Jackson's Chameleon not eating anymore, please help :(

I have a Jackson's Chameleon, and I've had her for a little over a month. Chryssa is an unusually friendly Chameleon and loves being handled. Unless she is shedding, she asks to come out at least once every day. She ate normally and was happy up until she had shed. She stopped eating, which I understand is a completely normal characteristic. It has been over a week since she has stopped shedding, and she still refuses to eat. I only fed her crickets in the beginning. Once I noticed she stopped eating the crickets, I introduced mealworms to her diet, only as an occasional treat. She has no problem eating the mealworms, but still refuses to eat her crickets again. When I put a cricket in a cup and present it to her, she eats it just fine. I feel like this is odd behavior and I don't think it is an illness. Do I just need to wait out her cricket strike, add more diversity to her diet, etc? I'm getting really worried about her health because she is still an adolescent (Around 7 months old). Please help me out :(
 

CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
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.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
Just to get you started while you work on the form. Mealworms are the Twinkies of feeders, they aren't very nutritious, are poorly digestible and chameleons love them. If you want to use something similar feed super worms but very sparingly. Better worms to feed would be hornworms or silkworms. Black soldier flies either the larva or hatched adults add nutrition and variety. The adults also have an element of what zoos call enrichment.
I would fill out the form as best you can and we can see if something else is a factor if not you may have to offer other choices and give some tough love.
 
  • Your Chameleon - Jackson's Chameleon, Female, and around 7 months of age. She has been in my care for a little over a month.
  • Handling - She is uncharacteristically friendly, so she asks to come out at least once a day.
  • Feeding - I've been feeding Chryssa crickets and the occasional mealworm. 5-10 crickets a day, and 1 -3 mealworms. I feed her at 7:00 in the morning, and 7:00 at night. I started by coating the crickets in a repti-calcium powder but then switched to the yellow Calcium Cubes for the crickets. I'm considering doing both methods to ensure proper nutrition.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - I have a mister that goes off every hour, for 16 seconds. She has a running water-drip system as well, so she is well hydrated. I occasionally mist the leaves in the cage with a pressurized hand-held mister.
  • Fecal Description - Fecal matter is regular. She has never been tested for parasites.
  • History - She eats crickets when I present them to her individually in a cup, but will not eat them when they are loose in her cage. She is still eating mealworms regularly as well.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Her cage is screened, and is a medium Zoomed cage. I'm not positive on the dimensions.
  • Lighting - I have a fluorescent light and UVA/UVB blue light, specifically made for lizards. I have a timer that lets the lights run for 12 hours every day.
  • Temperature - The cage temperatures vary from 73-80 degrees on average.
  • Humidity - The humidity levels are in between 70-75.
  • Plants - I only have artificial plants at this time. When she grows, I will move her to a bigger cage that will have real plants, and soil instead of repti-carpet.
  • Placement - Her cage is placed on top of my vertical dresser, so it is pretty high up. I have my air vents completely shut, so no ventilation enters the room.
  • Location - Gilbert, Arizona area.

Current Problem - She has been on a cricket strike ever since she last shed, which was at least one week ago. She will eat individual crickets if I present them to her in a cup. She refuses to eat them when they are loose in her cage. She is eating mealworms without issue as well.
 
Just to get you started while you work on the form. Mealworms are the Twinkies of feeders, they aren't very nutritious, are poorly digestible and chameleons love them. If you want to use something similar feed super worms but very sparingly. Better worms to feed would be hornworms or silkworms. Black soldier flies either the larva or hatched adults add nutrition and variety. The adults also have an element of what zoos call enrichment.
I would fill out the form as best you can and we can see if something else is a factor if not you may have to offer other choices and give some tough love.

Thank you so much for this information! I filled out the form to the best of my ability. I will definitely look into buying some different types of worms. Honestly, I'm just glad she's eating the mealworms as of right now, so she doesn't starve! If I can get her off of the cricket strike, I will for sure be cutting out mealworms from her diet.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
The sooner she stops eating those the better. She won't go back to a proper diet if those are available.
I will add my suggested improvements in bold.

