Husbandry Review for Young Veiled Chameleon that is Gaping

Wisto&Co

Established Member
Hi all--I have been reading the threads on here, and wanted to make sure I made any husbandry changes since my chameleon Wisto hasn't been acting as usual lately (gaping last 2 or 3 days). Sorry for the long post but hopefully it has all the info needed. I would very much appreciate a review if possible, and thank you in advance for any advice

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

He has been gaping recently (not putting his nose in the air that I saw, no discharge that I can see, and no rasping/other sounds when his mouth is open). While he was gaping I took a look inside, and couldn’t see any bumps/anything else noticeable to me. I went to the vet yesterday, and they found no evidence of a respiratory infection and said that there wasn’t anything that concerned the vet on the gaping (did say something about blood tests but it was vague).

They told me to check if the basking lamp was too hot, but it has been the same setup since the start and he has never gaped before. I read on Chameleon Academy that the basking light should only be left on for some time in the morning, but then turned off. The vet told me that the basking light should be on all day (7 am to 7 pm) when I took Wisto to see him for a first checkup. I’m not sure which of the two are correct—I did the first approach until the vet visit, then switched to the second after that. Right now, I turned the basking light off to see if that was the reason for the gaping (for an hour or so, then turned back on when he was waiting on his basking branch) but he's been gaping regardless. He has been eating about 9 insects these days (and it takes a bit of time), while before he ate more than that and very quickly (all crickets fed gone in a matter of minutes). Lastly, he has been screen walking lately which I’ve been trying to resolve too

  • When/how long should the basking light be on?
  • Would a blood test help diagnose whether he has a respiratory infection?
  • Any other changes to husbandry that you would recommend?

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon- The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
    • Veiled chameleon
    • Male (given the spurs, but didn’t get confirmation outside of this)--picture attached
    • Unsure since he was wild caught in Florida, but definitely still a young one since he’s been growing fast (<1 year old I would think)
    • I have had him since October 23rd of 2022 / 4 months

  • Handling- How often do you handle your chameleon?
    • Usually once a day for a couple of minutes to feed him (I transfer him to a butterfly enclosure to feed him crickets since his main cage is inside, and to get some sun)
    • I switched to feeding him from a cup inside his cage since today, given veileds’ stress from handling

  • Feeding- What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
    • 10 crickets and 5 or so mealworms a day, or 1 superworm (once a week) with 3 or 4 crickets, and isopods for variety (powder blue/orange and dairy cow varieties). Occasionally 1 or 2 waxworms as a treat. I gave him a small hornworm once, but he can’t eat the larger ones so haven’t fed them to him since
    • I feed him in the morning (before noon), once he’s had a chance to warm up--around 11 am or at least before noon
    • Started feeding more since yesterday (was about 10 insects per day before then) after the got back from the vet since he said he’s underweight.
    • Gutloading (based on Sandrachameleon's blogs):
      • wet gutload - mustard greens, squash, papaya, swiss chard, etc. mixed together in a food processor
      • dry gutload: wheatgrass powder, kale powder, bee pollen, millet, nori seaweed, brewer’s yeast, etc.

  • Supplements- What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
    • Repti Calcium without D3 at every feeding since yesterday, with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD every two weeks, dusted on feeders
    • The vet told me to use 2:1 Phosphorus (Fluker's) and calcium twice a week (when first went to the vet), but I thought this wouldn’t be enough calcium. So I had been giving him the 2:1 mix once a week and plain calcium once a week
      • I had been giving the plain calcium at every feeding before the first vet visit when we first had him, and went back to that since yesterday (after reading the threads on here)

  • Watering- What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
    • I hand mist with a glass bottle of filtered water 3 times a day (morning before lights go on around 7 am, and evening before lights off at around 7 pm)
    • About 2 minutes or more each time
    • I’ve seen him drink from a leaf once so far

  • Fecal Description- Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
    • Has been tested, but came out negative. Might be false negative because it wasn’t a fresh sample (didn’t know then that it needed to be)
    • Poop is dark brown and not too hard, and urates are mostly white (either all white or some yellow/orange). Most recent sample had some water/urine too so hydration seems to be good. Sometimes poop is wrapped in leaves since he likes to eat off the ferns and pothos

