Is he sick?

Zove

New Member
So I recently got this M. Veiled chameleon from someone who claims it was bred in captivity, but the way it acts makes me think it was wild caught. He was doing fine and very active until recently. I put some super worms in his enclosure, and I’m pretty sure he ate them as the substrate is newspaper and I would see them moving around. But ever since then he’s just been sitting up top by the lamps. Almost always asleep and only moves in or out of the heat. He doesn’t go down and I’m worried. He also refuses to eat much. I’ve tried to get him some other food sources like roaches but they are illegal where i live so it’s been a pain.
 

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Hi and welcome. :) I’m going to point out what I see and please don’t think I’m being mean as I’d really like to help you to get everything right for this big guy.
First, he looks very thin and it’s hard to tell if he’s dehydrated or just sucked in his eyes out of stress.
He’s got a beautiful tall casque but it’s at very high risk of getting burned as he’s too close to the lights.
I don’t see the correct uvb light, which is essential for a healthy cham. The correct light is a linear T5HO fixture with either Arcadia 6% or ReptiSun 5.0. Then you’ll want the basking branch to be about 8-9” below the lights.
What supplements are you giving him and how often for each?
Has he ever been to a vet or had a fecal check for parasites?
Where are you located that roaches are illegal? From what you have said I’m inclined to think you’re in Florida. If so, we can’t have dubia here but we can have discoid and a few other types.
 
SUper worms(not meal worms) can be a staple in a pinch
he is underweight so first thing i would do is get calories in him any way possible. He might not even eat powdered ones right now.

As stated, we need to know temps and what lights you are using. Adjusting those may perk up his appetite.

Finally i would remove the news paper and replace it with a shallow dark bowl for the feeders.
 
SUper worms(not meal worms) can be a staple in a pinch
he is underweight so first thing i would do is get calories in him any way possible. He might not even eat powdered ones right now.

As stated, we need to know temps and what lights you are using. Adjusting those may perk up his appetite.

Finally i would remove the news paper and replace it with a shallow dark bowl for the feeders.
So for lights he has two sets because it is getting colder here, the smaller set has a heat for day and a red one for night and the larger one had a mini reptisun 10.0.
 

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Hi and welcome. :) I’m going to point out what I see and please don’t think I’m being mean as I’d really like to help you to get everything right for this big guy.
First, he looks very thin and it’s hard to tell if he’s dehydrated or just sucked in his eyes out of stress.
He’s got a beautiful tall casque but it’s at very high risk of getting burned as he’s too close to the lights.
I don’t see the correct uvb light, which is essential for a healthy cham. The correct light is a linear T5HO fixture with either Arcadia 6% or ReptiSun 5.0. Then you’ll want the basking branch to be about 8-9” below the lights.
What supplements are you giving him and how often for each?
Has he ever been to a vet or had a fecal check for parasites?
Where are you located that roaches are illegal? From what you have said I’m inclined to think you’re in Florida. If so, we can’t have dubia here but we can have discoid and a few other types.
Yeah Florida is where I’m at, as for water he was on a 4:30 misting every 4 hours but that flooded the bottom so I cleaned and changed it to every 2 hours for 1:00-2:00 and that is enough that it dries the bottom in time.
 
Yeah Florida is where I’m at, as for water he was on a 4:30 misting every 4 hours but that flooded the bottom so I cleaned and changed it to every 2 hours for 1:00-2:00 and that is enough that it dries the bottom in time.
He also gets these, the bigger is every day except Tuesday and Thursday, that’s when he gets the vitamins. I’m just following what the pet store said when I bought everything.
 
Yeah Florida is where I’m at, as for water he was on a 4:30 misting every 4 hours but that flooded the bottom so I cleaned and changed it to every 2 hours for 1:00-2:00 and that is enough that it dries the bottom in time.
 

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So for lights he has two sets because it is getting colder here, the smaller set has a heat for day and a red one for night and the larger one had a mini reptisun 10.0.
There should be no lights on at night. How cold would it be with no lights on at night in his cage?
As @MissSkittles has said..."The correct light is a linear T5HO fixture with either Arcadia 6% or ReptiSun 5.0"...either of these long linear tube lights would be recommended.