  • Your Chameleon - Jackson's Chameleon, Female, and around 7 months of age. She has been in my care for a little over a month. She is getting to an age where she only needs to be fed once a day probably why she isn't as hungry.
  • Handling - She is uncharacteristically friendly, so she asks to come out at least once a day.
  • Feeding - I've been feeding Chryssa crickets and the occasional mealworm. 5-10 crickets a day, and 1 -3 mealworms. I feed her at 7:00 in the morning, and 7:00 at night. I started by coating the crickets in a repti-calcium powder but then switched to the yellow Calcium Cubes for the crickets. I'm considering doing both methods to ensure proper nutrition. She will need a proper supplement schedule like this -"Supplementation: Calcium and other vitamins are very important to your chameleon's health. Feeder insects should be lightly dusted with powdered supplement before being fed to your chameleon. As a montane species (native to higher altitudes) Jackson's have decreased supplementation requirements compared to tropical species due to metabolism differences. Use calcium (without D3 or phosphorus) twice a week, a multivitamin once a month, and calcium with D3 once a month. The multi vitamin should have Vitamin A as retinol.
    Calcium cubes will keep your crickets alive but do little for chameleons. You should gut load them with a variety of veggies from the gut load list. See this page
    https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/food/ look for gut load list or see the chameleon care images.


  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? See above
  • Watering - I have a mister that goes off every hour, for 16 seconds. She has a running water-drip system as well, so she is well hydrated. I occasionally mist the leaves in the cage with a pressurized hand-held mister. You will need to set your mister according to your humidity readings. Day time should be in the 40-50% range with night in the 80-100% range. I set my mister to do a long misting early am when the lights come on and another long one before lights out. I do 2-3 15 sec and misting to provide drinking opportunities during the day. An ultrasonic cool mist humidifier can help you reach your night time humidity goals. Live plants will help all round.
  • Fecal Description - Fecal matter is regular. She has never been tested for parasites.
  • History - She eats crickets when I present them to her individually in a cup, but will not eat them when they are loose in her cage. She is still eating mealworms regularly as well. She is probably being lazy because she just isn't that hungry cut her back to a morning feeding.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Her cage is screened, and is a medium Zoomed cage. I'm not positive on the dimensions.
  • Lighting - I have a fluorescent light and UVA/UVB blue light, specifically made for lizards. I have a timer that lets the lights run for 12 hours every day. You will need to upgrade her lighting to a linear light if you don't have one already the compact fluorescent bulbs (coiled bulb) won't be enough. The blue bulb is ok but they are expensive and don't last long. When it dies you can use a 50 watt house hold incandescent bulb for your basking spot.
  • Temperature - The cage temperatures vary from 73-80 degrees on average. good
  • Humidity - The humidity levels are in between 70-75.
  • Plants - I only have artificial plants at this time. When she grows, I will move her to a bigger cage that will have real plants, and soil instead of repti-carpet. Plants in pots are a good addition Pothos are hardy.
  • Placement - Her cage is placed on top of my vertical dresser, so it is pretty high up. I have my air vents completely shut, so no ventilation enters the room.
  • Location - Gilbert, Arizona area.

Current Problem - She has been on a cricket strike ever since she last shed, which was at least one week ago. She will eat individual crickets if I present them to her in a cup. She refuses to eat them when they are loose in her cage. She is eating mealworms without issue as well.
 
The sooner she stops eating those the better. She won't go back to a proper diet if those are available.
I will add my suggested improvements in bold.

  • Your Chameleon - Jackson's Chameleon, Female, and around 7 months of age. She has been in my care for a little over a month. She is getting to an age where she only needs to be fed once a day probably why she isn't as hungry.
  • Handling - She is uncharacteristically friendly, so she asks to come out at least once a day.
  • Feeding - I've been feeding Chryssa crickets and the occasional mealworm. 5-10 crickets a day, and 1 -3 mealworms. I feed her at 7:00 in the morning, and 7:00 at night. I started by coating the crickets in a repti-calcium powder but then switched to the yellow Calcium Cubes for the crickets. I'm considering doing both methods to ensure proper nutrition. She will need a proper supplement schedule like this -"Supplementation: Calcium and other vitamins are very important to your chameleon's health. Feeder insects should be lightly dusted with powdered supplement before being fed to your chameleon. As a montane species (native to higher altitudes) Jackson's have decreased supplementation requirements compared to tropical species due to metabolism differences. Use calcium (without D3 or phosphorus) twice a week, a multivitamin once a month, and calcium with D3 once a month. The multi vitamin should have Vitamin A as retinol.
    Calcium cubes will keep your crickets alive but do little for chameleons. You should gut load them with a variety of veggies from the gut load list. See this page
    https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/food/ look for gut load list or see the chameleon care images.


