Help Please

PaigeC

New Member
Hello everyone! So glad to be here! So I’ve just purchased my 2nd Chameleon. From petsmart and they say she is about 6 months old. My first I had as a teenager. With my first I used the zoo med loose fiber substrate and that’s what I’m using for my new little girl. Also what the store uses and recommends. BUTTT I had quite the scare!! I mainly hand feed her but also like to keep some small crickets in her enclosure so she can eat as she pleases. Well while watching her she snagged a cricket but also snagged a piece of the substrate and couldn’t get it off so I had to pull it from her mouth. Now I’m scared to death this will happen while I’m not watching her and she will choke or possibly swallow it and it cause major problems. Can I use the reptile carpet?? Or what do you all use for your veiled chameleons? Please help as I have never had a issue with it before.
 

AmandaS

Retired Moderator
Hello everyone! So glad to be here! So I’ve just purchased my 2nd Chameleon. From petsmart and they say she is about 6 months old. My first I had as a teenager. With my first I used the zoo med loose fiber substrate and that’s what I’m using for my new little girl. Also what the store uses and recommends. BUTTT I had quite the scare!! I mainly hand feed her but also like to keep some small crickets in her enclosure so she can eat as she pleases. Well while watching her she snagged a cricket but also snagged a piece of the substrate and couldn’t get it off so I had to pull it from her mouth. Now I’m scared to death this will happen while I’m not watching her and she will choke or possibly swallow it and it cause major problems. Can I use the reptile carpet?? Or what do you all use for your veiled chameleons? Please help as I have never had a issue with it before.
It is usually recommended to have a completely bare bottom, unless you decide to go bioactive. Bioactive means you have layers of soil and drainage, and most importantly a clean up crew (CuC) of isopods and springtails.
Having loose fiber substrate is a risk for impaction as well as a breeding ground for bacteria. Reptile carpet also holds onto bacteria and is unsafe.
 

AmandaS

Retired Moderator
If you fill this out someone will be more than happy to help you make sure your husbandry is on point. 😊

Here are the help questions. The more detail you provide, the better able we’ll be able to help figure out what may be going on with your girl.
Has she been lethargic? Staying low in her enclosure/not basking? Eyes closed during daytime? If yes to any, I’d be making the soonest vet appointment I could as she could be having problems laying.
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.
 

PaigeC

New Member
It is usually recommended to have a completely bare bottom, unless you decide to go bioactive. Bioactive means you have layers of soil and drainage, and most importantly a clean up crew (CuC) of isopods and springtime.
Having loose fiber substrate is a risk for impaction as well as a breeding ground for bacteria. Reptile carpet also holds onto bacteria and is unsafe.
Thank you!! I will go ahead and take all of the substrate out of her enclosure. And definitely look into going bioactive! One more question.... if she startles and drops it won’t hurt her to fall on the bottom..... bare? My last startled very easily. This one seems a lot more mellow but it’s still a thought that scares me.
 

AmandaS

Retired Moderator
Thank you!! I will go ahead and take all of the substrate out of her enclosure. And definitely look into going bioactive! One more question.... if she startles and drops it won’t hurt her to fall on the bottom..... bare? My last startled very easily. This one seems a lot more mellow but it’s still a thought that scares me.
It doesn't usually hurt them. It is a defense trick they have adapted over time, and an easy way to get away from predators. Just move slowly as to not startle her.

There is a great blog about starting bioactive, I'll see if I can find it for you.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Welcome to the forum!

Is she a veiled?

Do you know that they can produce eggs even though they aren't mated so it's important to get their husbandry right to prevent follicular stasis and eggbinding?

Try to move slowly so,she won't startle as much and fall.
 

