New to Chams, is he healthy?

Chancla

Member
image.jpg
Was excited to bring our new Cham home (first Cham for us), but we’re unsure about his current health and how he was cared for by the reptile shop we got him from. Here’s what I’m noticing:
  • He still has quite a few skin flakes left from his last shed (haven’t confirmed how long ago this one started before I met him, will find out today once the shop opens)
image.jpg

  • Signs point to him being underweight? I think his cheekbones and tail bones are visible
  • One of the nails on his front left foot is missing
  • They assembled a bio-active 18x18x36” glass enclosure for us, though for his size (about 12in head to tail) it seems too small? I asked them about a 48” tall enclosure and the shop owners insisted that this would be enough and easier to maintain humidity/temp conditions compared to a larger one.
image.jpg

Otherwise he seems to move well, is alert, able to eat, it’s just the unknown history and signs I’m noticing after having done some more research that I’m concerned about (including the difference in care recommended by the reptile shop vs. just about every source I’ve found elsewhere).

We’re fine with helping him recuperate a bit if he’s not the healthiest fella, but as someone new to chams I want to be sure we know where we are now. Here’s more info based on the health clinic guidelines:
  • Chameleon - male, veiled. We’ve had him one day, reptile shop said they’d had him for about five weeks after a former owner brought him in. They estimate his age at about 2yrs.
  • Handling - at the suggestion of the shop, we’re trying to handle him early a couple of times just to get him comfy enough for when enclosure maintenance is needed, but don’t plan on handling him often otherwise.
  • Feeding - shop only gave us super worms, saying that was what he preferred over any other feeder. They said 3-4 worms every other day.
  • Supplements - The shop gave us no supplements to start…but I’ll be picking up some Reptivite and calcium.
  • Watering - going to pick up a mister and dripper solution today. Otherwise we were told to mist twice a day, haven’t seen him drink much if at all (within 12 hours of having him)
  • Fecal Description - haven’t seen fecal matter during this first 12 hours, no parasite testing that I’m aware of
  • History - given to the shop by a previous owner, estimated to be 2 years old.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Exo-Terra Small+Tall 18x18x36”, glass with screen top, bioactive setup with springtails and isopods.
  • Lighting - we were sold a single heat lamp and dome that were unboxed and sold by the shop. Will be confirming the exact brands later today
  • Temperature - 95°F at top of enclosure, about 80° at the bottom
  • Humidity - will be purchasing a proper mister and humidity gauge in the next couple of days.
  • Plants - live plants, a pathos and a bogonia
  • Placement - top of cage is about 4 feet from the ground
  • Location - south east US
 
First of all, welcome!!! Yes, unfortunately it seems they gave you some wrong information. I want to preface by saying that nothing I say here is meant to be rude or hurtful. It is not your fault they gave you wrong info. This happens all too often with pet stores. They apply care for other reptiles to chameleons and it just does not work that way. Many of us here have fallen victim to this. We are here to help and get you on the right track. This is a very welcoming and warm community and we are glad to have you.

I’m going to split this in two parts since there is a lot of info. I’m also going to tag a couple more experienced keepers to help make sure I’ve not missed anything. @MissSkittles @Beman. See my feedback in red.

  • Chameleon - male, veiled. We’ve had him one day, reptile shop said they’d had him for about five weeks after a former owner brought him in. They estimate his age at about 2yrs.
  • Handling - at the suggestion of the shop, we’re trying to handle him early a couple of times just to get him comfy enough for when enclosure maintenance is needed, but don’t plan on handling him often otherwise. It is good to build trust with him, but handling can stress them out. Give him a week or two to settle in first then work on building trust. @MissSkittles wrote a great blog on this topic.
  • Feeding - shop only gave us super worms, saying that was what he preferred over any other feeder. They said 3-4 worms every other day. I will attach a feeder list for you as well as a gutload list. He should be eating 3-5 bugs every other to every three days. Your guy does seem a bit thin so extra would be good.
  • Supplements - The shop gave us no supplements to start…but I’ll be picking up some Reptivite and calcium. he needs plain calcium without d3 every feeding. Then a multivitamin with d3 twice a month. I reccomend reptivite with d3 or repashy loD.
  • Watering - going to pick up a mister and dripper solution today. Otherwise we were told to mist twice a day, haven’t seen him drink much if at all (within 12 hours of having him) they are shy drinkers and you may never see him drink. We monitor their poo to gauge hydration. You want brown poo with white urates. Half or less orange is what we aim for.
  • Fecal Description - haven’t seen fecal matter during this first 12 hours, no parasite testing that I’m aware of I would highly reccomend a parasite test not knowing his history.
  • History - given to the shop by a previous owner, estimated to be 2 years old.

