Laying on Branch

extrajordinary

Established Member
Several times this past week I've caught Leo "laying" on a branch/dowel rod in the middle of his enclosure. He's supporting himself with his legs and tail, but his belly rests on the dowel rod. Is this normal? Is he just lounging or is something wrong? I've attached a few photos. I can't quite get a photo of him doing it though because he will stand up when I come over. Also, here's the information I know someone will ask for ;) --

Your Chameleon - Veiled chameleon; male; 9-10 months old; he has been in my care since October 2018
Handling - I can't remember the last time I handled him. He's grumpy and has bit me before so I took the hint and don't force it.
Feeding - He is now eating 10 large crickets every other day. I have tried in the past to feed him other types of feeders but he's picky.
Supplements - I dust his crickets with calcium (without D3) at every feeding. On the 1st and the 15th (give or take a day because now he's fed every other day) I dust the crickets with calcium with D3 and a multivitamin.
Watering - There is a dripper in the corner and I mist his cage at least twice a day. If I notice a urate that's a bit too orange-y, then I increase the mistings.
Fecal Description - His poops are a little stinky, but they're normal in appearance. He just had a bowel movement yesterday. His urates were a bit orange-y so I'm keeping a close eye on the water available to him until I see another bowel movement. He has a bowel movement every few days now that he's eating less.
History - He is from FL Chams. I've had him since October when he was about 2-3 months old.

Cage Type - He has a Zoo Med X-Large Repti Breeze Aluminum Screen Cage. It measures 2' by 2' by 4'. There is a shower curtain attached to three sides to help with the humidity.
Lighting - I'm using a Zoo Med Repti Sun Terrarium Hood 24 inch with a Zoo Med 24" Repti Sun 5.0 UVB bulb. For heat I have a Zoo Med regular black ceramic clip lamp with a regular incandescent lightbulb. I think it's 60 watts. Might be 100 watts now. The lights turn on at 5 in the morning and turn off at 5/5:30 in the evening.
Temperature - The basking spot ranges from 80-85. I don't know what the temperature in the bottom of the cage is or what it has been at night. I've been using an analog temperature gauge for now.
Humidity - The humidity rests around 50% and after I mist the enclosure it climbs to about 70% and gradually decreases over several hours. As I mentioned, I have a shower curtain attached to the enclosure to help maintain the humidity levels. I also use an analog hygrometer.
Plants - Yes. I have a ficus. The ficus was purchased from LLL Reptile. I have plans to include more plants in his forever home. I'm just terrible with plants and kill them 9/10.
Placement - It is in the corner of my classroom, away from the windows and doors. The top of the cage is probably about 6-7 feet off of the ground. It's a 4' cage that sits on top of a plastic utility tub.
Location - My school is located in North Chicago, about 20-25 miles north of Chicago. (Before you criticize Leo being a classroom pet -- he is coming home permanently as soon as I finish his custom enclosure.)
 

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nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
He is underfed...

He is going through his last growth spurt before reaching adult size. He may require enough food to double in weight in the next 45 days. 2 dozen large crickets is not out of the question. Once he is done with the growth spurt you will be lucky to get a dozen in him per week.

I would start with a "trail mix" of feeders in a cup, and hope for a few misses so he gets a taste of other feeders. You certainly dont want a cricket food strike at this stage.
 

extrajordinary

Established Member
Uh-oh. I was told by his age (9-10 months) he needed to be weaned and would start eating every other day. Should I go back to feeding him daily? 24 large crickets daily???
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is weird but you said his poop smells really bad, how does the chameleon smell? When my guy was sick from coccidia his poop smelled really bad
 

extrajordinary

Established Member
This is weird but you said his poop smells really bad, how does the chameleon smell? When my guy was sick from coccidia his poop smelled really bad
It doesn't smell really bad. I mean, it has an odor when I hold it up to my face to inspect it (which I do occasionally to make sure all looks normal...) but I can't smell it if it's more than a few inches from my nose.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think their poop smells to a certain degree.... Bemans does and his fecals have both come back perfect.
Honestly I think it is normal... Beman does this when he basks. Has the last few months since he is bigger. You may want to add more horizontal perches at different angles giving him more then one to chill and support his weight on. He does look a bit dehydrated... His eyes are a little sunken in. Are you going to be adding in a fogger for night time humidity for his new enclosure?

Beman is 10 months old I have him reduced to a max of 7 feeders every other day but I am doing Dubia and BSFL. Hornworms 2 times a week. I would not feed him more then you are but I would try to diversify it. Try BSFL... they like the way they wiggle lol.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Also I will add I do think getting a fecal done is important. Most vets will run one for you without bringing him in if it is preventative screening and there are no health issues.

