Gravid cham sleeping during the day, stopped digging holes

Heyo. I've got a recently imported female Calumma malthe that is full to bursting with eggs right now. She's showed somewhat of an appetite since I've had her and has, that I know of, eaten one cricket and one roach. On the second day of having her, she dug a practice hole about 2" deep in her lay bin, but since then she's been acting a bit lethargic and inactive, and I have caught her sleeping During the day a couple of times which worries me. She doesn't show any signs of illness besides the drowsiness, however she is beginning to shed so her colors are a bit dulled out.
Currently, our house is a bit of a wreck and the room she is in has some ongoing activity, and will for the next few days. I have a hunch that that may be a cause, just the stress of seeing us walk by.
I'll attach a picture of the bab in a minute. Thanks everyone for your help. I'll also fill out the husbandry profile in just a sec.
 

Mendez

Chameleon Enthusiast
Can you hang a curtain in front of the cage so she can feel more secure? Adding as many plants as possible also helps with security. I know some people cover the lower portion of the cage with black garbage bags as a way to provide a visual barrier.

What is the temperature in the room? Filling out the husbandry form will help us help you. The more info we have, the better. Imports can be tough to acclimate. So the faster we get the info, the better.

How deep is the lay bin? And how moist is the sand? From what I've gathered, chameleons will usually dig until they hit an obstacle and then lay the eggs. So deeper is not always better. I'm sure someone can give you better numbers, but I think 4-6 inches would be a good depth. You don't necessarily want to fill the lay bucket all the way with sand or the chameleon may tire out. Also, you want the sand to be moist enough to hold the tunnel that is dug out.

I'm no expert on this subject. Maybe @javadi, @Action Jackson, or @Motherlode Chameleon can help you out.
 
Can you hang a curtain in front of the cage so she can feel more secure? Adding as many plants as possible also helps with security. I know some people cover the lower portion of the cage with black garbage bags as a way to provide a visual barrier.

What is the temperature in the room? Filling out the husbandry form will help us help you. The more info we have, the better. Imports can be tough to acclimate. So the faster we get the info, the better.

How deep is the lay bin? And how moist is the sand? From what I've gathered, chameleons will usually dig until they hit an obstacle and then lay the eggs. So deeper is not always better. I'm sure someone can give you better numbers, but I think 4-6 inches would be a good depth. You don't necessarily want to fill the lay bucket all the way with sand or the chameleon may tire out. Also, you want the sand to be moist enough to hold the tunnel that is dug out.

I'm no expert on this subject. Maybe @javadi, @Action Jackson, or @Motherlode Chameleon can help you out.
I do have a curtain hung now, thanks for that tip. I've peeked a few times since I hung it up, and have yet to she only just went back to sleep. However she is in stress coloration, so it might be scaring her.
The lay bin is about 7" deep, and it is wet enough for tunneling. It is white sided though, idk if that would be an issue.
Interestingly, I've noticed both the male and female have been going to bed around now, an hour before lights out. I may shrink their photoperiod a bit.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Female Calumma malthe, wild caught, estimated 1 year old. In my care for a week, in captivity for 4 weeks.
  • Handling - Never so far.
  • Feeding - Dubia nymphs and self-cultured camel crickets.
  • Supplements - Repashy Calcium W/O D3
  • Watering - Misted in the morning, evening and after lights out. Getting ready to set up a fogger.
  • Fecal Description - I have not found any fecal matter as of yet. I'll have to look for some soon.
  • History - She and her mate were brought in from the wild and have been in captivity for just over four weeks, three weeks of which was conditioning by the dealer and a supposed broad spectrum parasitic treatment. I will ask the dealer for more details here.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - ReptiBreeze 18" - 18" - 36", three sides & the bottom door are covered with opaque white plastic film to keep in humidity.
  • Lighting - For basking I use a floodlight bulb, for UVB I use a ZooMed ReptiSun 5.0. Basking spot is roughly 8 inches from the fixtures. Photoperiod is 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM, will shrink to 8:30 to 7:30 over the course of a week.
  • Temperature - Average room temp is 70, basking temp is 90! Raised the lamp and they are now 85-ish. I need a weaker bulb! Overnight temps are 69-68.
  • Humidity - currently waiting for a reading, had to borrow a meter from another tank.
  • Plants - Dracaena deremensis and Syngonium sp.
  • Placement - In the basement, in front of a west-facing window that gets absolutely no light. There is an airvent underneath the table the cage is resting on.
  • Location - Georgia, USA, just north of Atlanta

