My little guy passed away yesterday out of nowhere!

Rango Jr.

New Member
So I got Rango about a month ago, I got him from a reptile store who has has good and bad reviews. The breeder there said he was 3 months old, which sounded right since he was about 4 inches long. I got him the medium ZooMed Reptile cage, the netting, and it is 16x16x30. Pretty good sized compared to him. It was the whole chameleon kit, so it came with the lamp, vines, foliage, the calcium, the droplet sample for the water, and a thermometer. The lamp is a ZooMed Tropical UVB and Heat Lighting kit, which came with bulbs. I had those one from about 8am to 7 or 8 pm. I got him a actual fountain for his water the make it sound more like nature and because they require moving water. And I would spray his enclosure 5-6 times a day for about a min or a min and a half each time.

He has been eating and drinking great since we got him. Last week he ate from my hand for the first time, so he was slowly getting adjusted. We would handle him maybe once a week when cleaning the enclosure, and he always acted like a normal chameleon, tried to avoid you and get away somewhere where you can't mess with him, which is cool. But when it comes to cleaning, it has to happen so he was kinda forced to. But he instantly started crawling around and turned bright green, checking everything out. I never noticed any sign of stress, just this past week was when he was finally willing to let us handle him.

So from all the research I've done today, it can't be dehydration, starving, or stress. Which makes me think of one thing, infection. The last time he ate was a couple days ago. I thought he was about to enter his shedding phase. We had bought these new crickets from the same store we got him from just last friday. Last time he ate was Tuesday of this week, but he was still drinking water and bright green. He was completely fine last night, acting normal. Basking, avoiding me when I sprayed because he didn't want to be bothered, but still went to drink off the foliage as soon as I closed the enclosure. Then went to his spot he goes to every night to sleep, which is one of the vines that's pretty much directly in the center of the enclosure.

This morning comes, my wife wakes me up and says that he fell. I asked from where, she said he was on the side of the enclosure where there is nothing at, hanging from the netting. So she picked him up and held him while I did research. Btw, when he fell, he was a darker color, but when she picked him up he instantly turned bright green and tried moving every now and then. Then she eventually put him back at the bottom of his enclosure by his fountain but he just laid there and turned back to a darker color. Me, starting to panic and get upset because I couldn't find the problem, went to pick him up again. Once again, turned bright green and tried moving around a little bit. It seem like his body was trying to shut down with no warning, all at once, but he was fighting it. Held him for a little while, put him back and he did the same thing. Just laid there, didn't move a muscle, and turned a dark color. So I picked him up again and he did the same thing, turned bright green and tried to move a bit. I tried giving him water from a syringe, which he took. But then, after he swallowed that last sip, he just laid in the palm of my hand and looked around, then looked at me and that was it. He slowly starting turning black with his mouth slightly open, with both eyes open.

From the research I did, they're pet stores who will handle sick animals without gloves and continue to handle other animals and their feeders. That's the only thing I've come up with, unless it was the fall. But it wasn't even a 2 ft fall. If I could get someone's opinion on this, that would be great.
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Avid Member
do you have a picture of his enclosure ? one thing I would say is water fountains are not really recommended for chameleon enclosures , they harbor bacteria and run away feeders sometimes drown in them making the water dirty and chameleons also poop on the water fall sometimes . the other thing would say is the dual bulb fixture the kit comes with is pretty terrible ... if you can please fill this out maybe some one will have more answers .(and post pics of his enclosure )

  • 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?


Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Infections, be they bacterial, viral, or parasites can come on quickly. And while I know you’re probably feeling terrible right now, it is important to note that fountains, waterfalls, etc. are almost always a bad idea for chameleons, and can make a small problem into a very big one very quickly. Bacteria and parasites can enter the water from many sources, and a recirculating system will basically be a breeding ground for them. If your Cham drinks from it, he can get sick very quickly. Worse still, chameleons love to defecate in running water, and if he had a small parasite or bacterial load, then pooped in the fountain, then drank, he’d be reinfecting himself.
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