PaigeC

New Member
Thank you so much Amanda!!
Today is day 3 I have had her. She is pretty good size already and was in a tiny aquarium at the store. She hasn’t been lethargic that I can tell. She basks a lot and stays up high unless feeding. She’s also drank water from her leaves and fountain.
  • Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, female (I’m pretty sure), and around 6 months old. How long has it been in your care? Today makes 3 days.
  • Handling - She was freaking out in the box on the way home even though I purchased plants and hung them up in the box for her. So I let her out and she road on my head the entire ride. I try not to really handle her at all but as soon as she sees me enter the room or come close to her enclosure she runs to the top and when I open it she shoots out onto my hand and seems to like laying on my pony tail and she loves to sunbathe in one of our windows that gets a great deal of sun. She also will not eat her mealworms unless I hand feed. Is that normal? I have a meal worm feeder and a regular feeder bowl.... she will just let them sit. But if I come in and let her out onto my hand she will gobble them up as I’m feeding her with the opposite hand. Does she really like coming out and climbing on me? Or is the sign of something?
  • Feeding - So far.... she is eating small crickets and mealworms. I have wax worms ordered just waiting for them to come in. Could really use help on what else I can feed her? I’ve read fruits but that doesn’t seem right to me at all. She will eat around 8-12 mealworms in the morning. They are the little mealworms. And usually another 8-12 at night. I feed at 8:00am and 8:00pm. And she had crickets in her enclosure so she can munch when she likes. I have just started my own little mealworm farm and am still in the learning process there..... but I do put a substantial amount of the Flukers calcium plus vit D3 in there substrate/food.
  • Supplements - Flukers calcium plus vit D3 and I dust her morning meals daily.
  • Watering - She has a small chameleon fountain and I mist her enclosure at least once a day and make sure to get her plants very well. I have seen her drink one time in the 3 days I’ve had her.
  • Fecal Description - Her droppings are a nice brown color and very firm. I am not 100% sure if she has ever been tested for parasites. She did come with a petsmart vet guarantee but I also still plan to take her in for a good look over.
  • History - The only history I have on her so far is that she came to the Petsmart in Jacksonville as a hatchling and has been there ever since until I came along and got her.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - For now she is in a glass aquarium with a screen top. It is a 100 gallon aquarium. But will be temporary as my dad has a very big metal enclosure that he is screening in for her. That one will be completely screen.
  • Lighting - The brand of her lighting is Thrive? The tropical set that has 26W 5.0 UVB and 100W Daytime blue heat bulb. Both lights are on by 7am and I give her an hour to get warmed up and woke up before breakfast.
  • Temperature - Her cage floor stays around 78degrees while directly under her basking spot is closer to 89-92 degrees. The lowest nighttime temp is about 70 degrees. I use a thermometer l to keep an eye on temps.
  • Humidity - I am honestly not sure of humidity levels right now. I have a hydrometer ordered that should be here within the next couple of days. Went to 3 different pet stores and could not find not a one. But with her fountain and daily spraying she looks well hydrated.
  • Plants - Plants so far are a few fake silk plants ( the typical pet store ones? But I also have a live golden pothos hanging in with her.
  • Placement - Her enclosure is in my bedroom on my dresser so about 4 foot off of the ground. No one is allowed in my bedroom not even my children so there is little to no traffic, no fans, but is close to a window where natural light also shines in her enclosure.
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?
 

PaigeC

New Member
Welcome to the forum!

Is she a veiled?

Do you know that they can produce eggs even though they aren't mated so it's important to get their husbandry right to prevent follicular stasis and eggbinding?

Try to move slowly so,she won't startle as much and fall.
Yes she is veiled! And no I had no idea about that! Thank you!! I love her like my child so I want to get everything perfect for her and thank you all so much for helping and guiding me along the way!
 

PaigeC

New Member
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?
I missed the last question! We are located in Ga about an hour from Florida.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi! Not sure if @AmandaS is still on, but I’ll review your husbandry.

