Help, I'm worried about my new cham

delaneydolan

New Member
Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, pretty positive it’s female, and not sure on age but young for sure.
  • Handling - About once a day. She seems totally calm and content with being handled and isn’t puffed up or unusually dark.
  • Feeding - I’ve been attempting to feed her crickets and mealworms, dusted with calcium without D3 and I also have bought calcium with D3 and plan to use it 2x a month (I’ve only had her for about a week). I feed her about 5 crickets or mealworms a day, but haven’t seen her eat (although I have been struggling to count the remaining crickets at the end of the day). I haven’t gut-loaded but I definitely could, I’m just concerned with her eating habits.
  • Supplements - I’m dusting the feeders with ZooMed Repti Calcium without D3 and with D3 2x a month.
  • Watering - I keep a very (!) shallow bowl of water that I’ve seen her in a few times and mist 3-5x daily.
  • Fecal Description - Brown and a bit slimy but compact. White/yellowish tip.
  • History - I wasn’t given any history other than that the pet store fed her 5 crickets 2x a day.


Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - All screen, 16"x16"x30”,
  • Lighting - ZooMed UVB light and daylight blue light.
  • Temperature - The overall cage temp it 72-75 degrees, and basking is 80 ash, bottom is 65-70 in the daytime. The lowest temp is 60 ish at night. I keep a probe thermometer to measure these.
  • Humidity - I’m not sure what my humidity levels are exactly, but i mist often and I have a reptile bark in the bottom as I was told it would retain humidity. I will be getting a hygrometer.
  • Plants - Plants are artificial.
  • Placement - Cage is located near a window in my bedroom, but the blinds are almost always closed. There is a fan in the center of the room but not directly over her, and the air duct is across the room, the room is quiet most of the time. The cage is on a table and the top is about four feet from the floor.
  • Location - I live in Tucson, Arizona


Current Problem - Okay so I am concerned because I just got my girl about a week ago, and so far I’ve never caught her eat or drink. I’ve seen her open her mouth once. I have been putting food in but I am having a hard time being able to tell if she’s eaten, if she has its not much. Most of the time she’s a bright green even when being handled, but every once in a while she gets dark spots and a darker green. This usually happens when she’s at the bottom of her cage but almost never happens when she’s handled or at the top of her cage. Is she okay?
 

Lennoncham

Chameleon Enthusiast
You shouldn’t be handling her so much. She needs time to settle in to her new environment. Even once she is settled in keep handling to a minimum. They are a look don’t touch kind of animal.

You shouldn’t feed mealworms they are hard for chams to digest and have no real nutritional value. Use small superworms instead.

You will also need a multivitamin to use on the opposite weeks of the calcium with d3.

I’m assuming you got the chameleon kit the the spiral uvb light. I would change that out for a strip t5 5.0 uvb bulb. They coil ones aren’t very good and can cause eye problems.

Get rid of the bark at the bottom. If the Cham eats or gets some when shooting at a crickets it can get impacted (stuck in its intestines).

To keep humidity you can wrap 2 or 3 sides of the cage with plastic and Add some live plants.

I would also get rid of the water bowl. Chams drink off leaves and branches.

Can you please post some pic of your setup and chameleon.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, pretty positive it’s female, and not sure on age but young for sure.
  • Handling - About once a day. She seems totally calm and content with being handled and isn’t puffed up or unusually dark.
  • Feeding - I’ve been attempting to feed her crickets and mealworms, dusted with calcium without D3 and I also have bought calcium with D3 and plan to use it 2x a month (I’ve only had her for about a week). I feed her about 5 crickets or mealworms a day, but haven’t seen her eat (although I have been struggling to count the remaining crickets at the end of the day). I haven’t gut-loaded but I definitely could, I’m just concerned with her eating habits.
Your feeders MUST be gutloaded. Once they've wandered around for a while they lose their gut contents and become little crunchy nothings. If you leave the insects in her cage for more than a few minutes you should be leaving a bit of food with them. If they can get out of a container to wander loose in the cage they will bolt for cover and your cham may not even find them. They also groom off any supplement dust you put on them. Then when they do get hungry there is nothing very nutritious for them to eat.
  • Supplements - I’m dusting the feeders with ZooMed Repti Calcium without D3 and with D3 2x a month.
  • Watering - I keep a very (!) shallow bowl of water that I’ve seen her in a few times and mist 3-5x daily.
Leaving a bowl of water in the cage won't do much for any of the residents. A great place for feeders to drown. If it's a catch basin for a dripper system great. Nothing else will really use it. I suspect the reason your cham ended up in it was coincidence...wandering the cage floor and it happened to be in her path. If you don't keep it very clean it's more of a hassle than anything else.
  • Fecal Description - Brown and a bit slimy but compact. White/yellowish tip.
  • History - I wasn’t given any history other than that the pet store fed her 5 crickets 2x a day.


Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - All screen, 16"x16"x30”,
  • Lighting - ZooMed UVB light and daylight blue light.
Is the UVB light a coiled fluorescent or incandescent bulb? Linear tube fluorescents are generally preferred. ReptiSun 5.0 and the Arcadia linear tube bulbs are great. You don't need a fancy "reptile basking" bulb. All it has to do is generate heat, and a household halogen porch flood or spot can do the same, last longer, and be less fragile than a fancy pet shop bulb.
  • Temperature - The overall cage temp it 72-75 degrees, and basking is 80 ash, bottom is 65-70 in the daytime. The lowest temp is 60 ish at night. I keep a probe thermometer to measure these.
  • Humidity - I’m not sure what my humidity levels are exactly, but i mist often and I have a reptile bark in the bottom as I was told it would retain humidity. I will be getting a hygrometer.
Bark substrates are not great. It collects fecal and urate matter, allows loose feeders to hide out of sight, and the cham can pick up pieces of it on its tongue. A piece that's ingested can block the intestine. Better to get rid of it. Yes, it can increase the humidity a little, but it is safer to keep the humidity higher using LIVE green foliage plants. The hygrometer is essential. Don't use the analog dial styles most pet shops carry. They can be very inaccurate.
  • Plants - Plants are artificial.
Living plants in pots are much preferred. They raise humidity, provide areas to hide, to climb, and can collect and hold misting droplets well. Cham keeping is a combination of skills; you aren't just keeping a cham going, you are also catering to all your feeders and the live cage plants.
  • Placement - Cage is located near a window in my bedroom, but the blinds are almost always closed. There is a fan in the center of the room but not directly over her, and the air duct is across the room, the room is quiet most of the time. The cage is on a table and the top is about four feet from the floor.
  • Location - I live in Tucson, Arizona


Current Problem - Okay so I am concerned because I just got my girl about a week ago, and so far I’ve never caught her eat or drink. I’ve seen her open her mouth once. I have been putting food in but I am having a hard time being able to tell if she’s eaten, if she has its not much. Most of the time she’s a bright green even when being handled, but every once in a while she gets dark spots and a darker green. This usually happens when she’s at the bottom of her cage but almost never happens when she’s handled or at the top of her cage. Is she okay?

It often takes a cham a couple of weeks to acclimate to a new home. She may not eat right away because she's distracted, learning her new space, and because that causes some stress, but chances are her feeders are not staying in view long enough for her to get interested, focus, and shoot. The darker and spotted coloration are stress colors, but the bottom of the cage is cooler too. When she's at the top of the cage she's probably warmer.

If you haven't done so already, read the basic husbandry articles located under the Resources tab above. A lot of these sorts of questions are covered there.
 

delaneydolan

New Member
I took your advice and added a few live potted plants into the cage from a safe plants list and purchased a hygrometer, as well as replaced the substrate with a carpet and removed the water dish. I also tried to feed her superworms, which she attempted to eat, but she's so little and even the smallest I could find she had issues and ended up not being able to eat. Crickets went better, I kept a few in the cage with her along with some fruit, and dusted them with calcium. My other crickets are in a seperate enclosure and also have fruit to eat. I saw her eat a few crickets but as of right now theres still more in there that I don't think she has found, will she be able to find them? She definitely won't hand feed because I've tried it a few times, the only time I've seen her eat was when she found the crickets in her cage. Overall she seems much better, but I do wanna make sure she can find her food. Also I want to add pictures but I'm not sure how to do that.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Please post a picture of her. I don’t recommend leaving crickets in the cage with her especially over night the crickets and chew on the chameleon.

You could try to cup feed her.
 