 

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Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Exo-Terra Small+Tall 18x18x36”, glass with screen top, bioactive setup with springtails and isopods. This enclosure is too small. Minimum size for a full grown Cham is 2ftx2ftx4ft. Bio active is fantastic but not necessary. Though he does need humidity (30-50% daytime) he needs ventilation as well. Most of us use a screen enclosure.
  • Lighting - we were sold a single heat lamp and dome that were unboxed and sold by the shop. Will be confirming the exact brands later today you will also need a linear T5HO UVB. 5.0 or 6% bulb. This confused me at first so if you need help with it do not be afraid to ask.
  • Temperature - 95°F at top of enclosure, about 80° at the bottom 95 is also a bit high for your guy. His basking spot should be 85 max.
  • Humidity - will be purchasing a proper mister and humidity gauge in the next couple of days.
  • Plants - live plants, a pathos and a bogonia
  • Placement - top of cage is about 4 feet from the ground height equals safety for these guys. The higher you can put the enclosure the better.
  • Location - south east US
I would highly reccomend a vet visit. In addition to being thin and suggesting a parasite test, I believe your guy is showing signs of MBD. This comes from lack of proper lighting and supplements. When they do not get enough calcium and d3, their bodies pull it from their bones making them weak. His arms look curved a bit which is a sign of this.some more photos of his legs would help. Not to scare you but this is a serious disease and can lead to death and permanent deformities if not treated. It is treatable if caught early enough. My Cham had it when I got him and is now thriving after treatment. He needs a vet to prescribe liquid calcium to get his levels back in check, then with proper lighting and supplements he will be great. We have a good vet list if you need help finding one.
 
View attachment 355744Was excited to bring our new Cham home (first Cham for us), but we’re unsure about his current health and how he was cared for by the reptile shop we got him from. Here’s what I’m noticing:
  • He still has quite a few skin flakes left from his last shed (haven’t confirmed how long ago this one started before I met him, will find out today once the shop opens)
View attachment 355743
  • Signs point to him being underweight? I think his cheekbones and tail bones are visible
  • One of the nails on his front left foot is missing
  • They assembled a bio-active 18x18x36” glass enclosure for us, though for his size (about 12in head to tail) it seems too small? I asked them about a 48” tall enclosure and the shop owners insisted that this would be enough and easier to maintain humidity/temp conditions compared to a larger one.
View attachment 355745
Otherwise he seems to move well, is alert, able to eat, it’s just the unknown history and signs I’m noticing after having done some more research that I’m concerned about (including the difference in care recommended by the reptile shop vs. just about every source I’ve found elsewhere).

We’re fine with helping him recuperate a bit if he’s not the healthiest fella, but as someone new to chams I want to be sure we know where we are now. Here’s more info based on the health clinic guidelines:
  • Chameleon - male, veiled. We’ve had him one day, reptile shop said they’d had him for about five weeks after a former owner brought him in. They estimate his age at about 2yrs.
  • Handling - at the suggestion of the shop, we’re trying to handle him early a couple of times just to get him comfy enough for when enclosure maintenance is needed, but don’t plan on handling him often otherwise.
  • Feeding - shop only gave us super worms, saying that was what he preferred over any other feeder. They said 3-4 worms every other day.
  • Supplements - The shop gave us no supplements to start…but I’ll be picking up some Reptivite and calcium.
  • Watering - going to pick up a mister and dripper solution today. Otherwise we were told to mist twice a day, haven’t seen him drink much if at all (within 12 hours of having him)
  • Fecal Description - haven’t seen fecal matter during this first 12 hours, no parasite testing that I’m aware of
  • History - given to the shop by a previous owner, estimated to be 2 years old.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Exo-Terra Small+Tall 18x18x36”, glass with screen top, bioactive setup with springtails and isopods.
  • Lighting - we were sold a single heat lamp and dome that were unboxed and sold by the shop. Will be confirming the exact brands later today
  • Temperature - 95°F at top of enclosure, about 80° at the bottom
  • Humidity - will be purchasing a proper mister and humidity gauge in the next couple of days.
  • Plants - live plants, a pathos and a bogonia
  • Placement - top of cage is about 4 feet from the ground
  • Location - south east US
Hello! Congrats on the new guy and welcome to the chameleon family. You are definitely in good hands here to get back on the right track.

