Help! I think my veiled chameleon is sick

JaneB

New Member
Hi everyone. So a week ago me and my boyfriend got a veiled chameleon from the pet store. He’s been eating and drinking fine. Good colors. He has a misting set up a UVB light, two “veiled tested” real plant and fake vines and such to crawl on. His tank is in the 70s at night and around 80 ish during the day. Last night instead of settling on a branch and going to bed like usual he made his way to bottom of cage and appeared to be almost flailing/digging around. At first I feared impaction but he did poop the next day. He did this all night. In the morning I took him and and held him. It seemed once he had my fingers to grip too he calmed down I then placed up to bask and he started acting fairly normal again. My boyfriend said he moved around and was misted and pooped during the day. I got home late and once again he was on the floor almost writhing around moving arms slowly as if trying to find something to grip. I picked him up and he seemed to calm down again. I can feel almost a clicking in his throat/stomach. Can’t really hear it just feel it every other second. He also occasionally opens his mouth. He can’t seem to sit still at night and he won’t sleep. I know holding him isn’t good for his stress but he only seems to be able to sit still if he has all my fingers to grab onto. Also not entirely sure how old he is or if he’s even a boy at all. Pet store said he was but who knows how reliable they are
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome. Definitely sounds like something is going on with your little one. Knowing that the majority of pet stores give bad advice on proper care, could I ask you to fill out the help form so there’s more info to go on? Also, if you can provide pics of your chameleon and enclosure (lights to floor) it would really help immensely. If you’re able to get a video of what your little one is doing, that would really be a huge help. (Have to upload to platform like YouTube and then add the link here).
Let’s see if we can figure out what may be going on and get things headed towards resolving them.
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.

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

JaneB

New Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, age unknown, I was told male but I think female
  • Handling - Recently more often to pick him up to get him off floor but before maybe once every other day
  • Feeding - So far he has just been eating crickets. I haven’t been gut loading yet since I have just been buying a two supply at a time. I feed him around 10 am and then again between 2-5 pm maybe a little later if he is still hungry. I fed him maybe 5-10 medium a day. I got him large last time but they seemed way to big so I will be going back to small. He atabout 8 large in a day.

  • Supplements - Vitamins are “reptivite” reptile vitamins. Ive given these to him two times a week. Calcium is repticalcium and I’ve dusted all his food with this. Both brands are zoo med
  • Watering - We were using a dripper at first, we saw him drink the first few days. switched to a automatic misting system. I set that to spray For 15 seconds every 4 hours during the day and turned off at night. Also had spray bottle to get area that mister did not reach. I haven’t seen him drink recently
  • Fecal Description - He has not been tested that I know of. His poop was green at first and then became brown with whiteish yellow parts. He pooped a lot the first few days since this issue started he has pooped twice
  • History - I have only had him for a week, but there has been no issues previously and the pet store didn’t mention anything
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Completely screen with solid bottom I believe it is 16x16x30 it is the zoo med repti breeze
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? I use the zoomed blue daylight heat lamp and then got an 18 inch UVB zilla light. I also have a night time ceramic heater but haven’t used it yet. I turn on his lights around 9 am and then turn them all off around 9-10 pm
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? In all honesty I’m not entirely sure what the floor temp is the top basking spot gets up to 90. I believe the floor is around 70 since that is the temp of my room. At night it goes to 70
  • Humidity - I believe my humidity ranges between 60-80 depending on how recently I’ve listed. I have live plant and also the mister set up for humidity. I use a temp/hygrometer thermostat from pet store but am looking into getting a more accurate one.
  • Plants - My I have two live plants a spider plant and a money tree
  • Cage is located in corner of bedroom. No fans or vents, or high traffic near him. Top of his cage is about 6 feet off the ground
  • Location - We are in Erie pa, United States
Current Problem - For the last two nights chameleon has been going to bottom of the cage and lying there almost flailing or digging at ground. If placed elsewhere he is sluggish does not move normally. When I hold him I can feel a slight clicking inside of him and occasionally he will open his mouth for a moment.


The link to the video of his odd behavior is above


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

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JuniorC

Avid Member
Well looks like a female to me. She will definitely need a layin bin because females can lay eggs without having a male. The experts will chime in soon and help you out. Good luck
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ll be putting my feedback in red. :) Although I’m going to give you all the info now, priority is on correcting whatever may be causing the problem and getting your sweet chameleon to good health.
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, age unknown, I was told male but I think female I think female too, but it’s a bit hard to see the back feet clearly. Makes have little nubs sticking out at their heels, called tarsal spurs.
  • Handling - Recently more often to pick him up to get him off floor but before maybe once every other day
  • Feeding - So far he has just been eating crickets. I haven’t been gut loading yet since I have just been buying a two supply at a time. I feed him around 10 am and then again between 2-5 pm maybe a little later if he is still hungry. It’s best to feed just once in the morning to give time to bask and digest. Crickets are ok. You could/should add some variety. Also need to feed the feeders to make/keep them as nutritious as possible. Attaching sheets for you. I fed him maybe 5-10 medium a day. I got him large last time but they seemed way to big so I will be going back to small. He atabout 8 large in a day. At her appearing age, 8-10 sounds good. Rule of thumb on feeder size is anything larger than the space between the eyes is too big.