As for the supplements, you should be using a phos free calcium powder at all feedings but two a month lightly dusted on the insects just before feeding them to the chameleon and on the two remaining days Reptivite with D3 lightly on the insects.
 
I would be more than happy to review all of your husbandry and make sure all is as perfect as possible. :) Unfortunately, the majority of chain pet stores really have little knowledge about chameleons and although I’m sure they do try their best, they are limited by what the store carries. If you’d like a husbandry review, just copy and paste the following with your answers. I am working tonight, but hopefully it won’t be too busy and I can do your review. Or another member may be around if I’m not and can help out.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • 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?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

--------------

Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
 
I would be more than happy to review all of your husbandry and make sure all is as perfect as possible. :) Unfortunately, the majority of chain pet stores really have little knowledge about chameleons and although I’m sure they do try their best, they are limited by what the store carries. If you’d like a husbandry review, just copy and paste the following with your answers. I am working tonight, but hopefully it won’t be too busy and I can do your review. Or another member may be around if I’m not and can help out.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • 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?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

--------------

Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • He is an Adult Veiled Chameleon, age is unknown and he’s been in my care for about 3-4 months.

  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Only to clean the cage

  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Crickets, roughly 20-30 every other day, and I have a gut load food for them.

  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Zoo Meds Reptivite and Zoo Meds Repti Calcium. I dust with the Calcium Monday, Wensday, and Friday through Monday. Tuesday and Thursday are with the Reptivite. However he doesn’t seem as interested in his food anymore.

  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • So to start I hand misted him for the first few weeks. Then I set up the auto mister, Mist King, and had that going off for 4 minutes and 30 seconds every 4 hours from 7am to 10:30pm. But that eventually flooded the cage so I had to take him out and clean the cage. I also rearranged everything before putting him back in and my dad suggested changing it to most for 30 seconds every 2 hours, I’ve adapted that to 1-2 minutes every 2 hours and that hasn’t flooded yet. And I do see him drink. When the mister first comes on he gets startled and backs away and truly only goes in to drink after it has turned off. I had a Little Dripped system but that also contributed to the flooding to so I took it out.

  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • It is black and white and there’s a hard center with a “liquid” outside kind of like an egg. And no he hasn’t. I called around and the soonest I can get him in to the vet is Monday.

  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
  • We got him while participating in the Python Challenge from someone who claimed it was bred in captivity. But from the get go he has always been afraid of people and aggressive. So that’s lead me to believe he was wild caught. The guy does catch them from the wild.


Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • It is a Zoo Meds X-Large 24x24x48 and it is completely screen.

  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • I have the Zoo Meds light domes with the Zoo Meds ReptiSun 10.0 UVB bulb and a mini Repti Basking spot lamp in one. And a regular blue light for day and a red for night in the mini dome.

  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • I’m ashamed to say but I don’t know how to measure the temperature, all I have on hand is a regular thermometer.

  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • I also don’t know how to measure this. I feel it would be difficult to maintain the humidity because he is in a screen enclosure.

  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • I’m working on live plants. Currently growing them. A Golden Pothos, a Dracaena Marginata that’s growing roots, a Schefflera Tree, a different kind of climbing one, a wandering Jew, and a spider plant. But most of those are still growing outside because I don’t know how to incorporate them into his enclosure. I think I picked too many plants for too small a area.

  • 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 is in the only place that would fit it, and that is right next to the walkway between the dining room and living room. Although I want to move it to the wall. On the other side of the turtle tank. So it won’t have much moment right next to it. And it’s close to 3 feet off the floor.

  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
  • I’m in Largo Florida.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
  • He isn’t as active as before, he just sits at the top and he doesn’t look that well. Although he didn’t look any better when we first got him.


Additional information
  • The substrate was cypress mulch but when I cleaned the flood I switched it to newspaper so it would dry quicker. The almost all the fake plants are in the center of the cage because I don’t know how to set it up for him.
 

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I’ll be putting my feedback in red.
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • He is an Adult Veiled Chameleon, age is unknown and he’s been in my care for about 3-4 months.