These are the lights @Gloriawood was referring too! IMG_2155.jpeg IMG_2158.jpeg IMG_2156.jpeg
IMG_2157.jpeg IMG_2159.jpeg
 
You have been given great advice. Note you also need to remove the begonia. These can be toxic to veileds that will eat their plants.

You will want to get a fecal test done asap along with upgrading the enclosure size. If on a budget I highly recommend Neptune the chameleon kit. @Gingero I have tagged her here as I can not find the link I saved for her kit.

Chameleon academy and Neptune the Chameleon are great accurate cham resources. Read and learn then ask questions here.
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
https://www.youtube.com/c/NeptunetheChameleon

Bio Active cage bottoms have to be set up a very specific way. What you have now is not and will grow bacteria along with those chips are an impaction risk should he target them and ingest one. Which veiled chameleons have been known to do. https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/intro-to-bio-activity.2429/

Choose veiled safe plants only. See image.
 

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Hello! Congratulations on your chameleon. What’s his name? You got some great info and help from @Gloriawood and @Yonmerkaba and @Beman . Here are a couple links are helpful when you have a chameleon.
Here are some links if you need help with husbandry: Chameleon Academy ~ YouTube ~ Neptune The Chameleon ~ YouTube
Here are some links for food and supplies: Food ~ Food as well ~ Leap Supplies ~ Arcadia
And here is a link for some discounts: Neptune the Chameleon Discount
I hope everything works out well 😊 And I would definitely take your cham to the vet because they don’t normally care for them properly in pet stores so they’re not healthy most of the time. @elizaann2 has a list of great vets.
 
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Exo-Terra Small+Tall 18x18x36”, glass with screen top, bioactive setup with springtails and isopods. This enclosure is too small. Minimum size for a full grown Cham is 2ftx2ftx4ft. Bio active is fantastic but not necessary. Though he does need humidity (30-50% daytime) he needs ventilation as well. Most of us use a screen enclosure.
  • Lighting - we were sold a single heat lamp and dome that were unboxed and sold by the shop. Will be confirming the exact brands later today you will also need a linear T5HO UVB. 5.0 or 6% bulb. This confused me at first so if you need help with it do not be afraid to ask.
  • Temperature - 95°F at top of enclosure, about 80° at the bottom 95 is also a bit high for your guy. His basking spot should be 85 max.
  • Humidity - will be purchasing a proper mister and humidity gauge in the next couple of days.
  • Plants - live plants, a pathos and a bogonia
  • Placement - top of cage is about 4 feet from the ground height equals safety for these guys. The higher you can put the enclosure the better.
  • Location - south east US
I would highly reccomend a vet visit. In addition to being thin and suggesting a parasite test, I believe your guy is showing signs of MBD. This comes from lack of proper lighting and supplements. When they do not get enough calcium and d3, their bodies pull it from their bones making them weak. His arms look curved a bit which is a sign of this.some more photos of his legs would help. Not to scare you but this is a serious disease and can lead to death and permanent deformities if not treated. It is treatable if caught early enough. My Cham had it when I got him and is now thriving after treatment. He needs a vet to prescribe liquid calcium to get his levels back in check, then with proper lighting and supplements he will be great. We have a good vet list if you need help finding one.
Firstly, thank you SO much for making this such a welcoming and kind arrival to this community. It’s just what I needed after an anxious start to this journey. Likewise, thank you for the additional help, @Yonmerkaba <3

Yes, I would love any guidance on vet recommendations.

I realize I was too trusting there and wished I’d acted on my suspicions as they grew, but alas, I'm at least glad we'll have a chance to get him the care he needs hopefully.

So, my to-do list looks like this (feel free to add/critique):

  • Find a vet who can fully examine and likely treat him. Noting malnourishment, signs of possible MBD (seek calcium treatment), queue up a parasite screening.
    • I'll get some more leg photos up soon for you, too!
  • Secure a properly sized enclosure, UV lighting (thank you for making that search easy!), misting/hydration solution, calcium sans D3, D3 supplement
  • New enclosure will likely help with making sure the temps are where he needs them
I feel like I'm on the right path from here, and I'll follow up here as we progress! Cheers, y'all
 