I think the faster you get his home enclosure done the better as well. The one thing about the school environment is that you can not control it. If they come in to clean floors, turn on lights cleaning after his have gone off, someone turns off the heat and it is a cold night. When he is at home you will be able to make sure the entire environment is catered to his needs.
 

extrajordinary

Established Member
The main reason I feel like he's not just basking is because this branch is in the middle of his enclosure. It's more than a foot away from the lamp. Do they do that sometimes? Bask far away from the lamp? His designated basking spot is only 6-7 inches from the lamp and is much warmer. I haven't considered a fogger. I did buy a MistKing though to help with hydration and humidity. What kind of fogger would you suggest? How do you set it up? I tried BSFL before and he didn't care at all. It's been a while though so I'll try again! Yes, I'm working daily to get his enclosure done so he can come home ASAP. I will also look into getting a fecal test done. Speaking of vet visits, does anyone know anything about the Nationwide Pet Insurance? I hear it covers reptiles. Is it worth it?
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would try for 1 feeding a day, as much as he wants to eat, take the left over out after an hour.

As for poop, My 5 pound tegu can clear the room quite easily, and he is quite healthy. Lizard poop, if the turd gets broken up, just reeeeeeeeks.

On that note, how is veggi introduction going? I remember "flying" berries on strings to get them started on non insect food.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
The main reason I feel like he's not just basking is because this branch is in the middle of his enclosure. It's more than a foot away from the lamp. Do they do that sometimes? Bask far away from the lamp? His designated basking spot is only 6-7 inches from the lamp and is much warmer. I haven't considered a fogger. I did buy a MistKing though to help with hydration and humidity. What kind of fogger would you suggest? How do you set it up? I tried BSFL before and he didn't care at all. It's been a while though so I'll try again! Yes, I'm working daily to get his enclosure done so he can come home ASAP. I will also look into getting a fecal test done. Speaking of vet visits, does anyone know anything about the Nationwide Pet Insurance? I hear it covers reptiles. Is it worth it?
I model my hydration by this episode https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-89-naturalistic-hydration-for-chameleons/
I use this fogger from 1-5am https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076D3PL1H/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
You can use others you just need to be able to add a hose to it and it has to be a cool mist one.

So the thing about laying on branches... I have read that yes it can be normal and yes it can be an indicator of a health issue.. Beman does it mostly when basking on the upper level of his enclosure.

I don't think it would hurt to try to feed him more like nightanole said.
 

extrajordinary

Established Member
I will listen to that episode when I get a chance. I'll look into getting that fogger too. I just scheduled a vet appointment for next Wednesday (it was the earliest I'd be free to take him) for a general exam and a fecal. They won't do a fecal without him. :rolleyes: Now to find out about Nationwide...a general exam and a fecal test is already $98. Not bad but if something's wrong that'll be $$$.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I will listen to that episode when I get a chance. I'll look into getting that fogger too. I just scheduled a vet appointment for next Wednesday (it was the earliest I'd be free to take him) for a general exam and a fecal. They won't do a fecal without him. :rolleyes: Now to find out about Nationwide...a general exam and a fecal test is already $98. Not bad but if something's wrong that'll be $$$.
Yeah that is about what I pay for just the exam lol. It adds up. Take a fecal that is no more then 24 hours old in. The fresher the better. Just grab it with a plastic baggy and seal it up.
 

extrajordinary

Established Member
I model my hydration by this episode https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/ep-89-naturalistic-hydration-for-chameleons/
I use this fogger from 1-5am https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076D3PL1H/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
You can use others you just need to be able to add a hose to it and it has to be a cool mist one.

So the thing about laying on branches... I have read that yes it can be normal and yes it can be an indicator of a health issue.. Beman does it mostly when basking on the upper level of his enclosure.

I don't think it would hurt to try to feed him more like nightanole said.
Do I need a fogger and a MistKing? How are they different?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
So fogger is for night time humidity levels which can be high. tube attached to the top back corner of cage. I have my wetter area to the right side of his cage with basking on the left. running it from say 1am-5pm when the cage is the coolest and there are no lights putting off heat. A fogger provides natural hydration while they sleep. In their natural habitat day time humidity is low but at night they get fog banks that come in. Mistking is for daytime. So I follow my misting schedule very closely to that podcast. The problem with misting a lot say every 4 hours for at least 2 minutes is your doing that with the heat from your lights and the ambient heat of the house being warmer from the sun. When you put high humidity with heat it can lead to a respiratory infection. So your daytime humidity can be as low as 30% with the very highest of 50%. I can only get mine down to about 45% during the day because I live in a very humid area. I also have a little dripper that runs consistently dripping on to his plants leaves.

Basically you are balancing all elements. I will say since I started using this method he has absolutely no issues with dehydration. This naturalistic approach to hydration as a whole has worked very well for Beman.
 
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