New Chameleon - At what point do we worry?

Brooke07

New Member
Hi everyone!

We are new chameleon owners here. We’ve had male juvenile, veiled chameleon for about a week now. In the week he’s been with us, I’ve only seen him eat maybe 3-4 crickets and about 4 worms in total. I’ve only seen him drink a few times, but he always opens his mouth when the misters are on.He doesn’t move around his enclosure much, tends to stay in the top back corner, and the last few days he just lays on his branch and usually lets one or two of his arms hang off.

I’ve done SO much reading and I understand it’s common for chameleons to take a while to adjust to their new environments, but at what point do we need to worry or take him to the vet?

A little about his setup: he has a 2.5’ screen enclosure, ficus trees, a mister system that goes off every 3 hours, and his temp at the top of the enclosure is always at about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. His UVB and daytime lamp are on for about 12 hours during the day and then at night just one UVB bulb for warmth (his enclosure was getting too cold without it). We’ve been gutloading his crickets and sprinkling both the crickets and mealworms in calcium, but he never seems to want to eat. He gets very dark and stressed whenever we’re near his enclosure so we’re trying to respect his space and give him time to acclimate.

Any suggestions/words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome! :) It does take some time for them to adjust to their new home...usually a couple of days. From the info you’ve given, I do see a couple of things that you need to change.
90* is too hot...aim for 80* basking temp. At night it is perfectly fine and actually suggested to have temps drop down. Unless it’s getting below 60*, you don’t need any night time heat. Absolutely no lights on at night. If you do need to provide night time heat, use a ceramic heat emitter bulb.
Mealworms aren’t recommended for chameleons. I’m attaching the feeder and gutloading sheets for you. Use the foods off the gutloading sheet to feed your feeders...healthy buggies = more nutrition for your little guy.
Since there’s a great deal of misinformation out there and the majority of pet stores give bad advice for chameleons, if you’d like a review of all your husbandry, just fill out the questions here https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/how-to-ask-for-help.66/ and someone can make sure everything is just right. :)
The best source of accurate and up to date chameleons keeping is here https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
The whole website is absolutely full of info. Another great source for accurate info is Neptune the chameleon on YouTube.
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Brooke07

New Member
Thank you so much!

So all of this advice was given to us by a local reptile store owner. My assumption was since she seemed to be doing a pretty good keeping hers alive and happy, she must know what she’s doing! Or we’ll at least more than us lol. She told us that the top third of the cage needed to be 90, middle 80, and bottom 70 so that he can thermoregulate. Since he never goes to the bottom, I figured that meant he liked being at the top where it was warm. Our house also does drop below 60 at night so they recommended keeping on the low wattage bulb.

also, I think I misspoke, we fed him superworms, not mealworms. Either way though, he doesn’t seem to want to eat anything we give him :(

I’m definitely going to fill that out! Thank you for the resources! I’ve already found a lot of good information on chameleon academy. It’s just so tough to decipher what to go by with so much information out there ya know
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you so much!

So all of this advice was given to us by a local reptile store owner. My assumption was since she seemed to be doing a pretty good keeping hers alive and happy, she must know what she’s doing! Or we’ll at least more than us lol. She told us that the top third of the cage needed to be 90, middle 80, and bottom 70 so that he can thermoregulate. Since he never goes to the bottom, I figured that meant he liked being at the top where it was warm. Our house also does drop below 60 at night so they recommended keeping on the low wattage bulb.

also, I think I misspoke, we fed him superworms, not mealworms

I’m definitely going to fill that out! Thank you for the resources! I’ve already found a lot of good information on chameleon academy. It’s just so tough to decipher what to go by with so much information out there ya know
As we learn more about chameleons, their natural habitat and what has worked best in keeping them the husbandry evolves. To my knowledge, it is a somewhat newer idea to keep them cooler than was previously thought.
If there are lights on at night, they don’t sleep well at all.
 

Brooke07

New Member
As we learn more about chameleons, their natural habitat and what has worked best in keeping them the husbandry evolves. To my knowledge, it is a somewhat newer idea to keep them cooler than was previously thought.
If there are lights on at night, they don’t sleep well at all.

Ahhh gotcha, I’ll do some more reading on that! I’ll try turning his light off at night and see how he does! It’s the black light heat bulb for night time, so it’s pretty dim. But maybe he will do better without it, thank you for your help
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
If you have a UVB light on at night no matter how dim it is you may be putting him in a position of getting too much exposure to UVB because when they are sleeping they won't bother moving in and out of it like they should when they're awake.,,just a thought.
 
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