Have some new issues with The New Kid

Hey again, 2nd thread about the new kid, still no name.

To review, I found him in my back yard just over a month ago. So I do not know his age or history.
This is him today -

sorry, I resized these pictures but they are still kinda big.
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Anyway, that's the new kid and we have some problems and concerns.

In the first couple days I had him, he was moved into an 18x18x36 reptibreeze enclosure.
That was the best I could find locally & immediately.
Starter house.

All seemed to be going well for a newly captured & caged critter.
I'm sure he was a bit stressed out by everything happening to him.
He was eating well - several super worms, crickets daily & a hornworm every day or two.
Maybe more frequent on the hornworms than recommended, but I figured he could use the hydration.
He won't eat waxworms or the BSFL and I'm in Florida so I can't get Dubias.

As to water, I am retired, so home all day and mist his plants at least 5 times a day.
Have NOT seen him lap water off the leaves though.
Have given him water with a syringe, but he is not a big fan of that.
Just drip it to him, not a big shot down his throat...

His poop started out as excellent and daily.
Now it is very small, if at all.

I got a 24x24x48 reptibreeze on Craigslist and the dragon ledges arrived a week or so ago.
While I was working on his new enclosure, he decided to quit eating. Anything.

Best I can tell, he hasn't eaten in ... this would be day 5
Will get back to that issue.

In the meantime, his new home was completed.
Who knew that placing some branches & planters in a screen enclosure would be an all day job!

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In hindsight, maybe I shouldn't have moved him to a new enclosure until he started eating again.
I may move him back to the smaller one.

Problem 2 (after not eating & knowing his water intake) is that now in the new enclosure,
I can't tell if he is eating crickets (betting NOT) and finding a poop, if there is one, is by luck.
All the plants are providing hiding places for the crickets and make it difficult to find any poop.

I need to know his intake and output!
How do you folks know such in these foliage filled enclosures?

This is the 24x24 with plants. I'm thinking too many plants and have already removed the hibiscus from the bottom.
A few more may be removed.

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He stays up top in the branches and hasn't even gone down to explore his new home.
Been in this one for 3 days or so.

He seems quite active, not sluggish or sickly at all.
Moves around a lot.
I handle him as little as possible for now.

His lighting is good.
Temps & humidity excellent (Florida!)
I haven't, but need to have his poop tested.

So, the main issue is not eating.
Thoughts and ideas greatly appreciated.

Worms will stay in the feeder cup, but the crickets scatter and hide.
He will not take food from tongs.
We don''t have that kind of relationship yet!

Here is a photo of him from above.
The boy has no sideways - girth.
Needs to be fattened up!

This is back in the 18x18 cage to see if he would eat in there and while I cleaned out the bigger cage and took all the plants out for watering. So he darn near 18" long. That's a quarter next to him for size reference.

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And one more of him asking you all for HELP!

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I'm asking too. Not new to reptiles but new to chameleons.

Side question - I was reading one of the care sheets here and saw that crickets shouldn't be left in the enclosure overnight as they may bite a sleeping lizard.
Seriously? Finding all the crickets and removing them every evening wouldn't be fun for either of us.

I may have more questions, but need to run up to the feeder store before they close as they are closed Sunday & Monday.
May as well stock up on some more bugs he won't eat!

Ladies running that place seem to know their stuff about chameleons, so maybe they have suggestions.
One did suggest force feeding him when I was there a couple days ago to give them back my hornworms he wasn't eating
No need to waste perfectly good hornworms!

Thanks for any suggestions.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
So if he was formally wild then this is an adjustment for him. You are running a T5HO fixture for UVB lighting correct?

Moving him into the new cage is also an adjustment... May be just the adjustment period but other things in this situation could be factors as well.

Only thing I see about the cage are the colored pots.... He may be reacting to the bright colors. You could remove everything and use the great stuff black pond foam around them to hide the bright colors.

Other thing... If he is wild. He may very well be carrying a parasite load. This will cause low weight and loss of appetite. consider taking in a fecal to a vet to be tested.

As far as hydration. I do not recommend forcing him to drink. They are shy drinkers in the first place. You could add a fogger at night only when the cage is cool and lights are off. This is the natural hydration method and works very well for Veiled. They breathe in the cool wet air and it hydrates them. I have heard good things about this unit. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07V39ZYJB/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_vplXDb9GMSZDZ
Here is another link on this method. https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-89-naturalistic-hydration-for-chameleons/

So we worry more with babies and free range feeding. But yes crickets will bite them while they are sleeping. I use this feeder run in the large size. Makes them still feel like they are hunting. https://tkchameleons.com/
 

bbyoda

Established Member
Hi from Orlando! There are some Florida legal roaches you can keep that are easy to take care of and better than crickets as a staple. Roaches have bigger guts so they have more beneficial gut load for chams. Crickets, particularly ones from local pet stores, sometimes carry parasites (cross contamination from when they're in a reptile cage then put back into the cricket bins). But lots of keepers here feed crickets without issues and some chams really like them.