  • History- Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
    • He was being cared for temporarily by a someone who kept him in a butterfly enclosure on her porch/back outside of the house (she caught him in her garden and needed to find someone to take care of him). When we picked him up from there he was pretty dark (no lamps used, and not sure how much sun he got in a day)
    • He was fed only mealworms straight from the box, not gutloaded as far as I know, and no supplements that I know of
    • The vet yesterday told me that he has some bone density loss (seen from an X-ray they took to see if he had any gastrointestinal obstructions), so they are giving him weekly calcium injections for 6 weeks and I dust all feeders with calcium every day from now on (unless dusted with Repashy every two weeks)

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type- Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
    • 4’x4’x2’ screen cage from Zoo Med
    • I drape a shower curtain over the cage at night to keep in humidity

  • Lighting- What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
    • Arcadia T5 6% UV-B (24 watt) mounted on VIVOSUN T5 Grow Lights Fixture (3 plant grow lights and 1 Arcadia bulb for the 4 slots)
    • Exo Terra Daytime Heat Reptile lamp (60 watts) with Zoo Med Deep Dome Heat Fixture

  • Temperature- What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
    • 72F to 82F (measured by hygrometer/thermometer close to the floor and to basking spot)
    • Overnight: have not been able to check inside the cage so I don't wake him up, but air conditioning is set to 78 usually so no higher than that (and sometimes lower with recent cold waves)

  • Humidity- What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
    • Live plants help maintain humidity, and I water the pothos at the top and fern in the middle nearly every day
      • Also some from the spraying/misting
    • In the day: between 50 and 70% humidity
    • Overnight: 60 to 70% after misting before lights off
    • Measured on the two hygrometer/thermometers I have at the top and bottom of the cage

  • Plants- Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
    • Yes, all live plants
    • Bromeliad, pothos, schlefflera, ferns, hibiscus, Tradescantia Zebrina, a small leafless tree for the branches, starfruit (currently leafless)

  • 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?
    • It’s in my room / home office
    • Not near any vents or fans
    • Usually only I am in the room (most of the day and night, but will usually leave him alone for some time between 5 and 10 pm and for breaks during the day)
    • The cage is about a foot off the floor, so top of the cage is about 5 feet off the floor

  • Location- Where are you geographically located?
    • Miami, Florida (US)
 

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Hi all--I have been reading the threads on here, and wanted to make sure I made any husbandry changes since my chameleon Wisto hasn't been acting as usual lately (gaping last 2 or 3 days). Sorry for the long post but hopefully it has all the info needed. I would very much appreciate a review if possible, and thank you in advance for any advice

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

He has been gaping recently (not putting his nose in the air that I saw, no discharge that I can see, and no rasping/other sounds when his mouth is open). While he was gaping I took a look inside, and couldn’t see any bumps/anything else noticeable to me. I went to the vet yesterday, and they found no evidence of a respiratory infection and said that there wasn’t anything that concerned the vet on the gaping (did say something about blood tests but it was vague).

They told me to check if the basking lamp was too hot, but it has been the same setup since the start and he has never gaped before. I read on Chameleon Academy that the basking light should only be left on for some time in the morning, but then turned off. The vet told me that the basking light should be on all day (7 am to 7 pm) when I took Wisto to see him for a first checkup. I’m not sure which of the two are correct—I did the first approach until the vet visit, then switched to the second after that. Right now, I turned the basking light off to see if that was the reason for the gaping (for an hour or so, then turned back on when he was waiting on his basking branch) but he's been gaping regardless. He has been eating about 9 insects these days (and it takes a bit of time), while before he ate more than that and very quickly (all crickets fed gone in a matter of minutes). Lastly, he has been screen walking lately which I’ve been trying to resolve too

  • When/how long should the basking light be on?
  • Would a blood test help diagnose whether he has a respiratory infection?
  • Any other changes to husbandry that you would recommend?

