Jackson’s not eating, smacked his lips

Bubbah

New Member
Hi! I’m the owner of a male Jackson’s Cham - he’s actually my son’s BUT turns out a Cham takes slightly more nurturing than he expected, and I have fast become obsessed with Rango (his name).

Rango is a very finicky eater.
He is off crickets. Refuses them. I bought him horn worms. He ate a few and lost interest. I bought him super worms and oh guess what he ate them. Then I got him dubia roaches and crickets and he’s absolutely refusing them.

He is not at all lethargic. He is very active. He is not dehydrated, his poo looks fine.
I have noticed him seeming to swallow, he has gaped a couple of times - which is uncharacteristic - and then today he seemed to smack his lips together several times. It was weird - or IS it weird?
(Misting is 30 min before lights on and 30 min before lights off. Humidity is at around 45-50 daytime, around 60-70 nighttime. WHEN HE EATS he gets Repashy Calcium Plus, bugs are gut loaded with kale/carrots. UVB is the Reptisun T5, basking spot is 80, substrate is potted ponytail palm and pothos - feeding method is however he’ll take it, which usually ends up with me just seeing if he’ll free feed)
 

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snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
What are your temps at basking and lower? (Re gaping)

they can def develop favorites and hunger strike until they get what they want. If he’s gaping a lot he could be trying to regulate his temps (too warm) or maybe an issue in the mouth. Try to get a peek or pic of inside of his mouth if tou catch him wide open.
 

Bubbah

New Member
Highest point of basking branch is around 85. That isn’t where he was while he was basking, but I think he’d just come down from there.
I need to lower his baking branch. I’m doing it right now. Thank you!
 

Bubbah

New Member
Highest point of basking branch is around 85. That isn’t where he was while he was basking, but I think he’d just come down from there.
I need to lower his baking branch. I’m doing it right now. Thank you!
I mean “while he was gaping” - not “while he was basking.”😬
 

leedragon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Beautiful animal. Fil this upp.

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.
A couple of things. Jacksons, specially wild caught get bored of the same food quite quickly. you need to rotate them. Flies, waxmoth, walking stick, the love them. Dust lightly with plain calcium WITHOUT d3, WITHOUT phosphor and WITHOUT vitamins every feeding which should be 3 times a week. .

You need more plants. I would put a big ass benjamin ficus in there.

It sounds like it could be the start of RI if he is open it´s mouth and squicky noises comes out.

Also you need to change it´s name. It´s not a life threateing condition but it should be addressed when possible. Rango and Pascal should be banned as chameleon names. Paarthurnax for example is a certified perfect name and should be used sparingly.
 

skywes13

Member
What are your temps at basking and lower? (Re gaping)

they can def develop favorites and hunger strike until they get what they want. If he’s gaping a lot he could be trying to regulate his temps (too warm) or maybe an issue in the mouth. Try to get a peek or pic of inside of his mouth if tou catch him wide open.
@snitz427 makes good points here. To add onto this, Jackson's prefer lower temps than other species of chameleons. Daytime should be high 60s to mid 70s, and nighttime they need a temperature drop into the 50s or 60s, and basking should be no higher than mid 80s. I don't know what your temperatures are looking like, but if they aren't cool enough for him the gaping could be him trying to cool his body temperature. When he's basking do you ever notice his colors go lighter at all? That is also a sign of overheating.
 

skywes13

Member
Highest point of basking branch is around 85. That isn’t where he was while he was basking, but I think he’d just come down from there.
I need to lower his baking branch. I’m doing it right now. Thank you!
How many inches away is his basking branch from the top of his enclosure? Depending on your light wattage and such, it should be 6-8'' from the top. If the branch is closer than that, this could be a cause of him overheating
 

skywes13

Member
As for his picky eating, sometimes chams will tend to be picky about their food and prefer a variety of different feeders. I would suggest trying out a few different types of bugs, I would recommend black soldier fly larvae since you mentioned he likes worms. I would advise you to not feed him superworms very often because chameleons can get "addicted" to superworms and refuse any other foods, so definitely make sure you're only allowing him to eat them every so often.