Hello! Congratulations on your chameleon. What’s his name? You got some great info and help from @Gloriawood and @Yonmerkaba and @Beman . Here are a couple links are helpful when you have a chameleon.
Here are some links if you need help with husbandry: Chameleon Academy ~ YouTube ~ Neptune The Chameleon ~ YouTube
Here are some links for food and supplies: Food ~ Food as well ~ Leap Supplies ~ Arcadia
And here is a link for some discounts: Neptune the Chameleon Discount
I hope everything works out well 😊 And I would definitely take your cham to the vet because they don’t normally care for them properly in pet stores so they’re not healthy most of the time. @elizaann2 has a list of great vets.
I was just looking at your babies 🥹
Firstly, thank you SO much for making this such a welcoming and kind arrival to this community. It’s just what I needed after an anxious start to this journey. Likewise, thank you for the additional help, @Yonmerkaba <3

Yes, I would love any guidance on vet recommendations.

I realize I was too trusting there and wished I’d acted on my suspicions as they grew, but alas, I'm at least glad we'll have a chance to get him the care he needs hopefully.

So, my to-do list looks like this (feel free to add/critique):

  • Find a vet who can fully examine and likely treat him. Noting malnourishment, signs of possible MBD (seek calcium treatment), queue up a parasite screening.
    • I'll get some more leg photos up soon for you, too!
  • Secure a properly sized enclosure, UV lighting (thank you for making that search easy!), misting/hydration solution, calcium sans D3, D3 supplement
  • New enclosure will likely help with making sure the temps are where he needs them
I feel like I'm on the right path from here, and I'll follow up here as we progress! Cheers, y'all
ohh I forgot to add that! There is a thread here I will find with a PDF of all vets for chams! Let me find it
 
You have been given great advice. Note you also need to remove the begonia. These can be toxic to veileds that will eat their plants.

You will want to get a fecal test done asap along with upgrading the enclosure size. If on a budget I highly recommend Neptune the chameleon kit. @Gingero I have tagged her here as I can not find the link I saved for her kit.

Chameleon academy and Neptune the Chameleon are great accurate cham resources. Read and learn then ask questions here.
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
https://www.youtube.com/c/NeptunetheChameleon

Bio Active cage bottoms have to be set up a very specific way. What you have now is not and will grow bacteria along with those chips are an impaction risk should he target them and ingest one. Which veiled chameleons have been known to do. https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/intro-to-bio-activity.2429/

Choose veiled safe plants only. See image.
Thank you so much, for all of this - we'll move to remove the begonia. I'm very thankful to have you and others guiding us down the best path here.
 
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Exo-Terra Small+Tall 18x18x36”, glass with screen top, bioactive setup with springtails and isopods. This enclosure is too small. Minimum size for a full grown Cham is 2ftx2ftx4ft. Bio active is fantastic but not necessary. Though he does need humidity (30-50% daytime) he needs ventilation as well. Most of us use a screen enclosure.
  • Lighting - we were sold a single heat lamp and dome that were unboxed and sold by the shop. Will be confirming the exact brands later today you will also need a linear T5HO UVB. 5.0 or 6% bulb. This confused me at first so if you need help with it do not be afraid to ask.
  • Temperature - 95°F at top of enclosure, about 80° at the bottom 95 is also a bit high for your guy. His basking spot should be 85 max.
  • Humidity - will be purchasing a proper mister and humidity gauge in the next couple of days.
  • Plants - live plants, a pathos and a bogonia
  • Placement - top of cage is about 4 feet from the ground height equals safety for these guys. The higher you can put the enclosure the better.
  • Location - south east US
I would highly reccomend a vet visit. In addition to being thin and suggesting a parasite test, I believe your guy is showing signs of MBD. This comes from lack of proper lighting and supplements. When they do not get enough calcium and d3, their bodies pull it from their bones making them weak. His arms look curved a bit which is a sign of this.some more photos of his legs would help. Not to scare you but this is a serious disease and can lead to death and permanent deformities if not treated. It is treatable if caught early enough. My Cham had it when I got him and is now thriving after treatment. He needs a vet to prescribe liquid calcium to get his levels back in check, then with proper lighting and supplements he will be great. We have a good vet list if you need help finding one.
I have some additional photos here that hopefully give you a better angle of his legs. Additionally, I have a smaller enclosure without chips or a begonia that I’m considering putting him into in the interim. I’d clean out the current plant and just move some of the sticks / claimable from his current enclosure, me thinks. My concern though would be stress on his heart and body though 😕

Would the temporary move be advisable? Or is it overall better to remove the offending plant and keep him settled into where he is until I get, say, Neptune’s starter kit shipped?

