I'm Confused About Vitamin A/Other Supplements

Hi, i'm new to the chameleon forums

Ok, I'm calling all chameleon experts to this thread! I'm really desperate to understand Vitamin A. Is it okay to give them? What kind do i specifically get? Someone PLEASE explain Vitamin A to me! Also, can someone explain to me the other appropriate supplements that my chameleon must have? I don't want my Chameleon to have Vitamin A deficiency! And also, would it be better to have a mister than a drip system? Am i not misting enough? As a concerned, paranoid chameleon parent, i'm currently freaking out. Is my chameleon's care and husbandry ok? If there's something i'm doing wrong, please tell me!

Routine:


Lights go on from 7am-7pm. Soon after my family and i wake up in the morning, that's usually when New-New starts stirring/waking up. Once we turn the lights on, he gets up from his "Nighty night" spot and goes to the corner where the drip system (we use Little Dripper) is to get some water. After that, he's on the move! Literally, he's got ants in his pants. He makes so much noise, just climbing back and forth. Recently he's developed the habit of climbing on the ceiling and front screen (if he gets too close to his heat lamp when he's climbing up on the ceiling we turn it off then turn it back on once he's moved away from it; I would be heartbroken if he got burned, i've seen the pictures on Google
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). That's what he's like during the morning up to the late afternoon/evening (so like 4pm/5pm). By then, that's when he starts winding down. Although, he will take a break and rest in between his "climbing adventures" throughout the day. Usually after my mom and i feed him, he rests for awhile. Then he's on the move again, hehe. Throughout the day, he switches back and forth from his basking spot to a cooler spot. Closer to 7pm, or as my mom and i call it, "nighty-night time", New-New gets more tired and sleepy. My mom drains his bowl that catches the drip frequently throughout the day, but definitely when it's nighty-night for New-New so the bowl doesn't overflow in the middle of the night. Once lights go out, New-New picks a nighty-night spot (which is usually always different, depending on where he feels like sleeping).


Cage info:


Alright, so


Cage Type: 18x18x20 Combo screen on the top and the front, glass on the sides and the back. We're aware that this is a bit on the small size, as we know it should be at least 18x18x36. The cage that we use was given to us and we're using it temporarily. We're currently working on investing in a bigger cage.

Lighting: 50 watt basking spot bulb by EXO TERRA (+75% intense according to the box, is that too much? At Petco we asked for 5% but they gave us more than that) / Tropical UVB fluorescent bulb by All Living Things 13 watts/ Again, lights are on between 7am-7pm.

Temperature: (We use thermometers to measure this ) 80 degrees F in the shade/cage floor according to the humidity/temp. thermometer combo and 90 degrees F in his basking spot according to the temperature only thermometer. 70 degrees F is the overnight temp.

Humidity: 60% percent according to our humidity/temp. combo thermometer. We maintain these levels by checking the thermometer periodically and once a day (is that enough? Or should we be doing that 3 times a day?).

Plants: New-New has one live plant, that is a Dracaena.

Placement: The cage, as shown in the pictures below, is located on our little oak table in the corner of the living room adjacent to the kitchen. We do have a fan nearby but we don't let it oscillate, it stays pointed away from the cage. The area is not high-traffic. I mean at least one of us in my family walks by sometimes but the most traffic in our house takes place in the kitchen, but since New-New's cage is behind a wall, he won't see us. We have air conditioning but that's not close to New-New at all and the air travels through the vent in the opposite direction of New-New's cage. Sorry, i don't understand the last question: "At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?"

Location: My family and i live in Southern California, (Cypress, California).


Chameleon Info:


Your Chameleon-Male 7 month old Ambilobe Panther Chameleon. Had him since 4/27.

Handling-We never handle him, except when we need to get him out the clean his cage. And the handling in that moment is short because i quickly transfer him to a temporary cage to stay in while we clean, set up with branches and foliage. When he's in his temporary cage while we clean, that's when we bring him outside to catch the natural sunlight (which we can tell he loves)
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Feeding: We feed New-New crickets and super worms. It really depends on the day---sometimes he'll eat 2 crickets and 2 super worms in one day, 3 crickets and 1 super worm in one day, 3 super worms and 1 cricket in one day, 3 crickets and 3 super worms in one day, etc. The most he's eaten in one day is 2 dubia roaches, 2 crickets, and 2 super worms. We just recently introduced him to dubia cockroaches (which i can't tell you enough how much he loves, he literally snatched it from me when we first offered him one!) and we only feed him these twice a week. New-new eats at around 10/10:30 or 11 am, that's when i come home from college class. We've been gut loading the crickets with apples, mango, oats, lettuce (we know not to ever give romaine or iceberg lettuce), broccoli, and carrots. For the roaches, we prepare them the same things except for the oats. Both the crickets and the roaches also get Fluker's High-Calcium Cricket diet. We do hand feed New-New with bamboo tweezers, especially because he's terrible at catching them and we want to make sure that he eats. He's only made 2 or 4 perfect shots with his tongue at crickets since we've had him. But while he's in his temporary cage while we're cleaning his home cage, we let some worms or crickets in there for him to try to catch on his own, which he's been able to do. But like i said, his tongue aim his terrible and that's a discussion i'm going to save for another thread.

