New mom paranoia - baby gaping

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hello! I’m a new mom to two baby veileds. My husband and I bought a male and female at Repticon a week and a half ago. I’ve no idea of age, but people have guesstimated 3months or so. I’ve just moved the male into a new enclosure as he seems cool as a cucumber, whereas my girl is quite skiddish. In both cages I’ve noticed him chilling on his branches with his mouth open (within 7-8” of both/either his Reptisun compact 5.0 bulb or heat lamp).

I thought maybe he is overheating, as he will occassionally hang upside down under the lamp and gape. I placed the cheapo thermastat (came with the reptibreeze kit) under his basking spot and uvb bulb and temps are between 77-82ish depending on where. The highest point is more like 85F, but its just wbere the fine bends straight up vertically to the corner mount... and he doesnt really hang there.

The female’s cage is similiarly oriented with exact same cage and lighting, and theyre right next to each other. Her cage has a rather full umbrella tree, whose branches sprout up just below her mid and highest branches. She seems to enjoy dropping down into its leaves occassionally.

The boy’s cage is a bit more sparse with small umbrella plants at the bottom of the cage, just touching his lowest vines. Most vines are very exposed... with a small pothos in the upper right corner. The goodball enjoys laying on top of it like a feather bed, instead of within or under it!

I’m concerned and paranoid anout them both. They both eat well, especially him. He is active, especially in the new cage... almost to the point that I think he wants out. Constantly crawling whereas the girl usually chills. He has been doing this gaping for a few days, or at least thats when I noticed. He otherwise seems healthy. Tonight I had them both free ranging for 15 minutes or so and when i went to put them both back, both of them made a small noise I’ve never heard before... almost like a nasaly noise. Both did it as I put my top hand over them to prevent a fall - so it could have been a fearful noise... but now I’m paranoid about them having an URI.

Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - Two young veileds - age unknown. 1 male 1 female (female is shedding in pics). In my care for 1.5 weeks
  • Handling - Maybe daily... I don’t hold often unless free ranging for a few mins. My husband may be holding thrm daily for a few mins (idk).
  • Feeding - Male really likes Phoenix Works and usually eats 2-3 daily. Female may eat 1-2. Just offered hornworms for first time this week... they’ve eaten 1 every other day (they dont seem impressed). Crickets are their staple ... unsure how many as they hide, but at least 5 each. Cricets are fed orange cubes, apples, oranges... and just offered a crushed piece of dry cat food to them recently. Only dusted with calcium so far. Usually fed sometime between 9-11.
  • Supplements - Exo terra calcium only, so far. Usually daily but sometimes every other day. Got zoo med multi vit samples with the cage and will give that every other friday (offset with d3 every other friday)... but havent given anything but calcium so far.
  • Watering - i mist with a spray bottle for about a minute in the morning before and after work. I do see the girl drink but have not seen him. I bought a dripper which i hate and cant get to drip correctly! So misting and hornworms are the only hydration so far.
  • Fecal Description - no parasite test. Droppings looked normal (wet but firm, brown, white pee thingy... maybe a tiny drop of yellow/orange at the tip of dropping.
  • History - only had them 1.5 weeks. Did give them a free range opportunity in a slightly steamy bathroom once, as I’m not sure my humidity level (but think its probably low)

Cage Info:

  • Cage - two reptibreeze. 30x15x15
  • Lighting - What came with the chameleon kits - small dual dome with a 5.0 compact uvb bulb and a heat bulb. Lights out and cage covered between 6-7pm. Lights on at 7:15.
  • Temperature - the cheap thermometer that came with kit reads between 77-83 on top branch depending on if under hear bulb or closer to uvb. 75ish in middle. Did not measure bottom (theyre asleep now). Not a reliable thermometer but I think 80s is probably accurate. Overnight our house Nest thermometer drops to around 64 degrees. Chams are covered to protect from drafts.
  • Humidity - no idea. Cages are full mesh, but I just added plastic to one side tonight to help with humidity and to keep them from seeing each other. I have several live plants and a crappy plastic vine that I spray 2x a day.
  • Plants - girl has a large umbrella tree and a cheap plastic vine in corner. Boy has two small umbrella trees, a very small pothos, and the same plastic vine in corner.
  • Placement - second floor next to staircase (possible drafts from front door?). There is a vent about 4’ away and 3’ higher (our second floor has sloped walls). The too of the cages are about 1-3’ from ceiling due to the slope.
  • location - baltimore maryland usa

Current Problem - Gaping a lot. No other signs of distress although they both did make a weird noise tonight (i think I scared them when handling). Paranoid new mom thinks everything is a warning sign :)

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snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Pics of him tonight to show gaping. This was close to bedtime so I think a few pics are him tucking himself in.
 

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snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh! I did see him do something else weird today.. he looked like he was pooping but it was just a little yellowish clear liquid... then he like wiped his but on his vine a few times. Do they just pee occassionally or should it be both pee and poop each time?

Also, should i just be misting the cage itself, or them too? I always spray them as she is shedding and still has some flakes stuck to her, and I thought they need it for eye maintenance?
 

KamaKamaChameleon!

