Funky Ribs

Hi All,

I am new here! I have recently adopted a second veiled cham, a male I named Ezra. My boyfriend used to be really into reptiles and breeding snakes, so we are taking on a new adventure with chameleons.


Ezra is a strange guy, compared to my female. He's extremely outgoing and very active. Approximately 4-5 months old, wanted to see if this was normal bone/rib structure for a male this age, or something I should be concerned about? (maybe just the way he is perched...)

Additionally, he is very gentle and loves human interaction. Eating, drinking, and normal poops. The third photo is just for fun of our two babies!

Let me know if there is any additional information I can provide!
Thanks in Advance
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
He is very thin. Have you gotten fecals done on both chams? Are you housing them in separate enclosures where they can not see each other? Have you filled out the help form to ensure yall got the correct info on their husbandry?
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I've never seen one with that bone structure. That section of the body is usually flared out to intimidate others. I agree he is very thin and you'd benefit greatly from answering the questions above.

There is definatly something strange going on there.
Normal:
250506
 
Thank you all for bearing with me. I am very new to this and greatly appreciate the help!!
My boyfriend says they are fine, but I felt like it was time to check and see what you all thought.

I want to do what is best for the both of them. I am very open to husbandry suggestions because I have been guided in a lot of different directions.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - veiled male, 4-5 months old. Been in my care for a little less than a month.
  • Handling - once a week at most
  • Feeding - mostly crickets, about ten per day. gut loaded with Flucker's complete cricket diet. I recently purchased mealworms before learning that they are basically nutritionally useless.
  • Supplements - Using Flucker's brand for all.
    • every day: calcium without D3
    • first and third Sunday of each month: calcium with D3
    • second and fourth Sunday of each month: reptile vitamin with beta carotene
  • Watering - I hand water, working on getting an automatic mister. I spray down the cage entirely no less than 3 times per day. Ezra loves water, I see him drinking all the time.
  • Fecal Description - Brown solid feces and white urate. He climbs to the top of the enclosure to defecate. He has not been tested ( in my care or that I am aware of) for parasites.
  • History - He was purchased at a reptile expo. The guy who sold him to us encouraged us to let Ezra live in the same enclosure as Nova, my female (same age). He said that "they would be so happy to grow up together" and that at their store, they keep them in the same enclosures.
    • They have lived in the same enclosure for the time I have had him, but now starting to realize that salesperson was maybe just trying to get rid of him?
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Screen Reptibreeze enclosure, 18x18x36
    • I am aware that we will need to upgrade as they grow, and have been advised to separate them once they reach sexual maturity.
  • Lighting - Zoo Med tropical UVB & heat lighting kit:
    • 13W Reptisun 5.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent Bulb
    • 60W Daylight Blue Lamp Blub
  • Temperature - unsure of the exact temp, but placed many branches up near the bulbs.
  • Humidity - I have no idea
  • Plants - All branches and vines are artificial.
  • Placement - Cage is located in the corner of my bedroom in my apartment. not a high traffic spot, nor near anything like fans or vents. height from ground to top of cage is 5 ft.
  • Location - Lexington, Kentucky
Current Problem - In the images I posted above, thin male veiled.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there I will speak to the husbandry aspects. So I will use red bold for additional questions and to give feedback. :) Let us know what questions you have.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - veiled male, 4-5 months old. Been in my care for a little less than a month.
  • Handling - once a week at most
  • Feeding - mostly crickets, about ten per day. gut loaded with Flucker's complete cricket diet. I recently purchased mealworms before learning that they are basically nutritionally useless. Toss the Fluckers it is not a good feeder food. If you want a commercial gutload switch to Repashy Bug burger and follow the directions for prep. Essentially gutloading is not about feeding the bugs it is actually about feeding the bugs so that they then pass on the nutrients to the cham.
  • Supplements - Using Flucker's brand for all. good and the schedule is correct. :) if you get tired of trying to track this you can also get Repashy calcium plus LoD it is an all in one supplements that has everything including vitamin A. It is balanced in low doses to ensure that there is not an overdose risk.
    • every day: calcium without D3
    • first and third Sunday of each month: calcium with D3
    • second and fourth Sunday of each month: reptile vitamin with beta carotene
  • Watering - I hand water, working on getting an automatic mister. I spray down the cage entirely no less than 3 times per day. Ezra loves water, I see him drinking all the time. How long are you spraying for? Have you heard about adding a fogger for night time hydration? Here is a link to learn more. https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-89-naturalistic-hydration-for-chameleons/ and https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/basic-info-on-misting-and-fogging.2325/
  • Fecal Description - Brown solid feces and white urate. He climbs to the top of the enclosure to defecate. He has not been tested ( in my care or that I am aware of) for parasites. I would find a reptile vet that will let you bring in fecals for both chams. There are things they can carry that are deadly and highly contagious to other chams.
  • History - He was purchased at a reptile expo. The guy who sold him to us encouraged us to let Ezra live in the same enclosure as Nova, my female (same age). He said that "they would be so happy to grow up together" and that at their store, they keep them in the same enclosures.
    • They have lived in the same enclosure for the time I have had him, but now starting to realize that salesperson was maybe just trying to get rid of him? So yeah this is an absolute hard no. They lied! they wanted to make the sale. What it actually does housing them together is cause an extreme amount of stress. One will take the dominant role and the other will take the submissive one. You may already see this happening. One will stay lower in the cage when the other is up basking. One will shy away from food because the other is the aggressor. So you need two of everything. :(
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Screen Reptibreeze enclosure, 18x18x36
    • I am aware that we will need to upgrade as they grow, and have been advised to separate them once they reach sexual maturity. So you need to separate them now. This is extremely important. The female can be housed in an 18x18x36 cage (larger would be better though) but the male will have to have a 2x2x4. DIY cages are inexpensive and better the reptibreeze ones. Dragon Strand makes amazing cages but they have an order and waiting period currently. But they do sell their drip pans for other cages and the dragon ledges to attach plants and branches to the screens. Those can be ordered without a waiting period and I highly recommend both. www.dragonstrand.com
  • Lighting - Zoo Med tropical UVB & heat lighting kit: Ok so this needs to be upgraded asap. Compact bulbs are nearly useless for chams. You will need T5HO fixtures with a 5.0 zoomed or 6% arcadia bulb. You want these the length of the cage and sitting directly on top. If you get a 24inch fixture the bulb length is 2 inches shorter that you would order. Must be a T5HO. And then you want basking at 7-8 inches below the top screen to get the proper UVI light levels. This is one of the most important pieces of husbandry so that they do not develop MBD. Make sure your running a 12 hour on off lighting cycle. Totally dark at night.
    • 13W Reptisun 5.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent Bulb
    • 60W Daylight Blue Lamp Blub
  • Temperature - unsure of the exact temp, but placed many branches up near the bulbs. So you want a wired temp gauge at basking level for both cages and then you need a temp gun for checking surface temps. This is important too much heat and you risk thermal burns and too little and they are unable to digest properly.
  • Humidity - I have no idea Also important. a humidity guage with wired with probe but these should always be put outside of the spray path. And Veiled humidity during the day should be 30-40%.
  • Plants - All branches and vines are artificial. Need to switch everything to real. The fake vines that you are using can actually have pieces come off into their eyes when they are rubbing on them. You want to use branches that are not from sap producing trees. Wash down with some dawn and water then rinse well and let them dry out. Pothos plants and dwarf umbrella trees are great for their cages. But soil should be covered with 1in or larger rock to keep them from eating it. Veileds are known for eating their plants so having fake ones in their cage is a risk for mouth issues and possible impaction should they get a piece off.
  • Placement - Cage is located in the corner of my bedroom in my apartment. not a high traffic spot, nor near anything like fans or vents. height from ground to top of cage is 5 ft. Make sure the cages are placed on a stand so that they sit higher then you at basking. this helps them feel safer. They are tree dwelling so being on the floor and watching you walk around will cause them stress.
  • Location - Lexington, Kentucky
Current Problem - In the images I posted above, thin male veiled.

