Help Needed! Jackson's Chameleon Hunger Strike


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About 9 days ago my wife and myself adopted an adult (age unknown) female Jackson's Chameleon that we have named skittles. We have experience with numerous other reptile species (tortoises, monitors, geckos, etc) but this is our first chameleon. That is why we are seeking the advice of those much more experienced than we are. We have been doing research into how long Chameleons can go on hunger strikes and we have got conflicting answers. Three days I decided to try and hand feed her, because I was concerned and that was to no avail. Against my better judgement I force fed her (gently of course) and I had success getting around 10 mealworms and 2 crickets down her. i don't think it is in her best interest to do this so I would like to stop, and see if she will start eating on her own. I would like peoples opinions on how long it is okay for her to not eat. She is active during the day and sleeps well at night. The temperature drops to about 60 degrees at night so she has a nice temp dropoff. Her basking spot is about 77 degrees during the day. However she always appears dark during the day and light at night, but her eyes are always allert and checking her surroundings out. I understand that a lot of her stress is being in a new environment. I just want her to adjust and eat on her own, but I am not sure how long without eating is okay. Listed below along with photos are everything in her habitat. If something isn't right please let me know.

Enclosure: Reptibreeze Large 18"x18"x36"
UVB: Reptiglow 10.0UVB
Heat: Sun Glow 50w
Humidity: 70-80%
Food: Crickets, Mealworms, Superworms, Dabai cockroaches
Misted 5 times a day, plus a drip system
Basking temp: 77 degrees

Does anyone know how to post pictures onto threads? I am new to chameleon forum and I cannot get the two photos of my thread to post.
My Jackson absolutely goes nuts for blue bottle flies, snails and horn worms. He might just want more variety. Silk worms are usually good. I feed mine horn worms, silk worms, dubia roaches, isopods, snails, mantids, phoenix worms and blue bottle flies.

basking temp should be around 82 degrees.

To attach a photo, on the reply box you will see a paper clip, click there and in the new window choose photos, then attach them in the main window.
Thank you!

Here is a picture of her along with her enclosure. Are there any tips for getting her to eat and/or how long she can afford to stay on hunger strike? IMG_3580.jpg

You need to get that girl some more pathways, especially up higher in the cage and more foliage up top for her to hide in. She is most likely not getting much UVB at all because of how far away she is from the lamp. Also a suggestion is to get rid of the coil type UVB as they are still causing problems with eyes in chams as many have posted about on the forums.

The basking temp looks to be low compared to the care sheets for a Jacksons chameleon. If the basking temps are not warm enough they are not able to properly digest the food and with that they might not be as hungry either. Here is a link to the care sheets -

How are your supplements and other husbandries?

There is a how to ask for help questions that you should fill out and put VERY detailed answers to them in this thread. Here is the link to the questions -
Perhaps we could get a more in-depth description of your overall husbandry for her. There may be something hidden that we can help with. :)

Fill this out:

Also, I may have missed it in the post, but what wattage are you using for your basking light? I see there is a really large distance between the highest point in her cage and her lights. I would try raising up/adding some more horizontal vines near the top to create a solid basking area, perhaps giving her some running vines in front of these areas up top of the cage for her to feel more secure, so she can bask and properly digest her food. Without the raise in body temperature, this is not possible.

add: When you do this, adding more climbing area up-top, be sure to check your basking temperature again. Maybe consider new wattage of bulbs to help regulate the temperature higher up in the cage and/or a lamp stand to raise the lights away from the top of the cage.

Here is an example of a cage I had used for my adult male Jackson's (notice the hidden basking spot(s) up top and raised basking light):


When my Jackson's was new, I found he simply would avoid basking unless he felt secure enough. I ran vines from the side to side directly across the very front of the cage (secured with zip-ties, be sure to snip off any excess plastic of the tie and file it down so it is not sharp and the chameleon doesn't try to eat it/injure itself -- not shown in picture yet!) so that he was pretty much hidden while basking. He seemed to really like that.
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Thanks for the advice. I didn't know this existed, so here is all the info that I have.

Your Chameleon - Female adult Jackson's Chameleon (not sure on the age). Been in my care for 9 days.
Handling - Every other day to get her to eat. (I know this is bad. That is why I am on here)
Feeding - Crickets, mealworms, superworms. She hasn't eaten on her own. I force fed her 2 crickets, 6 superworms, and 2 mealworms. Again I know this is bad. I have been feeding her at around 5 in the afternoon. I am gut loading with a commercial gut loading insect diet. Not sure what it is called.
Supplements - I am using Flukers calcium with D3 four times a week and Tetrafauna Reptolife plus supplement two times a week.
Watering - I mist 5 times a day until I notice that it is pretty damp. I also have a drip system which I built that runs all day. Just outside I have a cool air humidifier for humidity. Three days ago I seen her drinking but I have not since.
Fecal Description - The first night I had her she produced a large brown/black dropping that seemed wet. Since then I have only observed one much smaller drier looking dropping.
History - Honestly I really have no other history on her.

Cage Info:
Cage Type - She is in a reptibreeze 18"x18"x36" screen enclosure.
Lighting - Exo terra Reptiglow 10.0UVB 13watt coil. It is on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours. Comes on at 8 and goes off at 8.
Temperature - It is 77 degrees basking and 73 at the floor. Lowest overnight temp is 70 degrees. I measure these with an al living things digital thermometer/hydrometer.
Humidity - Where the humidifier comes in it is 90% humidity. At the lowest point in the cage it is 70%. I also maintain this with misting. I measure this with an All living things digital thermometer/hydrometer.
Plants -I am using one live plant. It is just a fern of some kind, but it is not toxic.
Placement - The cage is located in our closet that has a sliding door that keeps it quiet but it is still well ventilated and not too stuffy. It is not near any disturbances. The cage is also on the floor so the top of the cage is 3 feet off the ground.
Location - Phoenix Arizona
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