jackson’s cham with odd behaviors: not eating, nocturnal??

dudemanguy123

New Member
there’s a lot to go over here, my apologies. i got this guy a little over a month ago, and i didn’t really have many problems at first. granted, he went almost a week without eating, but i just figured that was cause the stress of the move to the new enclosure, and he ended up shedding as well so i assume that was another factor.

after another week or two my family went on a trip to our lake house, probably wasn’t the best thing to bring him with us, but i couldn’t afford someone to come watch over him every single day. the last cham i had didn’t mind traveling at all, so i didn’t think it would be an issue. i built a smaller version of his enclosure and it went pretty well. when we got back he got really stressed, and shut his eyes the whole time i tried to move him back into his normal enclosure. this i know is a sign of a super stressed chameleon, which under the circumstances was quite understandable.
after getting home all the weird behaviors started. he’s not eaten for almost a week, i went out and got another feeding dish that i rigged up in the taller part of his enclosure, but it didn’t work either. i feed him mealworms and waxworms dusted with calcium powder. i tried getting other types of food, like silkworms, but no luck.
he’s also been trying to lick me, i think? three times when i was in my room, i saw his eyes focused on me and they were following my hand. each time after a few seconds he would launch his tongue at me and it would hit the screen wall of his enclosure. he only does it when the screen separates us, when i open the door he immediately stopped. i assumed it’s some form of aggression, like opening a mouth or hissing? but i’m not completely sure.

lastly, going back to the eyes shutting due to stress, a good portion of the time i come into my room and look at him, he shuts his eyes. i don’t know if this is because he’s terrified of me or he’s trying to hide or something? i have no idea. he’s also been sleeping during the day, ive caught him a few times the past few days with his eyes shut already when i walk in. i know this is usually the telltale sign for a cham suffering from stress or sickness, but other than all the weird behaviors he seems somewhat healthy? his eyes aren’t sunken in at all, and although he’s not eaten in a while ive seen him drink.
now the strangest part is the past few nights he’s been incredibly active. i don’t think a cham that’s sick would move around as much as this guy does. a few nights ago at 1 in the morning i was at my desk on my laptop, and i turned and saw him staring at me, and (once more) attempting to lick me through the screen. at 2/3 am last night, i noticed he was on the ground, which isn’t the best thing, so i watched for a while. he walked around the ground and then went back to climbing on branches, and back to the ground again before going back up. it’s the most quick and active i’ve seen him since i’ve gotten him. it’s almost like he’s nocturnal, sleeping during the day and moving around at night. chams cant see in the dark, so i’m not sure why he’s doing this.
ive done so much research and found a vet that treats chams, so i’m ready to book an appointment if needed. because of how active he is at night i don’t feel that he’s sick, it’s just an odd behavior, but i could be wrong. the main thing i’m worried about is he’s not been eating. if anyone knows what any of these behaviors mean, and if i should take him to a vet immediately, please let me know. if more information is needed, please ask for it. any help is greatly appreciated. thank you so much!
 

Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome. I would ditch the meal worms or at least use them in moderation and waxworms should only be used as treats , calci worms are a staple feeder. What are your day / night temps. Question? Is your little guy being kept awake at night, like lights or stuff ? Do you have any pictures
 

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closchameleon

New Member
When I first brought my Jacksons Cham home, he was really stressed and in the process of shedding as well. He was a baby so it concerned me that he wouldnt eat that much, he also wouldn’t go to sleep until like 3 am which I thought was weird, I had an automatic timer for the lights as well. After a month or two though he settled in, I just spent time around him and I tried new foods to see what he would be interested in eating, maybe experiment with different foods and check on the temp in his cage? Temperature was my big issue so I bought a stronger heat bulb and he settled in pretty quick.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Copy and paste the below form into your reply. Fill it out with as much detail as possible and attach pictures of your entire enclosure including the lights on top and of your chameleon.

Here is some recommended information to include when asking for help in the health clinic forum. By providing this information you will receive more accurate and beneficial responses. It might not be necessary to answer all these questions, but the more you provide the better. Please remember that even the most knowledgeable person can only guess at what your problem may be. Only an experienced reptile veterinarian who can directly examine your animal can give a true diagnosis of your chameleon's health.


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.
 

dudemanguy123

New Member
Hi and welcome. I would ditch the meal worms or at least use them in moderation and waxworms should only be used as treats , calci worms are a staple feeder. What are your day / night temps. Question? Is your little guy being kept awake at night, like lights or stuff ? Do you have any pictures
thank you, i will keep that in mind and try to find another type of food that is better! i went and checked the temp, right now it is a gradient of 82°F - 73°F. at night, i believe it drops about 10 - 15 degrees, but i'm not too sure, i can double check tonight. at night when i switch the daytime heat bulb and uvb one off, i also turn off all the other lights in my room. other than his night bulb, which is red, the only other light in my room is my laptop screen for a few hours. i attached pictures of him and the enclosure
 

