HELP Please! GIR is Sick...


New Member
Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Chamaeleo calyptratus Male 6 months??? (about the size of my Palm not including tail) I have had him for two months
Handling - once every two days
Feeding - King Worms, Super Worms, Meal Worms, Crickets and Wax Worms for a treat.
Supplements - Terafauna Reptocal, and Zoo Med's Reptivite Dusted every other feeding.
Watering - a waterfal and I mist three times a day for about 2 minutes. He does drink from the water fall and leaves.
Fecal Description - brown with a white. has never been tested for parasites
History - none
Cage Info:

Cage Type - Glass with a screen top 18 by 36 inchs Turf Bottom. front doors stay always open unless feeding crickets.
Lighting - Dual exo terra Hoods , compact5.0 uva and Compact uvb in alternating alignment both Hoods are on from 9 am to 9pm
Temperature - temp range 80 to 85 lowest night temps are 70 to 74thermometers in high and low spots
Humidity - 40 to 50% misting and a waterfal Plastic Plants - I am notusing live plants
Placement -in bedroom
Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas - Fans no, Vents about 10 Ft. and moderate traffic at night and mornign only.
Location - Northern California

Current Problem - Acting very Lethargic, and not able to support his own weight for the last 24 hours, hangs upside down on his Vines. Was hunting fine last night but today I had to hand feed him. When sleeping has very beautiful light emerald and lime greens with Brown Side Stripes... but during day VERY Dark Forest Greens and White side stripes. Casque is greyish in coulour during day time. Eyes seem very constricted on the pupils, as I can see a lot of the GOLD around his iris. He is not climbing well and is mis stepping a lot... Has fallen twice catching himself with his tail.
The title says it is a girl, but in the post you say it is a male?

during the day you might want to give him a tad bit of a warmer basking area. It sounds like you are using CFL's which aren't good. And you are feeding him a lot of roughage. When was the last time he pooped? I am guessing he could be impacted, or his lights bother his eyes. It is always better to use a Linear lamp instead of a CFL lamp. CFLs put out a high concentration of UVB close to the lamp and if the animal is close can cause issues. You say you have two CFLs but no heat lamp?

The waterfall is a bit of an issue. They shouldn't be used because of bacteria build up. These animals drink from rain and dew on leaves in the wild and not from standing water. Having a dripper and mister are ideal ways to supplement the water needs of chameleons.

If this is a boy I would be more worried about impaction, spider bite, lighting causing issues with eyes or eating something he shouldn't have, like plastic plant matter. I only use real plants in my cages just in case something is eaten, it has a better chance of passing through the body. He might need more water and heat for basking in order to digest his food better.

Just as a guide, it's good to tilt the basking lamp so that the light comes in at an angle into the cage from the top. lampst pointed straight down can cause burns and isn't very natural since chams will bask in the morning and later afternoon in order to warm up.



Hi everyone. Thanks for the late night responses. I had tried to locate a vet at this time of night and a Sunday, but apparently up here in the San Francisco bay area there are not many reptile specialized vets let alone emergency vets. He is resting peacefully at the moment but hanging uside down in his favorite spot. He is a boy and the title just shows his name GIR, from invader zim character. I wish I could drive down to LA for the meeting but that is a tad far with two young children. Maybe some other time, I do appreciate the invite. I have found a vet that specializes in reptiles, but they are not open until later tomorrow. Gir was looking pretty bad until I got him to go to sleep. We will go get the tube lights tomorrow, and a ceramic bulb. I am also worried my gut loaded crickets cause this issue or the king worms. I got them from a new
Shop (a reputible place- East Bay Vivarium) but this was my first feeder purchase from them. He was fine until I started him on these new
King worms and new crickets. In fact he was growing VERY rapid X3 since we got him. He was no larger than my pinkie and ring finger together when we got him. Now he is the size of my palm. Love him too much. Just want him to be happy and healthy. Thanks again for the info. Will let you all know after
The Vet tomorrow. BTW is it normal as they get larger to drag their bodies or rest their bodies on the branches and vines? Or should they always be lifting their bodies in the air?
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You said you use Terafauna Reptocal and Zoo Med's Reptivite...dusted every other feeding....Reptivite has prEformed vitamin A in it. Doi you have the one that also has D3 in it? If it doesn't does your Terafauna Reptocal have D3? If may be overdoing both the D3 and the vitamin A by using it at every other feeding. Most of us use a phosphorus-free calcium powder at most feedings and only use a vitamin powder and a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder twice a month.

