Irritable veiled cham not wanting to eat much

woodnt

New Member
Hello,

We have an approx 8 month old male veiled cham we got from PetSmart about 3 months ago. He started off just fine and the store said (true or not) that he never minded being held. He would usu eat 10 crickets out of my hand a day when we first got him. He seamed to get tired of crickets so we started a dubia colony. He did great on dubias for a while, then seemed to tire of them. At the same time, he has become less and less tolerant of us. I don't know if they can really tell the difference between people, but he feeds better from me than my wife and daughter, but I am away traveling a lot during the week and not always available for feeding. When we come in the room, he will often turn around and face the corner turning his back on us :(

Our enclosure is a 3 foot tall, 18 in square base screened in enclosure with a double-tall dome light with a UVB light and 150 watt ceramic heater in the dome.

We have a "monsoon generator" I have set to deliver between 50-60% humidity. The temp is around 100F at the "prime" basking spot, but he doesn't sit there often, but is at the side a lot more under the UVB. I have fashioned limbs from outside where I can be at essentially any level of the viv he wants so he should be able to regulate his temp well.

He loves "worms," but I don't want to use a lot of superworms for common reasons. I have a colony of Phoenix worms (black soldier fly larva) that he has gone for a lot in the past, too, but lately, he is only eating a couple out of my hand before he quits.

He still seems to be growing, and he sheds on average about once a month, just completing a shed.

It it bothersome also how he turns all dark as soon as we enter to room to feed him. He'll often his and lunge (never really bites) as we approach him with food, but he'll calm down a bit. Oddly, if we try any socialization getting him out, he'll brighten up fairly quickly.

I am really getting concerned about his not eating. I don't want him to die of starvation. Honestly, he doesn't look thin. No bone lesions to speak of suggesting MBD.

We dust with calcium (the wife isn't as good about this as she should be) and multivitamins (weekly).

Any help on how to make him more tolerant of us and increase his appetite?

We have given him quite a variety including crickets, superworms, silkworms, BSF larva, dubia, kale and dandelion root (which he likes), hibiscus flowers and leaves (which he didn't seem to go for). If we leave some crickets in there, he doesn't seem to "hunt" for them. He always has been rather lazy and wants the food to come to him (which doesn't always happen, esp if we leave a dubia in there).

Any help is most welcome and appreciated.

Kind Regards,
Nathan
 

woodnt

New Member
Here is a pic of Trenzalor. He looks much brighter in the pic than in real life. He is darker and browner in real life at the time the pic was taken (he can brighten up and look really pretty).

1011474_376546135807518_755072423_n.jpg


Here is a pic of his viv. Where he is now is where he normally likes to be, right under the UVB. The 150 watt ceramic heater is on the other side of the dome on the left. Never really see him basking there. He will get below that spot, however, on a limb from time to time and tends to sleep lower sometimes during the night.

578429_376546285807503_2145971912_n.jpg


And the overall setup.

554509_376546845807447_852760703_n.jpg
 

Iluvheidi

New Member
I am no expert but I have two veiled and one panther that seem to be doing amazing but right off the bat I see some things that could be causing his abnormal behaiver. First he is getting a little big for his cage. I think everyone will say that a 24x24x48 cage is needed for proper space for a chameleon that size. If he is still getting bigger then his cage to him is getting smaller. As for his basking spot. 100 is pretty hot! I use a regular 50 watt house hold bulb that my 24x24x48 cage stays at 80-85 the day and 90 at the hottest point of the day. Now his lower cage area stay between 73-78depending on the breeze. A 150W ceramic heater should be putting out over 100f of heat at 12 inches away. "The temp is around 100F at the "prime" basking spot, but he doesn't sit there often," thats because its way to hot. Ive seen 60w ceramics for winter use and still provide ample heat for them. Just my opinion and such. Message me if you wanna ask more questions about your set up. Good luck!

edited becuase you posted pics.

* also it doesnt seem like you have enought places for him to "hide" or lack of real plants in general. other than the heat bulb and plants. It looks like an okay set up. I would change his cage out for a bigger one as soon as possible.*
 

CLP

New Member
Welcome to the forum. I have added my comments to yours in red.

