is he ok?

finchsesuster

New Member
Hello all.

So I brought home this adult male veiled cham. We've had him almost a week now - his former owner couldn't keep him due to issues with his girlfriend :rolleyes:

His name is Baha, and he has the sweetest personality, but i have a few questions. First of all, he's in a 3'x3'x2 enclosure - all mesh sides. He has some branches and vines and such to walk on and what I think is a pothos plant inside his cage. We're in Oregon, and it's pretty cold at the moment. Inside temp ranges between 60 and 70. He has two lamps. UV-A and UV-B. I have not gotten a temp gauge and don't know about his humidity yet because we just haven't made it to the pet store yet. (plus, his owner said he's been fine without it, so I figured it wasn't urgent and could wait a few days.)

He has definately been eating. His prior owner said he likes to hunt instead of being fed, so I let the crickets (covered in vitamins and calcium) go in his cage, (about 5 or so at a time) and as we check periodically, most, if not all, will be missing. But yesterday I became concerned because he still had some left overs - so I offered him crickets in a dish, and he only ate one. Then he tried for another but got my thumb instead. (it could be my fault - i might have moved!)

I am using the drip method and misting for his water, but i hadn't actually SEEN him drinking, and then today, I just got this funny feeling and thought I'd mist again (I do periodically - throughout the day) and when I started, he went after the water like something fierce! He seemed like he couldn't get enough water, and so I got a dropper and he had about 2 teaspoons of water that way. Isn't that a bit much? It seems like it to me, but he just kept on after the water.

Now he is in his cage and sleeping. I woke him up to take a few pictures to share ... i don't think he appreciated that. I should also mention he is shedding. Has been since we got him, and already it seems like he's almost done.

Anyway, if you all wouldn't mind having a look and telling me if he looks ok... does his behaviour sound ok? I just want to be sure - i read a few threads on dehydration, and it really freaked me out. (sorry about the novel - just wanted to get all the info in here.)

Thanks in advance!
Elrike
 

Attachments

Heika

New Member
Hi, welcome to the forums!

I live in Oregon also. Humidity is very important!! I am not sure what part of the state you live in. Portland definately has a much higher humidity level than Klamath Falls, which is where I live. If you live in one of the arid regions, you should consider a humidifier. Normally, a cham only takes a few hours to completely shed. I am not sure how long your cham took, but if it was more than that, humidity is a problem. In taking a look at your pictures, it looks like there is either a new or healing burn on his casque, spines, and upper legs. Or, is that the picture itself? Waking him up to take pictures was not a real good idea. Chams stress very easily, and that stress can shorten their life span significantly. That is why keeping handling to a minimum is important, and screening for potential situations that will stress him out is also important. What name brand are the lights that you are using on your cham? Do you know how old they are? UVB is very important in the prevention of MBD, and if the lamps are older than 6 months, your cham isn't getting UVB. How about supplements? What type does he have, and how often are you using them? Also, how are you keeping him hydrated? When you mist him, how long are you misting him for? If he is thirsty, then you need to keep misting him until he quits drinking. A garden sprayer from your local hardware store works well because you don't have to keep pumping. Usually, a minimum of 10 minutes each time is appropriate.

Heika
 
Last edited:

finchsesuster

New Member
Thank you Heika

I do live in Portland, as did Baha's previous owner. Baha was shedding when we picked him up, and according to his owner, he had been for a little while (not specified). Those spots that look like burns are actually flakes of skin that haven't shed.

We're using lamps made by ZOO MED and ESU REPTILE. We're told the bulbs are new and we have replacement bulbs.

We're also using Miner-All and Vit-All both made by sticky tongue farms to coat his crickets each time before we offer them to him. We're gut-loading his crickets with both Fluker's high calcium cricket feed, which is dry, and the wet cricket yummies.

I had not been misting for 10 minutes at a time because his cage was getting drenched after about 3 or 4 minutes. So I just mist a few times a day. (the mister is the garden style) I also leave ice cubes on top of his cage, over a spot where he can easily reach the drips.

Thanks again for your time and expertise!

Elrike
 

Karch51

New Member
I wouldn't be so worried. I think you just had a thirsty lizard. There are many easier ways to prevent this than manual sprays every few hours. I suggest creating some kind of drip system or investing in an automatic sprayer and/or a waterfall. Some chameleons are very comfortable drinking from a waterfall and some aren't. Unfortunately, the only way to know is to buy a waterfall and find out. Personally my chameleons were not responsive to a waterfall, so i used the waterfall's pump and some plastic tubing to create a drip system that my chameleons can't get enough of. Also, to help with the shedding, when is the last time you have given baha a shower. I am a firm believer in giving your chameleon a shower once every month or couple months. This helps with shedding and cleaning out their eyes. To do this, get a plant with him on it and stick it directly under the warm shower water. He might not like it at first, but he will learn to love it I promise. From the pics Baha looks fine. Good luck with him in the future.

Jason
 

finchsesuster

New Member
Thanks Jason

Your post was very reassuring!