Toothless the cham

Established Member
to post a photo you click on the camera and it will say your media you won't have any media because you haven't added any you take pictures with your camera and then you add the pictures to your media once you add the pictures to you meet your media you click on the picture and it will send it to the forum.
 

iMi

Established Member
You shouldn’t feed mealworms they are hard for chams to digest and have no real nutritional value. Use small superworms instead.

I am new here as well and also new to keeping chameleons. All is going well on my end, but I was hoping you could expand a little bit on this topic. I am confused by the comments that mealworms “have no real nutritional value.” You are not the first person to state this in this forum, but no one is citing any sources. Is this from experience? If so, what nutritional deficiencies have you been able to observe when fleeting mealworms?

Looking at the nutritional value between say crickets and mealworms, they are about the same in terms of moisture and protein (60% and 20% respectively) with mealworms being twice as fatty and half as rich in fiber. Is that the concern? The values are respectable for both. Both are equally rich in potassium.

I have been feeding our Vailed a variety of crickets, dubia roaches, mealworms, superworms, wax worms and earth crawlers. He seems to really like the variety and will quickly be bored with one insect. That’s why I am trying to better understand why so many people here recommend avoiding mealwarms, as they are part of the mix here.

A note on earthworms. I read others here comment about chameleons not being able to catch them. It’s true. I found that using them as vitamin carrier and dusting them well makes them easy for our chameleon to catch. He absolutely loves them. Goes bananas when he sees them.

Anyway... if you could expand a little more on the mealworms, I would really appreciate it. Glad to have found this forum. Ton of useful info!
 

iMi

Established Member
I took your advice and added a few live potted plants into the cage from a safe plants list and purchased a hygrometer, as well as replaced the substrate with a carpet and removed the water dish. I also tried to feed her superworms, which she attempted to eat, but she's so little and even the smallest I could find she had issues and ended up not being able to eat. Crickets went better, I kept a few in the cage with her along with some fruit, and dusted them with calcium. My other crickets are in a seperate enclosure and also have fruit to eat. I saw her eat a few crickets but as of right now theres still more in there that I don't think she has found, will she be able to find them? She definitely won't hand feed because I've tried it a few times, the only time I've seen her eat was when she found the crickets in her cage. Overall she seems much better, but I do wanna make sure she can find her food. Also I want to add pictures but I'm not sure how to do that.

As a new keeper I was very concerned the first few days. Try counting the number of insects you put in her cage. Chameleons are fascinating and... odd. The first few days with ours, I have not seen him eat once. He wouldn’t eat in front of anyone watching. Today he eats from hand and seems quite comfortable with us being around him. I work from home and he’s in my office, so we spent a lot of time together. That helps. They are extremely capable predators and she’ll find the crickets. No problem. Give her some space at first. That’s what seemed to help in our case. The first two weeks he was in a guest room, which was very quite and with no one there to bug him. I’m sure you’ll get solid advice from experienced keepers here, but I thought I’d share our experience. That’s what worked for ours.
 

delaneydolan

New Member
Here’s a picture of the Cham!
 

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Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Anyway... if you could expand a little more on the mealworms, I would really appreciate it. Glad to have found this forum. Ton of useful info!

One of the concerns with regular mealworms is the chitin content. For the weight of the insect they have more hard chitin than other feeders. Too much chitin can lead to intestinal blockages, constipation, and the potential for a rectal prolapse. As part of a varied diet they aren't terrible, but the problem is often that a new keeper doesn't realize how important variety is. They start off feeding these "easy" fatty, chitin-rich insects and their cham ends up with problems.
 

iMi

Established Member
One of the concerns with regular mealworms is the chitin content. For the weight of the insect they have more hard chitin than other feeders. Too much chitin can lead to intestinal blockages, constipation, and the potential for a rectal prolapse. As part of a varied diet they aren't terrible, but the problem is often that a new keeper doesn't realize how important variety is. They start off feeding these "easy" fatty, chitin-rich insects and their cham ends up with problems.

So, it's not really the nutritional profile but the chitin content and over-reliance. That makes a lot more sense. The way many describe the problem is that the mealworm has "no nutritional value." That's what confused me. The need for variety seems to be self evident with these animals. Ours will rotate and show preference for different insects at a different time. Same with veggies. In fact, this morning he ate a large amount of greens. Usually he doesn't touch them, but I kept offering them. I guess today was the day. Parsley seems to be the one he likes best.
 
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