My chameleon was laying on his side on the bottom of the cage this morning.

bombadillo2

Member
Scroll down to "Current Problem" for a full description of the problem. Cage info is in the next post because I was getting a max character limit. o_O

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon -
    • The species
      • Veiled
    • Sex
      • Male
    • Age of your chameleon
      • 1.5 years
    • How long has it been in your care
      • 1.5 years
  • Handling
    • How often do you handle your chameleon?:
      • Depends on his mood. Usually 3-4 times a week, some weeks he wants to come out every day some weeks he’s not in the mood all week.
      • Handling involves a number of things. Sometimes I’m just transporting him to his free range or somewhere high up in the room (room divider). Sometimes he settles into my hand to get warm and stays for a while. Usually at some points bored and will crawl around. Sometimes he’ll sit on my head.
  • Feeding
    • What are you feeding your cham?
      • Primarily roaches, supplemented with hornworms, wax worms (occasional treat), silkworms when they’re available, I sometimes get mealworms but he doesn’t love them.
      • I will give him fruit as snacks occasionally, thin sliced and let him chomp. He doesn't usually go for it.
      • Haven’t fed him crickets consistently for a year BUT I wasn’t able to get roaches, and crickets were the only thing available so I got about 20. I’m worried that is what made Miles sick because he was having a field day eating them.
    • What amount?
      • Til he loses interest (I feed him 1 by 1, or put a few on ceiling; I usually watch him eat. When he stops trying I don’t add more.). Generally he’ll eat 4 medium roaches before he stops caring.
    • What is the schedule?
      • Most often 2-4 in the morning and a couple evening. Once he stops eating there’s usually one left on the ceiling, or I’ll put one in his feeder cup and he loves sitting there so occasionally I’ll see him snatch a bug a few hours later. I don't always feed him evening but most of the time offer a couple.
      • Feeding is 90% free range (but it’s the ceiling, so I’ll usually stick ‘em up there close to him, and he’ll track and shoot as they’re running around or sitting there). I have a hanging feeder cup as well and I’ll drop things in there sometimes. If I’m feeding worms, I do it by hand (either on a leaf -- he’s rather posh), or on the container lid.
      • If he’s shedding he rejects food for a few days.
    • How are you gut-loading your feeders?
      • I made a mix in food processor with carrots, sweet potatoes, bee pollen, orange, and I think kale and a couple other things. I’d have to look the recipe up again since I made a ton and froze it.
  • Supplements
    • What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
      • Calcium daily
      • Every other week, calc + Vit D
      • Alternating week, Herptavite
      • RepCal brand
  • Other
    • One note is that if I’ve already dusted insects and Miles doesn’t catch them, when I find them later, I’ll feed them to him without re-dusting them. I also don’t re-gutload them in those cases but as I leave little pieces of fruit in the cage, I assume they’re getting at least a bit. Those bugs aren't the primary source of food so I think that's not a huge problem.
  • Watering
    • What kind of watering technique do you use?
      • ExoTerra Monsoon Solo
      • Hand watering
    • How often and how long to you mist?
      • Unfortunately there are limited timer settings so I do every hour for 2 min, but now that I’m WFH I hand mist a lot too.
      • Hand misting: I will heat up water a bit and use a full spray bottle (for hair - half size). 1-2x per day. I do this because he hides from the normal misting sometimes.
      • 1-2x/month he showers with me and gets steam and lots of water that bounces off me ~40 min
    • Do you see your chameleon drinking?
      • I have never seen him drink off a leaf. During misting he keeps his mouth closed. As soon as it’s over he’ll open his mouth to “smack his lips” and drink. So I’ll sometimes spray, wait for him to do that, then spray again. I’ll spray water in his mouth directly if there’s ever a chance.
    • Other
      • Sometimes I use a reptile conditioner but I haven't been consistent about it. I bought this huge reverse osmosis filter system, only to find out that there is no way to install it in my apartment. So I just ended up using normal water. And I worry sometimes because the water is kind of hard and leaves residue on the glass of the cage sometimes. I read online that it's not too much of a problem but I'm not sure.
  • Fecal Description
    • Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings.
      • Miles has always passed first white watery dropping(s), and next dark brown or black dropping(s). It has been a few days since I've seen anything from him. Usually he loves to poop on me… or do it on the floor…. Loves doing it outside his cage. But he does it there too.
      • I haven't seen droppings in a few days
    • Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
      • No
  • History
    • Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
      • He’s had no signs of health problems except recently.
      • I had a similar scare to the current one several weeks ago. He was hanging out a lot at the bottom of the cage and I found him laying on the floor one morning (on his belly, not his side). Every day regardless of where he’s slept, heads to the top of the cage, where the sun comes through the window in the morning. So I was quite concerned to see him down there. I also realized that I hadn’t seen him poop and maybe he was constipated or dehydrated and looking for water, so I basically soaked him with water all day by hand. He did see him poop (can’t remember if it was that day or the next day), and the black one looked really big and painful to pass. In fact they were both big/a lot.
      • He fell off something pretty high about 1-2 weeks ago, onto hardwood floor. I have a room divider about 5 feet up that he likes to walk on top of and sit on; I usually have some type of towel or pillow but I’d had guests and was doing all the laundry and never put it back. Well he got a bit playful and frisky and for some reason enjoys walking backwards lately… well he lost his grip and fell right on the floor (belly/feet down). He didn’t seem injured at first but at certain times would let one arm rest. I didn’t think much of it because he does this all the time when his other feet have a good grip. By the time it occurred to me to check if it was the same hand every time, he wasn’t really doing it anymore. So I don’t think he’s injured but I’m willing to entertain it as a possibility. His free range tree is in a carpeted room.


Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
  • This morning, Miles was laying on the bottom of the cage ON HIS SIDE. I don’t need to tell you how bad that is.
  • A few weeks ago in the morning he was laying on the floor on his belly.
  • Both times, he chose to sleep on sticks closer to the bottom of the cage the night before.
  • When I picked him up off his side, he was lethargic but alert at the same time. He let me pick him up and didn’t hiss, but his body tensed up and his grip was mighty (encouraging). His eyes were functioning as normal. He stayed in my hand all morning. After a while he seemed more like himself and stretched out a bit, moved his feet to different positions, and wanted to walk around. I let him walk on my hands for a bit and he’s back in his cage now (because typing this one-handed was getting ridiculous).
  • I sprayed him with lots of water and saw him gulp a bit. He walked around up there a bit and he’s under his basking lamp now and seems perfectly normal.
  • NOTE: I assumed the previous problem was because of dehydration, so I’ve been watering him way more than before the past weeks. Doing a lot more by hand since it seemed he was avoiding the sprayer. So I’m not really sure if that’s the issue this time. He was so excited about the crickets, he ate tons; maybe he ate too much or there’s something wrong with them?

Vet situation:
  • Because of Covid I’m having serious issues finding a vet today. Even the hospitals that care for reptiles keep telling me they don’t have reptile docs on site today or anytime soon. I found a place that supposedly has someone on for a short time at 3pm today, so I plan to bring him into urgent care for that doc.
 

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bombadillo2

Member
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type -
    • Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?)
      • Combination. Majority glass. Screen on top. I have 2 small fans on top circulating air, and an additional fan for extra warm days.
      • The screen is a looser grate than traditional cages
    • What are the dimensions?
      • 24Lx18Dx36H
    • I realize he should probably be upgraded but I’m not a fan of the screen cages because of nails, so I’ll have to build my own. TBH it’s been a rough year (not just 2020 but the whole last year). I’ve moved a few times, lost my job because of Covid, got a new job, and just haven't had the time or money to get tools and build a new cage for him yet. I try to give him an hour or two free range each day, or when he’s in the mood.
    • I do have soil on the bottom of the cage and a few of the plants are growing out of that. There are no pieces of substrate; it’s an earthworm compost on the top, and the drainage is very far down. Most of the soil substrate is also covered by vines and leaves at this point, from the pothos, so he doesn’t have too much direct contact with it.
      I have a clean-up crew of springtails and they’ve been awesome (They eat his poop!); some other little bugs have grown (found some microscopic snails in one spot and find some earthworms occasionally). He does not spend much time down there except when he’s exploring, and always ends up back top. I’m next to him and peeking in on him almost the entire day and he’s only down there when he’s looking to get out; when he’s looking to get out I usually open the cage and let him out.
      • Until now. He has now laid on the soil 2x over the past few weeks.
  • Lighting
    • What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using?
      • Arcadia 12% UVB D3 Reptile Lamp. 15W, 18 inches
    • What is your daily lighting schedule?
      • Timer goes on at 7:30 I think
      • Goes off at 8:20 pm
      • I will probably adjust it once daylight savings hits
  • Temperature
    • What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
      • During day
        • Basking spot is 85-92
        • Floor is 75-79
        • There are some fluctuations based on weather, as I don’t have A/C.
      • At night
        • I’m actually not sure. I haven’t checked this too often. In summer it’s around 70 and in winter closer to 65 I’d say. I don’t have a thermometer saying what the coldest temp was (I used to but it was having some issues so I ended up getting these simpler ones that stick to the glass and just show current temp and humidity).
  • Humidity
    • What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
      • 40-55% in his normal spots up top (increases during misting then goes back)
      • Around 70-80% at the bottom of the cage
      • Have a reptile thermometer that shows temp and humidity (one at top, one at bottom)
  • Plants
    • Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
      • Live pothos (on a stand, so plant is at top of the cage, and vines/leaves have kind of filled the cage)
      • Live fern (small and at the bottom)
      • Small dracaena
      • All plants are from a chameleon-approved list
  • Placement
    • Where is your cage located?
      • In second bedroom/office
      • Back of cage is 70% in front of a window and 30% wall (side-to-side, only the top half; bottom half is wall. His heat lamp is at the top, but he loves the natural sunlight and will bask there in the mornings.
    • Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas?
      • No. I do sit here to work most of the day but there is not a lot of movement from me and the plants usually obscure me from the side.
    • At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
      • Bottom of the cage sits over 2 feet off the floor, top of cage is over 5 feet up.
  • Location
    • Where are you geographically located?
      • San Francisco Bay Area, South
      • I used to live in San Francisco which is overall more humid and a cooler climate. But it’s been almost a year since I’ve been in the current drier climate (1 hour south).
      • It has been extremely hot this year (over 100 outside probably 10 times). However because of Covid I’ve been at home so I’ve been able to make sure my cham is staying cool by spraying him more, letting him hang on his free range on the hotter days, and I have fans. On the hot days, I literally turn my apt into a dark cave and it is hot but not insane. I don’t have thermometers in my apartment, only in the terrarium.
      • The floor is nice and cool and damp, so it occurred to me that he just wanted to cool off during this hot weather. But on his side? I don't think so.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
You said..."I sprayed him with lots of water and saw him gulp a bit"...and..."I’ll spray water in his mouth directly if there’s ever a chance". Don't spray the water in his face or mouth...he might aspirate it. Do you use a dripper?

