Help!! New baby Jackson’s cham extremely stressed :-(

slootmcgoot

New Member
I got a baby rainbow Jackson’s a little over a week ago. Listed at 3 months old but he looks pretty small. First few days he was fine, ate fruit flies (drosophila) well, normal colorations. Then as of a few days ago, he started ‘napping’. I handle him only to offer him fruit flies, which he has stopped accepting after the first time so I just dump a bunch of the fruit flies in the enclosure daily to ensure there’s always food. His eyes are fine, walks fine, tail was never really curled. Temp gradient is from 90 (basking) to about 73 at the bottom, humidity stays around 60%, I have four live plants, I use the light and UVB bulb from the Petco chameleon kit. Lately he has been napping more, although his coloration isn’t consistently dark. I moved the enclosure to my closet in case it was my cat stressing him out and he is so stressed now, staying in one spot, tightly curled tail, dark colors, eyes tight shut, head back but no mouth gaping. He does not hiss or attempt to bite. I am worried, what should my next steps be? I had a veiled years ago but she was much older and has never had an issue with stress.
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome. I don’t really know Jackson’s husbandry, but I can see a few things are off. First is your basking temps are way too hot. For babies basking temp should be no higher than 80. The uvb from the chameleon kit is not adequate to provide needed uvb level at any farther than like 2” below it. The standard is a linear T5HO fixture with either ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% bulb. What supplements are you using? The ones that come with the chameleon kit are one of the few decent items in the kit. You should be using the calcium without D3 very lightly dusted on feeders daily. Jackson’s are more sensitive to over-supplementation and I believe you’d use the ReptiVite with D3 for only one feeding every month.
Baby chams have zero resources to fall back upon so if even the smallest part of their care is off, they have no tolerance and will rapidly decline. Having eyes closed during the day is a huge red flag, so you really need to start making needed changes yesterday. Until one of the Jackson’s keepers can better advise you, it would help them if you answer the following questions. Also, you can gain the most accurate and up to date care standards here https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/ and here https://chameleonacademy.com/the-jacksons-chameleon-trioceros-jacksonii/
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.
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome,

Please fill out the form as requested by @MissSkittles

As fas as I know, you won´t need a basking light for such youngster and 90 is way too high. I only use a basking light for 2 hours a day for my adult jackson. These high temps will also dehydrate him/her really quick.
One another important thing is the night time temperature drop, which 200% mandatory for montane species like yours. Nighttime temps should never exceed 60, otherwise your chameleon will start developing problems by time, regarding a weaker immune system. How high are your nighttime temps?
 

JacksJill

Website Manager
Staff member
Your temperatures are far too high stop using a basking light until he is older. I will get you more details later but stop that first. I don't go over 80 F until they are 4-6 months old and then only to 82 F for the males. The females won't tolerate as much heat.

He is too young to handle. I barely handle mine even as adults. If I do it's for cage changes or medical help only.
 
Last edited:

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
Jackson’s are very shy and delicate and sensitive creatures, very quiet and slow moving most of the time. They are more of a species to appreciate, watch and observe than a pet to hold or handle a lot. They only move fast when they have to. They are also very sensitive to their environment and supplements etc. it’s important to get everything right for them to thrive. Listen to what jacksjill and Sonny13 tell you because they are very knowledgeable about Jackson’s. I’m a Jackson’s keeper as well but they know more than I do.
 

slootmcgoot

New Member
Okay, thank you all for the advice, I will be turning off the basking light and replacing the UVB asap. He’s always hanging out at the very top of the cage so I thought he liked it :-(

  • Chameleon: rainbow Jackson’s, male, I’ve had him for a little over a week, he is 3 months old.
  • Handling: I used to handle him to target feed him but after the third time I stopped
  • Feeding/supplements: drosophila that are dusted with the zoomed calcium supplement in the kit, I haven’t used the one with D3 yet
  • Watering: I mist with a spray bottle at least 3x per day and water the plants separately, I mist until there are large droplets all over the leaves
  • Droppings: dark brown, white urate, but the droppings from this morning had some orange in between the poop and white urate. Solid oval, moist, with the exception of the one from this morning being a little drier than normal.

  • Cage: mesh, 16 x 16 x 30, with live plants, branches/vines, and one hanging fake plant.
  • Lighting: Zoomed lights from the cham kit from 8 am to 8 pm, I’ll be replacing the UVB bulb today
  • Temp: Was a range of about 90 to 75 but will be adjusting accordingly, overnight temp about 60-65, I use a digital thermometer/probe and just move it to the top, mid, and bottom and get a reading after 10 min
  • Humidity: measured with digital hygrometer, it was around 60 but has been around 75 in the closet by misting, different sources have given me different ranges so please correct me on this :-(
  • Plants: four plants on the bottom, golden pothos, purple passion, kalanchoe, and birds nest fern
  • Location: it was in the corner of my room but now in my closet on a dresser, top would be almost 6 feet from the floor, neither locations were near any vents, windows, doorways, etc.
  • Location: Texas
Thank you all for your help
 

JacksJill

Website Manager
Staff member
You've fixed your temps and are improving your lights. Good.
Ok next thing is his supplement schedule. The phos free calcium without D3 is good but you will only need to use it every other day and very lightly. Here is more detail and some options for the future. My Jackson's Supplement Schedule

Humidity, the current thinking is that your day time should hover between 40-50% when the cage is warmest. Night time should be in the 80-100% range when the cage is cooler. I do my big mistings at dawn and dusk, lights on and lights about to go off. I do a couple of ultra short light mistings during the day only to provide a few drops for possible drinking, 5-10 seconds max. You could run a dripper instead but I have an automatic misting system so I use that. Depending on you AC system you may need to run a cool mist humidifier or fogger into the cage to reach the 80% range for a few hours in the coolest part of the night.

I hope he starts back to eating and stops sleeping during the day. He sounds too small to force feed so he needs to rally with the new cage conditions.

If you can get pictures of the cage and the little guy in the near future that will help also.
 

slootmcgoot

New Member
You've fixed your temps and are improving your lights. Good.
Ok next thing is his supplement schedule. The phos free calcium without D3 is good but you will only need to use it every other day and very lightly. Here is more detail and some options for the future. My Jackson's Supplement Schedule

Humidity, the current thinking is that your day time should hover between 40-50% when the cage is warmest. Night time should be in the 80-100% range when the cage is cooler. I do my big mistings at dawn and dusk, lights on and lights about to go off. I do a couple of ultra short light mistings during the day only to provide a few drops for possible drinking, 5-10 seconds max. You could run a dripper instead but I have an automatic misting system so I use that. Depending on you AC system you may need to run a cool mist humidifier or fogger into the cage to reach the 80% range for a few hours in the coolest part of the night.

I hope he starts back to eating and stops sleeping during the day. He sounds too small to force feed so he needs to rally with the new cage conditions.

If you can get pictures of the cage and the little guy in the near future that will help also.
I swapped out the kit’s UVB for the Reptisun 5.0 tropical UVB and am implementing all of the info you’ve sent, thank you all so much! I’ll start taking more pics too. Do you have any advice for target feeding the drosophila without bothering the cham?
 

JacksJill

Website Manager
Staff member
I have used a very small cup or lid with a slice of banana or orange to keep the flies interested and contained. You should be able to start feeding bean beetles or pinhead crickets.
Picture taken by Merujack
Feeder cup (1).jpg
 
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