Avid Member
First of all their age looks are 4-5 months
Don't handle them so much especially when their adjusting to their new home
Crickets are good staple hornworms are good for treats as well waxworms. Try adding more things like roaches waxworm only used for treats and silkworms my cham favorite. I don't recommend cat food most time but make sure all the ingredients are safe for the chams.
Okay this where most people mess up, I mix my calcium with the vitamins making sure its equal amounts to not overdose one over the other make sure their same kind, for example, don't put d3 calcium with no d3 vitamins. Do the calcium and vitamins without d3 every feeding. Do the calcium and vitamins with d3 every 2 weeks.
Are one of you home most time cause you need to water you chameleon at least 4 times for 2 minutes every day. If not I recommend getting a fogger I have the ReptiFogger from Zoo Med that goes on all day and fills it up again when needed.
While this may sound silly to most people looking at their poop is very important for what I hear it sounds good the white and yellow things you were talking about are the urates.
as I have do something rn i shall be back to write more my timing is h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
So they should get multi vit everyday with calcium? I thought I read somewhere that they needed that every other week or else they’d OD on other nutrients. Havent gotten d3 yet but already have seperate dust bins for it when i do - so we dont mix them up.

How much handling is the right amount? I dont necessarily want to cuddle them, but I do want them to be comfortable with me. The boy is pretty mellow but Clarice is a little skiddish.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
My husband is home and can mist again. Whats the trick for the foggers and mist? I have a feeling I will soon be reuining the furniture nearby due to overspray. A fogger/mister would definitely make a mess!
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
calcium (without D3 or phosphorus) at nearly every feeding, multivitamin once every 2 weeks, and calcium with D3 once every 2 weeks. Most chams have problems from over supplementing, not under, so your instincts are correct.

Your lighting sucks. Sorry you got tricked. A cfl 5.0 is going to be worthless past 6" away. Till you get proper lighting you will need to supplement with D3 id say twice a week. They are very fast growers when they are young. Look into getting a linear bulb that goes accross the top of the cage. This can be a zoomed T8 10.0, or a t5ho 5.0, or an arcadia t5ho 6%.

As for your dripper problem, i solved my problem by filling the dripper with ice instead of water. The ice melts over time, so you can get several hours of dripping depending on how you insulate the cup etc.

As far as handling, never put your hand in the cage. If you open the door and they walk to you, feel free to handle for a few minutes. If you can open the door and have them walk on a stick or a vine, the same applies. Most chams are cage aggressive/skittish since that is their tree, not yours. You can also lure them out with a cup of bugs or bugs on tongs.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ugh. I am wishing we did not get them yet... I wanted to wait and build our own cage but it was a spur of the moment thing. Boy do I wish we waited - I’ve spent enough on cages and bulbs and drippers and they all suck! I more or less need to replace it all.
 

KamaKamaChameleon!

Avid Member
Your caging seems to be fine but the average is 4 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet
Your light suck use a 5.0 LONG compacts suck until the older use a 10.0 I use Zoo Med heating lamp 75w
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So they should get multi vit everyday with calcium? I thought I read somewhere that they needed that every other week or else they’d OD on other nutrients. Havent gotten d3 yet but already have seperate dust bins for it when i do - so we dont mix them up.

How much handling is the right amount? I don't necessarily want to cuddle them, but I do want them to be comfortable with me. The boy is pretty mellow but Clarice is a little skiddish.
won't make a mess cause there is a stream of mist in one like just put bowl that can catch it.
Have you seen any other discoloration around their mouth that could be signs of mouth rot if so get to a vet ASAP if not he just might being thermoregulating themselves
I can give pictures tomorrow since my bud is asleep at the moment. The last thing I recommend is getting a therm like this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001NOGK7Y/ref=ox_sc_act_image_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks for the advice! I do plan to still build them custom (larger) cages in a few more months - but was hoping I wouldnt need a mister or upgraded lighting until then. What does everyone use as a light fixture for the long bulbs? Since both cages are together the width is about 30”... Should i get a full 30” or do they need an area without to regulate (my understanding is they move down or to shade)?
 

KamaKamaChameleon!

Avid Member
Thanks for the advice! I do plan to still build them custom (larger) cages in a few more months - but was hoping I wouldnt need a mister or upgraded lighting until then. What does everyone use as a light fixture for the long bulbs? Since both cages are together the width is about 30”... Should i get a full 30” or do they need an area without to regulate (my understanding is they move down or to shade)?
It gives off more UVB then compact is all really know. To Regulate for reptiles means to open their mouth and let air pass by to cool down. But any discoloration? Yes they do sometimes go down to get cooler
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
I dont think so - so doesnt seem like anyone is concerned about gaping which was my biggest concern. Im looking for new lights now. Thankyou for all your help!
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh! I did see him do something else weird today.. he looked like he was pooping but it was just a little yellowish clear liquid... then he like wiped his but on his vine a few times. Do they just pee occassionally or should it be both pee and poop each time?

Odds are it was a sperm plug. Totally normal.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
What do you guys think about the heat lamps? If i order a 30” hood (actually 22” tube length) to cover the two cages - which are 30” wide combined... can I use the mini dual lamp for two heat lamps? If I place it right in the middle of the two cages, each cham would have appx 4” diameter heat lamp in the corner of their enclosures. Think that is sufficient? Its what they have now... but each has their own lamp more centered in the cage.

I plan to add living walls ... hoping the heat lamp near it doesnt cause an issue.
 
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