Nasty fall


New Member
Hello everyone. I've only posted here very few times. Mostly I will lurk and read what's going on in the lives of others and their chameleons, rarely every posting.

Last night, my veiled chameleon Toby decided he could fly. Literally. I've had him for over a year now. I'm not sure his age when I got him. He was still a small baby though. He's never done anything like this before. Normally he does enjoy coming out and walking around, but yesterday afternoon he leapt from my arm at open air and landed on his back.

After the ordeal he turned dark, closed both his eyes and was laying sideways. His right back leg was clamped onto his front leg. His left front leg was limp. He was gasping with his mouth. I thought he had broken his back and was dying. I called his vet and we drove him up there right away. This all happened at the worst time: rush hour. We got to the vet's office in about 15 minutes. Thanks to my dad's speeding when he got the chance. The only way I knew he was still alive was he would clamp onto my finger with his left back leg. He was also doing this thing with his tongue. He would open his mouth and insert it straight into the air, then retract it back. It would be hanging a little bit out of his mouth afterwards though.

Got to the vet and they took him in right away. The vet took him and he finally retracted his tongue completely in his mouth. The vet told me he was going to give him an anti-inflammatory injection and some fluids. They gave him the shot through his tail vein. The doctor then put him in an incubator for awhile and he came and got me so I can sit with him.

He looked like he did a 180. He was sitting on a towel on all four legs. Both eyes where open and alert. He was a nice green color. The only thing he was doing was opening and closing his mouth in a drinking fashion. Soon after the doctor put a branch in the incubator for him and he climbed up. Slowly and kinda wobbly, but on his own. He did take some water from the vet.

I took him home awhile later and put him in his cage. He moved around a bit, but appeared to be disoriented. I finally got him to go to sleep. We were scared he was going to fall in the night, so I shoved a bunch of towels under him on vines. He did ok during the night. The only thing that bothered me was he kept opening his mouth. Usually chameleons do that when they are warm. So I got the temperature down a bit to about 78. Throughout the night I kept checking in on him. By morning he had slipped a bit off the vine and had his back end resting on one of the towels. Glad I did that now.

After I got ready for work about 5:30 AM, I woke him up and removed the towels. Put food in his dish and offered it to him. He wouldn't eat. That always scares me. So I sat on my bed for awhile with him, and he walked slowly over to the front of the cage and climbed on my hand. I sat with him for awhile. He did climb around a bit, but extremely slowly and still a bit unstable. I decided to stay home today, incase something happened. I'd rather take him ASAP, instead of waiting until I get off work.

The morning thus far has been alright. He's still doing that thing with his tongue. Where he opens his mouth and does a licking of sorts. I offer him water. He doesn't want it. I'm afraid to mist him. He usually freaks out and runs away. I don't need that. He also keeps opening his mouth, like he's hot, but its about 85 where he's sitting. He's also stayed fairly still most of the morning. Sitting under his basking light, moving away from it, and wander over to the front of the cage. Never climbing down. Just staying up high. He also seems like when he reaches for a vine he is over reaching or under reaching. I have to help him find it with his front feet or eventually he'll grab it after stumbling for it.

Anyone have any suggestions? Advice? I need to call his vet in a bit and update him on the situation. I'm just glad my baby is still with me.

Note: I believe the doctor also gave him a steroid, but don't quote me on it.

EDIT: After reading through some of the forum's threads about falling, Toby's crickets do get dusted twice a week with a calcium power and multi-vit. both Rep-Cal brand. The vet has taken X-rays of him before (back when he was constipated) and showed no issues with his bone developement.
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Wow, sounds like your chameleon had quite the ordeal. Did the vet give him an x-ray to check for broken bones? It could be he is still in shock.. or a reaction to the medications that he was given. Honestly, though, his behavior would worry me. Can you run him back in for a recheck? About the water.. you might want to ask the vet for a bag of fluids and give it to him under his skin. That is more important than the food right now, and will be the only way that he is able to flush some of the medications out of his system.

It really sounds like you are doing good by Toby. Please keep us up to date.

No, no x-ray yet. I will call the vet once my fiancee gets off work and I'll recommend your suggestions to the vet and see what he says. To be honest I really wanted him to take x-rays last night. Hopefully, he will today to make sure everything is on the up and up. I'd rather be safe then sorry.

