One eye closes 30 seconds at a time on occasion


Hello cham encyclopedias/SMEs,

All information is below, but I wanted to send a summary of the issue first.


I have 2 Wyze cameras (1 in corner at top, 1 at corner at bottom) in Cosmo's cage, and I review footage in real time or go back through the day to see how he's doing, and try to leave him alone a majority of the day (i.e. do not look into his cage, open it or go near it). Recently, I've caught him on camera (while basking) with 1 eye closing very slowly, staying closed for about 30 seconds, then re-open, he has done this about 2-3 times in 1 day. He has also done this in the past about 1-2 times over the last month, perhaps his basking branch is too hot, but more on that below. I wanted to better understand if there's a normal reason why a cham would do this or if this is very bad/urgent matter that needs veterinarian attention as he seems quite fit, healthy and happy 95% of the time, or at least that is my best guess based on my observations. and this

I try to follow this as precisely as possible: and

  • Your Chameleon: adult male ambilobe panther, 15 months, have had him since April. Got him from highlighter chameleons, he is a YBBB and they labeled him a "candyland x lem chem" mix.
  • Handling: ~ 2-6 times per week (I leave it up to Cosmo); I know handling is frowned upon but I do not force him out of his cage. I may have just been lucky and gotten a friendly lil' guy who climbs onto me on his own free will. There are times when I need to move him to a temporary spot while I clean and re-arrange his cage (this is usually the only time he is 'forced' out) and by 'forced' I mean gently handle and coaxed him onto my arm.
  • Feeding: I always have available 3-4 different insects that I rotate for him daily or every other day, each feeding I try to give him a mix of: dubias, silkworms, hornworms, BSFL larvae (or pupated fly). He never eats wax worms or mealworms and maybe once a quarter he'll have a few superworms. I'm working on getting him some isopods, so will add those to the mix. His usual appetite has him eating about 4-7 medium sized insects daily or every other day (although he'll eat unlimited amounts of his favorite insect if I let him = hornworms); I feed him between 9am-2pm as sometimes he's ready to eat in the AM and other days he's not interested until later. His normal routine: he'll eat a few insects, bask, wander around a little, then goes back to the feeder cup and eats the rest (or leaves some uneaten) by around 2 or 3pm. For gut-loading (which I can't do for the silkworms, hornworms or BSFL - so just the dubia at the moment) I use some dried alfalfa sprouts, fresh collard greens, bee pollen powder, apples, carrots, broccoli, dubia chow, sweet potato, and highlighter chameleon's dust. I use watering gel for the dubia to keep them hydrated. Cosmo will eat bugs in a feeder cup, free roaming or by hand. I never leave insects in his cage overnight, and keep the insects bins very clean. I clean the dubia bin 2 x week and the worm bins daily. He does seem to have teh tiniest looking fad pads in the casque so I will be cutting down on his feeding. I have found it difficult to force the dubia to feed, even in warmer heated bins, they just seem to barely nibble on things.
  • Supplements: 6 days/week with each feeding I dust with Arcadia EarthPro A (I subscribe to Bill Strand's way of cham keeping so I replicate what he does for his own chams). On the 7th day I use Repashy Calcium Plus Lo-D. I also dust with the occasional bee pollen powder.
  • Watering: I only use filtered/bottled water in my hand mister (as a backup system) and for the reservoir that my MistKing auto system pulls from, it has 2 valves/nozzles in the corners of the enclosure, it goes on 4 times day: 1 min. at 6am (when lights go on), 1 min. at 4pm, 1 min. at 9pm and 1 min. at 2am - I follow Bill Strand's guidance and do the watering a night to keep humidity levels high. I will also turn on a humidifier if levels drop too much. On rare occasions I see him drink, but he shows no signs of dehydration, so perhaps he's a shy drinker. His cage dries 100% before the next misting.
  • Fecal Description: Urates and poop have been normal, he has been tested for parasites and none are present. He did have Coccidia over the summer but thankfully he recovered 100% without issue. I clean his cage immediately when I spot the excrement and wipe down any leaves, wood, vines, liner or screen that looks dirty on a daily basis. He has now become a once a week pooper, sometimes he will go 8-9 days, and the poop and urate are then quite large, but they look very healthy, hydrated, and digested.
  • Other: I try to not wear bright colors around him (orange, pink, red) as he tends to get scared when I do.
  • Shedding: He usually sheds once every 8-10 weeks, his last shedding resulted in a tiny amount remaining on his face on either side, I used shed aide spray but that didn't do much for it.