Discoids and Surinam roaches are easy to take care of and Florida legal. My cham loves Surinam and is iffy about discoids. Important thing is to give variety and learn their preferences.

I don't have any advice for your cham husbandry because I'm still a newbie but I thought you might like the Florida specific roach intel given your comment about dubias.

I've gotten my discoids and surinam roaches from @jamest0o0. He ships them out on Tuesdays. You can send him a direct message to order some if you're interested.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi from Orlando! There are some Florida legal roaches you can keep that are easy to take care of and better than crickets as a staple. Roaches have bigger guts so they have more beneficial gut load for chams. Crickets, particularly ones from local pet stores, sometimes carry parasites (cross contamination from when they're in a reptile cage then put back into the cricket bins). But lots of keepers here feed crickets without issues and some chams really like them.

Discoids and Surinam roaches are easy to take care of and Florida legal. My cham loves Surinam and is iffy about discoids. Important thing is to give variety and learn their preferences.

I don't have any advice for your cham husbandry because I'm still a newbie but I thought you might like the Florida specific roach intel given your comment about dubias.

I've gotten my discoids and surinam roaches from @jamest0o0. He ships them out on Tuesdays. You can send him a direct message to order some if you're interested.
Thank you I totally forgot about that since I am not in Florida lol.
 
Not being defensive, just addressing these 2 comments - :)

So if he was formally wild then this is an adjustment for him.
I doubt he was "wild" from the get go. We are kind of far north (Tampa Bay) for him to have been born wild up here. Further south, then that would be more possible.
I figure someone owned him and got tired of the responsibility (or mom get tired of the bugs!) and they let him go.
Same way I came across my iguana 15 years ago.

Only thing I see about the cage are the colored pots
He quit eating 2-3 days before moving into the new larger enclosure.
No colored pots in smaller enclosure.

He ate fine for almost 3 weeks.

I will have a fecal test done as soon as possible. Need a good poop first.
Already have a GOOD herp vet for my iguana.

Humidity has been averaging 90% at night in the sun room (screened porch) where he lives.
Around 60-70% during the day.
I mist many times a day, and don't know that a fogger would (could) add much at night.

How does that feeder keep the crickets from escaping?

I've been to 6 pet stores,and super worms and crickets are my best options.
Horn worms as treats.
But he quit eating everything at once.
He hasn't touched smaller wax worms or BSFL
Will look further for roaches. Hate to have hundreds of them shipped to me and he won't eat them!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Not being defensive, just addressing these 2 comments - :)



I doubt he was "wild" from the get go. We are kind of far north (Tampa Bay) for him to have been born wild up here. Further south, then that would be more possible.
I figure someone owned him and got tired of the responsibility (or mom get tired of the bugs!) and they let him go.
Same way I came across my iguana 15 years ago.


He quit eating 2-3 days before moving into the new larger enclosure.
No colored pots in smaller enclosure.

He ate fine for almost 3 weeks.

I will have a fecal test done as soon as possible. Need a good poop first.
Already have a GOOD herp vet for my iguana.

Humidity has been averaging 90% at night in the sun room (screened porch) where he lives.
Around 60-70% during the day.
I mist many times a day, and don't know that a fogger would (could) add much at night.

How does that feeder keep the crickets from escaping?

I've been to 6 pet stores,and super worms and crickets are my best options.
Horn worms as treats.
But he quit eating everything at once.
He hasn't touched smaller wax worms or BSFL
Will look further for roaches. Hate to have hundreds of them shipped to me and he won't eat them!
How hot is it in the sun room?

Per the fogger... You putting in moisture like they get in Yemen from the fog banks that settle every night. I have very high humidity as well where I live but if I forget to run my fogger I see a direct impact to their urates not being as hydrated.

Still would be stress and adjustment... He should be gaining grams if he was eating consistently for 3 weeks so I would look at getting the fecal done. Regardless of if he was someones pet at one time. Since he was outside for who knows how long it would be my go to for a situation where they just stop eating.
 

bbyoda

Established Member
Will look further for roaches. Hate to have hundreds of them shipped to me and he won't eat them!
For sure - it seems like the eating anything in general issue needs to be addressed more immediately. My comments on roaches were more for your long-term husbandry edification. You can always start with smaller batches of roaches to gauge his (and your!) interest before committing to a bigger colony.

I have the same feeding gallery that @Beman recommended and it keeps crickets in nicely. They climb the screen it's mounted on but can't climb the plastic. Surinams can sneak out cause they climb plastic but my cham eats them up quickly.
 
The sun room is outside temps. Right now 84° may hit 85 or 86 on a hot day.
Night temps are high 70s to 80

He will only be outside as temperatures permit.
Figure that is my best option for now while he settles in.

Plants drip water off them in his enclosure at night.
Will monitor that situation and re-access.