Current Problem - Cham is sleeping during the day on occasion, though she is still eating. She dug a practice hole 2 days ago and has not tried again since. When she opens her eyes, they look very squinted for a minute until they adjust.. It's possible it may be too bright.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
It would be easier to follow what's going on with these chameleons if you kept it all in one thread.

How often are you peeking in? How often are you disturbing her for other reasons?
 

Mendez

Chameleon Enthusiast
Lighting - For basking I use a floodlight bulb, for UVB I use a ZooMed ReptiSun 5.0. Basking spot is roughly 8 inches from the fixtures. Photoperiod is 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM, will shrink to 8:30 to 7:30 over the course of a week.
Do you use any type of grow light? Your cages are probably way too dark, especially given that they are in a basement with no light. Try getting some LEDs like arcadia jungledawn or get some t5's to brighten up the cage.
 
It would be easier to follow what's going on with these chameleons if you kept it all in one thread.

How often are you peeking in? How often are you disturbing her for other reasons?
Sorry about that. I started this thread to improve visibility, since questions may not be answered as fast on a documentation thread.

Too much. I mist two or three times a day, and I try to feed her every morning. I really need to giver her a break though! Sadly there will be some noise around her cage as we are moving things in and out of that room, that just can't be helped, however we are trying to move carefully to not make any loud clacks.
 
Do you use any type of grow light? Your cages are probably way too dark, especially given that they are in a basement with no light. Try getting some LEDs like arcadia jungledawn or get some t5's to brighten up the cage.
That is a really good observation, I didn't even think of that. I do not use any grow lights right now, but I am planning on getting some soon. I will check out those two options!
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Chameleon hearing isn't that great...I would be more worried about vibrations....although I can't be sure if this species responds to vibrations either.

You said, in another thread, that she had dug in the lay bin then stopped and next time she dug was in the syngonium pot. Maybe she doesn't like the lay sites available to her?
 
Chameleon hearing isn't that great...I would be more worried about vibrations....although I can't be sure if this species responds to vibrations either.

You said, in another thread, that she had dug in the lay bin then stopped and next time she dug was in the syngonium pot. Maybe she doesn't like the lay sites available to her?
That could also be it! I'm not sure what else she would prefer, and I'm a little short on options, but I'm sure I can find something else. I'm a bit wary to swap the bucket out though, as it's too tall to remove through the bottom door and I'd have to relocate the cham to get it out.
 

Mendez

Chameleon Enthusiast
  • Feeding - Dubia nymphs and self-cultured camel crickets.
Dubia roaches are a good choice. You may try feeding banded crickets as they move a bit more. You will definitely want to get blue bottle flies as they will devour them. Camel crickets are an interesting choice. I'm not sure about their nutrition. What are you feeding these crickets? I think @kinyonga might be able to provide you with more info on these feeders. I would try to stick to the feeders that people have stuck to for years such as dubia roaches, banded crickets, silkworms, hornworms, bluebottle flies, black soldier fly larvae and flies, etc.

  • Supplements - Repashy Calcium W/O D3
You will need to supplement them with a multivitamin and D3 supplement once a month. Good brands that have both D3 and Vit A in the same container are Reptivite with D3 and Repashy Calcium LoD. I have been using reptivite with D3 for years. Either of these supplements can be given once a month.