  • Supplements - Vitamins are “reptivite” reptile vitamins. Ive given these to him two times a week. Calcium is repticalcium and I’ve dusted all his food with this. Both brands are zoo med This is where I suspect the problem may be. Does the Reptivite have D3 in it? Does the repti calcium have D3? If so, she may be getting too much. You should be lightly dusting every feeding with calcium without D3 except one feeding every other week. That one feeding you’ll use Reptivite with D3. There’s all various types of supplements and as many regimens for using them, but this is a nice simple/easy one.
  • Watering - We were using a dripper at first, we saw him drink the first few days. switched to a automatic misting system. I set that to spray For 15 seconds every 4 hours during the day and turned off at night. Also had spray bottle to get area that mister did not reach. I haven’t seen him drink recently Misting is a bit too frequent and for not long enough. Not sure what settings you have, but you’ll want to mist for 1-2 minutes early in the day, once mid day and then at the end of the day. If able, set your mister for the longer duration at every 6 or even 8 hours. You want the enclosure to dry out in between.
  • Fecal Description - He has not been tested that I know of. His poop was green at first and then became brown with whiteish yellow parts. He pooped a lot the first few days since this issue started he has pooped twice Green isn’t good. I always suggest taking all new animals to the vet for wellness checks and having a fecal to check for parasites.
  • History - I have only had him for a week, but there has been no issues previously and the pet store didn’t mention anything
  • Cage Info:
    • Cage Type - Completely screen with solid bottom I believe it is 16x16x30 it is the zoo med repti breeze This size is good for a little one, but she will quickly outgrow it. The minimum for an adult is 2x2x4’ or equivalent. Once you get your little one back to good health, start planning for this. https://www.diycages.com/
    • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? I use the zoomed blue daylight heat lamp and then got an 18 inch UVB zilla light. Usually just a plain 60w incandescent bulb is good for basking. I’m going to guess that your uvb is a T8 fixture? What is the strength of your uvb bulb? This is really important. The recommended is a T5 fixture with a 5.0 or 6% uvb bulb. T8 can be used but the bulb needs to be a 10.0 or 12%. Tagging @Beman who is so much better with uvb than I. I also have a night time ceramic heater but haven’t used it yet. Unless your house gets below 60*, you most likely won’t need the heat. A night temp drop is great. I turn on his lights around 9 am and then turn them all off around 9-10 pm Schedule is good.
    • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? In all honesty I’m not entirely sure what the floor temp is the top basking spot gets up to 90. This is much too warm. Need to get your basking temps down to around 80*. Either a lower watt bulb or raise it higher above the enclosure. I believe the floor is around 70 since that is the temp of my room. At night it goes to 70
    • Humidity - I believe my humidity ranges between 60-80 depending on how recently I’ve listed. This is too high. Ideal humidity is between 30-50%. If you adjust the mister as I suggested, this should bring it better into this range. I have live plant and also the mister set up for humidity. I use a temp/hygrometer thermostat from pet store but am looking into getting a more accurate one.
    • Plants - My I have two live plants a spider plant and a money tree Beautiful! Veileds nibble their plants so they need to be safe and real. Pothos and philodendron are my favorites as they grow vines which I wrap around branches for additional climbing area.
    • Cage is located in corner of bedroom. No fans or vents, or high traffic near him. Top of his cage is about 6 feet off the ground Great! They feel safest when higher than us.
    • Location - We are in Erie pa, United States
    • Current Problem - For the last two nights chameleon has been going to bottom of the cage and lying there almost flailing or digging at ground. If placed elsewhere he is sluggish does not move normally. When I hold him I can feel a slight clicking inside of him and occasionally he will open his mouth for a moment. I’m not a vet or very experienced in chameleon health issues. However, I suspect a vitamin imbalance, such as too much D3. Some pet stores only dust with calcium with D3, which is fat soluble and builds up. Perhaps @kinyonga or @JacksJill who have more experience with things like this can better tell.
      I’m really clueless about the clicking that you feel, unless there’s also a respiratory infection going on. I would say a vet visit would be a good idea.
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kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looks female to me to...but like @MissSkittles said, I can't see the heels clearly either. Her colors don't indicate that she's old enough to lay eggs yet though. I'd put an egglaying bin in the cage soon though and leave it there so she has a place to lay them when she is ready.

You said..."Current Problem - For the last two nights chameleon has been going to bottom of the cage and lying there almost flailing or digging at ground. If placed elsewhere he is sluggish does not move normally. When I hold him I can feel a slight clicking inside of him and occasionally he will open his mouth for a moment"...lying on her belly or her side? When sitting on your hand or the branch does she hold her body up off the hand/branch or rest on it. Does she hold her body up when she's walking? Is her saliva stringy or is there a lot there all the time?

