My chameleon is stressed and I don’t know how to fix this.

Adenhabibi1

New Member
Hi,
My veiled chameleon is about 7 months old and 70% of the time he’s a dark green and a dull black ish. The other 30% of the time he’s a lovely normal green with his stripes.

I know he’s stressed not only due to the colour but he’s always got his hands up against the glass as if he wants to get out.
Im not sure if he’s too small for his age or not but hasn’t seemed to grow much within the last 2 months or so and can sometimes be a little iffy when eating but is generally okay with that.

Just wondering if anyone could help me identify what I’m doing wrong, thanks 😇
 

Ambilobe123

Established Member
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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?
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  • 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?
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Please Note:
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CBee7726

Avid Member
Wanting out like that is surely a sign that there's something wrong with his enclosure. Dark colors are shown most often when they feel cold or they're really stressed. But, we need more information before we can determine what is going on in this particular case.
When does he turn lighter colors? Is it at night when he goes to sleep or is it at other times?

Please take photos of your chameleon, and of the entire enclosure including the lights.
 

Adenhabibi1

New Member
Male, 7 months, veiled chameleon

Handled 2 times a week average

Crickets, mealworms and Morio worms gut loaded, crickets roughly 5 a day and a few worms every other. Multivitamin powder twice a week.

misting 2-3 times a day and watered through dripping water plant with automatic pump toward mid/bottom of enclosure

feces normal, brown with white/yellowish. Fairly moist. Once every 24 hours I would say.

No previous health conditions.

cage “vivexotic medium arboreal vivarium” which I have fitted extra vents on the sides for increased air flow.

UVB terrarium hood holding a T5 bulb at 7% fitted inside of the viv so that he can’t reach (as it’s a wood viv) and 50 watt bulb in corner also fitted inside with basking spot 10 inches away from bulb.

basking temp 31 degrees celcius and general cage temp 27 degrees celcius.

humidity 45-55% on left and 35% under basking spot

fake plants used with real logs, placed on top and out of sight of my other vivarium in my room at the end of my bed. Next to window (blind usually closed). Viv is at the top of the room a lot taller than me.

located in the United Kingdom
 

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Adenhabibi1

New Member
Wanting out like that is surely a sign that there's something wrong with his enclosure. Dark colors are shown most often when they feel cold or they're really stressed. But, we need more information before we can determine what is going on in this particular case.
When does he turn lighter colors? Is it at night when he goes to sleep or is it at other times?

Please take photos of your chameleon, and of the entire enclosure including the lights.
Hi :) he tends to be lighter when he sleeps and when he’s anywhere but the top of his cage. When he adventures through the middle he’s usually quite light.
 
He might be hot, I had the same problem and mine is less stressed and a lot lighter when he's in his ideal temperature conditions. I think that might be what's wrong because you noticed he's lighter when further down in the cage (where it's probably not as hot). If this is the problem I would suggest either decreasing the wattage of your bulb or getting another bulb that dims with a clamp lamp that's also dimmable. I have a 65watt bulb adjustable set-up and it takes a lot of patience and tinkering with but it's worth it when they get too hot or cold because you won't have to order more bulbs. For your set-up I would replace with real plants from online or a local nursery, even Walmart/home depot if you have those stores out there. I would replace hammocks with live branches that are washed and baked. Also do you have him on a stand? He might be stressed if he's on he floor.
 

CBee7726

Avid Member
Male, 7 months, veiled chameleon

Handled 2 times a week average

Crickets, mealworms and Morio worms gut loaded, crickets roughly 5 a day and a few worms every other. Multivitamin powder twice a week.

misting 2-3 times a day and watered through dripping water plant with automatic pump toward mid/bottom of enclosure

feces normal, brown with white/yellowish. Fairly moist. Once every 24 hours I would say.

No previous health conditions.

cage “vivexotic medium arboreal vivarium” which I have fitted extra vents on the sides for increased air flow.

UVB terrarium hood holding a T5 bulb at 7% fitted inside of the viv so that he can’t reach (as it’s a wood viv) and 50 watt bulb in corner also fitted inside with basking spot 10 inches away from bulb.

basking temp 31 degrees celcius and general cage temp 27 degrees celcius.

humidity 45-55% on left and 35% under basking spot

fake plants used with real logs, placed on top and out of sight of my other vivarium in my room at the end of my bed. Next to window (blind usually closed). Viv is at the top of the room a lot taller than me.

located in the United Kingdom

How are you measuring temperature and humidity? I think his basking temp might be a little too hot.

I have not seen this type of enclosure before, but to me it looks like there might not be enough ventilation for him, which can make temp & humidity issues worse.

Know that mealworms are not generally recommended for chams. I see you mentioned a multivitamin- can you specify what this is? Also, do you use calcium supplement at all?
 

Ambilobe123

Established Member
Your supplement schedule is not good- phos- free calcium (no d3) every day, multivitamin every other week (with d3)

your vivarium is not suitable for chameleons. You need a minimum 2’x2’x4’ screen enclosure.

the temperatures are too hot- 70-75F bottom part, 80-85F basking area

don’t feed mealworms- morio should only be treats. Do you gutload?
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi. :) Putting my feedback in red.

Male, 7 months, veiled chameleon

Handled 2 times a week average

Crickets, mealworms and Morio worms gut loaded, crickets roughly 5 a day and a few worms every other. Multivitamin powder twice a week. Attaching feeder and gutload sheets. Neither mealworms or superworms are good staples. Mealworms shouldn’t be fed at all really. You need to feed your buggies well so that they are healthy, and therefore a better source of nutrition. He is old enough that he should get 3-4 feeders every other day.
Multivitamin should be only used one feeding every other week. Does it have D3 in it? Can you post a pic of the bottle please? He also needs D3 and that is usually given one feeding every other week too. You want a phosphorus free calcium without D3 for use with every feeding.


misting 2-3 times a day and watered through dripping water plant with automatic pump toward mid/bottom of enclosure

feces normal, brown with white/yellowish. Fairly moist. Once every 24 hours I would say.

