How can I tell if my chameleon is getting enough water?


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I just purchased my first chameleon last week. It's a female veiled which they told me was 1 1/2 - 2 yrs old. It looks like its been very stressed out for the last week. It' seems to be settling in now, but I haven't seen it drinking very much. How can I tell if its getting enough water.

There are several signs that it is not getting enough water, their eyes sunken in, weight loss, etc. First off though, how are you trying to give your chameleon water? Are you misting? Dripping water onto plant leaves? or Water dish? The first two are the ones that work. Describe the physical characteristics of her, such as her eyes--do they look "full", is she strong-able to grasp branches easily, do her limbs look strait and uncurvey-for healthy bones, also, what is your cage set up-what kind of lights, what cage, food, etc. All of this things can help hobbyists on this forum to evaluate your situation, such as Jenna from Prism Chameleons who has all the answers. However, if you feel that she is sick, weak and not well, take her to a herp vet, they have them under the quick links on this site. Good luck, and I am sure that others will give better and more educated advice.
Hi Crazy,

There are several ways to tell if your chameleon is not getting enough water and is dehydrated. The first and foremost way is by lookin at their eyes. If they seem shrunken, shriveled, or if even the pupil itself seems cloudy, they need more water.

Second way, is look at their skin. Are there creases in his body? If you were to grab softly and pinch together the skin a bit, does it replace itself in a natural position? Or does the crease remain? If it remains a crease, he/she is dehydrated.

Third way, is to look at their urates. The urates are a part of their fecal that usually drops to the floor. There will be some dark parts to his droppings and then also either a white piece at the end or sometime it may look a orange color. The white and orange colors are his urates (urine). If they are white... good sign! Your chameleon is getting the right about of water. If they are orange in color, that means dehydration.

Make sure you have a good dripping system or at least mist your plants heavily 3 times a day. Frequently, showers will do wonders. I will cut and paste about showers that I have posted in other threads about this subject. Your chameleon will love it and he/she will get a nice long drink that will immediately help dehydration.

Copy: Chameleons should not be sprayed directly when misting in their cage. Always mist the plants. If your chameleon is dyhydrated do the following that I suggested in another post on this forum about this subject:

Try a shower. I have a little tree in my shower (a silk tree so as to not cause overwatering a live plant) which I use to give all my chameleons soft, warm showers... Make sure the water is not hot or not too cold and not on full blast (this can hurt their eyes). Run the water softly as if soft raindrops were floating down, put your little tree under the "pretend" soft warm tropical rain and let your chameleon have a very enjoyable shower. If very dyhydrated, he may stay in the shower for 30 mins or more drinking. You may see him stretch his head and neck up as he drinks... this is normal. Let him drink as long as he wants... when he starts to get restless or stops drinking, then remove him from his shower. Make sure you place him under his basking light afterwards so as to not get chilled.

He will love it! All my chameleons turn happy colors when they see they are going to get a nice warm tropical rain in my shower .

By the way, a shower is NOT recommended for baby chameleons. Wait until they are big enough (4-5 months old or more) so as to not drown.

My chameleons love showers Crazy.. and it helps to keep them good and hydrated as well. Try this once or twice a week in addition to you providing a good amount of water/misting as well.

I hope this helps!:)


Morpheus! One of my Prism Chameleon Ankaramy Breeders
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By the way herpluv... thanks for the compliment! I have some answers, but not all... :eek: . I will always do what I can to help though!
Hi all,
Thanks Prisim and Herpluv for the good advice. I have some good news though, since I posted the message last night I've seen her in the leaves where the water drips onto twice. I haven't tried a shower yet but looking at her eyes, they do seem slightly sunken in so a shower is in her near future.
Thanks again fo all the help.
drinking from syringe

this may be weird but my two panther chams drink straight from a syringe for me. I started doing this when we had a veiled cham that had bitten his tongue off and we had to syringe feed/water him (we have since had him put to sleep as his tongue was not healing after months of hand feeding and he seemed to be deteriorating quickly despite months of nursing by us:( ) Anyway -- I started using the syringes .. I fill them with water and let a drop start out of the syringe - I hold it in front of my panther chams and they immediately open their mouths so I can drip water in to them. I also mist/shower/humidifier.... but they seem to like the hand watering as well. Sometimes they even take the end of the syringe into their mouth while I depress the syringe and give them a nice mouthful of water. After a big mouthful my female panther closes her eyes, sticks up her nose and swallows - she appears to be very happy. I used bottled water for this b/c I figure there is little waste so not very expensive.

I have been thinking that a better way to do this may be to get drip bottles to hang in their enclosures (like the kind used to feed hamsters/gerbils) -- this way they could go to the water whenever they want. Has anyone tried this? My concern is that they may injure their mouths on the dripper thing (plus I kinda like giving them water with the syringe - my mothering instinct)
Any thoughts??
Wow, I hope my panther will be that friendly when he gets older.
HOw old are your chams and did you condition them in anyway first, or did they just drink from you randomly?
I am going to start taking mine out of the cage every few days to get him used to me. I know he recognizes me bc a friend saw him the other day, his first visitor and he started to get build up some anxiety.
Anyway, thats very cool!
drinking from syringe

my female panther is about 1 year old I think?? not entirely sure as she was adopted. anyway - it started out when I was spraying water into her cage w/ a spray bottle and instead of spraying it hard I just started dripping it into her cage from the top and she would start opening her mouth underneath and licking the drops as they went through the screen -- I was careful not to "spray" her b/c she doesnt like that. Anyway, later when I had to feed the sick cham w/ a syringe, I just tried holding the syringe in front of her with a drop of water on the end -- she hesitated but then stuck out her tongue to lick the drop of water off. Now she just opens her mouth and I pretty much stick the syringe in her mouth and she gets a whole mouthful. My male panther is only about 6 mos old and I just started trying this with him about a month ago. At first he would only take water from the syringe if he was hanging on a stick with his head sticking up so that when I dropped water from the syringe onto him all he had to do was open his mouth a small bit and the water would drip in. The first few times he didnt even open his mouth but eventually he caught on. Now he is like the female, I just put the syringe in front of his face and if he wants a drink he opens his mouth and sticks his tongue out. If he doesnt want a drink - he doesnt open his mouth and that's that. Anyway -- just give it a try - it may take a while and I would definitely not force it. Good luck.
I have a new ficus tree in my screened enclosure. How do I prevent it from getting flooded if I turn on my misting system three or four times a day??
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