  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? See above
  • Watering - I have a mister that goes off every hour, for 16 seconds. She has a running water-drip system as well, so she is well hydrated. I occasionally mist the leaves in the cage with a pressurized hand-held mister. You will need to set your mister according to your humidity readings. Day time should be in the 40-50% range with night in the 80-100% range. I set my mister to do a long misting early am when the lights come on and another long one before lights out. I do 2-3 15 sec and misting to provide drinking opportunities during the day. An ultrasonic cool mist humidifier can help you reach your night time humidity goals. Live plants will help all round.
  • Fecal Description - Fecal matter is regular. She has never been tested for parasites.
  • History - She eats crickets when I present them to her individually in a cup, but will not eat them when they are loose in her cage. She is still eating mealworms regularly as well. She is probably being lazy because she just isn't that hungry cut her back to a morning feeding.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Her cage is screened, and is a medium Zoomed cage. I'm not positive on the dimensions.
  • Lighting - I have a fluorescent light and UVA/UVB blue light, specifically made for lizards. I have a timer that lets the lights run for 12 hours every day. You will need to upgrade her lighting to a linear light if you don't have one already the compact fluorescent bulbs (coiled bulb) won't be enough. The blue bulb is ok but they are expensive and don't last long. When it dies you can use a 50 watt house hold incandescent bulb for your basking spot.
  • Temperature - The cage temperatures vary from 73-80 degrees on average. good
  • Humidity - The humidity levels are in between 70-75.
  • Plants - I only have artificial plants at this time. When she grows, I will move her to a bigger cage that will have real plants, and soil instead of repti-carpet. Plants in pots are a good addition Pothos are hardy.
  • Placement - Her cage is placed on top of my vertical dresser, so it is pretty high up. I have my air vents completely shut, so no ventilation enters the room.
  • Location - Gilbert, Arizona area.

Current Problem - She has been on a cricket strike ever since she last shed, which was at least one week ago. She will eat individual crickets if I present them to her in a cup. She refuses to eat them when they are loose in her cage. She is eating mealworms without issue as well.
Thank you so so so so so much! I would be lost without you :) <3
 
I feel like I missed something just in case there is this. https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/jacksons/
If you have any specific questions don't hesitate to ask.
Oh! One thing that this link mentioned I found quite curious. It said no soil or dirt should be used in her vivarium! I had no idea that was something I should steer away from. I thought it made it easier to retain humidity, and easier to plant real plants. What's your thoughts on this?
 

CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh! One thing that this link mentioned I found quite curious. It said no soil or dirt should be used in her vivarium! I had no idea that was something I should steer away from. I thought it made it easier to retain humidity, and easier to plant real plants. What's your thoughts on this?
If you're going full bioactive that's perfectly fine. Jacksons are live bearing so they don't need a laybin, but they do still release (infertile) slugs. If you're not going full bioactive and just using potted plants it's best practice to cover the soil with large enough rocks so you're cham won't ingest the soil and possibly cause impaction.
 
I researched what going full bioactive was and this was something I was thinking about doing! It looks great, and it's probably better for my Chryssa anyways. I found a video on it, but the comment section has some mixed reviews. If you could give it a glance and let me know what you think, that would be amazing! It's super detailed and would basically step me through the process. One question I would have about this method is would it introduce difference organisms into the vivarium such as fungi gnats or something? Because that might be a big N O for me :/

 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm about to put my 10 month old to sleep and then head to bed myself, but I've been doing bioactive cham enclosures for a few years now. I can help out a bit with any questions. Fungus gnats pop up sometimes early on, there are ways to control them, but IME a good sundew is the best way. Put one near the enclosure with a lot of light, you'll never have a problem with gnats...
 
I'm about to put my 10 month old to sleep and then head to bed myself, but I've been doing bioactive cham enclosures for a few years now. I can help out a bit with any questions. Fungus gnats pop up sometimes early on, there are ways to control them, but IME a good sundew is the best way. Put one near the enclosure with a lot of light, you'll never have a problem with gnats...
Thank you so much!!!
 
I ended up buying some waxworms because that's all the store near me was carrying. They're apparently a little higher in nutritional value, but I'm not sure how to feel about it. Where do you guys generally get your worms or just food in general?
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
I ended up buying some waxworms because that's all the store near me was carrying. They're apparently a little higher in nutritional value, but I'm not sure how to feel about it. Where do you guys generally get your worms or just food in general?
Waxworms are really best used as treats. Silkworms and black soldier fly larvae are much better nutritionally speaking. I buy most of my feeders from Rainbowmealworms.com, highly recommend. I buy their crickets, fly larvae, superworms, and phoenix worms (BSFL). Recommend Morifeeders.com for silkworms. Joshsfrogs.com is another great site to buy feeders.
 
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