Does the sun shine on the cage through the window? It won't give him any UVB if it does but I'm concerned about it heating the cage up too much....especially on hot days.

I don't like that he's laying on his side. IMHO it's not a good sign.
 
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bbyoda

Avid Member
If he poops soon, grab it in a plastic baggie and put it in the fridge - and get it tested for parasites. If you made it to the vet and they know you and the chameleon now you might be able to just drop it off for a test.

How'd the appointment go? Keep us posted.
 

bombadillo2

Member
I'm not sure how to edit my original post anymore, but UPDATE:

I was able to get him to a vet today! She said he looks prefectly healthy all around but did seem a bit full. She was able to get some poop coming and didn't see any parasites or eggs or anything wrong with it under a microscope. I gave him a long shower today and I think he went again (I looked away and when I looked back he was in the "stance" with a tiny white string of residue) -- since the shower was going (not directly on him - hitting the wall), it would have washed down. But I'm pretty sure he went and is doing better for it.
 

bombadillo2

Member
If he poops soon, grab it in a plastic baggie and put it in the fridge - and get it tested for parasites. If you made it to the vet and they know you and the chameleon now you might be able to just drop it off for a test.

How'd the appointment go? Keep us posted.
Thanks! Responded above. No parasites :) Probably was constipated from all the crickets o_Oo_O
 
I'm certainly no expert here but I read ALOT. You say you haven't seen him poo in a couple days and in the picture above I noticed a lump on his back at base of tail. I know in other species and possibly chams too, this is a sign of impaction which can put pressure on the spine and cause paralysis. Again, I'm just throwing out my 2 cents. Any experts feel free to chime in, as always. Well wishes to your dude?
 
I'm not sure how to edit my original post anymore, but UPDATE:

I was able to get him to a vet today! She said he looks prefectly healthy all around but did seem a bit full. She was able to get some poop coming and didn't see any parasites or eggs or anything wrong with it under a microscope. I gave him a long shower today and I think he went again (I looked away and when I looked back he was in the "stance" with a tiny white string of residue) -- since the shower was going (not directly on him - hitting the wall), it would have washed down. But I'm pretty sure he went and is doing better for it.
Good to hear! I was just posting a response while you were updating?
 

bombadillo2

Member
You said..."I sprayed him with lots of water and saw him gulp a bit"...and..."I’ll spray water in his mouth directly if there’s ever a chance". Don't spray the water in his face or mouth...he might aspirate it. Do you use a dripper?

Does the sun shine on the cage through the window? It won't give him any UVB if it does but I'm concerned about it heating the cage up too much....especially on hot days.

I don't like that he's laying on his side. IMHO it's not a good sign.
Thank you! Yes I also use a dripper, the time I spray in his mouth is if I am already spraying him and he opens it (territorially), but I'll stop doing that.

The sun shines on the cage for about 2 hours then passes overhead. Since I work in the same spot, sometimes I close the blinds before that time is up too because it can get annoying. He does have a UVB bulb.

I was able to get him to the vet and it seems he was probably constipated. I hadn't seen him go in a few days, and there was nothing wrong with his poop under the scope (she encouraged it out... poor guy!). She said he looks otherwise healthy, just looked a bit full. I'm keeping him hydrated and keeping my eye on him!
 

bombadillo2

Member
I'm certainly no expert here but I read ALOT. You say you haven't seen him poo in a couple days and in the picture above I noticed a lump on his back at base of tail. I know in other species and possibly chams too, this is a sign of impaction which can put pressure on the spine and cause paralysis. Again, I'm just throwing out my 2 cents. Any experts feel free to chime in, as always. Well wishes to your dude?
THANK YOU. I will look more into this. He seems to have a few lumps along the spine that I noticed today. Will study up on it.
 
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