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon- The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
    • Veiled chameleon
    • Male (given the spurs, but didn’t get confirmation outside of this)--picture attached
    • Unsure since he was wild caught in Florida, but definitely still a young one since he’s been growing fast (<1 year old I would think)
    • I have had him since October 23rd of 2022 / 4 months

  • Handling- How often do you handle your chameleon?
    • Usually once a day for a couple of minutes to feed him (I transfer him to a butterfly enclosure to feed him crickets since his main cage is inside, and to get some sun)
    • I switched to feeding him from a cup inside his cage since today, given veileds’ stress from handling

  • Feeding- What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
    • 10 crickets and 5 or so mealworms a day, or 1 superworm (once a week) with 3 or 4 crickets, and isopods for variety (powder blue/orange and dairy cow varieties). Occasionally 1 or 2 waxworms as a treat. I gave him a small hornworm once, but he can’t eat the larger ones so haven’t fed them to him since
    • I feed him in the morning (before noon), once he’s had a chance to warm up--around 11 am or at least before noon
    • Started feeding more since yesterday (was about 10 insects per day before then) after the got back from the vet since he said he’s underweight.
    • Gutloading (based on Sandrachameleon's blogs):
      • wet gutload - mustard greens, squash, papaya, swiss chard, etc. mixed together in a food processor
      • dry gutload: wheatgrass powder, kale powder, bee pollen, millet, nori seaweed, brewer’s yeast, etc.

  • Supplements- What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
    • Repti Calcium without D3 at every feeding since yesterday, with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD every two weeks, dusted on feeders
    • The vet told me to use 2:1 Phosphorus (Fluker's) and calcium twice a week (when first went to the vet), but I thought this wouldn’t be enough calcium. So I had been giving him the 2:1 mix once a week and plain calcium once a week
      • I had been giving the plain calcium at every feeding before the first vet visit when we first had him, and went back to that since yesterday (after reading the threads on here)

  • Watering- What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
    • I hand mist with a glass bottle of filtered water 3 times a day (morning before lights go on around 7 am, and evening before lights off at around 7 pm)
    • About 2 minutes or more each time
    • I’ve seen him drink from a leaf once so far

  • Fecal Description- Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
    • Has been tested, but came out negative. Might be false negative because it wasn’t a fresh sample (didn’t know then that it needed to be)
    • Poop is dark brown and not too hard, and urates are mostly white (either all white or some yellow/orange). Most recent sample had some water/urine too so hydration seems to be good. Sometimes poop is wrapped in leaves since he likes to eat off the ferns and pothos

  • History- Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
    • He was being cared for temporarily by a someone who kept him in a butterfly enclosure on her porch/back outside of the house (she caught him in her garden and needed to find someone to take care of him). When we picked him up from there he was pretty dark (no lamps used, and not sure how much sun he got in a day)
    • He was fed only mealworms straight from the box, not gutloaded as far as I know, and no supplements that I know of
    • The vet yesterday told me that he has some bone density loss (seen from an X-ray they took to see if he had any gastrointestinal obstructions), so they are giving him weekly calcium injections for 6 weeks and I dust all feeders with calcium every day from now on (unless dusted with Repashy every two weeks)

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type- Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
    • 4’x4’x2’ screen cage from Zoo Med
    • I drape a shower curtain over the cage at night to keep in humidity

  • Lighting- What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
    • Arcadia T5 6% UV-B (24 watt) mounted on VIVOSUN T5 Grow Lights Fixture (3 plant grow lights and 1 Arcadia bulb for the 4 slots)
    • Exo Terra Daytime Heat Reptile lamp (60 watts) with Zoo Med Deep Dome Heat Fixture

  • Temperature- What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
    • 72F to 82F (measured by hygrometer/thermometer close to the floor and to basking spot)
    • Overnight: have not been able to check inside the cage so I don't wake him up, but air conditioning is set to 78 usually so no higher than that (and sometimes lower with recent cold waves)

  • Humidity- What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
    • Live plants help maintain humidity, and I water the pothos at the top and fern in the middle nearly every day
      • Also some from the spraying/misting
    • In the day: between 50 and 70% humidity
    • Overnight: 60 to 70% after misting before lights off
    • Measured on the two hygrometer/thermometers I have at the top and bottom of the cage

  • Plants- Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
    • Yes, all live plants
    • Bromeliad, pothos, schlefflera, ferns, hibiscus, Tradescantia Zebrina, a small leafless tree for the branches, starfruit (currently leafless)

  • 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?
    • It’s in my room / home office
    • Not near any vents or fans
    • Usually only I am in the room (most of the day and night, but will usually leave him alone for some time between 5 and 10 pm and for breaks during the day)
    • The cage is about a foot off the floor, so top of the cage is about 5 feet off the floor

  • Location- Where are you geographically located?
    • Miami, Florida (US)
Hiya! I’ll tag some experts. I think it’s very strange that your vet told you to change your supplementation schedule. It’s very important that chams have all their food dusted with calcium to prevent MBD. Looking at what you’re feeding him, I would say to cut out the mealworms and incorporate some dubias into his diet. They are very nutritious and high in protein, which will help him gain weight. I’m surprised considering how much he’s eating that he’s still underweight, but I see what the vet is saying considering his casque is a bit caved in.
 