We have an approx 8 month old male veiled cham we got from PetSmart about 3 months ago. He started off just fine and the store said (true or not) that he never minded being held. He would usu eat 10 crickets out of my hand a day when we first got him. He seamed to get tired of crickets so we started a dubia colony. He did great on dubias for a while, then seemed to tire of them. Chams like a lot of variety in their diets and they can get tired of the same thing every day. You want to vary their diet regularly. Don't just feed one thing until they "get tired of it". Give him something different each day if you can. At the same time, he has become less and less tolerant of us. I don't know if they can really tell the difference between people, but he feeds better from me than my wife and daughter, but I am away traveling a lot during the week and not always available for feeding. When we come in the room, he will often turn around and face the corner turning his back on us :( They can definitely tell the difference between people. These are very smart animals. Don't underestimate him. They are also color sensitive as this is their main method of communication. Many chams (mine included) dislike reds and pinks. Each individual is different, but pay attention to how he reacts and what color you're wearing as it could be partly a reaction to that. They also can get moody around this age. Your guy is becoming sexually mature, and this can affect their behavior. Don't forget, his enclosure is his "territory" and these are a territorial species.

Our enclosure is a 3 foot tall, 18 in square base screened in enclosure with a double-tall dome light with a UVB light and 150 watt ceramic heater in the dome. Your enclosure is too small for him now. Recommended minimum size is 24" x 24" x 48". UVB tube lights are much better than the CFL (which it sounds like you're using). You should consider changing that sooner than later. Also, the ceramic heater is not necessary. It is way too hot and I expect your enclosure it not very bright if the only light you have is the UVB. Try using a regular incandescent bulb for heat. I use a plain 60 watt bulb with my veiled. He will also appreciate the additional light. Just make sure you are monitoring your temperatures with an accurate thermometer. Digital laser ones are best, just don't rely on those cheapy $8 ones the pet store sells.

We have a "monsoon generator" I have set to deliver between 50-60% humidity. Are you providing him with a dripper? Ideally he should have access to water all day via a dripper.The temp is around 100F at the "prime" basking spot, but he doesn't sit there often, but is at the side a lot more under the UVB. I have fashioned limbs from outside where I can be at essentially any level of the viv he wants so he should be able to regulate his temp well.

He loves "worms," but I don't want to use a lot of superworms for common reasons. I have a colony of Phoenix worms (black soldier fly larva) that he has gone for a lot in the past, too, but lately, he is only eating a couple out of my hand before he quits.

He still seems to be growing, and he sheds on average about once a month, just completing a shed.

It it bothersome also how he turns all dark as soon as we enter to room to feed him. He'll often his and lunge (never really bites) as we approach him with food, but he'll calm down a bit. Oddly, if we try any socialization getting him out, he'll brighten up fairly quickly. As previously mentioned, he may be trying to "protect" his territory. Once you remove him from his enclosure, he is not in his "territory" anymore and that may be why he calms down.

I am really getting concerned about his not eating. I don't want him to die of starvation. A cham that is 8 months old can easily go a week or so without "starving". Not to say it is good for them to go that long. Sounds to me like he might be getting bored of being fed the same thing for days at at time, but you should also consider cup feeding if you are feeding by hand. Sometimes they just don't like to eat in front of people. Even if he always used to. Honestly, he doesn't look thin. No bone lesions to speak of suggesting MBD.

We dust with calcium (the wife isn't as good about this as she should be) and multivitamins (weekly). Are you giving him calcium with D3 also? Usual recommendation is calcium WITHOUT D3 daily, multivitamin twice a month, calcium with D3 twice a month

Any help on how to make him more tolerant of us and increase his appetite?

We have given him quite a variety including crickets, superworms, silkworms, BSF larva, dubia, kale and dandelion root (which he likes), hibiscus flowers and leaves (which he didn't seem to go for). If we leave some crickets in there, he doesn't seem to "hunt" for them. He always has been rather lazy and wants the food to come to him (which doesn't always happen, esp if we leave a dubia in there).

Any help is most welcome and appreciated.