No previous health conditions.

cage “vivexotic medium arboreal vivarium” which I have fitted extra vents on the sides for increased air flow. Not at all familiar with your viv, but it does appear to be too small for an adult cham. Minimum size required is 60x60x120 cm or equivalent. This is usually one of the reasons that chams are unhappy...they need more space.

UVB terrarium hood holding a T5 bulb at 7% fitted inside of the viv so that he can’t reach (as it’s a wood viv) and 50 watt bulb in corner also fitted inside with basking spot 10 inches away from bulb.

basking temp 31 degrees celcius and general cage temp 27 degrees celcius. This is a bit warm. Your basking temps should be around 27-28 with ambient temps somewhere around 23-24c. At night it should cool down considerably.

humidity 45-55% on left and 35% under basking spot

fake plants used with real logs, placed on top and out of sight of my other vivarium in my room at the end of my bed. Next to window (blind usually closed). Viv is at the top of the room a lot taller than me. Veileds will nibble at their plants. They have been known to eat a fake leaf and get impacted. Live plants only is best. Pothos (aka devil’s Ivy) is a great plant for chams. Here’s a list of safe plants. https://chameleonacademy.com/plants/

located in the United Kingdom

Looking at your enclosure, besides what I’ve already mentioned about plants and size, there are a couple other improvements you should make. The little hammock really is for bearded dragons and not really appropriate for chams. If he does walk on it, there is a risk of his nails catching in the weave and getting pulled out. He also need many more horizontal branches/vines to travel. I know it will be a challenge to attach them. What I’ve seen others do is use a small garden trellis attached firmly to the sides (or frame of screen enclosures) which branches can then be attached to. Along the same lines you could create a little scaffold type thing and attach that to the sides. Avoid tape!
About the lights... I know it’s pretty common in the UK to have them inside the enclosure but I’m not sure if your guy is getting too much uvb. Usually it’s placed on top of a screen which helps filter some out. Perhaps @Rhea’s mum or @Flick boy can better guide you on safe light placement.
Hope I’ve been of some help. :)


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Rhea’s mum

Established Member
Ok so @MissSkittles has pretty much covered everything. I know UK based groups like to put in the ‘beardie’ hammock or even make their own and I see it in nearly every Viv I see pics of. As said they can catch their nails on it but also they will not sleep on it so I would just pull it out.
I see a lot of people going against the mesh enclosures because they are worried about humidity and also because they think it will be too cold. The commercially available wooden enclosures just aren’t big enough (even the ones with chameleon in the name). They also don’t provide enough airflow. I would look to upgrade to a bigger enclosure to have a happier Cham. Reptibreeze XL is the cheaper option. We can’t get dragonstrand over here but we do have a similar version called muji.
The absolute minimum I would do at the minute is to get the top off and replace with mesh. That way the lights can sit on the outside and it takes a lot of the risk of them burning themselves out of the equation. It might not look like he can get to those lights but if he manages to get to the vent on the back he could easily climb on to the wire and under/on the light

There are a few options that I have seen for branches being attached. Garden trellis (plastic or wooden) or make your own out of wooden dowel rods from b&q to create almost a frame to attach the branches to.

There are a couple of places I know of online in the uk that are reptile specialist that have plants that are grown specifically for reptile use and no nasties are in there. I know buzzard reptile do a pack for chameleon plant eaters. And reptile centre do plenty of plants too.

You have to think of a veiled as a toddler. It doesn’t matter if you think that they can’t get somewhere… they will. They will also put everything in their mouth.

I’m not sure what the pet shops stock locally to you but there are plenty of online food suppliers and a couple that I know of even do subscription services that are posted through Royal Mail. I use silkworm store and have no issues. This way you can give your Cham a variety of food and know it is a regular supply. I have also found that since switching to this the feeders are a LOT healthier than the ones picked up elsewhere.
 

Adenhabibi1

New Member
Hi guys,

I appreciate all of your feedback and have read it all, the only factor stopping me from getting a new enclosure would be my financial situation as I’ve lost my job due to covid and don’t have any income that’s all. However, meanwhile I can take out the hammock and replace with another few branches, reduce bulb wattage and could maybe try and make the top mesh? It’s just my life situations that get in the way of it that’s all. I appreciate your help so much ❤️
 

Flick boy

Avid Member
Hi and welcome I think rheas mum has it covered global gekos also sell plants. So frustrating to see this those tanks imo are not suitable for chameleons and more expensive than a 2x2x4 repti breeze. I have a vivexotic at home i will have a look later to see a cheap way for the top you don't need to remove the whole top. I would also move that foliage at top middle back as your cham could reach those cables
 

Adenhabibi1

New Member
One other thing, when I get him out, he starts to brighten up again? He’s currently sitting under his basking spot nice big and bright and happy today. Confusing little man
 

Adenhabibi1

New Member
UPDATE!

I ended up lowering the wattage of the bulb and he’s now a lot happier! Clearly was too hot, very hard to keep a chameleon in UK climate but I’ve managed to just about make it right for him. He’s adventuring around a lot more and Is a lot brighter.

this week I will also be changing the top of his cage to a mesh and will be putting the uvb and basking bulb on the top allowing him more climbing space.

Thankyou guys ❤️
 
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