Thank you so much for the quick reply! Ordering some dubias, BSFL, and/or silkworms is definitely on my list for this week. Edit: or another species of roach since dubias are illegal in Florida
 
Last edited:
Thank you so much for the quick reply! Ordering some dubias, BSFL, and/or silkworms is definitely on my list for this week. Edit: or another species of roach since dubias are illegal in Florida
Wow I never knew that! Interesting. Also, in terms of the gaping, it’s a little weird because usually they open their mouths more than just a crack. It almost looks like he’s uncomfortable having his mouth all the way closed. Have you checked for mouth rot? If he’s in pain he may not want to close his mouth all the way.
 
Hello and welcome to the forums. You can use discoids in FL and they are very similar to Dubia. I recommend another fecal with a fresh poop. Parasites can keep them skinny, especially cociddia. Your vet should just let you drop a fresh poop off for a fecal. When the weather is cool and my chameleons have to stay inside all day, I keep the basking light on basically all day and they bask in the mornings and move around some in the afternoon, but often go back to bask some more In the afternoon. An X-ray would tell you for sure in he has an RI. He could have a problem with his mouth or throat. There‘s some very chameleon knowledgable vets in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale area. I can recommend one if you feel your vet was not that knowledgeable. I recommend dusting his feeders at almost every feeding with a Phosphorus free calcium and twice a month with a multivitian dust. I’ve never used Fluker’s. @Beman @MissSkittles What do you think about the lighting?
 
Hello and welcome to the forums. You can use discoids in FL and they are very similar to Dubia. I recommend another fecal with a fresh poop. Parasites can keep them skinny, especially cociddia. Your vet should just let you drop a fresh poop off for a fecal. When the weather is cool and my chameleons have to stay inside all day, I keep the basking light on basically all day and they bask in the mornings and move around some in the afternoon, but often go back to bask some more In the afternoon. An X-ray would tell you for sure in he has an RI. He could have a problem with his mouth or throat. There‘s some very chameleon knowledgable vets in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale area. I can recommend one if you feel your vet was not that knowledgeable. I recommend dusting his feeders at almost every feeding with a Phosphorus free calcium and twice a month with a multivitian dust. I’ve never used Fluker’s. @Beman @MissSkittles What do you think about the lighting?
Thank you for all the advice--agreed on the second fecal and will get that done, as well as buying the discoids. And yes please on the vet recommendations: it's my first chameleon and I wasn't able to find any other chameleon-specialized vets in the area on arav.org (even if just to get a second opinion)
 
@Bazelthechameleon said…”in terms of the gaping, it’s a little weird because usually they open their mouths more than just a crack. It almost looks like he’s uncomfortable having his mouth all the way close” …this is what I was wondering too.…but like he was annoyed with something. Does he only gape when you’re around?

@jannb said…”Parasites can keep them skinny” another one of my immediate thoughts.
 
Hey there. Welcome to the forum. I will have time to go through your entire form this afternoon. One thing that jumps out is your running a quad. These can put out some serious heat. That one bracing branch you have in the back left corner you want to cut that thing down. It is far too high which is why he is using it instead the the basking branches below that are at the correct distance. He is gaping there because the temps up where he is on the bracing branch I am betting are exceeding 90.
Then in another picture you have a smaller branch that is far too close in the back where the heat fixture is. That one needs to be chopped down as well because it is the same situation there. He can get far too close. High thermal burn risk there and again gaping because he is just too hot.
 
Ok see my feedback in Red Bold. :)



  • When/how long should the basking light be on? Both ways can be done. I personally only run my basking fixture from 9-1pm. I run multiple T5 fixtures so I get quite a bit of heat from those as well.
  • Would a blood test help diagnose whether he has a respiratory infection? No it would not necessarily show an RI but could diagnose if there is anything else out of wack meaning infection in the body. They should be able to listen to the lungs to see if there is an issue. But gaping would be start of respiratory infection or too hot.
  • Any other changes to husbandry that you would recommend? See notes below.