Kind Regards,
Nathan[/QUOTE]
 

woodnt

New Member
Thank you very much for your welcome and both of your thoughts.

These are all excellent points.

My first question, where can we get incandescent bulbs these days? My stores don't have them anymore (or are you talking about the ones from a pet store)?

Secondly, this was the largest cage pet stores in our area had. Where can I get a bigger one? I'm not handy so couldn't make one myself and I definitely want screens from what I've read.

Third, I've been poorly misinformed, I see. I have been giving calcium WITH D3 and thought that he needed the MVT weekly. Also, I didn't know he was getting sexually mature. I thought he was younger than that, but they really couldn't give me a good estimate of his age at the pet store and honestly I wondered if he were really older than they guestimated. If he is getting "hormonal," I can definitely understand the change in behavior. I'll switch the calcium for sure. We don't dust the phoenix worms because they have so much calcium in there (but sometimes will use them to dust with MVT).

Very good point about territory and his behavior in association with it.

Temps are with digital laser 2" away.

About cup feeding, my wife is cup feeding but holding it. In actuality, I haven't figured a good way to mount a cup for him to feed. I tried it one way, but he never ate out of it. Any good ideas with my setup (well, my setup will obviously change since he needs a bigger enclosure) and how to mount the cups, a type of cup to use, etc would be great. Is it OK to just put crickets in there since they jump out of cups (I've been warned about leaving crickets in there because they bite? Pics of different setups for ideas greatly welcome (I'm very visually oriented).

Please tell me more about a hide. Like one he physically gets in to? I haven't heard of this for chams (my beardies, yes, but they rarely use them). Would love to see examples of that as well.

Have been planning a switch from CFL to tube, too. Wish I had known that first, but did that for the beardies recently.

Also, no, we haven't been using a drip system (sometimes have used ice cubes on the top of the screen), but he seemed to be getting adequate moisture from the monsoon generator so we quit (using his nicely colored white uric acid as a guide). However if it is best for our guy to have a drip system too, he shall have it. If so, can you please recommend a brand (and setup suggestions). We do have a fountain we bought to put in the bottom of the viv, but he rarely gets down there. We had a kind of dog/cat water bowl that fountained up water an inch or 2 but he never got down there to drink for that so we never tried the waterfall-type fountain.

We tried live plants in there (like hibiscus), but they started to die. We are in no way "green thumb" people and esp my wife has a degree in plant-killing.

Also, how much should a guy this size eat a day of different types of feeders? He doesn't look thin to me, but I know he can't keep going on this way indefinitely. We feed him mostly the pre-adult dubia nymphs (we have babies to adult dubias sizes), and he eats 3-4 of these when he goes for them. We feed 2/3" and above crickets. Silkworms are hard to come by right now, but we are considering planting Mulberry trees and hatching our own (have done that, but chow didn't work very well). Occ waxworms, but they are so fatty. Hornworms seem pretty fatty, too, and you have to buy so many online, it seems it might be counterproductive not wanting to feed him too many. Locally, we pretty much just have crickets, superworms, and waxies.

Thank you so much for helping,
Nathan
 

Iluvheidi

New Member
I really liked the way he did this so i will copy! haha


Thank you very much for your welcome and both of your thoughts.

These are all excellent points.

My first question, where can we get incandescent bulbs these days? My stores don't have them anymore (or are you talking about the ones from a pet store)? I got a repti glo 5.0 48" t8 tube light for 25.00? shipped from amazon. a 24" is 16.69 shiped free with PRIME

Secondly, this was the largest cage pet stores in our area had. Where can I get a bigger one? I'm not handy so couldn't make one myself and I definitely want screens from what I've read.You can use one of out sites sponsors like DIYCAGES they have a 24x24x48

Third, I've been poorly misinformed, I see. I have been giving calcium WITH D3 and thought that he needed the MVT weekly. Also, I didn't know he was getting sexually mature. I thought he was younger than that, but they really couldn't give me a good estimate of his age at the pet store and honestly I wondered if he were really older than they guestimated. If he is getting "hormonal," I can definitely understand the change in behavior. I'll switch the calcium for sure. We don't dust the phoenix worms because they have so much calcium in there (but sometimes will use them to dust with MVT).

