Not eating regularly for 6 days

Kevin's Mom

New Member
Hi,

Our veiled chameleon, Kevin, has not been eating regularly for the last 6 days. He normally eats about 8 to 10 medium/large dubia roaches a day and a 3 to 4 superworms every other day as a treat. Last Sunday, 7/21, we had family over and he was handled more than normal. I think we held him 2 or 3 times that day for about 10 -20 minutes each time. He didn't seem to mind and was his color was good during those times. I'm afraid we overdid it and stressed him out. I won't be doing that again. He's never not eaten regularly so I'm worried.

He has eaten maybe 1 roach in the morning then he won’t eat any more roaches. I offer him superworms and he’ll eat the 3 or 4. I don’t want to feed him more superworms and have him get used to them. On Wednesday and Thursday I offered a roach in the AM but he didn’t eat it so I didn’t offer anything more. He wouldn’t eat any more roaches that day, even in the evening. On Friday he only ate 4 superworms after not eating a roach. Saturday and this morning he ate 1 roach and 3 superworms. Is that enough? He looks skinnier to me.

I read on the forum that they sometimes go on “hunger strikes” but if it lasts longer than 7 days, they should go to the vet. He fell asleep last Sunday evening in his free-range "playground" area so I had to wake him up and put him back in his cage.

He also seems to be falling asleep sooner. He’s usually asleep by 8 pm but this last week he's out by 6:30 or 7 pm. We're not exactly sure when he wakes up but he's always awake when we wake up around 7:00 am. Is it because he's getting older? I'm willing to take him to the vet if needed. I thought I’d try the forum first as I'm sure that a trip would be very stressful for him. I’m also open to any other suggestions based on the details I’ve noted. Sorry for writing so much and thanks for reading it.

  • Your Chameleon - Veiled Chameleon, 9/10 months old. We've had him for 7 months.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? - Usually, every other day just long enough to put him back in his cage from his free-range area. Before his free-range area was set up, 5 to 10 minutes, every other day, at the most.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? Dubia roaches and superworms What amount? Normally, 8 to 11 roaches a day. 3 to 4 superworms every other day or less. What is the schedule? 4 or 5 roaches in the morning around 7:15 before we go to work and then another 4 to 5 when we get home around 6:00. How are you gut-loading your feeders? Nature Zone – Total Bites (the green moist gel cubes)
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? Rep-Cal Calcium without d3 every feeding. Rep-Cal Calcium with Vit.D3 & Rep-Cal Herptivite w/ Beta Carotene – every 14 days.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? Hand mister. How often and how long to you mist? 3 to 4 times a day, long enough so water is dripping off the leaves. Do you see your chameleon drinking? Only 2 times since we’ve had him.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? Nothing out of the ordinary for him. He’s never been tested for parasites.
Cage Info:

  • Cage Type – Large repti-breeze. See photos.
  • Lighting - Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB Fluorescent 12” on about 12 hours a day and Zilla – Night Black Heat bulb that’s on 24/7. See photos.
  • Temperature - Basking is around 80-85. We keep the house A/C at 76 degrees when it’s hot outside. Lowest overnight temp? Currently probably around 70 degrees. How do you measure these temps? Zoo Med Digital Combo Thermometer Humidity Gauge. Temperature gauge is a bit below his tallest basking spot at the back of the cage. That temp reads around 80 degrees.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? Currently 44 measured just outside of his cage on the right side. How are you creating and maintaining these levels? Hand misting 3 to 4 times a day. What do you use to measure humidity? Zoo Med Digital Combo Thermometer Humidity Gauge.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? Yes. If so, what kind? Inside the cage is a dracaenas. Next to the cage is an umbrella plant.
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? It’s on top of a long dresser in a bedroom. You can see the air vent in the photo. The air vent slats go up. I know I’ll have to address this once Kevin gets bigger as he’ll be able to reach the vent if he’s standing on the top of the heat lamp cover on top of his cage while he’s free ranging. At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor? 5’ 9”
  • Location - Where are you geographically located? San Jose, CA.
Additional concern - He’s had his free range “playground” for about 3 weeks. He comes out of his cage on his own by climbing out on the door or on a vine that connects from the playground area to the inside of his cage. He was fully supervised for the first week when he was free-ranging. When he’s out now, we close the bedroom doors if we’re not in there with him so our cat can’t get in. When going in to check on him we have found him somewhere else in the bedroom twice in the last 3 weeks. The dresser is about 3 feet off the ground. I’m not sure if he falls off the dresser or finds a way to climb down using the dresser drawer edges. I’m wondering if I need to find a way to cage in his larger space so he can’t get down. I worry that he’s going to hurt himself if he’s falling off. The bedroom has a carpeted floor. When we find him, I check him for any injuries, making sure he walks normally or if any bruises show up later. Super open to suggestions on how to give him space but keep him safe. He really likes being out in his playground but we always but him back in his cage after a few hours and he’s always in his cage for the night.