Chameleon Info:


  • Your Chameleon- The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
    • Veiled chameleon
    • Male (given the spurs, but didn’t get confirmation outside of this)--picture attached Yep you have a male.
    • Unsure since he was wild caught in Florida, but definitely still a young one since he’s been growing fast (<1 year old I would think) Since he was wild caught I would go ahead and run a fecal and blood work and make sure nothing is funky. He is on the thinner side.
    • I have had him since October 23rd of 2022 / 4 months


  • Handling- How often do you handle your chameleon?
    • Usually once a day for a couple of minutes to feed him (I transfer him to a butterfly enclosure to feed him crickets since his main cage is inside, and to get some sun)
    • I switched to feeding him from a cup inside his cage since today, given veileds’ stress from handling... Good this will also give him more time to eat what he wants.


  • Feeding- What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
    • 10 crickets and 5 or so mealworms a day, or 1 superworm (once a week) with 3 or 4 crickets, and isopods for variety (powder blue/orange and dairy cow varieties). Occasionally 1 or 2 waxworms as a treat. I gave him a small hornworm once, but he can’t eat the larger ones so haven’t fed them to him since... If he is under a year old which looking at his pics I am betting some where around 9 months now. You need to make sure your feeding at least a dozen feeders a day.
    • I feed him in the morning (before noon), once he’s had a chance to warm up--around 11 am or at least before noon.. You can put them in after lights are on. This will give him more time to eat and bask.
    • Started feeding more since yesterday (was about 10 insects per day before then) after the got back from the vet since he said he’s underweight.
    • Gutloading (based on Sandrachameleon's blogs):
      • wet gutload - mustard greens, squash, papaya, swiss chard, etc. mixed together in a food processor
      • dry gutload: wheatgrass powder, kale powder, bee pollen, millet, nori seaweed, brewer’s yeast, etc.


  • Supplements- What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
    • Repti Calcium without D3 at every feeding since yesterday, with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD every two weeks, dusted on feeders
    • The vet told me to use 2:1 Phosphorus (Fluker's) and calcium twice a week (when first went to the vet), but I thought this wouldn’t be enough calcium. So I had been giving him the 2:1 mix once a week and plain calcium once a week
      • I had been giving the plain calcium at every feeding before the first vet visit when we first had him, and went back to that since yesterday (after reading the threads on here) Good I am glad you went back to that. You want calcium without D3 at every feeding then the repashy calcium plus say the 1st and the 15th. Feeders should be lightly dusted.


  • Watering- What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
    • I hand mist with a glass bottle of filtered water 3 times a day (morning before lights go on around 7 am, and evening before lights off at around 7 pm)
    • About 2 minutes or more each time
    • I’ve seen him drink from a leaf once so far Add a dripper. He may not be getting enough water intake. You can use a simple plastic solo cup and poke tiny pin holes in the bottom. Place on top of the cage over plants so it drips down onto them.


  • Fecal Description- Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
    • Has been tested, but came out negative. Might be false negative because it wasn’t a fresh sample (didn’t know then that it needed to be)
    • Poop is dark brown and not too hard, and urates are mostly white (either all white or some yellow/orange). Most recent sample had some water/urine too so hydration seems to be good. Sometimes poop is wrapped in leaves since he likes to eat off the ferns and pothos.. Urate sounds good. Get a fresh fecal tested. You want to make sure he is clean since he is wild caught.


  • History- Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
    • He was being cared for temporarily by a someone who kept him in a butterfly enclosure on her porch/back outside of the house (she caught him in her garden and needed to find someone to take care of him). When we picked him up from there he was pretty dark (no lamps used, and not sure how much sun he got in a day)
    • He was fed only mealworms straight from the box, not gutloaded as far as I know, and no supplements that I know of
    • The vet yesterday told me that he has some bone density loss (seen from an X-ray they took to see if he had any gastrointestinal obstructions), so they are giving him weekly calcium injections for 6 weeks and I dust all feeders with calcium every day from now on (unless dusted with Repashy every two weeks) Bone density issue do not surprise me since you were told the wrong info on supplementation.

Cage Info:


  • Cage Type- Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
    • 4’x4’x2’ screen cage from Zoo Med
    • I drape a shower curtain over the cage at night to keep in humidity... Make sure the top of the cage is open and a few inches at the bottom of the cage. You want air flow still and this will create a chimney effect. You could also just hook duct window film to the back and two side panels on the outside. This will help control temps and humidity levels while still providing plenty of air flow.
 
Second half...


