Paranoid Mama! Baby Acting Weird?

torizazu

New Member
Hey all! Okay, so everyone I talk to thinks I am being a paranoid new mom to this little baby panther I have just gotten--I would like some input from you experienced hobbyists!

Here is some background on this new little dude (or dudette)... This kid I work with bought him at a Petland a few hours away from our town, they (carelessly) housed him in a glass exo-terra terrarium and he was there for a month or so (so they said....). I do not believe they were supplementing him with anything :(

A few days after this kid brought the cham home he decided he didn't want it anymore and I took him in. He had a ridiculous amount of heat on this poor baby and I am really worried about his health because of it... He had an infrared heat light, a ceramic heat emitter, a basking spot ANNNND a UVB linear tube on him (YIKES)!!!! He was extremely dehydrated--orange urates and all when I got him but has since been eating and drinking like a champ and has had white urates. He doesn't poop everyday though :( and I know for a fact he eats everyday because I will make sure I get him to eat at leat 3 crickets or mealworms from my hand...

Here is his info now:
Your Chameleon - Panther, unsexed, roughly 3 months old
Handling - very rarely...maybe for a few minutes since I have had him and that was only to clean one of his vines.
Feeding - Crickets gut loaded with fluker's orange cubes, they are also dusted everyday with Repashy cham dust and they get calcium with d3 dusted twice a week. He also is offered waxworms to fatten him up and meal worms.
Supplements - Repashy cham dust daily and the repti-cal (pink and white tub) twice a week
Watering - I use an exoterra mister and mist by hand 4 to 5 times a day. I do not seem him drinking often
Fecal Description - Has not been tested yet, droppings are finally white in urates again because he was very dehydrated at first and they were orange. His actual turd is a solid greyish/brown looking poo, it landed in a puddle of water though so it got slimy and weird before I got it out to examine it.
History - see above :)

Cage Info:
Cage Type - Screen ZooMed cage, the smaller size (12x12x18ish?) He has plenty of room to roam around since he is still so little and has lots of fake (silk) plants and vines. There is no substrate on the bottom of his cage.
Lighting - 75w sun-glo by exoterra hung several inches above his cage for basking, and a compact fluorescent that is 5.0 UVB also.
Temperature - I have two digital therms on his cage, his basking spot is generally anywhere from 86.5 to 88.5, the ambient temp is around 78 or so and nighttime temps are 74ish.
Humidity - He is misted 4 to 5 times a day, I try to keep the humidity at about 60%, 40% is usually the lowest I ever see it.
Plants - Silk plants...
Placement - Cage is about 3 feet or so off the ground and placed in our office so he isn't bothered by traffic in the house.
Location - Kansas

Current Problem - For the last few days I have caught him dozing off during the day :( If I sneak up on him he will have his eyes closed but if I make even the slightest noise he will perk right up and look at me. I thought maybe this could be caused from moving around so much and him adjusting to yet another new place. AT first, he would do the creepy eye cleaning thing when they bubble out their eye and suck it in after it is closed then reopen the eye. After he did the cleaning maneuver he would sometimes close it or bulge it out...most of the time it looks normal, which is why this is so confusing to me. Maybe I have too much light on him? Maybe it is caused from the lack of supplements he received at the pet store? Maybe it is from him being half way friggin baked by the kid I got him from?
UGH! Also--I have only seen like 3 turds from him and I have had him for almost a week now :( I know he has eaten every day though and is fattening up nicely as he was too thin to be one of my chammy kids-- maybe his prey items are too big (slightly larger than the width between his eyes?). Could this cause constipation? I am really more concerned with the sleepiness though when he thinks he can get away with it. I have read this can be caused by lack of vitamins in the diet which I am surely trying to help him out with...My other panther NEVER does this :( AND poops daily...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, folks!
 

Elizadolots

New Member
Wow...you are in the top of great first time posters...kudos to you!

What water is the poop falling into? I'm just curious.

As urates are white, it seems your hydration is okay.

I sort of think your night time temps are a bit warm. Is that just how you keep your house? Chameleons seem to like a fairly substantial drop in temps for the night.
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
Maybe it is your sunglow light. you have a very small enclosure which is glass and although your temps are ok(could be a little lower) maybe that 75 watt halogen bulb is just too intense on his eyes and causing him to squint. Why don't you try a regular housebulb like a 40- 60 watt and see if that doesnt help. He might be closing his eyes cause the light is bothering him. It is worth a try.
 

torizazu

New Member
Thank you, Elizadolots! :) I'm just a tad bit obsessed with researching every aspect of cham owning to make sure everything is near perfect!

This morning he was very active and had his eyes open but I just caught him with his eyes closed again on a vine :( as soon as he heard me creeping up on him he perked up and opened them and was alert again but this keeps happening... I am very concerned about this... Does stress cause this?

I think I'm going to bump my house temp down to 70 or 72 degrees rather than the 75 it is usually at so I can help give him that 10 degree gradient--I'm glad you brought that to my attention! Thanks!!

I am actually using one of exo-terra's sun-glo lights that is an incandescent. I actually tried a halogen initially that was a mere 60 watts but it got REALLY hot REALLY fast in his enclosure so it had to go bye-bye!

His enclosure right now is a screen one though--so I am not sure the 75 watt is too hot but I will buy ZooMed's 60 watt blue daylight bulb to try it out, maybe this will help him keep his eyes open...

