Jackson sitting with mouth open??? Help Please

Discussion in 'Health Clinic' started by Becca, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Becca

    Becca New Member

    Hey there, I have a new Jacksons chameleon male. I got him about two weeks ago from a reptile expo, he is captive bred. I have never had a chameleon before but I have several other species of reptile and amphibian, plus I am majoring in Herpetology so I figured I could handle him.

    My problem is this, just starting today he has been sitting on his jungle vine with his mouth slightly open. I am currently housing him in a 18x18x24 exo terra terrarium with an umbrella plant, jungle vine, and bromiliad, I was told this was fine by the breeder, however I am in the process of getting my spare room set up to free roam him. I have a thermohydrometer set up in his tank, he has a basking spot of 82, plus it is at 72% humidity. I mist the cage several times a day and he eats gut loaded crickets that I periodically dust with calcium and vitamins. I have only seen him drink once and his urates are white with a small hint of yellow at the end.

    He will come sit at the front of the tank until I open the door, then he crawls out onto my hand and I let him walk around on me. I have heard no noises coming from him to lead me to think it is a respiratory infection, but it is the same temp and humidity in there that it has been the past two weeks.

    What do you think??? :confused:

  2. mrnice

    mrnice New Member

    mine was getting too hot ands thats why he was gasping, its not so hot in there now an so hes stopped doing it. Maybe thats why yours is doing it?
  3. Julirs

    Julirs New Member

    Jacksons are a species that need plenty of air flow and good humidity. Are you measuring your temps with a digital thermometer? Analog thermometers often do not give you a good reading, and he could have his mouth open due to being too hot. I would look into getting him a screen cage.
  4. Becca

    Becca New Member

    Yes I have a Flukers digital thermohydrometer, It says 81 for the temp and 71% for the humidity. Like I said I was told he could have a glass terrarium but when I went home and did research realized he could not stay in there. I am actually turning my spare room into my reptile room, so I was planning to set up a few trees, bushes, and vines in there so I could free roam him.
    chlaws17 likes this.
  5. Lovereps

    Lovereps Avid Member

    Welcome to the forum!
    A future herpetologist--that's great--- and you're smart enough to be asking questions before your cham is in serious trouble.
    You'll see by my avatar that I have a male Jackson's ---one who doesn't enjoy being the subject of photos, hence the stress pattern on him.
    You already know that gaping can be a sign of a respiratory infection or overheating.
    The fact that your cham sits by the door waiting to come out leads me to suspect that it's hotter in his home than he can bear.
    I have a Fischer's cham (also a montane type) who was overheating while being shipped.
    So strong was his desire to escape the heat that he pressed his face against the shipping container for so long and so hard that his horns are permanently bent to the side :(
    As for measuring temperatures in the basking spot, unless the thermometer reading was taken directly below the basking lamp an inch or two directly above the branch or vine where he sits, it will be much hotter than you would think.
    Jackson's come from mountainous areas, so they can't tolerate the higher temps that many other cham species require.
    Please be aware that Jackson's also cannot tolerate the significantly higher amount of supplements that other, non-montane species need.
    It's a tough balancing act trying to keep enough humidity, while allowing for enough airflow to ensure a healthy cham.
    Until you get a free-range area going, you can always increase the airflow in the terrarium by opening the doors or even just one door and affixing a towel to the opening with duct tape or similar.
    It may not look pretty, but it will definitely increase the airflow.
    The one sad fact about chams is that they stress easily and, being solitary animals in the wild, they are stressed by being handled.
    I would love to hold my chams and have them sit on my arm, shoulder or head, but I want them to thrive and have long lives, so I resist the temptation.
    Captive bred Jackson's are very seldom found on the market, so the seller may (or may not) have been selling a story as well as chameleons.
    Hope this helps you out.
    Davecameos likes this.
  6. Eltortu

    Eltortu Established Member

    What are the temp. readings around the rest of his cage? Gaping maybe a sign of a too warm habitat. I would change to screen cage also.
  7. Leaf

    Leaf New Member

    His mouth being open means thathe is agrivated. My jackson does that when she is mad.
  8. Lovereps

