. It's important to let the enclosure dry out between spraying. Twice a day should be fine, morning & evening, especially if your using a dripper.
Agree with more foliage, especially at the top of the enclosure.
 
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