  • Lighting- What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
    • Arcadia T5 6% UV-B (24 watt) mounted on VIVOSUN T5 Grow Lights Fixture (3 plant grow lights and 1 Arcadia bulb for the 4 slots) What is your total distance from the bottom of the fixture to the actual basking level below? You want a total distance of 8-9 inches for correct UVB exposure. No closer than that. Another reason to cut back both of the branches he climbs up on to get closer.
    • Exo Terra Daytime Heat Reptile lamp (60 watts) with Zoo Med Deep Dome Heat Fixture


  • Temperature- What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
    • 72F to 82F (measured by hygrometer/thermometer close to the floor and to basking spot)
    • Overnight: have not been able to check inside the cage so I don't wake him up, but air conditioning is set to 78 usually so no higher than that (and sometimes lower with recent cold waves) 78 is going to be really warm at night for him. I would not cover his cage if your house is that warm. You want cold humid air not hot humid air. Stagnant air is not helpful either. These issues can lead to a respiratory infection.


  • Humidity- What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
    • Live plants help maintain humidity, and I water the pothos at the top and fern in the middle nearly every day
      • Also some from the spraying/misting
    • In the day: between 50 and 70% humidity way too high with the added heat. You want 30-50% range. Otherwise your adding respiratory infection risk.
    • Overnight: 60 to 70% after misting before lights off This is fine but you want temps below 68 at night and you want air to be able to circulate.
    • Measured on the two hygrometer/thermometers I have at the top and bottom of the cage


  • Plants- Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
    • Yes, all live plants
    • Bromeliad, pothos, schlefflera, ferns, hibiscus, Tradescantia Zebrina, a small leafless tree for the branches, starfruit (currently leafless) Perfect!


  • 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?
    • It’s in my room / home office
    • Not near any vents or fans
    • Usually only I am in the room (most of the day and night, but will usually leave him alone for some time between 5 and 10 pm and for breaks during the day)
    • The cage is about a foot off the floor, so top of the cage is about 5 feet off the floor... Consider raising a bit higher if he is showing stress about you being taller than him at basking.
 
Wow I never knew that! Interesting. Also, in terms of the gaping, it’s a little weird because usually they open their mouths more than just a crack. It almost looks like he’s uncomfortable having his mouth all the way closed. Have you checked for mouth rot? If he’s in pain he may not want to close his mouth all the way.
Thanks for the suggestion--I have a vet appointment for tomorrow and will ask that they take a look at his mouth specifically. He's been gaping less since I made the changes to the branches, but definitely worth a look given the decrease in eating
 
@Bazelthechameleon said…”in terms of the gaping, it’s a little weird because usually they open their mouths more than just a crack. It almost looks like he’s uncomfortable having his mouth all the way close” …this is what I was wondering too.…but like he was annoyed with something. Does he only gape when you’re around?

@jannb said…”Parasites can keep them skinny” another one of my immediate thoughts.
Could be that he's annoyed, good point. I'm looking into raising the cage so he's higher than me. He was gaping when I wasn't around (I would hide and look at him when he likely couldn't see me and he was still gaping)
 
Hey there. Welcome to the forum. I will have time to go through your entire form this afternoon. One thing that jumps out is your running a quad. These can put out some serious heat. That one bracing branch you have in the back left corner you want to cut that thing down. It is far too high which is why he is using it instead the the basking branches below that are at the correct distance. He is gaping there because the temps up where he is on the bracing branch I am betting are exceeding 90.
Then in another picture you have a smaller branch that is far too close in the back where the heat fixture is. That one needs to be chopped down as well because it is the same situation there. He can get far too close. High thermal burn risk there and again gaping because he is just too hot.
Made the changes: thank you very much for pointing that out! Seems like he's not gaping anymore, at least that I saw. I'm running the basking light only 8 am to 1 pm these days. The distance between the quad and nearest branch is around 8 inches now per your guidance too. Next step is the bloodwork and fecal, so I'll do what's needed from there once I have the results
 

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Made the changes: thank you very much for pointing that out! Seems like he's not gaping anymore, at least that I saw. I'm running the basking light only 8 am to 1 pm these days. The distance between the quad and nearest branch is around 8 inches now per your guidance too. Next step is the bloodwork and fecal, so I'll do what's needed from there once I have the results
Good I am glad the gaping has stopped. Most people that do not have or have not used quads do not realize how intense the heat output is. And since they cover so much of the top of the cage this heats up the entire area.