  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Only to clean the cage
You’ll both benefit from working on building some trust. It takes lots of time and patience, but we’ll worth it. https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/building-trust-with-your-chameleon.2396/
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Crickets, roughly 20-30 every other day, and I have a gut load food for them.
That is a massive amount! He’ll become obese within no time. Veiled are opportunistic eaters. If it’s there, they’ll eat it. You’ll want to give him about 3 appropriately sized feeders either every other day or even 3 days a week. Crickets are ok, but adding more variety is best. Then keeping your bugs well fed and healthy will make them more nutritious. Attaching graphics below.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Zoo Meds Reptivite and Zoo Meds Repti Calcium. I dust with the Calcium Monday, Wensday, and Friday through Monday. Tuesday and Thursday are with the Reptivite. However he doesn’t seem as interested in his food anymore.
You’ve got good supplements, but you’re missing one and using them wrong. You need to get a phosphorus free calcium without D3 which you’ll lightly dust every feeding except one per week. Then, that one weekly feeding you’ll alternate between the ReptiVite without D3 and the calcium with D3, (so that each is given once every other week). The D3 and the vitamin A in the ReptiVite are both fat soluble which means they can build up in the body to toxic levels. I would skip using both for at least a couple of weeks to try and give them time to get out of his system a little. Also, I’ve heard it said that taking him outside for some natural Vitamin D is said to help rid the body of supplemented D3.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • So to start I hand misted him for the first few weeks. Then I set up the auto mister, Mist King, and had that going off for 4 minutes and 30 seconds every 4 hours from 7am to 10:30pm. But that eventually flooded the cage so I had to take him out and clean the cage. I also rearranged everything before putting him back in and my dad suggested changing it to most for 30 seconds every 2 hours, I’ve adapted that to 1-2 minutes every 2 hours and that hasn’t flooded yet. And I do see him drink. When the mister first comes on he gets startled and backs away and truly only goes in to drink after it has turned off. I had a Little Dripped system but that also contributed to the flooding to so I took it out.
Awesome that you have a Mist King! You’ll want to set it to mist for at least 2 minutes right before lights go on and off. You can add a mid day misting of a minute or so or use a dripper for 15-20 minutes. The enclosure needs to be able to dry out during the day.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • It is black and white and there’s a hard center with a “liquid” outside kind of like an egg. And no he hasn’t. I called around and the soonest I can get him in to the vet is Monday.
The liquid is just a mucous layer which helps the poo to pass thru. The white is the urine, called urate and that’s how we determine if our chams are getting enough water. White or with a little yellow on one end is good. All dark or orange is dehydrated. Do take a fresh poo to the vet to check for parasites. If he was wild caught, that’s even more important to have done.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
  • We got him while participating in the Python Challenge from someone who claimed it was bred in captivity. But from the get go he has always been afraid of people and aggressive. So that’s lead me to believe he was wild caught. The guy does catch them from the wild.
Wild caught or captive bred, most veileds have an attitude. It’s just another reason to love them.
To be continued….

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Had to break this into 2 parts.
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • It is a Zoo Meds X-Large 24x24x48 and it is completely screen.
Wow! Looking at your pics I would have guessed it was smaller. He must be a big guy! While that size is the minimum for an adult, I’d suggest maybe looking into giving him a larger enclosure. I have 2 XL screen enclosures that I put together for each of my males.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • I have the Zoo Meds light domes with the Zoo Meds ReptiSun 10.0 UVB bulb and a mini Repti Basking spot lamp in one. And a regular blue light for day and a red for night in the mini dome.
This, along with supplements are the biggest changes that absolutely need to be made asap. You need a linear T5HO fixture with either Arcadia 6% or ReptiSun 5.0, long enough to span the width of the enclosure (24”). Then you’ll want basking area to be about 8-9” below the lights. The screw in uvb bulbs just aren’t able to provide uvb any farther away than 2-3”.
No colored lights! They harm sensitive cham eyes. No lights at night. They need 12 hours of total darkness for optimal sleep.

