Need some syringe feeding help


New Member
Hi to all -

My 7 year old male veiled "Bubba" has become dehydrated (first time ever for this so it's new to me!) and i have been giving him a few drops of electolyte loaded water at a time via a 3 cc syringe. I put a drop in and he tilts his head way back to swallow. That is what i did last night along with a warm shower and he is already (seemingly) doing better.

Today I also bought a powdered mix of a food supplement to give him but am worried about this syringe feeding thing. I am afraid i am going to accidentally get the food or water down his airway. I have read that the glottis is in the floor of the oral cavity. is it by the tongue? There is an opening at the very back of his throat (he is quite angry at me so his hissing allows me a pretty good view lol) and i was wondering if i should just be putting the food paste at the back of his throat. I have searched everywhere but cant find a picture or instructions on how to syringe feed. I do not have a herp vet in my area.

Can anyone help or offer advice. I read on this site also that collard greens are good for chams so should i try to get some of those down him?

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Retired Moderator
Wow, last year I went through having to syringe feed a 7 year old pardalis, also named Bubba. It was not fun and it took a lot of patience, I'll tell you that. I was also afraid of asphyxiating him so I was just squirting it into his mouth. About half the time he swallowed, half the time he spit it out. Don't know how much that helps but at least I can say I didn't kill him doing it that way.

Most important though, are you sure that he requires force feeding? If he's drinking on his own, I would first try to let him rehydrate on his own. You could certainly provide some leafy greens and see if he eats them, but I wouldn't try forcing it.


New Member
Im goin through rehydrating through a syringe my panther,and rehydrating him in the shower too. But i never heard of syringe feeding.


New Member
I am with hairfarm on this one.. I just squirt in the front of the mouth and wait for the chameleon to swallow before adding more. I have never tried to put it in the back of the mouth.. I think it would be dangerous and risk aspiration. Some of the time, they spit it right back out at you.. but in my experience, a hungry chameleon generally likes the taste of the powders, and will eat it. I had a panther that got into a routine where he would actually open his mouth very compliantly for food.


Established Member
Unfortunately I have had quite a bit of experience in this area.
Like Hairfarm and Heika have already said, never shoot down the throat, let it drip on the tongue/sides of mouth and let the chameleon swallow.

The approach varies from chameleon to chameleon depending on their disposition. In most cases I am on my own so have had to formulate ways to do this by myself. The least stressful scenario is done leaving the cham in the cage. I approach the cham from the front so they see me. I use my left hand to gently pull on the gular with my middle finger and thumb, then i use my index finger to push up on the tip of the nose. I then use my right hand (I am right handed) to drop the food/meds. In most cases this is really successful. When all else fails, I wrap the chameleon in a soft towel to protect them and give me more control. Just be sure to allow the chameleon to swallow themselves, forcing down the throat can cause choking and aspiration.


New Member
thank you!

Thank you all SO much for your help!

I was able to patiently drip a good amount of water into his mouth and he was pretty happy to take it. He would take a drop or two and swallow, then open his mouth just barely for another drop or two. I was VERY happy... :D thinking this is PROGRESS!! I was also able to drop in two calcium covered waxworms which he swallowed. He doesnt seem interested in the crickets that are roaming the enclosure. When i put him back on his favorite branch, he waited until i left the room (what a brat :rolleyes: lol) and then went to the fountain to get a drink. i have filled it with electrolyte fortified water.

Tomorrow i may offer some greens and see how that goes. The reason i know he is dehydrated, is that his eyes are sunken, and he is a bit disoriented at times. He doesnt appear to have any MBD so i am lucky in that respect. i think if i can just take baby steps things will go well.

I hope i am on the right track, but i know it is going to take much patience. I thank you all again for the guidance.
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