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jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
At that age it seems you were actually overfeeding him. Feed every other day now, cut out superworms for a little until he accepts roaches. Some determined chameleons can go 2 weeks or more without eating.

I assume he's not falling asleep while lights are still on?

I would add some preformed vitamin A to his supplements. You're giving beta carotene which is proformed vitamin A(a precursor) and isn't proven(to my knowledge) to benefit chameleons. You can get human grade 8000 iu retinol vitamin A gel caps. Poke a hole and put a drop on a superworm once a month.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
  • Lighting - Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB Fluorescent 12” on about 12 hours a day and Zilla – Night Black Heat bulb that’s on 24/7. See photos.
  • Temperature - Basking is around 80-85. We keep the house A/C at 76 degrees when it’s hot outside. Lowest overnight temp? Currently probably around 70 degrees. How do you measure these temps? Zoo Med Digital Combo Thermometer Humidity Gauge. Temperature gauge is a bit below his tallest basking spot at the back of the cage. That temp reads around 80 degrees.
Hi there. I agree with what has already been said above... Also I just wanted to touch upon these two sections.
Is the UVB a T5 or T8? If it is a T8 then he is not getting enough uvb. If it is a T5 then make sure your basking area is 7-8 inches below the fixture so he is getting the correct levels.
As for the heating. No heat at night they need a cool down. I would replace the black heat bulb with a regular incandescent bulb keep this on the same schedule as your UVB lighting and off at night.. play with Wattages based on what temps your getting. But he should be somewhere between 85-90 degrees at his age for basking. They see light and that is how they identify heat.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there. I agree with what has already been said above... Also I just wanted to touch upon these two sections.
Is the UVB a T5 or T8? If it is a T8 then he is not getting enough uvb. If it is a T5 then make sure your basking area is 7-8 inches below the fixture so he is getting the correct levels.
As for the heating. No heat at night they need a cool down. I would replace the black heat bulb with a regular incandescent bulb keep this on the same schedule as your UVB lighting and off at night.. play with Wattages based on what temps your getting. But he should be somewhere between 85-90 degrees at his age for basking. They see light and that is how they identify heat.
Good catches, I didn't read everything lol
 

Kevin's Mom

New Member
Thank you both! Yep, I'm sorry I wrote so much. The uvb is a T5. I'll need to raise it up. If I'm going to keep the heat lamp on the same on/off schedule as the uvb light, couldn't I keep the black heat bulb?

I'll get some vitamin A.

I'm looking forward to other ideas if anyone has anything to add. How about my other concern at the end of the post? I'll work to keep it shorter next time. :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you both! Yep, I'm sorry I wrote so much. The uvb is a T5. I'll need to raise it up. If I'm going to keep the heat lamp on the same on/off schedule as the uvb light, couldn't I keep the black heat bulb?

I'll get some vitamin A.

I'm looking forward to other ideas if anyone has anything to add. How about my other concern at the end of the post? I'll work to keep it shorter next time. :)
I would not keep the black light. Think of it this way... When you go outside and see sun you automatically will move into it out of the shade because sun and light means warmth. It is the same for them.

