My veiled is suddenly very defensive/scared

Justanumber6

New Member
I got him out of a terrible enclosure from a pet shop a little at the beginning of May. In the meantime he's healed up beautifully, dewormed and treated for parasites. He fattened up a bit too so all in all he's doing really well but...
I upgraded his enclosure about three weeks ago and ever since then he's gotten very defensive. He gapes open his mouth and hisses while getting his dark stress colors. I thought it's a new and much bigger enclosure, maybe he just needed some time. But it's been three weeks and his personality changed drastically in such a short time. Does anyone have any idea why? His exactly age is unknown so I think maybe it's puberty? Idk. Any insight is appreciated. I should mention that when I first got him, he was a sweetheart. Unhealthy but still full of energy and he always had a moment where he seemed to want out of the enclosure so I've made him a play tree where he's allowed on under supervision. I had no problem going to him with my hand so he'd walk on me. Now if my hand gets close he's suddenly so scared and defensive and I don't understand the switch..


Temps are good. Has a good hot spot. Uvb light. Lots of live plants and hiding places. Stands on my desk so it's higher up (to make him feel more secure). Enclosure is 4 x 2 x 4, screen. I went to the vet in the beginning and after his treatment he's been declared healthy.
I can show pics or give a more detailed enclosure plan/temps/hymidity etc if necessary.

Thanks 😊
 
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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome. :) Your guy being defensive of his home is completely normal and actually kind of a good thing in a way. When a chameleon is seeming friendly and willingly wanting to come out onto our hands, that usually means they are so unhappy with their enclosure that they’ll even tolerate being handled to escape from being in it. Veileds are also known for their sassiness. While some actually are friendly, the majority want nothing to do with us aside from food. It is a good idea to build up some trust with him though. Here’s a great blog on how to do that. https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/building-trust-with-your-chameleon.2396/
 

Justanumber6

New Member
Hi and welcome. :) Your guy being defensive of his home is completely normal and actually kind of a good thing in a way. When a chameleon is seeming friendly and willingly wanting to come out onto our hands, that usually means they are so unhappy with their enclosure that they’ll even tolerate being handled to escape from being in it. Veileds are also known for their sassiness. While some actually are friendly, the majority want nothing to do with us aside from food. It is a good idea to build up some trust with him though. Here’s a great blog on how to do that. https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/building-trust-with-your-chameleon.2396/
But..that has me worried. He does want out and if I hold out my arm, he'll willingly grab it and climb onto my shoulder onto his play tree. Sometimes he is social, sometimes he isn't. I just don't understand it.
 

Justanumber6

New Member
Some pics of the enclosure. Don't mind the dirt on the bottom. I had some larva about to become moths so I put the containers inside, but mister grumpy here ran them over, lol.
I wanted to post a video so you can see his coloring and health but it won't upload
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Some pics of the enclosure. Don't mind the dirt on the bottom. I had some larva about to become moths so I put the containers inside, but mister grumpy here ran them over, lol.
I wanted to post a video so you can see his coloring and health but it won't upload
Can you do a head shot where the picture is face on looking at the camera?


Are you using a T5HO fixture? If so what is the bulb strength your using and what is the distance to the branches below it?
 

Justanumber6

New Member
Can you do a head shot where the picture is face on looking at the camera?


Are you using a T5HO fixture? If so what is the bulb strength your using and what is the distance to the branches below it?
Yes, I use a T5 fixture. The box recommends 30 cm distance between the animal and the light. I admit my light might be a bit closer. It's 30 cm distance at the right but I have a branch that makes it so he can get closer to the light, at say 20 cm. I could move it if that's too close but he has never sat at that place so I wasn't too worried.

I'll include a face shot but he's probably gonna be mad...
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, I use a T5 fixture. The box recommends 30 cm distance between the animal and the light. I admit my light might be a bit closer. It's 30 cm distance at the right but I have a branch that makes it so he can get closer to the light, at say 20 cm. I could move it if that's too close but he has never sat at that place so I wasn't too worried.

I'll include a face shot but he's probably gonna be mad...
Ok if you can tell me which bulb strength I can give you specifics... The boxes do not account for the screen it has to go through which reduces the output by about 40%.

How often are you feeding him and how much? What feeders are you using? Which supplements are you using and with what rotation?
 

Justanumber6

New Member
Ok if you can tell me which bulb strength I can give you specifics... The boxes do not account for the screen it has to go through which reduces the output by about 40%.

How often are you feeding him and how much? What feeders are you using? Which supplements are you using and with what rotation?
The strength of the bulb is 24 watt and has a 6%uvb output. I'll attach a pic of the uvb light I use. The heat bulb is just a regular reptile heat bulb.

He eats every day, skips a day now and then but usually eats daily. His favorite are locusts and waxworms as treats. I give meal worms as a treat too but rarely. His staple are the locusts. I want to switch it up with crickets but they make so much noise and my mother, who lives with me, isn't a fan of the idea of having cockroaches in the house. I dust his insects twice a week with the calcium powder without vitamine d3. I give repti vitamins once a week.
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
The strength of the bulb is 24 watt and has a 6%uvb output. I'll attach a pic of the uvb light I use. The heat bulb is just a regular reptile heat bulb.

