Jax with sunken eye

Hey all,
My Jackson's Loki seems to have sunken eyes a bit. He's been like this for a while, and I just assumed it was normal-ish. Looking at photos again, it looks worse!
I know sunken eyes can be from dehydration. He gets dehydrated occationally and was for a period last month. However, I have been watering him more and his urates are perfectly white.
Should I be worried about his eyes? Could it be another health problem?
Thanks all.


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Established Member
Well, are there any other problems associated?
Lack of eating, drinking, etc?
How often does he take water?
What's the temp of the enclosure?

Also, when asking about probs with a cham, it's helpful to fill out this little template to the best of your ability...or to the limit of your patience...

He eats 2 days on, 1 day off with 4-8 gutloaded crickets each time.
We are in southern California where the temperatures average 75° plus a basking lamp after eating and on cooler days.
He drinks water from me misting directly every other day, however I mist him 2-3 times a day, with a 24-hour dripper.
I can't think of any other problems. Slightly sunken eyes are it.

Action Jackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
Can you post a couple more pictures.? Perhaps of the whole chameleon. His eye doesn't look sunken to me, if anything it looks slightly swollen.


Chameleon Enthusiast
Can you post a couple more pictures.? Perhaps of the whole chameleon. His eye doesn't look sunken to me, if anything it looks slightly swollen.

I agree - based on that one photo, the base of the eye turret looks like it might be a bit swollen. Is he rubbing his eyes a lot? Does he get enough time during a misting (or under a dripper) to properly clean his eyes? My jax takes forever to start cleaning his eyes - so I usually set his mister for no shorter than 5 minute sessions with an extra long session in the morning.


Established Member
I agree with Lathis. I understand you are saying it's sunken but it looks swollen in that pic. Any more pics?

Does he look thin all over or nice happy and plump? Maybe try one of those days he eats a nice juicy fatty feeder like a hornworm or butterworm...if he's just thin.

Otherwise sunken eyes generally mean ill or dehydrated. Do you see him drink when you mist? How wet does he get too, as chameleons soak up a considerable amount of liquid through their cloaca.

If you are worried about dehydration, giving him a soak in a container where just his butt is under water could give him a kick start. I also like to offer Pedialyte. They like the fruity flavors. Teh-heh.

But more pics would give us all a better overall glance.
ACTION JACKSON: Really? I was thinking since the middle comes out more (what you are observing as swollen) and then sinking in before the edges of the eye socket, it was sunken in. Guess not...? Sorry for suckiness, he's my first cham. I'll try to post some more full-body photos when I get home.

LATHIS: He doesn't rub his eyes a lot or at all. I've never seen him do it at least. I've recently started misting him twice a day for between 5 and 15 minutes each time. Often, he does clean his eyes (closing them with drops and squishing in and out kind of...?), but not every time.

WILCOXAE: I think he's average healthy, not to chubby or skinny. Last time I weighed him, over a month ago, he was 62g I think? I'm going off of memory, sorry. I got him some hornworms for a Valentine's day present and he loved them.

Thanks so much all, and I will post more pictures.


Chameleon Enthusiast
It's the ring of flesh around the base of the turret - the way it's distended and puffy. In this particular picture, it looks more like there is retained fluid in turret than that turret is sunken in. If he were dehydrated or his eyes were sunken in, I would expect it too look more gaunt - you would be seeing the perimeter of the eye socket rather than skin. If his urates are white and stay white, then dehydration is less of a worry. Jax do like a lot of water and can be slow to start drinking or eye cleaning, so continue with the extra long misting sessions.

A low-level infection can cause fluid retention around the eye. Has he been acting differently lately? Eating less? Being lethargic?

It could also be a trick of the photo - you have the advantage of seeing it in real life. More pictures from different angles would help.
Here's another photo from sunday. I didn't have any full bodies and he is already asleep, so sorry about that.


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Action Jackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
He has something going on, looks like he has some red spots/ sores or something on his eye turets. I would recommend you fill out the "how to ask for help" form and also post some pictures of the complete chameleon and also his cage. He may have an infection of some sort or perhaps something in his environment is irritating his eyes.


Avid Member
Torrey, please fill this out for us!

I have a sneaking suspicion it's oversupplementation leading to edema.

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.
Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Male Jackson's, about a year old.
Handling - Varyingly between 1-2 times every 1-2 weeks.
Feeding - Mainly crickets and meal worms, feed between 4 and 8 crickets, 3 days on, 1 day off.
Supplements - Repashy Supercal no-d every 1-2 other feeding days, Supercal lo-d about once every 2 weeks.
Watering - 24-hour dripper, spraying 2-3 times a day for 5-15 minutes each, he drinks from it directly sometimes.
Fecal Description - Normal as far as I can tell, white pee, easy brown feces.
History - nothing specific

Cage Info:
Cage Type - 2 side glass, 2 side screen, top screen. 18x18x48
Lighting - 75 watt heat bulb and uvb
Temperature - 88° at very top 68° at bottom, night time about 68°
Humidity - 60% with a zoo med gauge, naturally pretty humid plus spraying every day.
Plants - Ficus.
Placement - In a small bedroom, next to a window, on a high shelf, top of cage is 6 feet from floor.
Location - Coastal southern California

Current Problem - I thought his eyes were sunken in some places, others say swollen.


Avid Member
It is very hard to determine really if there's anything going on at all. The last (most recent picture you posted that is sidways) looks as if there could be some areas of redness or possible infection. If you could gentle manipulate the eyelids to get a better visualization of these small lesions, you/we might be better able to determine if there's anything we should do for the chameleon.

In regards to your keeping methods...here's my two cents and PLEASE keep in mind that this is only what I would do. There are many other suggestions that may work equally or maybe better.

I would aim for a lower low as in around 60-65F which may necessitate a lower high by switching your basking bulb. Jacksons like it cooler than your typical veileds and panthers. Ideally, 83-85F would be a preferred spot for basking while the rest of the cage can fluctuate between 60-75F. I would also stop all supplementation just for a week and make sure to gutload the feeders will good veggies- carrots, yams, apples, oranges, chard, etc. If you have spirulina, bee pollen, and other supernutrients...those are gonna be great additives to your gutload.

But AS ALWAYS, hydration is your number one tool for keeping the chameleon healthy. It sounds like you're doing a great job by offering a good chance to drink but an occasional shower can do wonders as well.

Hope this helps!
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