Jackson Chameleon died, did I do anything wrong?


New Member
Chameleon Info:

Your Chameleon - Female Jackson Chameleon in my care for less than 36 hours.
Handling - Just when moving her to her enclosure.
Feeding - She wouldn't eat the crickets or meal worms I tried to feed her, also tried a moth.
Supplements - Didn't get on a schedule yet, but put apple and calcium diet food in with crickets and calcium + D3 for dusting.
Watering - On schedule to mist 3 times a day, plus a drip system that would drip for about 2 hours, and would setup to drip twice a day.
Fecal Description - Not tested for parasites, couldn't find any fecal matter.
History - I work at the pet store where I got her and from what our pet handlers say she only was observed eating a cricket twice in the 2 - 3 weeks we had her there.

Cage Info:

Cage Type - The cage she was in at the store was probably 12 high, 12 wide, and 18 deep. Not ideal at all, and partly the reason I bought her when I did. At my home she was in a 75 gallon glass enclosure, which was to only last for another day or so until I was finished building the mesh enclosure that would add another 2 feet to the height of the enclosure. I know that glass enclosures are not ideal but felt the 75 gallon setup was better than the tiny enclosure she was in, in the store.
Lighting - 12 on 12 off, 5.0 uvb, and a 60w bulb for heat.
Temperature - 3 temperature gauges, the heat only varied maybe 5 degrees from side to side, the lowest temp was 75, the highest 85.
Humidity - Humidity gauge in the upper middle of enclosure, lowest it's been is 59%, highest in the low 70% range.
Plants - I had some plastic plants as well as 4 medium sized plants so she could hide, the plants I bought were listed on fl chams as acceptable plants.
Placement - Living room, not near vents or fans, just by the cold air return. I'll admit it's a somewhat high traffic area, however there was no traffic for about 28 of the 36 hours I had her.
Location - Located in the upper midwest.

Current Problem - Well Sally (my Jackson Chameleon) was purchased from the pet store I work after I was worried about how she was being kept. To be fair the pet handlers at the store did the best they could to take care of her, it was more a problem of the store manager ordering her not knowing what was needed for her care. I bought and setup all everything before buying her and just had the upper enclosure to finish building when I purchased her. Perhaps I should have waited but I figured a 75 gallon aquarium was better than the tiny enclosure she was in at the pet store. A pet handler and the assistant manager each saw her eat one cricket while she was there for 2 to 3 weeks. If she ate more or not, who knows. I don't know if she had uvb in the store or not and I don't know if the crickets were being dusted, I will find out today. She looked pretty thin when I got her but after doing hours and hours of research I felt I could get her back to a healthy weight. One employee said last night that she didn't think she looked to good a few hours before I bought the chameleon.

Now on to what I had control over. She seemed calm during the ride home, staying light colored, but stayed fairly dark at first in her new home. She would get to a medium green but never to the almost pale color she was at the pet store. I'm thinking this is because of the stress of a new environment. When I went to work yesterday she was a medium color green and according to my wife stayed that way the whole day. By the time I got home it was already lights out for the chameleon so I didn't get a good chance to look at her under good light, but she appeared to be a little darker than when I had left for work, but not the very dark color I had seen her the night before after we brought her home.

I tried feeding her crickets, a moth, a couple meal worms, and she MIGHT have eaten a meal worm and a cricket but I can not be sure since I wasn't cup feeding her (although I was considering doing it this morning, however I never got the chance since she passed). She was misted 3 times a day like I mentioned above, and water dripping on leaves close to where she could drink, which I do think she drank from a little bit. She didn't move around to much in her new home staying within the same 6 inch area on a couple different sticks.

So my question, did I do something wrong and that's what killed her or is this a case of bad treatment in the store and she passed under my care, maybe partially stress related because of the move? I've been pretty upset about this all morning and really need to know if I did something wrong and maybe chameleons aren't the best choice in pet for me or if it's more the stores fault. I just wish my first post wasn't under such horrible circumstances, we did only have her for 36 hours but the family was attached to her even if we weren't able to hold her or look at her much to give her the space she need to get used to her environment.

Thanks for any advice, and for reading my long first post.


I don't know much about jacksons, or chameleons at all, but it doesn't make sense for a cham to get sick and die all in the matter of 36 hours, especially if it was taken care of properly beforehand. I couldn't tell you why she died, but I can almost guarantee it has more to do with problems at the store, compared to what happened at home with you.

I'm terribly sorry to hear about your cham, but I personally thank you for trying to give her a good life.


To me it sounds like you did the best you could while you had him. From reading your post, I think your chameleon was already weak and stressed from the conditions at the shop, and who knows what was the condition the chameleon was in prior to the shop getting him.


Chameleon Enthusiast
You had her in your care for such a short time. Unless something physically traumatic happened suddenly, it was probably due to the longer term care conditions at the pet store. I'm sorry you lost your new friend, but I don't think your at home husbandry is to blame.

Kudos to you for wanting to set up a proper enclosure and get everything ready for Sally (super cute name). When the sting has passed, you might consider another try. This time, I would recommend buying from a reputable breeder who cares for their chams as if they were their own - we have site sponsors who are highly regarded, and I am sure if you did some more searching on the forum, you can find other recommendations.

I have a male Jackson's. They are the coolest chams in my humble opinion. Check out the care resources here, perfect your enclosure, stock up on supplies, and your home will be ready for a new cham.


New Member
Thanks everyone for the responses and kind words. I think I needed the reassurance that I wasn't responsible. I think I'll eventually want to give chameleons another try but I'll definitely find a breeder this time around and I'll have everything setup perfectly. Thanks again.


Retired Moderator
Thanks everyone for the responses and kind words. I think I needed the reassurance that I wasn't responsible. I think I'll eventually want to give chameleons another try but I'll definitely find a breeder this time around and I'll have everything setup perfectly. Thanks again.

I have a lot of years in with chameleons. You did not kill your little Sally. Even if you work at the pet store, I would ask for your money back. You were doing what you knew to do, and Sally would have lived happily with your family had she came to you healthy.

Take a look at the classified ads here on the forum. When you are ready, you can purchase a healthy chameleon, then you will have the expierence you wanted by owning a Cham.

I am very sorry you got attached to Sally only to lose her so soon. RIP Sally.


New Member
Just a quick update. I got a phone call at work today from the owner of a male chameleon we received at work the same day as Sally. The owner of the male bought him after 2 days in the store. Well he said his guy wasn't doing to good and described the same symptoms that I experienced with Sally. After a minute or two of talking to him he said his little guy passed. It was a pretty rough phone call but it leads me to believe that they both must have gotten sick around the same time and likely from the pet supplier.

Also Laurie I did get my money back but really I would have paid twice as much for her if it meant she was healthy. I'll definitely be looking to buy from a breeder rather than from a pet store in the future.

little leaf

Avid Member
I agree with the others- you did not have her long enough to cause her death - is it not amazing how in 36 hours, you can come to love a cham - and you are great for getting her so she would have a good life, even tho she passed away , she was at least with someone who cared about her- and I think they feel this - so sorry you lost her :( but I think you will be a GREAT cham owner - read up a bit, get your goodies you will need, and it sounds like you built a wonderful cage- shame to let it sit empty ;)

here are some links to dif/ cham care, so you can kinda see how each one differs, and then decide a good match for you :) I chose Jaxsons for a few reasons, mostly because of our weather is cool more than it is hot ( but still ended up with Panthers too- :p now have 2 of them, and 5 Jax :rolleyes: )


you can just click on each one from here :)

keep us posted as to what you get ;) :D
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