Someone above also mentioned that sometimes wild caught animals may be more picky with their food. Jackson's sold are more often wild caught than other species, especially if you acquire them from an unreliable source such as a pet store or a sketchy website. How old is he now? How old was he when you/your son got him? If he was older when you first got him, it's likely he is wild caught since most qualified breeders don't usually sell adult captive bred animals. If he does turn out to be wild caught, it would also be good for you to take him to see an experienced chameleon vet and get a fecal test done to ensure he doesn't have parasites.
 

leedragon

Chameleon Enthusiast
@snitz427 makes good points here. To add onto this, Jackson's prefer lower temps than other species of chameleons. Daytime should be high 60s to mid 70s, and nighttime they need a temperature drop into the 50s or 60s, and basking should be no higher than mid 80s. I don't know what your temperatures are looking like, but if they aren't cool enough for him the gaping could be him trying to cool his body temperature. When he's basking do you ever notice his colors go lighter at all? That is also a sign of overheating.
27 degrees basking temperatur. 25 ambient temperature. Night temperature 15. 15 degrees as day temperature is too cold for them to do their things.
 

Bubbah

New Member
Beautiful animal. Fil this upp.

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.
A couple of things. Jacksons, specially wild caught get bored of the same food quite quickly. you need to rotate them. Flies, waxmoth, walking stick, the love them. Dust lightly with plain calcium WITHOUT d3, WITHOUT phosphor and WITHOUT vitamins every feeding which should be 3 times a week. .

You need more plants. I would put a big ass benjamin ficus in there.

It sounds like it could be the start of RI if he is open it´s mouth and squicky noises comes out.

Also you need to change it´s name. It´s not a life threateing condition but it should be addressed when possible. Rango and Pascal should be banned as chameleon names. Paarthurnax for example is a certified perfect name and should be used sparingly.
AGREED on the name, but I can’t change it.
Beautiful animal. Fil this upp.

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.
A couple of things. Jacksons, specially wild caught get bored of the same food quite quickly. you need to rotate them. Flies, waxmoth, walking stick, the love them. Dust lightly with plain calcium WITHOUT d3, WITHOUT phosphor and WITHOUT vitamins every feeding which should be 3 times a week. .

You need more plants. I would put a big ass benjamin ficus in there.

It sounds like it could be the start of RI if he is open it´s mouth and squicky noises comes out.

Also you need to change it´s name. It´s not a life threateing condition but it should be addressed when possible. Rango and Pascal should be banned as chameleon names. Paarthurnax for example is a certified perfect name and should be used sparingly.
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Jackson’s Chameleon, 5 months old, had him since January.
  • Handling - Only when he feels like it - if I can tell he is coming for me, I’ll let him get on my hand and take him to a plant or outside if it’s warm enough.
  • Feeding - Crickets, horn worms, super worms, dubia roaches - but he had meal worms almost exclusively the first couple months of his life. I try to cup feed him daily on my lunch break - whatever feeder I have on hand. I’m gut loading by cutting up carrots and kale for feeders.
  • Supplements - The Repashi vitamin cal I mentioned above - I saw a video of a keeper who said it was better than doing the rotation of cal/vit d/multi vit, so that’s what I switched to - maybe a month ago.
  • Watering - I hand mist for 2-4 minutes before he wakes up and after he goes to bed. I see him drinking almost every morning when I check on him.
  • Fecal Description - What I see is white, mostly. I think there may be some dark color attached. No yellow or orange or anything. He hasn’t been tested for parasites to my knowledge.
  • History - Just that he was purchased at PetCo, which I now know is a sad situation.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - We got the starter kit. The 18x18x32. Total screen.
  • Lighting - Reptisun T5 UVB, basking ZooMed 75 Watt, plus there’s a grow bulb for his plants.
  • Temperature - Haven’t measured temp on levels - will do - but night temp is around 66, day temp is around 75 (temps taken from center of enclosure). I use the thermometer that is on my hydrometer.
  • Humidity - 45-55 daytime, 60-70 nighttime. The only thing I’m doing is misting, but I have ordered a fogger. I use a digital hydrometer to measure.
  • Plants - Live and fake - we like the fake germs because they hold water droplets and he likes drinking off them. Otherwise he has an umbrella tree, pathos, ponytail palm, and some other little palms.
  • Placement- He is in the sunroom beside a window. It isn’t particularly high traffic, but I do sit there with coffee, my dog generally follows me in. Cage is probably 5.5 feet off the floor.
  • Location - Arkansas

Current Problem - Chameleon refusing to eat, and also I’ve seen him swallow and even smack his lips together (like quickly opening and closing maybe 5-6 times in a row), which I’ve never seen him do. Only saw that once.
 