As far as him falling or the free range. Honestly they will find a way to escape or fall if it is not set up perfectly. I still have not perfected this lol. They are not the best at walking on flat surfaces and the cage screen really is damaging to their nails and is an easy way for them to lose nails. Also he is reaching maturity he is going to venture out and get himself into trouble because well he is searching for a female. I really love this model of free range that one of our members did. It keeps them safe while providing the feeling of freedom. https://www.chameleonforums.com/thr...e-chameleon-condos-with-drainage-pans.146593/
 

Kevin's Mom

New Member
Thanks Becca! Now that I know he doesn't need a heat lamp on all night I'll get a different heat lamp so he gets to know where the heat comes from. Totally makes sense.

I saw that post with the hanging free-range! Love it and I'll see what I can put together. Oh, the fun of a new project. Hee!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks Becca! Now that I know he doesn't need a heat lamp on all night I'll get a different heat lamp so he gets to know where the heat comes from. Totally makes sense.

I saw that post with the hanging free-range! Love it and I'll see what I can put together. Oh, the fun of a new project. Hee!
Your welcome hun :)
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would not keep the black light. Think of it this way... When you go outside and see sun you automatically will move into it out of the shade because sun and light means warmth. It is the same for them.

As far as him falling or the free range. Honestly they will find a way to escape or fall if it is not set up perfectly. I still have not perfected this lol. They are not the best at walking on flat surfaces and the cage screen really is damaging to their nails and is an easy way for them to lose nails. Also he is reaching maturity he is going to venture out and get himself into trouble because well he is searching for a female. I really love this model of free range that one of our members did. It keeps them safe while providing the feeling of freedom. https://www.chameleonforums.com/thr...e-chameleon-condos-with-drainage-pans.146593/
Not going after anyone in this post, but I'm curious, those condo free ranges obviously look great and all, but maybe I'm not seeing something here that jannb could answer... what's stopping the cham from climbing right up to the light? I know my Panthers would be all over that within 20 minutes lol. I remember wanting to copy janbs condo set ups almost 3 years ago, but It's surprisingly hard to keep a chameleon from finding a way off of things.

Sorry getting off topic
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Not going after anyone in this post, but I'm curious, those condo free ranges obviously look great and all, but maybe I'm not seeing something here that jannb could answer... what's stopping the cham from climbing right up to the light? I know my Panthers would be all over that within 20 minutes lol. I remember wanting to copy janbs condo set ups almost 3 years ago, but It's surprisingly hard to keep a chameleon from finding a way off of things.

Sorry getting off topic
I want to say that there's a screen several inches under the light to block access. I kind of want to do something similar for funsies! It'd fit right in my north facing window :)
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I want to say that there's a screen several inches under the light to block access. I kind of want to do something similar for funsies! It'd fit right in my north facing window :)
Looks like the light is right on the screen in the pictures? And then looks like they could crawl from the screen to the sides of the flower pot. Reading into it further though it doesn't seem these are the permanent enclosures for her chams which explains a lot. I did free ranges for a few years permanently, and Jan has done them longer than that, so I'm sure she knows how sneaky chams can be!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Not going after anyone in this post, but I'm curious, those condo free ranges obviously look great and all, but maybe I'm not seeing something here that jannb could answer... what's stopping the cham from climbing right up to the light? I know my Panthers would be all over that within 20 minutes lol. I remember wanting to copy janbs condo set ups almost 3 years ago, but It's surprisingly hard to keep a chameleon from finding a way off of things.

Sorry getting off topic
I have no idea I just like them. My free range was an epic fail. He crawled off and up my pant leg. I had no clue and could have hurt him. I would have something like this but it would not be his full time home.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have no idea I just like them. My free range was an epic fail. He crawled off and up my pant leg. I had no clue and could have hurt him. I would have something like this but it would not be his full time home.
Yup I know the feeling. I remember I spent so much time doing one only for him to be able to jump off it onto the carpet and wind up on our clothes everyday lol.
 
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