A little side note though, Toby is now doing laps in his cage, so I think that's good news. He also came out for a bit and climbed on my shoulder....with my hand right behind him, cause now I'm all paranoid.
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I'd always wondered if Fractal will do that with me, the adventurer/escapist that he is. Now, I know he will and I must always be on guard. I hope your baby comes out of this all right. I'll be watching the progress of this thread and praying for him.
Sorry to hear what has happened to your chameleon. I hope he will recover!

The mouth opening may not be to do with the heat like it might normally could have to do with the fall.

Normally when a chameleon "leaps" off something, it will splay its legs and inflate its body to cushion the sounds like your chameleon didn't land normally so these safety "features" wouldn't have done him any good so the fall was harder on him.

I would talk to the vet again if he continues to not act normally.
Update on Toby:

He ate three crickets this afternoon. Funny cause I was going out to buy him some wax worms as a treat and somemore crickets. So that's good news. I'll have to see if he eats normally in the morning. I did break down and misted him. He sat there and was calm through the whole

I also called the vet and updated him on the situation. He recommended not stressing him out anymore if he's eating and getting around. Tomorrow he has to go back and the vet wants to give him more fluids. He has no clue whats causing the open mouth issue. I'm stumped as well. The vet said perhaps a side effect to the injection.

I also went out and bought him a small plastic cat carrier. I was getting tired and nervous about carrying him to the vet's office. He has a terrible fear of dogs. We have a very calm pug/something mix who doesn't go near him and could care less about him, but Toby gets nervous around him turns dark and leans away from him. I figure I'll pad the bottom of it with soft material and place some extra vines in there. How do other people on the forums transport their chameleons?
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Glad to hear he is doing better, that is great news!

How do other people on the forums transport their chameleons?

I use a cardboard box with a stick wedged in it. I close the top and put a small piece of tape to keep the flaps closed. Darkness tends to keep them calm.

This may or may not be a big deal, but when Toby sleeps he always curls his tail up. Since the fall his tail has been straight while sleeping. His tail seems fine. He used it often today while in and out of his cage.

Also the mouth thing has seemed to have gone away tonight. He's sleeping...and his mouth is closed.
Boy! It's early to say you've escaped serious problems, but it's starting to look possible! This is a scary story, and I really admire your commitment to this critter. Good luck! :D
We went back to the vet's this afternoon for a check up. Good news....he's fine.

He was eating the stray crickets in his cage from this morning.

Me = relieved.
Toby is killing my stress level.

Now he's on this phase where he won't eat. Its been two days going on three. Other then that he appears fine. Active, alert, nice color...wanting out....

I hate taking him back and forth to the vet. I think that stresses him beyond belief. Lucky for me he has always been kinda chubby, so its not like he's wasting away. I'm just not sure what to do. Are those appetite stimulator drops a good idea?

/me sighs
If you think he is a little chubby I think you can wait a bit. Maybe try some other feeder than he is used to.
I would avoid the appetitie stimulator drops. Is he drinking alright? If so, I would give it a couple more days before running him back to the vet. You might want to go ahead and order some emergency liquid food, though, in case you have to force feed him for a while. It could be a reaction to the medications he is on, or just the stress of the events. A good force feeding powder is available from Fluker's: I have seen it for sale at PetCo, if you have one in your town. I have had good success with this product.


You might want to invest in a low cost gram scale to track his weight. If he doesn't loose 10% of his weight then lack of food isn't much to be concerned about yet. If he looses more than 10% of his weight then you need to put together a plan to turn things around before he looses another 10%...

Example scale: ON SALE for $10

Retail store locations:

I bought 3-4 of these last year just to make sure that my friends had a chance to get one. They are perfectly fine for weighing our babies up to our adults. Its 0.1 gram resolution is fine for most newborns that often weigh-in at 0.5 gram and adults that often weigh 200-300 grams. This leaves enough excess headroom to use a lightweight container to place your critter into for weighing. I've been plotting the weight of my critters for years and it comes in handy when you're trying to figure out if something is wrong etc.
sounded like your cham knocked the wind outa him when he hit the ground thats prolly why he was doing the drinking thing lol anyone here can remember knocking the wind outa themselfs its like trying to drink the air ahah but i am glad to hear your cham is doing fine that post of yours really had me going i though at the end you were gona say he died but he DIDNT! so thats awsome and hope everything goes well with him and good luck
UPDATE (I really should have done so sooner):


Showing off a bit.

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