Bubbah

New Member
How many inches away is his basking branch from the top of his enclosure? Depending on your light wattage and such, it should be 6-8'' from the top. If the branch is closer than that, this could be a cause of him overheating
I had it on a bit of a decline so he could choose his level, and at the highest it was maybe 4-5 inches from the top. I moved it down a couple inches today. I so appreciate the feedback.
 

Bubbah

New Member
Beautiful animal. Fil this upp.

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.
A couple of things. Jacksons, specially wild caught get bored of the same food quite quickly. you need to rotate them. Flies, waxmoth, walking stick, the love them. Dust lightly with plain calcium WITHOUT d3, WITHOUT phosphor and WITHOUT vitamins every feeding which should be 3 times a week. .

You need more plants. I would put a big ass benjamin ficus in there.

It sounds like it could be the start of RI if he is open it´s mouth and squicky noises comes out.

Also you need to change it´s name. It´s not a life threateing condition but it should be addressed when possible. Rango and Pascal should be banned as chameleon names. Paarthurnax for example is a certified perfect name and should be used sparingly.
Also yes on the plants. I’ll grab more tomorrow. Until a couple months ago he had the nasty green carpet. I’m learning! He really needs a bigger setup period.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
Any chance he is about to shed. Yawning or gaping briefly can occur just before a shed. Appetite can drop off for a day or two at this point also. If he doesn't shed in the next day or two or shows other symptoms then you may have a real problem. Start looking for a vet now just to have one handy. I will look at the rest of your info later.
 

Bubbah

New Member
Any chance he is about to shed. Yawning or gaping briefly can occur just before a shed. Appetite can drop off for a day or two at this point also. If he doesn't shed in the next day or two or shows other symptoms then you may have a real problem. Start looking for a vet now just to have one handy. I will look at the rest of your info later.
Maybe - I don’t see any shed but I have seen him rub his face on a branch a couple times the past few days and thought what a weirdo. It’s been a couple months since his last shed. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

Bubbah

New Member
As for his picky eating, sometimes chams will tend to be picky about their food and prefer a variety of different feeders. I would suggest trying out a few different types of bugs, I would recommend black soldier fly larvae since you mentioned he likes worms. I would advise you to not feed him superworms very often because chameleons can get "addicted" to superworms and refuse any other foods, so definitely make sure you're only allowing him to eat them every so often.

Someone above also mentioned that sometimes wild caught animals may be more picky with their food. Jackson's sold are more often wild caught than other species, especially if you acquire them from an unreliable source such as a pet store or a sketchy website. How old is he now? How old was he when you/your son got him? If he was older when you first got him, it's likely he is wild caught since most qualified breeders don't usually sell adult captive bred animals. If he does turn out to be wild caught, it would also be good for you to take him to see an experienced chameleon vet and get a fecal test done to ensure he doesn't have parasites.
He’s around 6 months old now, we were told he was around 2 months old when we got him. They didn’t tell us if he was wild caught or not.
 

Bubbah

New Member
Beautiful animal. Fil this upp.

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.
A couple of things. Jacksons, specially wild caught get bored of the same food quite quickly. you need to rotate them. Flies, waxmoth, walking stick, the love them. Dust lightly with plain calcium WITHOUT d3, WITHOUT phosphor and WITHOUT vitamins every feeding which should be 3 times a week. .

You need more plants. I would put a big ass benjamin ficus in there.

It sounds like it could be the start of RI if he is open it´s mouth and squicky noises comes out.

Also you need to change it´s name. It´s not a life threateing condition but it should be addressed when possible. Rango and Pascal should be banned as chameleon names. Paarthurnax for example is a certified perfect name and should be used sparingly.
He’s not leaving his mouth open or making any noises, I’d be totally freaked out if I heard him squeak, lord.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
This video is why I switched to the supplementation I’m doing right now. Is this incorrect advice?
Well, I do things differently than what he suggests for my panther and veileds. He does specify that montane species, such as Jackson’s you wouldn’t use the calcium plus. I’m not experienced with Jackson’s so can’t tell you what is appropriate supplementation. Hopefully one of the keepers I tagged will be able to clarify this. You can do a search of the archives for previous advise from jacksjill. Here is one thread in which she advises on proper supplementation. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/new-jacksons-chameleon.180735/#post-1638199
 
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