When you do get fecal results back let us know if there are parasites and what kind. The cleaning required for parasites is based on the type. :) Hopefully you get lucky and he comes back clean.
 
Thank you again for all the help so far. Still haven't gotten the fecal test results back (and also still waiting on the blood test results). In the meantime, I got UVB test cards to see if maybe the UVB bulb is part of the issue. For these cards (got them from https://www.walmart.com/ip/UVB-Test...ffective-Meter-UV-Accessories-E6C5/1101477122), they should get purple if they detect UVB. When I tested the basking branch, the card was still white, and I only got some purple when I basically put the card to the screen where the UVB bulb is.

I know a solarmeter is the only way to tell if the UVI is correct at the basking branch, but does it seem like I would need a new UVB bulb?

I feel like the screen is blocking out a lot of the UVB (and he is still screen climbing quite a lot these days, including on the ceiling). Should I get a higher output bulb to replace the one I have?

In the meantime, he's also been eating very little. Refuses crickets, BSFL, and only ate a few discoids. Lately I did get him to eat a superworm (all feeders dusted with plain calcium every time) but that was the most he ate in a while. Given that he accepted the superworm, could be that he's on hunger strike (will try some waxworms to test this), but wanted to see if it could also be because he's around 9 months old and seems from the other threads that they slow down how much they eat around this time. Does this sound likely?
 
Thank you again for all the help so far. Still haven't gotten the fecal test results back (and also still waiting on the blood test results). In the meantime, I got UVB test cards to see if maybe the UVB bulb is part of the issue. For these cards (got them from https://www.walmart.com/ip/UVB-Test...ffective-Meter-UV-Accessories-E6C5/1101477122), they should get purple if they detect UVB. When I tested the basking branch, the card was still white, and I only got some purple when I basically put the card to the screen where the UVB bulb is.

I know a solarmeter is the only way to tell if the UVI is correct at the basking branch, but does it seem like I would need a new UVB bulb?

I feel like the screen is blocking out a lot of the UVB (and he is still screen climbing quite a lot these days, including on the ceiling). Should I get a higher output bulb to replace the one I have?

In the meantime, he's also been eating very little. Refuses crickets, BSFL, and only ate a few discoids. Lately I did get him to eat a superworm (all feeders dusted with plain calcium every time) but that was the most he ate in a while. Given that he accepted the superworm, could be that he's on hunger strike (will try some waxworms to test this), but wanted to see if it could also be because he's around 9 months old and seems from the other threads that they slow down how much they eat around this time. Does this sound likely?

So with your fixture type and the screen type that comes with those cages and a 5.0 or 6% bulb you would get a 3 UVI 8-9 inches down below the uvb bulb. I do not trust those cards personally. The only way to know for sure is with a solarmeter 6.5. This will tell you if there is an issue with your UVB bulb as well.

Panthers are pretty different in their eating habits than Veileds. Veileds act like toddlers that always want to shove stuff in their mouths. From what I have seen Panthers simply chill and eat when they want. Could be the 9 month curb back, could be he is getting picky, could be health issue going on. Which you will not know until fecal and blood work comes back.
 
So with your fixture type and the screen type that comes with those cages and a 5.0 or 6% bulb you would get a 3 UVI 8-9 inches down below the uvb bulb. I do not trust those cards personally. The only way to know for sure is with a solarmeter 6.5. This will tell you if there is an issue with your UVB bulb as well.

Panthers are pretty different in their eating habits than Veileds. Veileds act like toddlers that always want to shove stuff in their mouths. From what I have seen Panthers simply chill and eat when they want. Could be the 9 month curb back, could be he is getting picky, could be health issue going on. Which you will not know until fecal and blood work comes back.
Thank you! I did get the fecal and blood results back today: negative for parasites on the fecal, and blood results were normal (minus "decent" but not ideal levels of calcium given the deficiency he's being treated for). Recently I've seen that his tongue doesn't shoot out as far as it used to, and vet thinks it's due to calcium deficiency. That could explain the weight loss and not eating as much. I also ordered a new UVB bulb (the same one from Arcadia) in case the current one has an issue, and will be setting up an outdoor cage so he gets natural sunlight every other day or so too