Very good point about territory and his behavior in association with it.

Temps are with digital laser 2" away.

About cup feeding, my wife is cup feeding but holding it. In actuality, I haven't figured a good way to mount a cup for him to feed. I tried it one way, but he never ate out of it. Any good ideas with my setup (well, my setup will obviously change since he needs a bigger enclosure) and how to mount the cups, a type of cup to use, etc would be great. Is it OK to just put crickets in there since they jump out of cups (I've been warned about leaving crickets in there because they bite? Pics of different setups for ideas greatly welcome (I'm very visually oriented). I leave 10 crickets in my chameleons cages in the morning and if i see any left before they go to sleep I put them back in the cricket box. save them for the next morning. =) I have had no issues with bites.

Please tell me more about a hide. Like one he physically gets in to? I haven't heard of this for chams (my beardies, yes, but they rarely use them). Would love to see examples of that as well. I mean more plants. I ues real potted plants with big river rocks on top the soil so they dont try to eat the dirt. I also use fake vines for more coverage near the top of the cage so they can feel more secure in that they can easily hide from you. This could also be a reason he is being more agressive. He has no place to hide.

Have been planning a switch from CFL to tube, too. Wish I had known that first, but did that for the beardies recently.

Also, no, we haven't been using a drip system (sometimes have used ice cubes on the top of the screen), but he seemed to be getting adequate moisture from the monsoon generator so we quit (using his nicely colored white uric acid as a guide). However if it is best for our guy to have a drip system too, he shall have it. If so, can you please recommend a brand (and setup suggestions). We do have a fountain we bought to put in the bottom of the viv, but he rarely gets down there. We had a kind of dog/cat water bowl that fountained up water an inch or 2 but he never got down there to drink for that so we never tried the waterfall-type fountain.

We tried live plants in there (like hibiscus), but they started to die. We are in no way "green thumb" people and esp my wife has a degree in plant-killing.

Also, how much should a guy this size eat a day of different types of feeders? He doesn't look thin to me, but I know he can't keep going on this way indefinitely. We feed him mostly the pre-adult dubia nymphs (we have babies to adult dubias sizes), and he eats 3-4 of these when he goes for them. We feed 2/3" and above crickets. Silkworms are hard to come by right now, but we are considering planting Mulberry trees and hatching our own (have done that, but chow didn't work very well). Occ waxworms, but they are so fatty. Hornworms seem pretty fatty, too, and you have to buy so many online, it seems it might be counterproductive not wanting to feed him too many. Locally, we pretty much just have crickets, superworms, and waxies.

Thank you so much for helping,
Nathan
 

CLP

New Member
I'll answer some of your other questions in red also :)

Thank you very much for your welcome and both of your thoughts.

These are all excellent points.

My first question, where can we get incandescent bulbs these days? My stores don't have them anymore (or are you talking about the ones from a pet store)?

Secondly, this was the largest cage pet stores in our area had. Where can I get a bigger one? I'm not handy so couldn't make one myself and I definitely want screens from what I've read.

Third, I've been poorly misinformed, I see. I have been giving calcium WITH D3 and thought that he needed the MVT weekly. Yes, pet stores are often "guilty" of providing incorrect information on chameleon care. You have come to the right place. This forum is a wonderful resource. Do lots of reading. I have been a member for more than a year and am still learning! Also, I didn't know he was getting sexually mature. I thought he was younger than that, but they really couldn't give me a good estimate of his age at the pet store and honestly I wondered if he were really older than they guestimated. I think the age estimate is probably relatively accurate. So, he is definitely becomming sexually mature. If he is getting "hormonal," I can definitely understand the change in behavior. I'll switch the calcium for sure. We don't dust the phoenix worms because they have so much calcium in there (but sometimes will use them to dust with MVT).

Very good point about territory and his behavior in association with it.

Temps are with digital laser 2" away.