Lots of info here.... I also want to mention that your female will lay infertile eggs. They are like chickens and she will need a lay bin. Let us know what questions you have. Here are some additional resources.

Great podcasts https://www.chameleonbreeder.com
Caresheet for Veileds https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/
Egg laying info https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/egg-laying-and-the-laying-bin.345/

chameleon-food(1).jpg
chameleon-gutload.jpg
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Its possible that the bone structure of juvenile chams differ from that of adults. I've never studied the progressive differences between the two. Cham ribs are so fragile they can easily be broken even without MBD. I remember a cham that had several broken ribs from a child ripping it from its branch not that long ago. The ribs healed but when they did they were partly bonded to the inside walls of the abdomen. this is exactly what it looked like. The sudden change of angle behind his front arms is concerning as well. It should be a relatively straight line like in the pic below.

Impossible to say without an x-ray. If he's acting normal, don't sweat it.

250522
 
Thank you for all of the great advice. I appreciate the patience! I will be making these changes as soon as possible, starting today.
I have attached a few more images.
One is for comparison with the bone structure of a healthy veiled.
the next two are strange things he does (seems strange to me, maybe normal?)
  • he sleeps at night vertical to the light, right near the basking spot. almost like he's standing up on his hind limbs
  • when he is basking (during the day) he opens his mouth toward the light, almost like a yawn. He does not leave his mouth open, he closes it after his "yawn." he does this quite frequently.


Today, in particular, he seems lethargic and I have not seen him eat. Do his eyes look sunken in? He has kept them shut most of the day, is that sleeping or just resting?

Thank you both so much for your help. Obviously, I am clueless. Trying to be a good Cham Mom
 

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Thank you so much. I had no idea this was an issue, glad I came here for help!

Called all of the vets that see exotics, earliest they can get me in is tomorrow morning - going to check both Nova and Ezra. Going to stay up and keep an eye on him tonight. until then, anything I can do to make him comfortable in the meantime?
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
There is definitely something seriously wrong with the male....you need to get the female out of that cage right away.

I've seen this chest shape before and it's always bad news unfortunately...especially when combined by that sort of standing with the head up.

Is he pooping?

I really hope this is a good exotics vet you're taking him to and that it will be in time.
 
We are separating them now. Can you possibly give me more information on what you have seen before with that chest shape, @kinyonga ?

I have not seen him poop in the past day or two.

What can I do for him, put him in a high humidity (bathroom with shower on)?
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I wish I could give you more information but it hasn't happened to me...I've only seen cases of it on line.
I'll see what I can find. Back soon.

Was he pooping before the last couple of days?

I don't know if the shower will help but I don't think it will hurt...just don't make it too warm...you don't want it to "burn" him. Warm to us is warmer than they should have IMHO.
 
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