I'm not sure when Baha's last shower was. Like I said, we've only had him a few days, but he does seem to like getting in the way of the water at times when I do mist, so maybe he wants a shower. We'll give it a go and see how he feels about it.

He is eating very well today, so I am happy about that. I do think I'll give the humidifier a try - his skin does seem dry upon further reflection, after Heika mentioned it! :eek: It makes sense that this would cause problems.

Thank you all for bearing with me. I haven't had a chameleon since I was much younger (and that was in south africa, where we caught them wild and would put them on my mothers houseplants for a few days, after which my mom would let them go and tell us they had just somehow escaped!), and even with all the reading, there are some things you just have to pick up as you go.

Elrike
 

Chamgirl

New Member
Karch51 said:
I wouldn't be so worried. I think you just had a thirsty lizard. There are many easier ways to prevent this than manual sprays every few hours. I suggest creating some kind of drip system or investing in an automatic sprayer and/or a waterfall. Some chameleons are very comfortable drinking from a waterfall and some aren't. Unfortunately, the only way to know is to buy a waterfall and find out. Personally my chameleons were not responsive to a waterfall, so i used the waterfall's pump and some plastic tubing to create a drip system that my chameleons can't get enough of. Also, to help with the shedding, when is the last time you have given baha a shower. I am a firm believer in giving your chameleon a shower once every month or couple months. This helps with shedding and cleaning out their eyes. To do this, get a plant with him on it and stick it directly under the warm shower water. He might not like it at first, but he will learn to love it I promise. From the pics Baha looks fine. Good luck with him in the future.

Jason
Baha doesn't look fine:( I WOULD be worried. I am sorry but he looks like he has bad burns on him (no I don't buy the shedding theory) and his spines along his back are badly damaged. That chameleon looks in a pretty poor condition. I would take him to see a vet. If he continues to drink plenty then maybe he has kidney problems, Veiled chameleons are not usually big drinkers. Obviously if that was a one off then fair enough but watch out for constant heavy drinking needs.
Also you woke him up to take photos, I hope he wasn't sleeping during the day? In any case, Heika is right, don't do this again as it will cause him much stress and he has already had to deal with a major upheaval. If he IS sleeping during the day then he has become a medical emergency and must see a vet asap. I think your chameleon has been badly mistreated in the past but I am glad the previous owner had the sense to pass the chameleon on to someone else rather than let him continue to suffer.
 
Last edited:

LunaC

New Member
I'm afraid I have to agree with Chamgirl. He doesn't look fine. His skin looks very dry, very wrinkled and very damaged by what I also see as burns. He looks thin and dehydrated. On occasion my chams retain some of their shed for a day or two, but it never turns black or looks like tissue damage.
The warm shower is a good idea, probably the sooner the better. Mine get showers at least once every 10 days. A cool-air humidified will also be very helpful in keeping humidity up. (With all due respect, the fact that Baha's previous owner said he was fine without high humidity, along with your photos, is an indication that his previous owner really didn't provide the best care he could have)
 

Karch51

New Member
If it is not any trouble could you please post more pics of Baha after he is completely done shedding? When he is awake this time ;) Thank you.
 

finchsesuster

New Member
I am sorry but he looks like he has bad burns on him (no I don't buy the shedding theory) and his spines along his back are badly damaged.I agree that in the pictures, those spots look black, but honestly, when I am looking at him in person, they look like patches of dry skin, as if he needs to shed. I'm not trying to convince you of something, just telling you what I am seeing. I wouldn't be on here to ask advice if I didn't want the best for him, and how can I offer him that if I am not honestly describing what I see?

Also you woke him up to take photos, I hope he wasn't sleeping during the day? He was sleeping during the night. It was around 10:30 pm or so when I was posting, and I wanted to attach some photos of him so that I could get people's oppinions of his condition. I made a mistake in letting the flash bother him, and he looked mildly irritated with me. That was my fault.

I have not seen him sleeping at all in the day time. Today he has been eating a lot, but not drinking much. In fact, I haven't seen him drinking, but I have been misting and using the drip method to have water around for him all day. He has been very active today as well. I'm wondering if this can all be caused by stress due to the move? I also just cleaned his cage 2 days ago - do you think that might have stressed him as well?

I took some more pictures - with him awake this time :eek: the first is before he ate, and the next two are shortly after.

Thanks again

Elrike
 

Attachments

finchsesuster

New Member
One more quick picture. The patches look darker when his coloring is lighter. Maybe it will show up better in this pic where he is a darker shade...
 

Attachments

Chamgirl

New Member
Thanks for posting more photos so we can get a good look at him.
I can see that there is some retained shed on him but I think he is having trouble shedding from the patches of burnt/bruised skin. The shed you see is covering the burnt bits, i.e he is having trouble shedding from those bits because the skin is damaged. I have read that retained skin damages the skin underneath and can cause infections.
Glad to hear he is not sleeping through the day and is generally active. How is his grip?
If he were my chameleon I would definately take him to see a vet because I stand by what I say in that he doesn't look very healthy.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
I think Baha definitely looks dehydrated in the first pictures. His eyes look sunken, and as mentioned above his skin looks dehydrated. His tail base also looks too thin, which can be a sign of dehydration and/or malnutrition.