    Lovereps Avid Member

    I have to amend my reply

    It seems that Chris Anderson who has more experience with chams than most of us, if not all of us, keeps his chams in glass terrariums--not fish tanks or glass "reptile tanks" but special terrariums, like the ExoTerra terrariums.
    leedragon likes this.
  9. jdog1027

    jdog1027 New Member

    If the gaping is accompanied by an extremely light coloration, he is probably too hot. They will sometimes turn an extremely light yellowish-green and even a light almost ash grey color when they are overheating. Your set-up and temp readings sound good, however I would still recommend a fully screened cage. Another thing I incorporate into my Jacksons enclosures is an ultra-sonic cool mist humidifier. It seems to fall on deaf ears alot of times when I mention this, but montane species enjoy cooler temps as well as higher relative humidity levels than lowland species, and ultra-sonic cool mist humidifiers are very beneficial. You can spend as much as $120 for one or as little as $40. Mine was $40 from the pharmacy and it works great. But I would think that your temperatures mentioned would not be too hot.
    leedragon likes this.
  10. Elizadolots

    Elizadolots New Member

    It's always possible there's a problem with the thermometer. I'd try knocking the temperature down 2 or 3 degrees and see if that helps.
  11. FredChameleon

    FredChameleon New Member

    like most reptiles... they gape when it is too hot. they don't sweat so gaping is how they cool themselves... obviously your cage is too hot... think of the region they come from... mountains of Kenya or Hawaiin Mountains... it's pretty cool in the mountains as far as temperature goes which is below 80.. more like 70's or less. my jackson only gapes when he is too warm.
  12. Lovereps

    Lovereps Avid Member

    That ExoTerra is too small for an adult

    I suspect that we may be only talking to each other at this point since Becca hasn't been to the forum in several days --and the consensus is that he's being kept too hot.

    jdog1027 , I hope you'll have a look at this article by our very own fellow forum member--and soon to be Dr of Biology ,Chris Anderson.

    He does state that only glass enclosures which have venting built-in are suitable, not those which only have screen tops--- and that they require some changes in misting and that lower wattage heat bulbs are needed in order to maintain healthy environments.
    I think the biggest problem is that the sizes of these terrariums, as sold in the USA are often smaller than what many chams need.
    FLChams, for example suggests a minimum size of 18x18x36 for Jackson's , so the OP's enclosure is surely too small for an adult.

    The article is a very interesting read.
    Personally, I think I'm better off with screened cages, since glass retains heat and my Jackson's should have a night time temperature drop which isn't always easy to acheive.
  13. Becca

    Becca New Member

    Hey there, sorry I haven't been able to get online. Thanks for all the replies they are really helpful.

    Ok so an update, I have turned his heat lamp off and am only using the UV for his cage. I have bought him a fake tree and am letting him out in the afternoons to climb around on that. He hasn't been gaping any more. My only issue right now is getting him back into his cage so I can make sure he is getting enough food and water.

    Honestly he seems to hate his cage, he just wants to chill out on his tree. I tried to set up a cricket cup for him to eat out of while on the tree but he won't eat out of it so I am hand feeding him when he is out. I have a cup with holes poked in the bottom for a dripper so I am putting him in his cage so he can use that.
  14. FredChameleon

    FredChameleon New Member

    put him in and walk away but make sure you have his water dripping
  15. Jessika

    Jessika New Member

    What if the jackson is not over heating and his enclosure is already full screen? Why would a jackson sit in the cage gaping? He doesn't hiss or act angry either.
  16. brownie64

    brownie64 Avid Member

    This thread is over 4 years old. If you start your own thread and fill out an ask for help form you will receive help a lot better. here is the link to the form.https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/how-to-ask-for-help.66/
  17. leedragon

    leedragon Avid Member

    btw the big exoterras are big enough for adult jacksons
  18. Hirotaro11

    Hirotaro11 New Member

    Hey! I have a quick question! My enclosure for my Jackson read an average of 85 F in the Day, 80F at night.

    I know this may be a little too hot for him, so I bought a humidifier in the hopes that it would cool the temperature and increase humidity.


    My question is, will this humidifier help cool the encolsure ?

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