  • Watering - Misted in the morning, evening and after lights out. Getting ready to set up a fogger.
  • Fecal Description - I have not found any fecal matter as of yet. I'll have to look for some soon.
Have you noticed her eating? Do you cup feed or free range? If you cup feed, have you noticed any of the feeders disappear? The fecal description can help determine if your chameleon is adequately hydrated which is especially important if you are not measuring the humidity directly with a hygrometer. If these are your first chameleons, I would strongly recommend getting a hygrometer to make sure you are giving them enough humidity at night.

  • History - She and her mate were brought in from the wild and have been in captivity for just over four weeks, three weeks of which was conditioning by the dealer and a supposed broad spectrum parasitic treatment. I will ask the dealer for more details here.
I would be curious to know if there was any particular reason for parasitic treatment. Did they notice unusual or sick behavior or what?

  • Temperature - Average room temp is 70, basking temp is 90! Raised the lamp and they are now 85-ish. I need a weaker bulb! Overnight temps are 69-68.
Yeah, I would definitely try to get that basking temperature down to 80-85. 90F is getting excessive as well as anything over 85. It may not cause immediate burns, or even burns at all depending on how close they can get to the basking light, but it also dehydrates them faster. You may also want to put your basking light on a timer for short intervals throughout the day. This is where having a grow light would be useful; once the basking light turns off for a bit, you will still have adequate lighting in the cage. Ideally, you shouldn't really notice a light difference when the basking light turns off. With that said, a basking light still needs to provide visual light or else the chameleon won't get the cue to bask.

  • Humidity - currently waiting for a reading, had to borrow a meter from another tank.
Ah, I see. Good! I'm glad you are going to get a reading! Make sure to read the hygrometer in the middle of the night as well to fully understand the humidity levels at night.

  • Plants - Dracaena deremensis and Syngonium sp.
Those are both good plants. Just make sure that you have enough plant coverage. Most people have too little plant coverage when starting a cage; however, good plant coverage is necessary for wild-caught chameleons. If possible, buy more plants to cover the cage with. Pothos make good climbing plants or you can hang them up and let them drape down.
 

Mendez

Chameleon Enthusiast
That could also be it! I'm not sure what else she would prefer, and I'm a little short on options, but I'm sure I can find something else. I'm a bit wary to swap the bucket out though, as it's too tall to remove through the bottom door and I'd have to relocate the cham to get it out.
You may try reducing the sand levels to four inches. Just scoop out the sand, no need to remove the bucket. Just make sure she still has a way to reach the sand and get out.
 

Mendez

Chameleon Enthusiast
I looked it up...they don't have the gulag pouch sac that the ones that feel vibrations have...
Can't all species of chameleon feel vibrations? Not vibrations through the air, but vibrations that travel through the floor and up the table legs? But I guess if he has the chameleons in the basement, that floor won't conduct any vibrations.
 

Mendez

Chameleon Enthusiast
That is a really good observation, I didn't even think of that. I do not use any grow lights right now, but I am planning on getting some soon. I will check out those two options!
I would make grow lights a number one priority. Over time, low light levels trigger them to shut down. They will begin to sleep during the day. A well-lit enclosure is a must. Obviously you don't want to overdo lighting as there can be too much of a good thing.
 

Mendez

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm not saying that poor lighting is the cause, as there could be many factors at play, but good lighting is an easy factor to check off the list once deployed. Having good lighting can quickly rule out poor lighting from the causes if that makes sense. The closer to ideal conditions, the easier pinpointing the cause becomes. Plus, you want everything to be as close as possible to ideal for them anyways. Anything less than ideal, especially for WC chameleons reduces the probability of pulling through.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
@Mendez said..."Can't all species of chameleon feel vibrations? Not vibrations through the air, but vibrations that travel through the floor and up the table legs?"...yes but I was thinking of the vibrations they use for communication like elephants do.
 