Excess D3 and vitamin A can cause health issues and if in the right ratio the prEformed vitamin A may prevent the D3 from doing its job and lead to MBD.

Failure to be able to lift the body, lethargy, crooked arm/leg bones, soft flexible casque or jaw, tongue issues, etc. are signs of MBD...but you need a vet to tell you if there is a nutrient imbalance unless we can see obvious signs in its physical appearance.

As was said...waterfalls are not recommended because they are difficult to keep clean enough to be bacteria free.

The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light because there have been no bad reports against it. Some compacts, spirals and even some of the long linear tubes can lead to health/eye most of us avoid them. If you want to get more light in the cage you can use a double hood with one UVB tube and one regular fluorescent tube.

A regular incandescent household bulb of a wattage that produces the right temperature in the basking area is fine for a basking light. I put mine in a dome fixture.

Your cage could be bigger.

You said you use plastic plants...some chameleons eat plant leaves and if they ingest the plastic ones they could become impacted. If you buy real ones make sure they are non-toxic and well-washed (both sides of the leaves).

Can you post some pictures please?
haha my mistake on the name, you are right.. GIR is his name... durrrr :eek:

Don't spend the money on a ceramic heater... Just use a 60w incandescent lamp... a normal house lamp... He is a bit young for the lamps I like to use.... PAR20 Flood lamps from Home Depot. They produce a fair amount of heat, so if you do buy one, be sure to place it at about 8" from the basking branch he warms up on... and remember to angle it like I show in the photos above.

The best linear tube lamp to buy is a ZooMed Reptisun 5.0. If you are using a screen cage like in the photos above, it will work great. If you are using a plastic flexarium from ExoTerra, use of a 10.0 isn't a bad idea. Be sure there is no plastic or glass between the lamp surface and the chameleon. UVB does not transmit through glass or plastic. It is also a good idea to make an aluminum foil reflector to help the UVB get deeper into the cage.

This thread can help you understand the UVB a bit more...
+++ her diet its al worms : king worms wax worms super worms meal worms , those things are to!!! fat you are destroying her liver its like eating burgers every day , stop doeing that , crickets and roaches is best than grashoppers than flies and spiders only give her worms as a treat once a week tops
He was fine until I started him on these new
King worms and new crickets. In fact he was growing VERY rapid X3 since we got him. He was no larger than my pinkie and ring finger together when we got him. Now he is the size of my palm.

You didn't mention any gutloading on your part of your feeders. Gutloading is absolutely critical to proper growth and development! You have to work through the food chain to give them the nutrients they need, especially to a growing chameleon. You said he was growing very rapidly - well that's not necessarily good in reptiles, especially if they don't have the right nutrients to do so! You're probably feeding him enough that it's triggering his body to grow and grow and grow but it's like building a skyscraper with plywood instead of steel beams. You've given him materials to build body tissues but they're just fillers because your crickets are eating cardboard (pet stores NEVER gutload adequately) and all the worms you're giving him don't have much more than the bran mix they come in. He can't make anything strong enough to last on just that. Now he has a big body with no bones to support it. It sounds like your cham probably has metabolic bone disease. He may have other issues too but his diet is not giving him what he needs for proper bone development. I don't think the new feeders had anything to do with his condition, MBD takes a while to manifest. I think it was just waiting to happen and the timing was just coincidence.

You can search for gutload information on the forums, there's a ton of info on it! You're going to want to feed your crickets and worms dark fresh leafy greens (not lettuces), vegetables, and fruits. A member on here also sells "cricket crack" which is a dry mix full of good nutrients in addition to adding fresh veggies. This site will point you in the right direction for that. You want the calcium to be higher than the phosphorus in the ratio and low in oxalates and goitrogens.