  • Cage Type: a 24" x 24" x 48" Dragon Strand tall hybrid cage (on the top, bottom and door are mesh, the other panels (sides/back) are pvc). The bottom is mesh for good draining. The cage sits on top of a table that is 2 ft. high, so top of cage is probably around 6 ft. or so.
  • Lighting: I have 4 total, 2 have aluminum light reflectors, 2 have black hoods. Lights are on for 12 hours a day (6am-6pm), then they turn off for 12 hours (the lights are on an auto timer), they sit directly on top of the screen. Basking: I use a ZooMed Repti 60W bulb (about 8" above his basking branch) which creates a basking temp of around 90 degrees; UVB: I use a ZooMed Reptisun 10.0 UVB Fluorescent 24" T8 17W bulb (I don't see him under it every day though). 2 grow lights: Sansi 24w and 15w (these are in aluminum reflectors). Also, as of about a month or so ago, most days it takes coaxing to get him from his sleeping shaded area out to the lit areas of the cage - any reason why this would be? If I do not coax him out he will stay in his shaded sleep spot (awake) for hours. I have a SolarMeter 6.5R and test his UVB branch height to get UVI 3.0 at the back of his spine when he sits here. I have also seen him spend hours on end under the basking bulb that reaches 90 degrees, with no signs of burns etc.
  • Temperature: Bottom/lower center of cage about 68-74F, top of cage not in basking area is about 76 degrees, basking temp is high 80s to 90. Lowest temp at night might hit 62-66. Temp is measured with a AcuRite 01080M Pro Accuracy Temperature and Humidity Gauge with Alarms. It tracks the high and low temps and humidity levels over a 24 hour period. I place this around the middle of the cage. For the basking spot I use a ZooMed Digital Thermometer with the sensor on the spot of the vine he basks on. I have a ceramic heat emitter outside the cage to keep the very bottom from dropping too low into the 50s as it does get cold at night in DC right now.
  • Humidity: Day humidity stays around 40-60% (except when the mister goes off it increases to around 80-100% temporarily). Night time is around 80-100%.
  • Plants: I have a large ficus lyrata (when I prune it I take Cosmo out to wait for the sap to dry as this avoids irritating his eyes), and a healthy growing pothos - both are very well grown in and I tried to create a forest edge on the left (where he sleeps) and more open sunny spots on the right. He has a puzzle and labyrinth of branches, vines etc. below. I use fake vines (Exo terra moss, fluker's bend a branch). He has 4 basking branches total, 2 under the UVB bulb, 1 under a grow bulb, 1 under his basking bulb. He also likes to bask under the 15w grow bulb.
  • Placement: We are temporarily living in a carriage house/tiny home (we're renovating our normal home), and he is in-between the kitchen and closet (but he does not see us unless we walk in the kitchen which we don't and usually cook after he heads to sleep and I put a sheet on the front in case moving in front or lights wake him). Since he is in a hybrid cage, he cannot see out of 3 of the 4 panels. I have a small dog that doesn't seem interested in him at all, she'll wander over to his cage from time to time, but usually doesn't loiter or bother him in the least. There's only me and my husband in the house.
  • Location: Where are you geographically located? Washington, DC
  • Other: He sleeps in the same spot each night, starts tucking in around 4:30-5:30pm even though lights go off at 6pm.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions this amazing community may have and for reading this long post! I will post some pictures to give context once I'm on my phone.




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Pics of eyes closed


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