@MissSkittles said..."I’m not a vet or very experienced in chameleon health issues. However, I suspect a vitamin imbalance, such as too much D3. Some pet stores only dust with calcium with D3, which is fat soluble and builds up. Perhaps @kinyonga or @JacksJillwho have more experience with things like this can better tell.
I’m really clueless about the clicking that you feel, unless there’s also a respiratory infection going on. I would say a vet visit would be a good idea"...I'm not a vet wither and what I say is just my opinion...but IMHO both the nutrient imbalance and respiratory infection could be possibilities. A visit with a good chameleon vet would likely be the best option.

Regarding husbandry...I would recommend setting up a dripper to provide water as well as the mistings. It can be a deli cup with a tiny hole in the bottom so it drips at the rate of one or two drips per second.
 

JaneB

New Member
@MissSkittles I will definitely be making all the changes you’ve recommended. Once I am home in a few hours I will check the UVB light and Calcium/vitamins and get back to you.
@kinyonga When she is on the floor she is on her stomach. It almost looks like she is trying to swim like a human doing the crawl. When I hold her she will holds herself up but also may slightly rest on my hand. She isn’t limp by any mean but she just kinda sits there. She actually grips my fingers fairly hard but she does not attempt to climb around like she used to. She was very active and quick before this issue arose.
When it comes to her saliva I actually haven’t visualized it. There isn’t any on the outside of her mouth and the few times she has opened her mouth it was quick but I didn’t see any strings of saliva or anything like that.

I will attach a better picture of her feet soon to see if we can determine is she is for sure a girl.

I have set up a vet appointment with the only reptile vet who is somewhat qualified to see a chameleon in my area. Unfortunately my city isn’t the best for these kinds of things.

I also wanted to update you guys and say that she has also not eaten anything since the day she started acting like this. At first I was fearful I fed her “bad crickets” so I got smaller and different ones and cleaned the container. I put three in her cage two of which were very close to where I placed her to bask this morning but she didn’t seem interested at all. I’m also fearful that since she is so sluggish I’m afraid she may not be drinking. Should I do anything to encourage her to drink?
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
@MissSkittles I will definitely be making all the changes you’ve recommended. Once I am home in a few hours I will check the UVB light and Calcium/vitamins and get back to you.
@kinyonga When she is on the floor she is on her stomach. It almost looks like she is trying to swim like a human doing the crawl. When I hold her she will holds herself up but also may slightly rest on my hand. She isn’t limp by any mean but she just kinda sits there. She actually grips my fingers fairly hard but she does not attempt to climb around like she used to. She was very active and quick before this issue arose.
When it comes to her saliva I actually haven’t visualized it. There isn’t any on the outside of her mouth and the few times she has opened her mouth it was quick but I didn’t see any strings of saliva or anything like that.

I will attach a better picture of her feet soon to see if we can determine is she is for sure a girl.

I have set up a vet appointment with the only reptile vet who is somewhat qualified to see a chameleon in my area. Unfortunately my city isn’t the best for these kinds of things.

I also wanted to update you guys and say that she has also not eaten anything since the day she started acting like this. At first I was fearful I fed her “bad crickets” so I got smaller and different ones and cleaned the container. I put three in her cage two of which were very close to where I placed her to bask this morning but she didn’t seem interested at all. I’m also fearful that since she is so sluggish I’m afraid she may not be drinking. Should I do anything to encourage her to drink?
Can you please post a picture of all the supplements you use?
 

JaneB

New Member

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JaneB

New Member
@MissSkittles UVB light says it is a 25 T8 bulb. It says it is tropical as well. Is that too strong? I also have a reptisun 5.0 UVB that came with the cage but I switched to the 18 inch after the first few days because I read the small compact ones were not good.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
@MissSkittles UVB light says it is a 25 T8 bulb. It says it is tropical as well. Is that too strong? I also have a reptisun 5.0 UVB that came with the cage but I switched to the 18 inch after the first few days because I read the small compact ones were not good.
You are correct that the compact uvb bulbs aren’t good. You should eventually get a T5 with a 5.0 or Arcadia 6% bulb. For now I believe (not positive tho) the T8 will be ok. Can you post a pic of the back of the Reptivite or read if it contains any D3?
 

JaneB

New Member
You are correct that the compact uvb bulbs aren’t good. You should eventually get a T5 with a 5.0 or Arcadia 6% bulb. For now I believe (not positive tho) the T8 will be ok. Can you post a pic of the back of the Reptivite or read if it contains any D3?
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, it does appear to contain some D3. I would say hold off on giving any more of the Reptivite and calcium until you see the vet but I don’t want to give bad [email protected] what do you think?
D3 toxicity and D3 deficiency can look similar in terms of neurological symptoms, which is what I suspect the swimming motions are. There could be something completely different going on. Only a good vet will be able to better figure this out.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/d3-poisoning.2401/
 
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