I'll get a second opinion from a chameleon specialized vet (one from the list on one of the forums here) to confirm, but need to help him put on weight in the meantime. What do you recommend? I know superworms and waxworms are really fatty (so not ideal) but he seems to eat those pretty well compared to crickets and discoid roaches. Should I try that or give the bug juice / force feeding a try (I know it's last resort). I still also offer BSFL (have them in the cage all day) but he barely eats any
 
Thank you! I did get the fecal and blood results back today: negative for parasites on the fecal, and blood results were normal (minus "decent" but not ideal levels of calcium given the deficiency he's being treated for). Recently I've seen that his tongue doesn't shoot out as far as it used to, and vet thinks it's due to calcium deficiency. That could explain the weight loss and not eating as much. I also ordered a new UVB bulb (the same one from Arcadia) in case the current one has an issue, and will be setting up an outdoor cage so he gets natural sunlight every other day or so too

I'll get a second opinion from a chameleon specialized vet (one from the list on one of the forums here) to confirm, but need to help him put on weight in the meantime. What do you recommend? I know superworms and waxworms are really fatty (so not ideal) but he seems to eat those pretty well compared to crickets and discoid roaches. Should I try that or give the bug juice / force feeding a try (I know it's last resort). I still also offer BSFL (have them in the cage all day) but he barely eats any

Honestly I would feed him what ever he wants over force feeding. If he does not like the bsfl and prefers supers add more of them in. If he loves wax worms add those in with crickets. He will target both.

Can you explain the 2:1 thing the vet had you do with supplements? What exactly did they tell you to use and mix? And how long did you do that for?
 
Honestly I would feed him what ever he wants over force feeding. If he does not like the bsfl and prefers supers add more of them in. If he loves wax worms add those in with crickets. He will target both.

Can you explain the 2:1 thing the vet had you do with supplements? What exactly did they tell you to use and mix? And how long did you do that for?
Ok that makes sense--he ate more today (4 waxworms mixed in with 3 BSFL and 1 mealworm) so it seems to work for now. Will try those and see how it goes, thank you

In terms of the vet recommended supplement: I had been dusting all feeders with plain calcium at every feeding from when I got him in late October of last year to late November (when I went to the first vet visit for a checkup and first fecal). So about a month of correct supplements (plus Repashy loD twice a month).

Then after that vet visit, I was told to use the Fluker's (per attached) twice a week (as is) and Repashy LoD twice a month (I was doing this before and vet didn't comment on it if I remember). Since it seemed like too much phosphorus and too little calcium, I decided to use plain calcium once a week and this Fluker's mix once a week. I did this from late November until late-January of this year when the vet said he had low bone density and we started with the calcium shots. So three months of incorrect supplements. I also noticed since then that the Fluker's has added D3 so I could have overdosed him on that unfortunately 😞

I've been dusting plain calcium at every feeding since (and continuing with the same Repashy LoD schedule)--about a month of getting back on track
 

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Ok that makes sense--he ate more today (4 waxworms mixed in with 3 BSFL and 1 mealworm) so it seems to work for now. Will try those and see how it goes, thank you

In terms of the vet recommended supplement: I had been dusting all feeders with plain calcium at every feeding from when I got him in late October of last year to late November (when I went to the first vet visit for a checkup and first fecal). So about a month of correct supplements (plus Repashy loD twice a month).

Then after that vet visit, I was told to use the Fluker's (per attached) twice a week (as is) and Repashy LoD twice a month (I was doing this before and vet didn't comment on it if I remember). Since it seemed like too much phosphorus and too little calcium, I decided to use plain calcium once a week and this Fluker's mix once a week. I did this from late November until late-January of this year when the vet said he had low bone density and we started with the calcium shots. So three months of incorrect supplements. I also noticed since then that the Fluker's has added D3 so I could have overdosed him on that unfortunately 😞

I've been dusting plain calcium at every feeding since (and continuing with the same Repashy LoD schedule)--about a month of getting back on track
Well ya learn something new everyday. lol I did not even know that there was that supplement. Yeah I would not use that because they add phosphorus in. It is recommended to use calcium without d3 that does not have phosphorus. The basic reason for supplementing with calcium is to balance the phosphorus to calcium ratio of the feeders we feed them. So this is why we use plain calcium without D3 in order to do this.

Interesting thing about that combo is that it is 2 to 1 calcium to phosphorus. Now I have no idea what the phosphorus would do in the system. @kinyonga or @JacksJill would probably know.
 
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