Injured Chameleon - Ribs


New Member
Hello there,

I bought my first chameleon six years ago. She was a very healthy girl but passed away due to my inexperience with dystocia. Since that time I have done much research on Chameleons. Three years ago I was walking through the petstore and my eyes fell across a chameleon discounted to $50.00. I kneeled down and examined him; he was pathetic looking in his glass aquarium with his stagnant water dish. The storeowner told me they had a mother bring him in as her child had been abusing his pet, and not taking care of him. I could tell he was suffering from Metabolic Bone Disease and by the looks of it was close to the edge. He was smaller than he should have been and his tongue was so short it could only come about 1cm out of his mouth. Today he is healthy as anything, in a proper enclose. Although he will never be normal, he is happy and plump.

Since that time when I come across a pathetic looking Chameleon in a store I haggle the price down, purchase it, and give it a proper loving home inside my ever growing chameleon family.

The other day I was in the petstore there was a Chameleon at full price. When I took a close look at her I noticed her one foot only had one toe. It looks to me like she had an infection and had some tissue damage; she had been in the store for four months. When I asked the store owner to take a closer look at her, she picked her up by the back and promptly dropped her, picked her up again, and dropped her again. I continued to gaze at her for a bit longer when I noticed that on her one side her ribs stop short. She moves fine but looks to be agitated easily (though that might be due to the improper enclosure she was in – or the horrible handling skills of the store owner.) I haggled her price down 20$ and brought her home. Unfortunately she needs to be kept in a glass terrarium until I can pick up another mesh one on the weekend.

However the ribs worry me, they seem fine on the one side but as I said fall short on the other. In the picture below I have circled the questionable area.
It’s hard to tell from this position, but I did not want to agitate her and try to get her into a better one. When she is walking I can count four ribs that look damaged, however in this picture you can see two that just ‘end’.


I am looking for advice on proper care for a chameleon with broken ribs. I know they cannot be fixed, but surely there are things to be done to ensure they don’t cause any damage to her.

Eleven weeks ago I gave birth to my son, and am now I single young mother. This being so I don’t have the funds to take my new chameleon to the vet at this current time, so please do not make that a suggestion. It is just not possible.

If anyone knows any good references that can help me, please say so.

Many thanks.
These broken/missing ribs may or may not be a problem for her...only a vet could tell you....or (passing) time.

However, it would make me wonder if she has a slight calcium problem or had a bad fall at some point? Her look doesn't indicate anything like crooked arms, etc. that would normally be associated with a calcium problem. Again...a vet could tell you if she did.
I've read that a chams rib cage is made out of cartalage like our ears and nose. They also fall out of trees on purpose to escape birds. I wonder if they could break ribs that way too.
I had a fischer's that regularly used to "jump" from the top of the valance to the floor in my it was not a soft landing....and he never broke a rib. He would inflate his body and splay his legs and land somewhat cushioned that way. However if they were falling from a tree they wouldn't have a clear path like that and could hit something on the way down.

I also had one chameleon that had evidence of broken ribs show up in an autopsy.
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