  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • I’m ashamed to say but I don’t know how to measure the temperature, all I have on hand is a regular thermometer.
This is important so you’ll need to get a thermometer. The best kind is a digital one with a probe end. They aren’t expensive at all. The analog aren’t accurate. Ideal basking temp for a male is around 80-85. Because his casque is so tall, you’ll have to be careful and make sure his casque level doesn’t get too hot. You can hold your hand at that spot and if it’s too hot to hold there for more than a few seconds, it’s too hot for him. At night, it’s okay and actually ideal for temps to drop and he can handle temps down in the 60’s.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • I also don’t know how to measure this. I feel it would be difficult to maintain the humidity because he is in a screen enclosure.
Ideal humidity is between 30-50% during the day. This is much drier than we initially think it is. It is important to monitor this. Again, get a digital hygrometer with a probe end. See next about plants and humidity.
If you are able to achieve a temp drop below at least 68-70 at night, you can boost humidity all the way to simulate natural hydration as they get in the wild thru fog. You can set your Mist King to give a few very brief (15-30 second) mistings during the night or use a cool mist humidifier for a few hours during the night.

  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • I’m working on live plants. Currently growing them. A Golden Pothos, a Dracaena Marginata that’s growing roots, a Schefflera Tree, a different kind of climbing one, a wandering Jew, and a spider plant. But most of those are still growing outside because I don’t know how to incorporate them into his enclosure. I think I picked too many plants for too small a area.
Wonderful! No, you can never have too many plants. 😂 You’ll want to have the taller plant at the center and then the smaller and vining plants around that. You can get Dragon Ledges which are amazing for hanging plants and branches. https://dragonstrand.com/dragon-ledges/ Some people have used garden trellis attached to the frame. Some use varied height plant stands. Whatever you come up with, just make sure that the frame is used to take whatever weight. Live plants will help maintain humidity and provide pockets of higher humidity that your cham might choose. Plus, veileds nibble their plants, so they need to be all live and safe. Make sure to gently wash the leaves of your plants with a gentle dish soap and rinse rinse rinse. It‘s also a good idea to repot them in fresh organic soil. Attaching a pic to give you some ideas below.
  • 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 is in the only place that would fit it, and that is right next to the walkway between the dining room and living room. Although I want to move it to the wall. On the other side of the turtle tank. So it won’t have much moment right next to it. And it’s close to 3 feet off the floor.
Putting him against the wall and out of the line of traffic will help him to relax. In the meantime, I’d suggest covering at least 1-2 sides of his enclosure with something like a shower curtain to give him some privacy and feeling of security. Height = safety for chams.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?
  • I’m in Largo Florida.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
  • He isn’t as active as before, he just sits at the top and he doesn’t look that well. Although he didn’t look any better when we first got him.
I think it’s most likely a combination of things. He’s got the fat soluble vitamins building up in his body, no usable uvb, eating way way too much, possibly parasites and if he was wild caught, the stress of now being captive. Hopefully, a good vet will be able to figure it out. Now, I do have to ‘warn’ you that not all exotics vets have experience and knowledge about chameleons. Many treat them the same as other lizards like bearded dragons, and they are not the same at all. For example, bathing or showering a chameleon is not going to do anything but stress the poor thing out and possibly burn it. My first experience to my local exotics vet and she just held my cham up to her face, turned her around to look at her and said she was great. I would suggest taking a copy of the husbandry form so that you can quickly answer any questions the vet has, as they do ask.

Additional information
  • The substrate was cypress mulch but when I cleaned the flood I switched it to newspaper so it would dry quicker. The almost all the fake plants are in the center of the cage because I don’t know how to set it up for him.
The best substrate is no substrate. Keep the floor bare. It’s much easier to keep clean. Hang the fake plants on the outside of his enclosure to give him a bit of privacy. You’ll need to come up with a plan to manage drainage. It may involve setting his enclosure on something that you can drill some holes thru and have a bucket below. It may be getting a ‘substrate’ tray to hold it and then wet vac it out daily/as needed. You’ll have to look at what fits your situation and your creativity.

Here’s a pic of an enclosure I set up for my panther. I have the Dragon Ledges for branches and a couple of plants. The plants on the bottom I elevated to varied heights by using old plant pots turned upside down. Whatever works. :)
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