Keeping Kinyongias


Avid Member
I recently lost a WC Kinyongia Matschiei that appeared to have died by either parasites or some other unknown reason. I would appreciate any comments or suggestions from experience keepers that are familiar with Multituberculata Fischeri, Matschiei, Tavetanum, Tenue, Uthmoelleri, or even those that see something out of sorts with my keeping techniques.

Cage Info:
Cage Type - 24 x 24 x 48" Aluminum screen cage
Lighting - Reptisun 5.0 and 20w basking bulb
Temperature - 74 degrees ambient during day with low 80s basking and temp drop to high 60s at night
Humidity - Humidity was up and down due to the mister but I never used a humidifier. I was told if I misted enough, Kinyongias shouldn't need extra.
Plants - Pothos
Placement - Spare room where there was little to no traffic and a dedicated A/C to keep him cool
Location - Los Angeles area...generally pretty dry

Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Kinyongia Matschiei- male, WC, appreared to be 1.5yrs old. Was in imported and in my care for one month before passing.
Handling - First 3 weeks only once. And then everyday to give him Reptaid. I cradled him while I gave him the suggested dosing for 5 days straight. He never gaped or hissed and I had to pull his chin skin down to give Reptaid.
Feeding - Gutloaded with Cricket Crack- dubias, crickets, and flies. He never ate more than 3 crickets per week or equivalent.
Supplements - Calcium without D3 and only once did I dust with vitamins and D3.
Watering - 5 minute shower, 20 min, and 5min. (MistKing) 4 hour dripper everyday. He was well hydrated and I observed drinking severeal times.
Fecal Description - I never once found a stool but found several urates. His intestines felt very soft and not at all impacted.

Before I left for the weekend, at the end of a 5 day Reptaid treatment, he looked very well hydrated and healthy. I was always worried about his diet as he barely ate anything compared to my 9 mo old Panther. I did not set up his dripper for 2 days as I was gone for the weekend. The lights and mister are on automatic. When I found him dead after this weekend, he was laying on his side at the bottom of the cage. It was already stinking so I'm guessing when I got home Monday morning, he had already been dead a day or two. When I removed his body, there was a worm that must have left his mouth. Pic attached.

Any ideas why he might have died? Parasites (worm)? Dehydration? Eating? Any help is really appreciated.

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New Member
Chad, I'm sorry for you loss... what a bummer. :( He probably wasn't healthy when you received him and was on a downhill slide. Like you said, you never found feces and he wasn't eating. You could take him in for a post-mortem, if your curiosity is insatiable.

Keep your chin up...


Avid Member
They are a sub-montane species so their requirements on food aren't that high. Many of the montanes in captivity die because they get too much to eat


New Member
He was eating and from what I heard from other keepers, adult Kinyongias don't require much more than 5 or so items per week. Can anyone confirm?
Oh, my bad. I thought you told me last time I saw you he wasn't eating. Now I see he was... Mabye I should learn to read? :D


New Member
Damn. Sorry to hear that. I know how enthusiastic you were about keeping him.

I have no experience with K. matschiei but for Kinyongias in general your husbandry looks good. The only thing I do different is keep a humidifier running at all times and a slightly lower temperature at night. I also dont have a mist system and cant rely on a dripper or hand misting through out the day for humidity.

With my limited experience with the tavetana and a few other WCs I have found that species very difficult to acclimate although the CH babies seem quite "hardy" up to this point. I have had a few tavetana that came looking promising at first like your matschiei. Seemed to feed and drink for the first couple days and then slowly going down hill in around 2 weeks. It seems to me that even if they are in decent shape still when they get to you that they just dont adapt to captivity.