He eats every day, skips a day now and then but usually eats daily. His favorite are locusts and waxworms as treats. I give meal worms as a treat too but rarely. His staple are the locusts. I want to switch it up with crickets but they make so much noise and my mother, who lives with me, isn't a fan of the idea of having cockroaches in the house. I dust his insects twice a week with the calcium powder without vitamine d3. I give repti vitamins once a week.
Ok so with the T5HO fixture and the 6% bulb you want 8-9 inches between the bottom of the fixture sitting on the screen and the branches below it. This will put the cham in an approximate 3 UVI level. You do not want closer because that gets them up in the over exposure range. Farther away and they are in the under exposure range.

Now for feeding. He is now getting plump and we do not want him to become obese. You want to kick him over to an every other day feeding schedule. I would reduce to 3-5 feeders max depending on their size. I would also stop feeding the waxworms since they are all fat. Locusts are fine to feed just make sure they are gutloaded and fed well.

With the supplements you have to use them at all feedings so it balances the phosphorus to calcium level of the feeder. So this would be calcium without D3 at all feedings unless it is a multivitamin day.

Which repti vitamins are you using? can you take a picture for me?
 

Justanumber6

New Member
Ok so with the T5HO fixture and the 6% bulb you want 8-9 inches between the bottom of the fixture sitting on the screen and the branches below it. This will put the cham in an approximate 3 UVI level. You do not want closer because that gets them up in the over exposure range. Farther away and they are in the under exposure range.

Now for feeding. He is now getting plump and we do not want him to become obese. You want to kick him over to an every other day feeding schedule. I would reduce to 3-5 feeders max depending on their size. I would also stop feeding the waxworms since they are all fat. Locusts are fine to feed just make sure they are gutloaded and fed well.

With the supplements you have to use them at all feedings so it balances the phosphorus to calcium level of the feeder. So this would be calcium without D3 at all feedings unless it is a multivitamin day.

Which repti vitamins are you using? can you take a picture for me?
Okay, I'll adjust the distance from the uvb, thank you. The uvb is on one side of the enclosure only though and he can go to the other side where there isn't uvb light. Is that also good or would he still get overexposed if the uv is too close?

I gutload the locusts with all kinds of veggies and greens, some fruit too. He hasn't gotten any waxworm this week since I've also noticed he's gained weight. He was terribly skinny. I'll switch to feeding every other day then. He's a hungry boy though, will hang on the screen door until I open it and feed him or let him out😅

Plus pictures of the vitamins and calcium. Ive googled around and read books but some say dusting feeder insects every feeding is too much and that twice or even once a week is enough, while other people have said every day. It's hard to follow and I wanna make sure I do right by my chameleon.
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Okay, I'll adjust the distance from the uvb, thank you. The uvb is on one side of the enclosure only though and he can go to the other side where there isn't uvb light. Is that also good or would he still get overexposed if the uv is too close?

I gutload the locusts with all kinds of veggies and greens, some fruit too. He hasn't gotten any waxworm this week since I've also noticed he's gained weight. He was terribly skinny. I'll switch to feeding every other day then. He's a hungry boy though, will hang on the screen door until I open it and feed him or let him out😅

Plus pictures of the vitamins and calcium. Ive googled around and read books but some say dusting feeder insects every feeding is too much and that twice or even once a week is enough, while other people have said every day. It's hard to follow and I wanna make sure I do right by my chameleon.

As long as the distance is what I recommended then you are good.

They are bottomless pits when it comes to food. Problem is they become obese very easily when fed too much. This then causes health issues because the fat pushes on their organs and compromises how well the organs function.

With the supplements you will dust your feeders lightly with the calcium without D3 at all feedings except 2 times a month say the 1st and the 15th you will use the Reptivite with D3. You should not use the reptivite more than that and it should be spaced out which is why we say 1st and 15th. :)

There is a lot of incorrect info out there. Ask people here and look at info at this site. https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
 

Justanumber6

New Member
As long as the distance is what I recommended then you are good.

They are bottomless pits when it comes to food. Problem is they become obese very easily when fed too much. This then causes health issues because the fat pushes on their organs and compromises how well the organs function.

With the supplements you will dust your feeders lightly with the calcium without D3 at all feedings except 2 times a month say the 1st and the 15th you will use the Reptivite with D3. You should not use the reptivite more than that and it should be spaced out which is why we say 1st and 15th. :)

There is a lot of incorrect info out there. Ask people here and look at info at this site. https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
I'll definitely watch eat he eats now that he's back to a healthier way. I measured the distance and it was what you suggested aside from the left side which had that higher branch. I moved it down a bit so now it's okay. Thank you for the link and all the information. I'm never too tired to learn more about these awesome animals :)
 
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