Dubia roaches are a good choice. You may try feeding banded crickets as they move a bit more. You will definitely want to get blue bottle flies as they will devour them. Camel crickets are an interesting choice. I'm not sure about their nutrition. What are you feeding these crickets? I think @kinyonga might be able to provide you with more info on these feeders. I would try to stick to the feeders that people have stuck to for years such as dubia roaches, banded crickets, silkworms, hornworms, bluebottle flies, black soldier fly larvae and flies, etc.
I have also fed her some banded crickets, I didn't see her eat them but I have faith that she did. She has showed zero interest in cup feeding, so I just place the insects on a vine in her enclosure and let her hunt it. I feed my insects a lot of different things, fresh greens and veggies are at the top of the list along with some prepared bug/herbivore diets and some brewer's yeast as well. My bugs eat like kings xD

You will need to supplement them with a multivitamin and D3 supplement once a month. Good brands that have both D3 and Vit A in the same container are Reptivite with D3 and Repashy Calcium LoD. I have been using reptivite with D3 for years. Either of these supplements can be given once a month.
Yes, I have the other supplements as well! I just forgot to mention them. I have both the reptivite and the repcal W/ D3 for the twice a month dusting.

Have you noticed her eating? Do you cup feed or free range? If you cup feed, have you noticed any of the feeders disappear? The fecal description can help determine if your chameleon is adequately hydrated which is especially important if you are not measuring the humidity directly with a hygrometer. If these are your first chameleons, I would strongly recommend getting a hygrometer to make sure you are giving them enough humidity at night.
I have watched her eat a cricket, and found her with a roach in her mouth. The bugs are generally gone after a few minutes, though she doesn't like to eat in front of me.

I would be curious to know if there was any particular reason for parasitic treatment. Did they notice unusual or sick behavior or what?
I'm not sure, it seems like it may be this guy's basic protocol. I need to get back in contact to get all of the details.

Yeah, I would definitely try to get that basking temperature down to 80-85. 90F is getting excessive as well as anything over 85. It may not cause immediate burns, or even burns at all depending on how close they can get to the basking light, but it also dehydrates them faster. You may also want to put your basking light on a timer for short intervals throughout the day. This is where having a grow light would be useful; once the basking light turns off for a bit, you will still have adequate lighting in the cage. Ideally, you shouldn't really notice a light difference when the basking light turns off. With that said, a basking light still needs to provide visual light or else the chameleon won't get the cue to bask.
Yeah, I was not expecting it to be this hot! She hangs out in the middle of the cage, where it stays around 73.

Those are both good plants. Just make sure that you have enough plant coverage. Most people have too little plant coverage when starting a cage; however, good plant coverage is necessary for wild-caught chameleons. If possible, buy more plants to cover the cage with. Pothos make good climbing plants or you can hang them up and let them drape down.
More plants are on my list! The chams had to be shipped a week early, before I had enough time to set up both enclosures all the way. I want to get her a nice big bush to fill out her enclosure a bit more.
 

Motherlode Chameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your Calumma malthe female sounds as though she is in the process of acclimating right now. I would keep doing what you are doing, giving her solitude , food, water, well planted terrarium with a laying area for now and allow her to settle in and acclimate some. She is going to lay when she is ready to lay. When I had a look at he she was not overly gravid.

Best Regards
Jeremy A. Rich
 

Mendez

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Mendez said..."Can't all species of chameleon feel vibrations? Not vibrations through the air, but vibrations that travel through the floor and up the table legs?"...yes but I was thinking of the vibrations they use for communication like elephants do.
Gotcha, that makes perfect sense (y)
 
Ok, increased light levels and lower basking temps are top of the list right now, next to getting more live foliage and getting her fogger put together. I hate doing things on a whim. I'm really used to long waits and setups with my reef tanks, so not having enough time to set these up was pretty frustrating.
 
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