I will share my misfortunes. Out of 10 specimen that I have acquired in the last 1.5 years I only have one to show for it. All but 2 were in ok shape when I got them. The first 2 was a male and gravid female. She wasnt in horrid shape but I got her to lay and she eventually died. 5 of the 11 eggs hatched and that is where my CH specimens came from:) The male looked decent too but one day I found him dead. Not sure how long I kept him. It was for at least a few months. In the early spring of this year I got 1.5. The first female I acquired was gravid and was hand picked for me. I got her to lay and she bounced back rather nicely. She was found dead with an intestinal prolapse after sometime. With the 1.4 group I got came more bad luck. Again the male looked alright, 3 of the females looked as if they had laid eggs recently (very deflated) but not in horrible shape, and one gravid female. They were dead with in a few weeks. The gravid female has been with me for 6 months now. She laid 5 nice eggs and bounced back very quickly. She was the youngest of the group. Noticeably smaller than the rest. I then aquired 2 more gravid females that were just in disgusting shape. They both died. One dropped her eggs on the floor and the others were cut out of her. All of them are toast.

I am left with 1 WC female, 5 CH specimen, and 16 eggs from two females that I hope to hatch in December.

It is a shame that these animals show up to the people who care, after everyone else gets their cut, only to die. The animals would do just fine in their natural habitat. This is something that has been weighing heavier and heavier on me.


New Member
Sorry for your loss. I'm going through an eye problem with my Kiyongia right now and im not sure if he's going to make it. Took him to the vet today and they drained his eye of fluids and gave me some meds.


Avid Member
Sorry for your loss. I'm going through an eye problem with my Kiyongia right now and im not sure if he's going to make it. Took him to the vet today and they drained his eye of fluids and gave me some meds.
Yeah, I saw that thread. Hope he pulls thru.

I am determined to successfully keep a Kinyongia Matschiei but I do not want to be disappointed again. Please let me know what you guys think. Are these importers just letting these animals die or are they really successfully keeping these kinyongia until they can flip them?


New Member
THis really does look like a failure to acclimate and/or a parasite issue. I agree with Cain-your husbandry really shows no problems that I can think of. My Multi rarely eats (despite the fact people think he is overfed due to the folds of skin on his legs) and I water him twice daily. Living in Florida affords my crew plenty of humidity-and my CH guy lives amongst the Mellers and Panthers and Veileds. I think with a WC guy-I might not start out in such a large cage. Yes-they came from wide open spaces, but being stressed from acclimating they might be more tempted to eat if food remains close. I really am sorry about your loss. I would certainly look for some CH/CB if you can find them.


Avid Member

I'm so sorry for your loss :(

I also agree that your husbandry does not look like the problem. That is one healthy looking roundworm you found after the death. They are generally intestinal parasites. They can ocassionally migrate through the organs to the skin. Generally, they are intestinal. After death it may have exited through the mouth or rectum. At the time of death reptiles often evacuate what is in their bowels or regurgiate stuff.

That round worm is an adult. If there was one, their were many in different life stages. I suspect that they overwhelmed the intestinal tract. In a normally healthy and well acclimated chameleon this would not cause death. You poor chameleon had a load of these in the wild and was living just fine. The main problem with parasites is that if the immune system or health of the chameleon is compromised in some way they seize that opportunity to explode and overwhelm. In a healthy chameleon regular pooping occurs and adult worms, sub-adult worms and ocysts are expelled. This process keeps the load in the intestinal tract in some sort of balance. Your cham was not pooping regularily. This allowed the worm population to build up in the tract. Chances are that some may have migrated out into the organs because of the overcrowding.

Two lessons I would take from this......One: Wild caught chameleons should always have a fecal check. The fecal check identifies the parasites involved and it also gives the checker an idea of the load. If you discover that you have a high load of parasites you treat in a slightly different manner. You definitely would do more than one round of treatment. You would consider the situation a major priority and monitor health very closely.

Two: The other lesson I would take from this......If one has the emotional fortitude to do a mini necropsy it would go a long way to finding out the cause. You don't have to be a vet to do it. There are some good necropsy links on the internet. In this case, I would have used a simple razor blade to open up the body cavity. I would have looked at the intestinal tract and body cavity for more worms. If you opened it up and found a bunch of those you could pretty much conclude that the parasite issue was the problem. If you found no other worms than you would have to think elsewhere. At least you could rule that out though.