I also don’t mind getting a new enclosure ASAP. I’m researching local solutions as we speak.
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Hello! Congratulations on your chameleon. What’s his name? You got some great info and help from @Gloriawood and @Yonmerkaba and @Beman . Here are a couple links are helpful when you have a chameleon.
Here are some links if you need help with husbandry: Chameleon Academy ~ YouTube ~ Neptune The Chameleon ~ YouTube
Here are some links for food and supplies: Food ~ Food as well ~ Leap Supplies ~ Arcadia
And here is a link for some discounts: Neptune the Chameleon Discount
I hope everything works out well 😊 And I would definitely take your cham to the vet because they don’t normally care for them properly in pet stores so they’re not healthy most of the time. @elizaann2 has a list of great vets.
Thank you so much for offering your support! We named him Neelix, after a beloved Star Trek character.
IMG_5199.jpeg
 
He does not look bad at all. Actually is holding a bit of weight in the casque which indicates he is not as thin as he seemed to be.

Order the Kit asap. I say the kit because it comes with what you need. You could order the basic kit and then buy any additional items as you may need them. Only thing I would really add that is pricey is the mistking automister. But I did the math on both of these kits and there is not an upcharge to buy it all together which is awesome. I would remove the begonia asap. And I would pull those wood chips out of the bottom and go bare bottom glass until you get the kit in. Use like a 40 watt regular incandescent white bulb for heat on this tiny cage. This will get temps much lower so he is not overheating. Go buy a small pothos that will fit in that cage.
 
Good news is I think it was the angle that I was seeing the bend in his leg. They look much better than I thought. I see the smallest little bend in his rear leg (I’ll attach a photo with it circled) @Beman what do you think? I’ll also add that if beman gives any advice that contradicts mine, go with what she says. She is much more knowledgeable and experienced than I am.

IMG_1501.jpeg
 
Oh! And you asked about shed. So they are dry shedders which means moisture will actually make the dead skin stick rather than come off. The only thing to watch for is stuck shed on toes or his tail that cut off circulation. Other than that, just let it be. He should scratch it off in his own time. My guy always seems to have some bit of shed lingering around and it’s never caused an issue.
 
Yeah good catch hun. There is a bowing to the lower part of that leg. Either MBD or a prior break that has since healed. Looks like he is using it fully though which is good. Proper supplementation and UVB will quickly turn around any issues if it is MBD related.
 
Quick update: we found a shop about 1.5 hours away that will set us up with everything Neelix needs tomorrow! They've set aside a nearly identical kit to Neptune's Advanced Kit for us. They've also been extremely supportive and willing to guide us through everything we've been concerned about, down to recommending vets close by specializing in chams. Much of their advice and suggestions aligned with what's been shared here and on other reliable sources.

Ironically, we spoke to Neelix's original shop owner who continued to advise us in the opposite direction of nearly every other source of info we've found. When we mentioned that a larger, open-air enclosure may be preferable, they responded, "Well whoever told you that is an idiot. How would you even be able to regulate that temp and humidity..."

...and continued like that for about 8 breathless minutes. These folks also offer "medical services" for the animals they sell, I shudder at the thought.

Long story short, I'm glad we got him out of that place, glad I found this community(!), and happy to have a local group that can hook us up with quality care. Thank you all so much! I hope to be back here soon with happier and healthier posts of our new little pal.
 
Quick update: we found a shop about 1.5 hours away that will set us up with everything Neelix needs tomorrow! They've set aside a nearly identical kit to Neptune's Advanced Kit for us. They've also been extremely supportive and willing to guide us through everything we've been concerned about, down to recommending vets close by specializing in chams. Much of their advice and suggestions aligned with what's been shared here and on other reliable sources.

Ironically, we spoke to Neelix's original shop owner who continued to advise us in the opposite direction of nearly every other source of info we've found. When we mentioned that a larger, open-air enclosure may be preferable, they responded, "Well whoever told you that is an idiot. How would you even be able to regulate that temp and humidity..."

...and continued like that for about 8 breathless minutes. These folks also offer "medical services" for the animals they sell, I shudder at the thought.

Long story short, I'm glad we got him out of that place, glad I found this community(!), and happy to have a local group that can hook us up with quality care. Thank you all so much! I hope to be back here soon with happier and healthier posts of our new little pal.
Just to double check, what is the size of the enclosure of the nearly identical kit? There is a kit out there that is sold by many pet stores that is sort of similar to Neptune the chameleons but is actually pretty bad for chameleons. I just want to make sure it’s not that :).
 
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