New Yemen Cham not eating and pawing at glass


New Member
We recently purchased a male Yemen chameleon, he's about 6 inches long and I've been told he's had 3 shedding cycles.
However we've taken him home and he doesn't seem to be eating, and I don't know if he is drinking.
There are 5 hoppers we placed in his viv which he hasn't touched.
My main concern is that he also seems to be pawing at the glass on the side if the viv
He will then wander down to the bottom of the cage every now and then and show stress black spots, but when he decides to climb back up he is returning to his camouflaging colours.
We have the exo terra tall viv set up and I will post pictures later today if I can of him at the bottom and of the viv
Often times they are stressed in a new environment and will not eat immediately. How long have you had him??? Are you sure it is a him and not a her also?? Females that are ready to lay eggs will go to the bottom and look for a place to lay and will also go off their food.
What are your temps and humidity? Maybe it's too hot in there for him, especially since he/she's in a glass viv. Maybe the grasshoppers you are trying to feed him are too big? A prey items size should not exceed the width of your chameleon's mouth. You may also want to try hand or cup feeding him.
Just a couple of days, but because he's showing signs if stress rather than just not eating I was worried
I'm pretty sure it is a male and I don't think he would be old enough to lay even if he was a female - although I don't know much about females as I have not intended to have one.
Thank you for the quick response
One thing that I've come across is that perhaps he is seeing the reflection of himself or branches reflected in the glass sides, however I'm not sure why he would be going to the bottom and getting stressed, he isn't digging just pawing at the glass at the bottom
Could you take a picture of him and his back feet.? If he is actually a he, there will be bumps, or spurs, on the back of his back feet.

And are the hoppers too big.? That might be why he isn't eating them.
They can lay eggs as early as 5 months or so. Check the back of the back feet and there should be a little spur that sticks out. If so, you have a male. When the males get older they begin to show patterns and colors that can distinguish them from females also. When they are young, the spurs are the way to determine sex. Do you know what your temps are?
The temp is 75 degrees Fahrenheit ambient
The humidity is about 60 %
But we spray about 3 times a day
And I will be able to get pictures up later as I am currently replying on my phone
He seems to be walking back and forth at the bottom pawing at the glass
Would covering up the side help at all?
He is very lively and energetic still however I find its just odd behaviour
I also live in mid/east England if that helps at all


How many vines do you have for him to climb? Lots of horizontal pathways near the top of the enclosure and a few more near the middle are a good way to allow your cham to feel a bit more at home.
As I'm writing this I notice your pics, and HE certainly isn't looking to lay eggs! ;) Very cute boy. The feeders are a "bit" big, but I think he could handle them. You may need to get some smaller ones in a few days if he still hasn't eaten. I'd put in a few more vines and foliage across the top area and then let him settle in for a few days. Congrats and welcome to the forums! :)
A nice live ficus would be great to fill up some space.

You also will need to remove the substrate as it can easily be eaten causing imapction. I would use paper towels on the floor of the viv.

Also a white basking bulb is best. You don't need to buy expensive reptile bulbs either. Household spotbulbs are exactly the same at a fraction of the cost.

They grow quick. Make sure you have all your calcium and vitamin supplements to give him. It won't be long till he can go into his bigger screen cage. Many people here in the uk think they cannot keep the temperature and humidity up in them but that is rubbish.
Thank you very much for all the replies
If his behaviour continues or it looks like his health is being effected ill post again and also be consulting some people close by me who can help.
All of your advice is much appreciated and its nice to be able to get helpful and friendly advice from a variety of people
He is a cute little thing. Congratulations on your new arrival. I am sure he will eat in a day or so. It sounds like he is just settling in. Enjoy him. It can be nerve racking for the first few weeks but you will do great.
Thank you , he is a lovely little Cham
Is his behaviour of walking around on the bottom pawing at glass anything to be too seriously worried about? He goes down and up, is it just him being active an I need more horizontal vines ? Or is I a sign of something more serious ?
I skimmed through the replys but he could be "pawing" at the glass because he doesn't have enough to climb on. If you add live plants or more vines he should stay off of the ground or refrain from pawing at the glass. If not you may want to even try a bigger enclosure and put even more in it. Just be sure to add a feeder cup so he can find his food. A tipper ware at the bottom works too with a stick in it so he can climb in and out. Just be sure to clean it everyday because he will also more than likely poop in it
Thank you
I've purchased an exoterra bendable vine to create more horizontal pathways by itself and as a support for the small branches which can the be more horizontal than vertical
He is now eating well with smaller sized hoppers and crickets too and eats them all within minutes of them being put in
I want to get some more green leaves to hang from the other side as more climbing material and hiding place since it is very bare other than in one corner.
With regards to live plants I've been finding it difficult to did one which is suitable and chameleon friendly
Lastly- sorry for so many questions, is it worth while investing in a dripping system or will the water from misting and the live food and salad I plan to introduce as an option for him be a bough to keep him suitably hydrated in the long term?
The only way you will know is by looking at his poop/urate. The poop being the brown part and the light part(preferably white) being the urine. If your chameleon's urate is dry looking and orangeish in color then he needs more hyrdration. Drippers are great, but they do create problems with standing water so you have to figure out drainage and terrariums are very hard to control that because the bottoms are made of glass. I am not sure how people with terrariums catch the excess water. You could use a shallow Tupperware or container but you must make sure it is not too deep incase your chameleon fell in it and could drown.
Okay, presently he seems hydrated, I have seen the white urates with the little bit of yellow on the end, but haven't spotted any brown droppings as of yet, however we only got him to start eating properly yesterday so I'm not greatly concerned as of yet
I have seen him drink once or twice from the little bit of water collecting, after misting, in the dish at the bottom which I sometimes place salad for him and the feeders, so I'm cleaning that out regularly now to avoid stale wAter and other such problems, and making sure its really shallow to avoid drowning
However there aren't many details on wether water collected in dishes and similar situations are safe to drink for them as it seems chams do not regularly recognise it as a water source
From what you say a dripping system may not be practical in my current set up, but when we move him to a new viv as he grows ill be taking all the advice I've been given that i havent already put into practice into account in the type and set up
Sorry if I seem bothersome with so many queries , I just want my little Cham to have the best as would anyone :)
Sorry if I seem bothersome with so many queries , I just want my little Cham to have the best as would anyone :)

You are not bothersome with your questions its how you learn. I have a dripper for my little veiled but he doesn't seem to use it much or not that I have seen. We run it if we are going out for the day and if he looks like he could do with a bit more hydration. Well done on getting him eating again. I have a umbrella plant and ficus in my enclosure and they seem to work ok. I also have a pothos plant that I had trouble finding but got one from here just remember to repot any plant you buy. The pothos is under climbers, hanging plants and creepers if it helps.
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