Again, so sorry for your loss. Those of us who have gotten lots of wild caughts have had to suffer losses. It's the reason that wild caughts are suggested for experienced keepers. But we all have make the leap from unexperienced to experienced just like you are. We get those first wild caughts and go through major learning from them. Some do great with very little additional effort. Others require major care and treatment to fully acclimate them. I feel bad that my present experience is founded on the loss of a few wild caughts along the way. But I feel that the experience I've gained from those losses has helped me to help many more wild caughts survive and live healthy lives. Thanks for sharing your loss with us all.


Avid Member
I've recently acquired a little lady Giant Fischer (K. Matschiei) and she seems to be settling in nicely. She is eating everything I give her and the vet says her poop tested negative for parasites! I am very encouraged by this as my last dude (see beginning of thread) was full of parasites.

I have modified my husbandry just a bit. I am keeping my chams in a small room that is about 10 x 12 feet carpeted and with a dedicated window AC unit. I have lined the entire outside of the cage with cardboard and completely left her alone for the first 5 days. I only fed her just before lights on and cleaned the cage while she was sleeping. The daytime temps are about the same but I now drop the temp at night to the low to mid 60s. During the morning hours and just before lights out, she will hang out at the top. She is able to get within 4 inches of a Reptisun 2.0 and about 6 inches from a 20w incandescent. Other times of the day, she is traveling all around the middle and lower parts of cage.

I also have plumbed a network of pvc to deliver higher humidity to multiple cages. I found that running the humidifier is only necessary at night. At all waking hours the mistking handles all the humidity necessary. Ryan and Kev were a big resource on this one. ( Ryan Jarosek and summoner12)

Carrying her up the stairs for the first shower


Stress coloration

Second stress coloration pic

Happy in her cage

I really think that TOTAL peace and high humidity has made her acclimation much easier. With my first Matschiei, there was no cardboard barrier and I was always checking in on him. This little girl has been given all the privacy in the world. I hope she is nearing a stabilization point but I can't be too sure. We will see in the coming weeks how she does!

Lastly, check her out grabbing a super
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Avid Member
Chad, She's beautiful!

The Fischer's are highly underrated.
With a clean fecal result, you're much more likely to have success with her.
I think that you're right about just leaving chams completely alone while they settle-in.
The fewer things they need to get used to at one time--the better.
We all handle individual stressors much better when we only have one thing to cope with rather than an onslaught--so why should these little creatures differ there?
Like I said, she looks great and is adorable!
I bet she's full of personality, too!


Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey Chad,
She's looking really good! Glad she's doing well. Definately have her fecal checked a few more times to be sure she's clean.
I think Malachite will be very interested when she's ready. Keep up the good work!


New Member
Awesome!!!!!!!:D She looks really good and I am glad to hear the first fecal came up negative! I hope you find the other pair you are looking for. Ponders does have a beautiful male so if they dont come in for a while then he would be the perfect candidate!!!!

May I ask if there is a reason you are only using a 2.0 on her?


Avid Member
I set up her cage a little differently so that most of the branches and basking spots are all right at the top. She is within inches of the bulb and when you actually read difference of 2.0 and 5.0... I decided that 2.0 would do just fine. She also gets plenty of natural sun as well.

Zach Valois

New Member
These are great discussions guys, this is likely one of my favorite cham groups. I am likely going to bring in ten or twenty of these and do my best to work with them, however, I still have a lot to learn with montane chameleons. I am going to have to setup a cooled frame shed in one of my snake rooms where I can better control the humidity and temperature. It is a shame to see how many of these die (if we only saw what the importers do), and also to see just how little information and experience there for some of these species.

Thanks everyone for the hard work, keep it up! I really look forward to working with more of these guys in the future.


New Member
I set up her cage a little differently so that most of the branches and basking spots are all right at the top. She is within inches of the bulb and when you actually read difference of 2.0 and 5.0... I decided that 2.0 would do just fine. She also gets plenty of natural sun as well.

Sounds good!! Just wondering the reasoning behind it:) I wish I lived where I could offer natural sun almost all year round. I really think it helps in acclimating too.

How is she doing?
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