Thank you so much Amanda!!
Today is day 3 I have had her. She is pretty good size already and was in a tiny aquarium at the store. She hasn’t been lethargic that I can tell. She basks a lot and stays up high unless feeding. She’s also drank water from her leaves and fountain.
  • Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, female (I’m pretty sure), and around 6 months old. How long has it been in your care? Today makes 3 days.
  • Handling - She was freaking out in the box on the way home even though I purchased plants and hung them up in the box for her. So I let her out and she road on my head the entire ride. I try not to really handle her at all but as soon as she sees me enter the room or come close to her enclosure she runs to the top and when I open it she shoots out onto my hand and seems to like laying on my pony tail and she loves to sunbathe in one of our windows that gets a great deal of sun. She is actually only getting light and heat. Uvb doesn’t pass thru glass. She also will not eat her mealworms unless I hand feed. Is that normal? I have a meal worm feeder and a regular feeder bowl.... she will just let them sit. Where is the bowl positioned? If it’s on the floor, she won’t feel very safe going down to eat. It’s much better to have some sort of feeding station or place a cup up high where she can see it from her basking area. But if I come in and let her out onto my hand she will gobble them up as I’m feeding her with the opposite hand. Does she really like coming out and climbing on me? Or is the sign of something? It’s usually a sign that they don’t like their enclosure.
  • Feeding - So far.... she is eating small crickets and mealworms. I have wax worms ordered just waiting for them to come in. Could really use help on what else I can feed her? I’m attaching feeder and gutload graphics for you. Mealworms aren’t a good staple feeder. Roaches, silkworms, bsfl are all good additions to her staple feeders. I’ve read fruits but that doesn’t seem right to me at all. No fruits, veggies or greens needed. Give those to your feeders instead. She will eat around 8-12 mealworms in the morning. They are the little mealworms. And usually another 8-12 at night. I feed at 8:00am and 8:00pm. It’s much better to feed her once in the morning so she can bask and digest properly. Also, you don’t want to over feed her. Without any pics, I’ll have to go by the age you say. So she should be getting about 5-6 feeders daily and eventually cut back to every other day. It’s a tough age for females as we don’t want to stunt their growth, but soon they can start producing eggs and overfeeding can lead to large clutches. And she had crickets in her enclosure so she can munch when she likes. I’m going to advise against this as the crickets can and will bite your chameleon if you don’t provide them something to eat. Also, you’ll really have little way to tell how much she’s eaten. Additionally, the crickets will walk thru her waste and she’ll be ingesting it as she eats them. I have just started my own little mealworm farm and am still in the learning process there..... but I do put a substantial amount of the Flukers calcium plus vit D3 in there substrate/food. This is cool to do, but as I said earlier, mealworms aren’t good feeders. Much better to start a small dubia or discoid roach colony and learn how to raise and breed silkworms.
  • Supplements - Flukers calcium plus vit D3 and I dust her morning meals daily. This should be given only at one feeding every other week. For every feeding you’ll want to use a calcium without D3. You’ll also need to get a multivitamin to be used one feeding every other week (alternating with the D3). I‘m a fan of Reptivite, just make sure it is the one without D3.
  • Watering - She has a small chameleon fountain Sorry to tell you, you need to remove it. Even when cleaned regularly they are fountains of bacteria. Instead, you could use a dripper for about 20-30 minutes during the day. and I mist her enclosure at least once a day You should be misting for at least 2 minutes, twice a day. Mist right before lights go on and then right before lights go out. If you don’t want to use a dripper, add another 2 minute misting mid day. and make sure to get her plants very well. I have seen her drink one time in the 3 days I’ve had her. Many chameleons are secretive about drinking, so consider yourself lucky.
  • Fecal Description - Her droppings are a nice brown color and very firm. I am not 100% sure if she has ever been tested for parasites. She did come with a petsmart vet guarantee but I also still plan to take her in for a good look over. To my knowledge, chain pet stores don’t do any fecal parasite testing. A veterinary wellness check with a fecal is always a good idea.
  • History - The only history I have on her so far is that she came to the Petsmart in Jacksonville as a hatchling and has been there ever since until I came along and got her.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - For now she is in a glass aquarium with a screen top. It is a 100 gallon aquarium. But will be temporary as my dad has a very big metal enclosure that he is screening in for her. That one will be completely screen. How big? She’ll be needing a minimum size enclosure of 2x2x4’. Aquariums aren’t at all right for chameleons as they can’t give them the height nor ventilation that they need.