Supplements-We dust the crickets and the roaches with Fluker's Repta Calcium (w/Vitamin D3 & Phosphorus free). We do this every two days. I'm concerned and kind of confused about the vitamin thing. Wouldn't my chameleon get vitamins from the gutloaded crickets and roaches? I'm afraid to give him that Vitamin A thing because of the controversy that i've read about it, how it's toxic to chameleons or something. I'm still trying to research that (any good, reliable websites that explain this?).

Watering-We use The Little Dripper by Zoo Med which sits outside of his cage. And we use REPTISAFE water conditioner by ZOO MED. The tube goes through this opening on the top of the cage and through a hanging plant with a suction and fake leaves. It's got a very good, visible drip right now. New-New has been going down to the bottom a lot and shooting is tongue at the bottom leaves since drips all over them. We mist the cage 3 times a day. We've established the belief that New-New prefers to drink when we're not around, but we have seen him drink several times. Once i saw him drink directly from the valve.

Fecal Description-Poop is always dark brown and solid, has never been runny. Urate used to be a very and i mean VERY lightly tinted orange, which had me concerned because i thought he wasn't drinking enough water. But i notice the urate is much whiter now, so he must be drinking, right? He's not lethargic, his eyes aren't sunken in, and his skin successfully retracts to original form when he stretches it. We've never had New-New tested for parasites. I'm currently researching exotic vets and trying to decide on which one would be the best to take him to for a checkup. Thank goodness where i live there are quite a few different exotic vets to choose from.

History-Ok, i'm sure there's a likely chance that there's nothing wrong here. But, just making this clear, with me being a new chameleon parent i tend to get extremely paranoid about him and i'm constantly obsessing over his well-being on a regular basis. Now, my main concern would definitely be his eye. I'll even include some pictures at the bottom. So, i notice his left eye has been doing this thing where he's closing it and crinkling it. Now, he doesn't do this constantly or every time i look at him. I would say he does this at least a few times when i look at him. He also rubs his eye on the branch, which, again, is not constant. At the most i've seen him do that is at least once a day. I've constantly checked is eyes and they're the same size and shape as each other, neither of them are swollen, and neither of them are red or have liquid oozing from them. Now, i've spoken with some experts at our local Petco about this (who give extremely good advice), and they told me not to worry, as long as he's not doing this a lot or constantly closing his eye, and as long as his eye doesn't look swollen or infected. But i'm still worried, you know? Sorry, it's just me being the paranoid, concerned chameleon parent that i am. Do you guys think his eyes look ok, judging from the pictures?


Any EXPERTS on chameleons that can talk to me in this thread would be more appreciated than you'll ever know. I'll definitely feel 1000 times better about New-New.


Thank you,

Nicki
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the forums. I recommend Reptivite. It has a little bit of Vit. A in it which some keepers believe Vit. A helps with eye health. Reptivite comes with or without D3.

You are using to much D3. It should not be used more than twice a month. Calcium without D3 could be used everyother day. I recommend a fecal to check for parasites. Chameleons can get parasites from the feeders they eat. Where do you live? I might be able to recommend a vet with chameleon experience.
 
Last edited:

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
Wow! that was very thorough. I will try to answer as many questions as I can.

Vitamin A is essential to your chameleons health. Some say it is the key to eye health. Unfortunately I cannot give you an exact dose like you could get for humans. I can tell you most people have great success giving it once every 2 weeks in a reptile multivitamin. I like Repashy products but other people prefer other products. I'm sure they will chime in with their favorites shortly. I'm concerned about New-news poor bug shooting ability. It could be from a nutritional imbalance or deficiency, a previous tongue injury or dehydration but since his urates are becoming whiter the last is unlikely. Get him started on a vitamin, calcium and D3 schedule and remember more is not better. Here is the common panther schedule. "Calcium and other vitamins are very important to your chameleon's health. Feeder insects should be lightly dusted with powdered supplement before being fed to your chameleon. Many keepers successfully use calcium (without D3 or phosphorus) at nearly every feeding, multivitamin once every 2 weeks, and calcium with D3 once every 2 weeks." Here is the rest of the panther care sheet. https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/panther/
So you should get a plain calcium to use daily and only use the D3 every 2 weeks.

Gutload if you get your gut load perfect you could possibly back off the vitamins some but that is an advanced keeper subject and still debatable. Your gut load needs adjusting. See the gut load section of this page. https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/food/ I would back way off of the broccoli.

His eye problem as it is right now maybe because he isn't getting a chance to wash it out. If you get a mister or hand mist for now he should get mistings long enough (3-5 min) that he gets chance to rinse his eyes. You can learn more here https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/water/
When he does clean his eyes prepare to see him bulge and rotate them. It's kinda gross.
There are other possibilities such as too bright lighting with out enough cover to filter the light. I am not a light expert so I will leave that to others.
One more possibility is that he has a bit of old shed he is trying to get rid of on his eye or is going to shed soon.

Get a misting system and create a drainage collection system, you won't regret it. I couldn't do without mine. Unless you are working from home and never vacation you will need one. For now that bowl you are using to collect the dripper should have a screen cover. Many people use the deli cups they get with feeders.

Welcome to the forum. I'm afraid much like having children worrying over your chameleon is something that never goes away. I will check back to help clarify anything you need.
 
Sorry, i forgot to include the pictures!
 

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