About cup feeding, my wife is cup feeding but holding it. In actuality, I haven't figured a good way to mount a cup for him to feed. I tried it one way, but he never ate out of it. Any good ideas with my setup (well, my setup will obviously change since he needs a bigger enclosure) and how to mount the cups, a type of cup to use, etc would be great. A lot of members us the tall deli style cups. I think they're like 16 oz. cups or something. The crickets have a hard time jumping out of them and dubia roaches of course, cannot get out and it stops them from hiding. You can try using fishing line or fine wire to tie the cups to the mesh. Just poke two small holes in the cup to feed the wire through and then through the mesh and twist it so it stays in place.Is it OK to just put crickets in there since they jump out of cups (I've been warned about leaving crickets in there because they bite? Pics of different setups for ideas greatly welcome (I'm very visually oriented). Try doing a search on this forum for cup feeding and also bottle feeder. Some members have modified large soda bottles to make feeders that work well.

Please tell me more about a hide. Like one he physically gets in to? I haven't heard of this for chams (my beardies, yes, but they rarely use them). Would love to see examples of that as well.

Have been planning a switch from CFL to tube, too. Wish I had known that first, but did that for the beardies recently.

Also, no, we haven't been using a drip system (sometimes have used ice cubes on the top of the screen), but he seemed to be getting adequate moisture from the monsoon generator so we quit (using his nicely colored white uric acid as a guide). However if it is best for our guy to have a drip system too, he shall have it. If so, can you please recommend a brand (and setup suggestions). Zoomed makes a "Little Dripper" and Big Dripper" that work well, but you can also just use a cup with a small pinhole pushed in and set it on top of the cage. Just make sure there is some way for the water to drain or else have a cup/small bin at the bottom to catch the water. If you use a bin to catch the water, it is a good idea to screen the top so your cham can't accidentally fall in. We do have a fountain we bought to put in the bottom of the viv, but he rarely gets down there. We had a kind of dog/cat water bowl that fountained up water an inch or 2 but he never got down there to drink for that so we never tried the waterfall-type fountain. Remove the fountain. They are breeding grounds for bacteria. The misting/dripping is all the water your cham needs. This is the natural way for them to drink. In the wild, they drink the dew drops or rain drops off the leaves.

We tried live plants in there (like hibiscus), but they started to die. We are in no way "green thumb" people and esp my wife has a degree in plant-killing.
I recommend pothos. They grow fast and are hard to kill. Just make sure you wash it really well before you put it in the cage so there is no pesticide residue on it as your cham will likely eat some of the leaves. Hibiscus is really difficult without a grown light.
Also, how much should a guy this size eat a day of different types of feeders? He doesn't look thin to me, but I know he can't keep going on this way indefinitely. At his age, the equivalent of 4-6 full size crickets per day should be fine. Keep in mind that an almost adult size dubia is much meatier than a cricket. They would be equivalent to 2-3 crickets. We feed him mostly the pre-adult dubia nymphs (we have babies to adult dubias sizes), and he eats 3-4 of these when he goes for them. We feed 2/3" and above crickets. Silkworms are hard to come by right now, but we are considering planting Mulberry trees and hatching our own (have done that, but chow didn't work very well). Occ waxworms, but they are so fatty. Hornworms seem pretty fatty, too, and you have to buy so many online, it seems it might be counterproductive not wanting to feed him too many. Locally, we pretty much just have crickets, superworms, and waxies.

Thank you so much for helping,
Nathan[/QUOTE]
 

woodnt

New Member
These are great tips. Thank you both so much. I should have come here long ago, as I found the bearded dragon forum so much more useful that others and this forum is the same. We have been nursing along a sick beardie with adeno/atadenovirus who almost died. We have been giving him so much attention it has consumed so much of our time. He has made it through the worst part now.

Thank you for your feeding estimates. I feel so much better now. I was thinking he was getting so underfed, but it isn't all that bad. I guess I shouldn't have been comparing them to our beardies' eating habits (they are a different species, after all).

I'll search the forums. I'm guessing the feeding cup needs to go almost straight down under him and he "gets" them from top down?

Thanks for the hints on drippers (I need to see a picture cuz which I will search for, because I thought they needed to drip on a leaf so didn't really see how I could catch the drips, but these are good thoughts.