  • Lighting - The brand of her lighting is Thrive? The tropical set that has 26W 5.0 UVB and 100W Daytime blue heat bulb. Both lights are on by 7am and I give her an hour to get warmed up and woke up before breakfast. The standard for uvb is a linear T5HO fixture with either a Reptisun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% uvb bulb. It needs to be as long as your enclosure is wide. If I were you, I’d return the Thrive light and order the correct light. Unfortunately the chain pet stores don’t carry T5’s. As a rule, colored lights aren’t good to use for sensitive chameleon eyes. You can use either old fashioned incandescent (if you can find any) or halogen. I’d start with maybe a 60w and see what temps that gives you. Then your lights should be about 8-9” above her basking area to get the correct UV index.
  • Temperature - Her cage floor stays around 78degrees while directly under her basking spot is closer to 89-92 degrees. Way too hot! You don’t want her temps to exceed 80f. The lowest nighttime temp is about 70 degrees. This is good. Veileds can handle temps drops down to the 60’s without any problem. I use a thermometer l to keep an eye on temps.
  • Humidity - I am honestly not sure of humidity levels right now. I have a hydrometer ordered that should be here within the next couple of days. Went to 3 different pet stores and could not find not a one. But with her fountain and daily spraying she looks well hydrated. Ideal humidity should be between 30-50% during the day. At night if you can achieve a significant temp drop below 70f, you can use a cool mist humidifier and boost humidity as high as 100%. That simulates the natural hydration they get in the wild thru fog.
  • Plants - Plants so far are a few fake silk plants ( the typical pet store ones? But I also have a live golden pothos hanging in with her. Pothos is awesome for chams! Since veileds eat their plants (especially the girls), you need to have all live and safe plants for her. Put the fake on the outside of the enclosure to give her extra privacy. Attaching safe plant list.
  • Placement - Her enclosure is in my bedroom on my dresser so about 4 foot off of the ground. No one is allowed in my bedroom not even my children so there is little to no traffic, no fans, but is close to a window where natural light also shines in her enclosure. Be very careful that the sun coming in doesn’t overheat her, especially since she is currently in a glass tank. They do like having a view and feel safest when they are looking down upon their world.
    So, you do have a lot of changes to make. While all are important, the priority is for correct lighting and supplements. Right after those is enclosure. Until you get everything in place, I’d say hold off on going bioactive for now and just keep the floor bare. Bioactive is great, but it’s just more stuff to do and learn and I want you to focus on the basics first.
    It is really hard to figure out what is the correct way to keep chameleons as there is so much crappy and outdated info out there. The best place to learn the most accurate and up to date info is https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I didn’t go into great detail about gutloading. True gutloading is feeding your feeder bugs an hour or two before giving them to your chameleon to eat. Personally, I don’t do that. What I do is keep my feeder bugs well fed a variety of fresh (organic if I can get it) produce - bell pepper, various squashes, sweet potato, watercress, arugula, collards, etc and I add some Repashy Bug Burger too. Keeping your feeders well fed and healthy means they are more nutritious for your cham.
I also didn’t say much about eggs. Just like chickens do, chameleons lay infertile eggs. This tends to greatly shorten the lives of our sweet girls though, so we keep temps lower (80f) and limit feeding which helps reduce egg production and laying. Your little lady needs to get her nutrition as she still has some growing to do. However, after she lays her first clutch of eggs, you’ll want to cut her feedings down to 3-4 feeders 3 days a week. This works very well for my girls. I’m not a monster and do give treats on occasion.
I know I’m giving you a lot of info and have probably overwhelmed you. For now, focus on the priorities I mentioned above. :)
 

Fchamel

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you!! I will go ahead and take all of the substrate out of her enclosure. And definitely look into going bioactive! One more question.... if she startles and drops it won’t hurt her to fall on the bottom..... bare? My last startled very easily. This one seems a lot more mellow but it’s still a thought that scares me.
If it makes you feel any better. I saw a documentary of a chameleon jumping from a tree to the ground fleeing from a snake. So... it will be fine.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Regarding egg laying...you should put a proper egglaying bin in her cage ASAP in case she needs to lay eggs. She will get her receptive colors before she is ready to start making eggs.

Also...regarding falling....as long as they don't hit something on the way down hard ipenough to injure themselves, they should be ok. My fischers chameleon used to jump on purpose from the top of the curtain to the floor and never hurt himself. Same chameleon fell in his cage and hit the end of a twiggy branch on the way down and it poked a hole in his leg...so it all depends on the fall.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
My panther falls a couple times a week—he likes to take chances or challenge himself or something...
It makes a noise loud enough that we can hear it all over the house. He stuns himself, but never any bruises or breaks (their bones are quite flexible). Sometimes he catches himself by his tail.
 
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