New chameleon owner- sick veiled chameleon


New Member
hello all,

My chameleon is about 1 year old and I have had him for about 5 wks. I got him at petsmart. I keep him in a 3' tall 2' round screened vivarium. he has a solor glo bulb with a cup of water hanging from it for humidity. He has greenery secured up and down and decorative branches to climb on. I feed him crickets, mealworms, and wax worms. He drinks readily when I put the spray bottle to his mouth. I dust his food with a reptile vitamin. I am also trying to get him interested in cockroaches.

Heres what he is doing-
1) a couple times i looked in his viv and he was hanging upside down by his back feet. I didn't think much of it.
2) he has started searching for things to grab onto with his R. front leg and ends up grabbing his head instead.
3) He doesn't want to climb, and can't climb very well. After a while he loses his grip and falls. or he can't find the branches with his R. front foot. Just his face.
4) His left front leg seemed fine until yesterday. My sister in law said he fell in his 3' tall viv. Now He would only reach behind himself trying to find something to grab. Not up, even if he could clearly see what was in front of him.
5) his anatomy doesnt look quite right on close exam. I am worried he dislocated his L. elbow falling. Also his bones on his front legs- the forearm section almost seem bowed. Like he has had MBD?

I have moved him to a 10 gallon aquarium whith nothing to climb so he cant hurt himself. I am getting it up to 90 degrees and misting frequently. He actually ate a cricket while grasping his face with his R. foot. His color is good and green. he has a strong grip with all feet, eats, drinks. He is very alert moving his eyes, looking at everything.

Can anyone please please help me?

My personal e-mail is [email protected]

I have 2 bearded dragons that do quite well. I know chameleons are more advanced than beardies.:confused:
he has a solor glo bulb with a cup of water hanging from it for humidity. I feed him crickets, mealworms, and wax worms. He drinks readily when I put the spray bottle to his mouth. I dust his food with a reptile vitamin. I have moved him to a 10 gallon aquarium whith nothing to climb so he cant hurt himself. I am getting it up to 90 degrees and misting frequently.

This light isn't going to produce the proper type of UVB radiation chams require. In addition to heat you need to provide them with a UV generating bulb such as a linear ReptiSun 5.0. Without it they can't generate the vit D3 and metabolize the calcium in the diet...and end up with MBD. What is the "reptile vitamin" you are using? Be specific as to brands and the schedule. Are you also dusting the feeders with calcium? You need to do both on this schedule...calcium without D3 every other feeding, with D3 about once a week, dusting with a herp vitamin (Herptivite is good) about once a month to 6 weeks.

Upping the temp won't help if he has a nutritional deficiency, it may just overheat and dehydrate him. He may get more stressed in the aquarium without anything to climb on. Better to leave him in his other cage and put some dense potted plants under the climbing perches or something soft like towels in the bottom to cushion a fall.
The 10 gallon tank I just moved him to has a 10.0 UVB bulb. I can't remeber the brand. I'm surprised to hear that the soloar glo bulbs don't have UVB. I have bought a powersun bulb, but havent received it yet. I should specify that the 10 gallon tank has greenery in the bottom that he is able to hide in and keep himself out of the light.

I can't remeber the name of the dust I am using. I was at the local pet stores yesterday looking for a dust with calcium only. I found a spray and bought that. I know that the dust has calcium in it. I'm sorry I'm at work right now, so I cant check.

Could he develop MBD in 30 days, or do you think this was pre existing from his year at the pet store?
there is a reptile vet in Beaverton that I have been to before. I'm going to call my other 24 hour vet and see if they have anyone there that would feel comfortable seeing or treating him.
The solar glo bulb I use is a mercury vapor bulb- My understanding is It is not just a basking bulb. its a $40 bulb.

heres what the manufacturer says about it-

* Professional series multipurpose lamp for reptile habitats
* Streamlines reptile care by providing heat and functional light
* Full-spectrum reptile light emits optimal levels of UVA and UVB

3-in-1 lamp simulates natural sunlight to streamline reptile care. Exo Terra Solar Glo Mercury Vapor Lamp does the job of three lamps providing optimal levels of UV light (including UVA and UVB), visual light and infrared light (heat). Full spectrum Solar Glo provides the benefits of natural sunlight, featuring carefully tuned peaks to ensure reptile appetite, activity, brilliant colors, and calcium absorption through Vitamin D3 production. The Exo Terra Solar Glo is also recommended when very high UVB intensity is required, such as breeding programs and for reptiles recovering from metabolic bone disease. Solar Glo Designed For
125 Watt Medium to large size terrariums with a minimum height of 30 inches*.
160 Watt Very large terrariums with a minimum height of 48 inches*, room enclosures, walk-in enclosure and for veterinary use.

*If the bulb is to be mounted inside the terrarium, then the minimum height is 48 inches for the 125W and 60 inches for the 160W Solar Glo. Be sure to provide enough space to allow the animal to be a minimum of 12 inches from the bulb's surface. In addition, provide a temperature and UV gradient within the terrarium.

The Exo Terra Solar Glo Lamp is recommended for larger terrariums where reptiles can regulate their exposure. For use in a fixture with a ceramic/porcelain base that is rated for at least the wattage of the lamp. The Solar Glo must be mounted in a vertically oriented fixture so the bulb points straight down and NOT at an angle. Do not use this bulb in conjunction with a dimmer or thermostat.

Please click on "More Information" for installation instructions.
My blog will show you all of this but this is the UVB light you need.

The feeders have to be "lightly" dusted with 3 kinds of supplements. Plain calcium (no d3) at just about every feeding...... if you skip one or two days a month that's ok. Calcium with d3 twice a month and a multi. vit. once a month. In this link I use the 1st, 3rd and 5th one.

Take back the spray and most of the chameleon supplies have to be ordered online. My local pet stores do not carry them.
It would be helpful to post some pics of your chams so we can look at his limbs. Were the limbs curved like that when you purchased him? It takes awhile for MBD to manifest from lack of calcium or improper lighting. Be very careful with keeping him in a 10 gallon tank and how hot it will get in there. You don't want to fry him. I would put him back in the screen cage and lower all the branches and such so that he is not far off the ground in case he falls again or put some towels down to break his fall. Put the cage up on top of something high so he still feels like he is high up. They don't like to be low to the ground. I cannot comment on your lighting because I know nothing about it! Sorry!!!
I guess it is too late. I went home to check on him during my lunch break and he has died. I'm feeling terrible, and hope it wasn't all because of me.
oh that is so sad! I feel bad for you, but you probably shouldnt blame yourself. It sounds as if your chameleon had issues to start with as you had purchased him at a year old. If you decide to get another chameleon choose one of our site sponsors that breed or check the classifieds on here. I would not buy from a petstore again, or atleast that one. Just my opinion. Again, sorry for your loss.
I'm so sorry. It does sound like he came to you with problems. If you decide to try a chameleon again, you might check the board sponsors and the classified section here. Buying from a breeder rather than a pet store will help ensure you get a healthy animal to start with.

By the way, the Solar Glo is a full UVA/UVB bulb. It is not the preferred light of the majority of board members, but it is not a bad bulb.
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