Thanks also for the rec on where to get cages. I can really see we have been going about this the hard way. These things will make his care much simpler, and I hope make him a happier cham.

How often do you handle your chams? We would like to interact with him and have him "like" us, but I also don't want that to stress him and shorten his life either.
 

woodnt

New Member
he has an absolutely MASSIVE casque

So his isn't normal? I don't know what is normal for males/females. It has been about this size in proportion to his head since we got him.

I was thinking that I was either going to have to get a taller cage or shorten the limbs because it is about to scrape the ceiling. :)
 

CLP

New Member
Replies in red again:

These are great tips. Thank you both so much. I should have come here long ago, as I found the bearded dragon forum so much more useful that others and this forum is the same. We have been nursing along a sick beardie with adeno/atadenovirus who almost died. We have been giving him so much attention it has consumed so much of our time. He has made it through the worst part now.

Thank you for your feeding estimates. I feel so much better now. I was thinking he was getting so underfed, but it isn't all that bad. I guess I shouldn't have been comparing them to our beardies' eating habits (they are a different species, after all). I have beardies too. They are still only about 5 months old, but eat WAY more than my chams. They are eating machines. Definitely do NOT compare their eating habits to your cham.

I'll search the forums. I'm guessing the feeding cup needs to go almost straight down under him and he "gets" them from top down? For the cups, yes, the bottom needs to be reachable from a branch/vine. The "bottle feeders" are different, but if you search them, you'll see what I mean.

Thanks for the hints on drippers (I need to see a picture cuz which I will search for, because I thought they needed to drip on a leaf so didn't really see how I could catch the drips, but these are good thoughts. Yes, the drips need to land on a leaf, so it takes some fiddling to get a bin/cup to catch the drips after the fall off the leaves. BUT you DO NOT want water collecting on the cage floor, so if you can't rig up a drainage system, then you need to collect the water somehow.

Thanks also for the rec on where to get cages. I can really see we have been going about this the hard way. These things will make his care much simpler, and I hope make him a happier cham.

How often do you handle your chams? We would like to interact with him and have him "like" us, but I also don't want that to stress him and shorten his life either. Handling chams is somewhat dependent on their individual personalities. Some don't mind it, some do. You have to use your best judgement for your individual. However, most of them take some work and they need to get used to it. As for your chams casque, it is large, but looks very healthy. Nothing to worry about. I think it was more just to comment on it. I personally think it's a great trait to have in a male. He's very handsome.
 

woodnt

New Member
Ok. I'm working in Reno and Vegas this week getting back late in the evening on Fri. I am so eager to get home an implement all these great ideas. I'll get a drip system figured out (I liked your idea about the hole in a cup), rig up a feeding up, and see about getting a larger cage.

I so glad to know the disparate eating habits of chams vs beardies. I just started getting so nervous after seeing how much my 6 month old beardie eats compared to a cham that is much bigger (although the beardie is gaining). My little sick beardie only eats 2-10 BSF larva a day now, but is eating 2 days worth of Repti-Boost (which is what saved his life).

Since Trenzalor (our cham) seems to do well brightening up nicely, we will try to get him out more and have him interact with us. It is also interesting how they recognize us as individuals. My daughter (he was her birthday present) is not really very happy that he likes me more than her, but I've always had a way with most animals as I think they sense my love for them. Even though Trenzalor can have a bad attitude at times, I love the little guy and just know that it can be his nature. We take the care of our animals very seriously. I'm also eager to get him a new light and UVB setup. I didn't know they would like more light, so will get going on that, soon as we get the new viv.
 

CLP

New Member
Sounds like your guy (and your beardies :)) are in good hands. They definitely manage to work their way into your heart, even if they're cranky sometimes!

If you end up like a lot of us here, this won't be your last chameleon either :p. If that's the case, you'll find they are each their own individual with their own distinct personalities. I have (had) three veileds and each one was their own individual. Good luck and enjoy!
 

woodnt

New Member
I hung the cup as was here discribed, and it has worked wonders! He is going for it and eating much better. Thanks so much for the idea. I still have much to do for him, but just this one thing has greatly helped both him and us.

Thanks so much,
Nathan :)
 
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