The previously made suggestions are good too. There are lots of really great resources and people to talk to on these forums so you should be able to get lots of good information! We all start off with more to learn and fix than we thought, welcome to the club! I hope that Gir feels better! Love the name too :)
I have been using Fluker's Orange Complete Cricket Diet, and some cat food on occasion (Royal Canin). In the worms Meal and Wood I have been dusting a light load of Vitamins. As for Vitamins I am using you are right they both have D3, so I will stop using the multivite and use the repto cal it seems. As for the primarily worm Diet I only did this because he refused to eat worms up until this last week. He would not eat any I put in there forhim ever. I had slowly introduced them to him now that he was getting much larger. This REALLY REALLY Seems Like a Bacterial Infection affecting his motor skills more than anything as he seems lost and confused. He still has one hell of a Kungfu Grip on my fingers and has now fallen 5 times but always catches himself by his tail. He has felt very cold even though his temps are reading 91 at teh highest point in his basking section and 76 in the lowest parts of his cage. I removed the Waterfall, Thouroughly cleaned his cage AGAIN, and also moved his branches a tad lower, and added a 60 watt on one of the four Compact Sockets. so there is now 2 UVB 1 UVA and a 60Watt household bulb for the time being. I cant leave this minute to go get the new hoods and bulbs. here are some pictures.





I have forgotten tomention I noticed no poop in two days. felt his abdomen felt a slight tight. massaged it gently. He did eat one rather LARGE King Worm that suprised me when he dove for it when Iwas picking through them. could this have impacted him and would these symptoms suggest a possible compaction? The last picture was this morning
Gir Getting Upset.jpg
I have been gently massaging his abdomen every few hours and he finally unloaded a massive amount of stool... Both urates(white calcified chunks?) and softish but well formed fecals. Let's see if he starts to feel a bit better.
I have been gently massaging his abdomen every few hours and he finally unloaded a massive amount of stool... Both urates(white calcified chunks?) and softish but well formed fecals. Let's see if he starts to feel a bit better.

Hehe I kinda figured it was an impaction. I think his basking and. Diet need a look at.
GIR is all Better but needs a MUCH larger Habitat now.

I just wanted to update, Sorry for the Delay. I had saved GIR by being Mr. Mom for weeks, never really leaving his side, Constantly giving him massages and warm baths. then after a couple weeks he started getting pretty colors again and his focus came back. Between Baytril, Calcium (vet prescribed) drops, and lots of TLC he has gotten all better. It took him about a month to start trying to use his tongue at all though and I just worked with him every day training his tongue, bit by bit, and still hand feeding him for protein. He now is quite the humerous guy, and I will get newer pics of him up soon. He gets Beautiful Oranges, Blues, Greens and when mad at someone he gets black and white ZEBRA Stripes on his head. I am in the process of building him a MUCH better home now as he is finally getting too big for his current 18X18X30 Habitat. A million thanks to you all on here for your help and guidence. We let him hang outside now at times now that teh weather has gotten better here in Nor. Cal. and we love watching his colors GLOW!!! Wishing you all the best!

Glad he is better. Be very careful outside, never let him out of your sight. Every summer we have people who "just went in the house for a minute" and came back to no chameleon. It either took off or a predator got him. Predators for chams are, cat, dog, bird, snake & almost any other wild animal bigger than the chameleon. Good Luck.
Here are the latest pictures of him. By cahnce can anyone guess his age? we got him in october of 2010 and he was the size of my ring finger... thanks.

here he is when I put him back in his habitat... he hates it, makes me sad! I am buying him a new enclosure in the next couple days though... YAY!!!
I hope your new enclosure is screen. He should have a 24x24x48. Veileds can get pretty big and need room to roam. A new cage will make him lots happier. Also he is much less likely to overheat in a screen versus glass.
I have a 18X30X30 waiting for me at the store this evening. I will pick it up in the morning. YAY! All aluminum screen! the main reason for the glass one was no one in town had a screen one and he was so tiny when we got him, plus this winter was sooooooo cold I would not have been able to keep his room above 58 degrees and heating his cage would have been problematic. so I got the glass one immediatly and it stayed perfect temps once I got the right lamps and basking bulbs. so yeah I will get him a 6ftX4ftX4ft eventually before he is fully adult.
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