Spent my life keeping roaches OUT of here and now I'm going to go buy them!
*sigh*
wife unit is NOT gonna like that! :LOL:
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
You said..." I was reading one of the care sheets here and saw that crickets shouldn't be left in the enclosure overnight as they may bite a sleeping lizard.
Seriously? Finding all the crickets and removing them every evening wouldn't be fun for either of us,...I have always left crickets in my cages overnight...but I leave a small lid of food/gutload in the cages too for the crickets. Generally, the crickets only bite the chameleon if it's sick already in my experience.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
The sun room is outside temps. Right now 84° may hit 85 or 86 on a hot day.
Night temps are high 70s to 80

He will only be outside as temperatures permit.
Figure that is my best option for now while he settles in.

Plants drip water off them in his enclosure at night.
Will monitor that situation and re-access.

Spent my life keeping roaches OUT of here and now I'm going to go buy them!
*sigh*
wife unit is NOT gonna like that! :LOL:
So just keep in mind if these are your temps your getting in the sun room then this is your ambient temp which is too hot for him. Ambient should be low 70's Then basking at the top your looking at 85 degrees. He needs to be able to move out of the heat.

Night temps are a bit warm as well at 80.
 
While I can understand "perfect" conditions for a veiled chameleon,
you are throwing a catch-22 at me with temperature vs humidity.

I don't see any possible way to have both correct - in a screened enclosure.

Outside (sun room) temps are what they are. Maybe a bit warm, but the higher humidity is doable.

Were I to bring the cage inside for lower (nighttime) temperatures, there would be no way to achieve the higher humidity levels.
Inside air conditioned lower temps also come with super low humidity.

Trying to raise the humidity in a screen enclosure inside the house with humidifiers and a fogger at night would result in mold growth in that room worthy of nightmares and hazardous to all.

I can reach high humidity levels in my iguana's house with humidifiers, but that is a solid enclosure.
Here the windows in his enclosure are fogged up due to high humidity.
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I'm not thinkin' Mr. Ted would approve of a room mate.

I could build The New Kid a similar enclosure, but my understanding is they need maximum ventilation to avoid respiratory issues.

Being that I caught him outside, he wouldn't be seeing low 70° range temps were he still out in the wild. Probably not until November anyway!

I will keep very close tabs on temps and humidity and provide the best I can.
 

bbyoda

Established Member
"beware of attack iguana" 😂 I love this setup and I can tell you care about your animals and will give them their best!

That said, definitely don't give up on troubleshooting humidity and temps. Forum members have used shower curtains as lining on the screen outside the cage to retain humidity. You're using real plants so that helps with humidity too. Chameleons are so particular that it's hard to tell which variables might be impacting why he's eating or not. While he might've been feral before and would've had to content with high heat, he's going through an adjustment phase now so everything you can do to give him an optimal environment is going to help him with that adjustment.

Have you filled out a complete help / husbandry form? That might help members here provide additional crucial advice. I can't recall if you shared your supplement schedule, for example.

Chameleons can go some time without eating but it's good for you to be troubleshooting now since we do want him to be hunting and eating and getting his nutrients.

So far I've read the following advice for you:

1) remove colored pots in enclosure, replace with more neutral colors (they can get upset when their keepers wear certain colors or even nail polish so this is worth doing)
2) getting him to a vet and having his poop tested for parasites (which is likely given that he's been feral for some time before you caught him)
3) get a shooting gallery or full throttle feeder so you can more accurately see what he's eating. If you don't and keep throwing crickets in there just leave some food for the crickets in the cage so they eat that and don't nibble on your cham
4) troubleshoot heat and humidity ranges
 

MikeC

New Member
People are going to disagree with me but i force fed the chameleon i labeled big guy for almost 2 months and how i did it was by making him open his mouth and his at me. When he would do that i would use the stainless hemostat which was holding a cricket and place it in his mouth and he would eat it. After a few weeks he started eating on his own. He is now a big beautiful healthy chameleon as you can see from the pic. People will say you shouldnt stress them out but i saw this as a solution and it worked.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
People are going to disagree with me but i force fed the chameleon i labeled big guy for almost 2 months and how i did it was by making him open his mouth and his at me. When he would do that i would use the stainless hemostat which was holding a cricket and place it in his mouth and he would eat it. After a few weeks he started eating on his own. He is now a big beautiful healthy chameleon as you can see from the pic. People will say you shouldnt stress them out but i saw this as a solution and it worked.
If your talking about the pic for your profile. You know that is a SHE not a he right?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes. That profile pic is one of the females. The pics i was referring to were my intro thread.
ok just checking.. You did not post a pic with your comment so we refer back to the profile pic when people say stuff like that. :) She is a beauty by the way.
 
Positive update!

I guess whatever the issue was The New Kid is working it out.

He has eaten 6 super worms and one small horn worm in the past 24 hours.
Doesn't seem to be going after crickets yet.

He pooped this morning and I took it to the vet for a fecal exam.
Results tomorrow.

$96 for a fecal test?
That's WAY higher than charged for my rottweilers.
Is that normal? Doesn't matter, just asking.
Think the vet was POed that I wouldn't bring the lizard in for an exam.
They are doing drop off at the door service where I wouldn't be allowed in, and I didn't want to put him through that stress right now.

Steps in the right direction anyway ...
 
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