The pictures do seem to show a few problematic areas. Hard to say for sure if they are burns, some kind of skin problem, or something else. If possible, I would schedule an appointment with your vet. If you are still looking for humidifier help, check out this article at chameleon news: humidifier article.
 

finchsesuster

New Member
Thank you all for your suggestions and advice. I really, REALLY appreciate it.

I have contacted a vet and am waiting to see what he says - he lives an hour away and will take a look at the photos and get back to me about whether I should bring him in.

His grip is actually quite good. He doesn't seem to be having any other issues, though I was also wondering about malnutrition because his previous owner told us he was feeding him only 5 to 6 crickets every other day... and he has been eating quite a bit more than that since he has been with us.

I have some reptile drops that are jojoba and ti tree oil - does anyone know if it would be beneficial to use that on his skin "patches"?
 

Heika

New Member
Hello,

I am so glad that you are taking his health seriously! With a little help, he has a chance to live out the rest of his life with someone who will look after his well being!:D

I have to comment about the waterfall advice. It is my opinion that waterfalls are not a good idea at all. They encourage bacterial growth, and in the one place you really don't want it, his drinking water. Plus, chams tend to look for water as a place to poop.

As far as problems with soaking his cage, you might want to start looking into setting up a drainage system. Misting him regularly (at least 3 times a day) for long periods of time (at least 10 minutes) could make the difference between a healthy cham and a sick cham. Normally, my cham is misted in 20 minute cycles 4 times a day. Right now, he has been a bit under the weather so I increased that to 30 minutes 4 times a day. Most people don't run the misters that much, but I live in a very dry climate, and feel that it is necessary. Here is an article on misting and draining: http://www.chameleonnews.com/watering.html

Keep us up to date!

Heika
 

LunaC

New Member
You're doing very well to be concerned about his health and well-being. He definitely needs a caring and focused owner! With a little TLC and professional care, he should rebound just fine.
Jojoba and Ti tree oil will be good for the patches. I do see, thanks to your additional photos, that his unshed skin may be affecting the underlying tissue. He does appear malnourished and dehydrated, supported by the fact that his previous owner only fed him 5-6 crix every other day. Feed him as much as he wants, as much as he can eat in one day...then remove any remaining crix (or whatever) at night to prevent nibbling by the insects on Baha. Adult chams do eat less than growing chams, but right now he does need a rigorous course of food, water, humidity and skin care!
All the best and keep us updated...he's a beaut!
 

zero742

New Member
Just out of curiousity, how do you have your drainage system set up? I've always wondered what the best way to set one up. Thanks!
 

finchsesuster

New Member
Thank you again for all your advice. Baha has been eating SO MUCH! Yesterday he ate 15 crickets. Should I be worried about feeding him too much? He has already had 3 this morning, and looks like he's on the prowl :D

In answer to the drainage question, I don't have one. My husband and I were just talking about that last night. We have been putting newspaper on the bottom of his cage and just taking it out as it gets wet, but we've decided Baha needs a bigger cage (the 3'x3'x2' just seems too small.) and so we've been looking up ideas for drainage systems. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

We were thinking that maybe making a Mesh enclosure, with a mesh bottom and pan underneath to collect water might work. And size...we were thinking of making his enclosure closer to 6'x6x'3'. Would that be too big?

Thanks again.
 

Heika

New Member
There is no such thing as a cage that is "too big" for an adult chameleon. I am sure he would love it. I use a plastic pan under my cage to catch water, and also have a screen floor. I drain the pan from a small plastic water faucet I installed in it. It isn't the classiest setup in the world, but it works. Finding a 6 foot drain pan might be difficult for you though! I would love to see your cage when it is complete!

Heika
 

Chamgirl

New Member
Well done for seeking advice to give him the best chance in life. He had a bad start but I like to think he will be happy living with you.
I agree with Heika about the waterfall being a bad idea. I have experience of using them myself and stopped using them two years ago because insects would drown in them and my chameleons used them as a toilet. One of my two waterfalls used to leak and flood the viv. I tried two different designs but now I use none. I believe the best way to encourage chameleons to drink is to spray them for fifteen minutes with hot water (it comes out cool from the mister) and this should trigger the drinking response. Putting a dripper on after spraying gives them the chance to continue drinking for a long while if they want to. Using this amount of water means you will need some sort of drainage so the water doesn't puddle on the bottom of the enclosure.
I think the large enclosure you are thinking of would be lovely for him. He deserves the luxury of a big viv. I also think you should feed him plenty, if thats what he wants, at least until he recovers his health. Try and give him some variety, for example some worms. Wax worms are the ultimate treat for a chameleon and they are brilliant for feeding up unwell and underweight chameleons. They are high in fat so should under normal circumstances be used in moderation as a once a week treat only.
 
Top Bottom