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Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi @dudemanguy123 your enclosure looks good. You really don't need a night heat source and red lights can affect their eyes i would get rid of it . If you are concerned about night time temp there are are better ways to provide this ( what are your night time temps without the red light ? They should have darkness at night
 

dudemanguy123

New Member
thank you, i'll fill that out now! i sent some pictures in my last post of my cham and the enclosure, but i'll take some more
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Jackson's chameleon, male, unsure of age, and i've had him for a little over a month
  • Handling - the only time i've handled him was when i moved him to and from the smaller enclosure for travel
  • Feeding - i've been feeding him 4 mealworms and a waxworm every day, in the morning i give him more or switch out the old ones with new
  • Supplements - i dust the worms i feed him with zoomed repticalcium
  • Watering - he has a dripper that is always running, and i mist his enclosure 2-3 times a day
  • Fecal Description - i've not seen any in his cage for a few days, and recently cleaned out the substrate on the bottom, i believe because he's not been eating. he's never been tested for parasites
  • History - i got him at a petco around a month ago, and he was being kept in the back and not had an enclosure in the store yet, so maybe this caused some of the odd behaviors?
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - entirely screen enclosure, it is 16" x 16" x 30"
  • Lighting - during the day, i use two bulbs, zoomed daylight blue and zoomed reptisun uvb. i turn these two on at about 10 in the morning, and off around 10 at night. when those two arent on, his night bulb is the zoomed nightlight red
  • Temperature - during the day, it is around 70°F -80°F. i am unsure about the nightime temps right now, but i believe it drops around 10 degrees. i have a thermometer in the enclosure toward the top, but i also have a infrared thermometer that i check the temp with
  • Humidity - the humidity is usually around 70%, i have a humidity monitor in the enclosure as well. i keep humidity by misting a few times each day, and the dripper is always going
  • Plants - all the plants i use are fake
  • Placement - the enclosure is in my room, whenever im in my room im either in my bed or sitting at my desk, so id say its not very high traffic. in my room, i have a snake and fishtank, but the snake isnt near it, although the fishtank is. i do have a fan going at night, but it is pointed away from his enclosure. the top is about 50 inches away from the floor
  • Location - i live in connecticut
Current Problem - i typed this all out in the first post :]
thank you!
 

Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi so chameleons have a paretil/ penial eye which is a sensor on top of their head which can detect light which maybe the reason/ what is keeping your cham Awake at night
 

dudemanguy123

New Member
When I first brought my Jacksons Cham home, he was really stressed and in the process of shedding as well. He was a baby so it concerned me that he wouldnt eat that much, he also wouldn’t go to sleep until like 3 am which I thought was weird, I had an automatic timer for the lights as well. After a month or two though he settled in, I just spent time around him and I tried new foods to see what he would be interested in eating, maybe experiment with different foods and check on the temp in his cage? Temperature was my big issue so I bought a stronger heat bulb and he settled in pretty quick.
thank you, i definitely will be checking out different foods for him! i'll be ordering a few online when i get the chance!

Hi @dudemanguy123 your enclosure looks good. You really don't need a night heat source and red lights can affect their eyes i would get rid of it . If you are concerned about night time temp there are are better ways to provide this ( what are your night time temps without the red light ? They should have darkness at night
i'll start trying to keep that light off overnight! when i was setting up the enclosure i got a night bulb cause my house can get pretty cool at night. i can get back to you later on the temps that are overnight, cause im not too certain what they are. if i were to need a heat lamp at night, would there be a better option? i know in the past my snake has had one that was colored more purple, would that work okay?
 

Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would check overnight temps first. Some of us on here use a govee mini wireless to keep an eye on temps / humidity. And take it from there ( I don't have a jacksons but I believe they need a good night time drop in temperature) someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
 

Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok thanks. Compact bulbs are not great for chameleons you will want a long linear tube either a reptisun th50 or an arcadia 6% ? Imo the arcadia is better
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi, I also have a Jackson’s. Jacksons chams need a basking temp of no more than 85 degrees during the day with the temp of course getting lower as you go down lower in the enclosure and humidity of around 50% . Then at night they need a drop in temp of about 15 to twenty degrees so temps at night should be anywhere from 65 degrees on down. They can tolerate temps in the 50s even. This allows them to get good sleep. They need complete darkness at night, so no lights, not even red ones and no night time heat unless the Temps are like in the 40s. Humidity at night needs to be at least 75% and up to 100% if you can active it. Don’t use any floggers unless you can get your temp to67 degrees or lower. A misting system is great to because they love cool humid air at night. You need a reptisun 5.0 linear UVB light or a Arcadia 6% UVB linear bulb the width of your enclosure and probably no more than a 60 watt white light basking lamp. Lots of climbing branches and lots of leafy plants he can hide in. Real plants, not fake. This will help with his stress. Get him some Dubia roaches and crickets, he’ll love those. Dust very lightly with calcium No D3 every feeding then use a vitamins like reptivite with D3 once a month dusted lightly. I hope this helps. It sounds like he’s very hungry and very stressed. I’d leave him be as much as possible in his main cage with no handling him for now and don’t watch him eat or he might not. Is his cage in an out of the way place like his own room or a low traffic area? That’s what he needs.
 
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Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your basking bulb ( will depend on your branch temp NO MEMBER CAN YOU GIVE YOU A WATTAGE ON BULB AS WE ARE ALL IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE world / states what ever ,its best to have different wattage of bulbs on hand or a thermostat (placed correctly
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I didn’t think about that flick boy however if our homes are a comfortable temp to us usually we don’t need more than a 60 watt basking bulb but it is a good idea to have a couple higher or lower wattage bulbs to choose from if needed. And please note in my original post I said “ probably no more than a 60 watt”.
 
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