He pooped this morning and it was a perfectly firm turd with white urates, yay! The water it dropped into was basically just from me misting incessantly, it pooled up in the bottom of the cage and made a little puddle, I hadn't wiped it out yet when he poo'ed in the puddle.

Do you guys think this could be a sign of some weird illness? Everything I have read says when they have their eyes closed for most of the day it means something awful is going on inside their little bodies, but he will only shut his eyes every once in a while when he thinks no one is looking at him. Also, when he closes his eyes he does the weird eye bubble thing when he opens them as if he is cleaning them... hopefully this does not mean there is an infection (although theres no crust or any other symptoms that would indicate this)....

Here's a few pics of my little dude :) His locale is a mystery! Whee!

OHHH AND ONE MORE THING!!! Sometimes when I spray him he gets all weird and clumsy... this morning he fell from a vine and he acts a bit shaky when he is trying to grab things like vines and his screen. I think this could be the beginning signs of MBD from the pet store not supplementing him with anything--but we are definitely working on that! Thoughts?

Thank you guys so much, I really appreciate your input!!!!



 

ataraxia

Avid Member
Here is his info now:
Your Chameleon - Panther, unsexed, roughly 3 months oldlooks like a male to me
Handling - very rarely...maybe for a few minutes since I have had him and that was only to clean one of his vines.
Feeding - Crickets gut loaded with fluker's orange cubesFresh fruits and veggies are excellent and cheap gut load! gutload 24 hours before feeding., they are also dusted everyday with Repashy cham dustcan you provide a link to this product i cant find it anywhere in my books or on the net. and they get calcium with d3 dusted twice a weeki would tone the d3 down to twice a month. you will also need to buy a multivitamin that should be given twice a month.. He also is offered waxworms to fatten him up and meal worms.also try fresh greenleaf lettuce. he might take to it or not. i just place it on the vines and they eats it!
Supplements - Repashy cham dust daily and the repti-cal (pink and white tub) twice a week
Watering - I use an exoterra mister and mist by hand 4 to 5 times a day. I do not seem him drinking often
Fecal Description - Has not been tested yet, droppings are finally white in urates again because he was very dehydrated at first and they were orange. His actual turd is a solid greyish/brown looking poo, it landed in a puddle of water though so it got slimy and weird before I got it out to examine it.
History - see above :)

Cage Info:
Cage Type - Screen ZooMed cage, the smaller size (12x12x18ish?) He has plenty of room to roam around since he is still so little and has lots of fake (silk) plants and vines. There is no substrate on the bottom of his cage.
Lighting - 75w sun-glo by exoterra hung several inches above his cage for basking, and a compact fluorescent that is 5.0 UVB also. i would also change your bulbs ASAP to a linear tube 5.0 reptiglo or reptisun 18". ive never tried a sunglo bulb for basking on a cham but i would think it would be fine provided the temps are ok.
Temperature - I have two digital therms on his cage, his basking spot is generally anywhere from 86.5 to 88.5, the ambient temp is around 78 or so and nighttime temps are 74ish.your basking temp needs to be measured with the temp guage on the highest branch or vine he can pirch on below the basking bulbi would personally raise the temps to 90*.
Humidity - He is misted 4 to 5 times a day, I try to keep the humidity at about 60%, 40% is usually the lowest I ever see it.make sure his cage has enough time to dry out between your manual mistings and the auto mister. you dont want fungus.
Plants - Silk plants...pull on all the leaves to see if any pulll off easy. as he grows he will try and eat them.
Placement - Cage is about 3 feet or so off the ground and placed in our office so he isn't bothered by traffic in the house.
Location - Kansas
awesome he has landed a good home. good luck with your little guy he is pretty btw!!
 

Elizadolots

New Member
Isn't he pretty!

You'll probably want to look into setting up some kind of drainage. It can be as simple as a Sterilite drawer. Cut a hole in the top, place the cage over the hole and drill a hole in the bottom of the cage. That will let the water drain into the drawer. You can take the drawer to the toilet to empty it. Buy a drawer big enough to hold the full size cage you will eventually have.

Closing eyes is definitely a sign of something. I suggest that you really stick to a routine on lighting so he can set his internal clock. It's likely that both in the store and at the kid's house, things were a bit random. When you turn the lights out, does anything else go on in the room? I cover my cage with a towel so he won't be bothered by the TV and computer lights. If he's in a room that's used a lot, that might be something to try (and, it's pretty much free).

While ataraxia is suggesting a higher basking temp, I am going to suggest dropping the basking temp to between 82 and 85. He's still pretty young and from what I've read, the little ones don't want it to be that hot. When he's an adult, 90 degrees in the basking spot wouldn't be excessive.

The easiest way to make adjustments on the temps is to raise or lower the bulb.

Be aware that you don't need the fancy reptile bulbs for your heat lamp. The fluorescent tube (if it's the right one! I'm betting it is) does all the work on "healthy light". A regular household incandescent can do just fine.
 

torizazu

New Member
Awesome! Thanks Ataraxia! Your info is appreciated and very helpful!

I have some kale (spelling?) greens... I think I will offer them tomorrow morning :)

Here is a link to the Repashy cham dust!

http://www.reptilecentre.com/trex-repashy-chameleon-dust-cricket-balancer-50g_p4010095.htm

Definitely let me know what you think about this stuff if you have a chance to check it out. I have some herpavite that I was offering my little dudes every other day but decided to try the Repashy formula out since it has the proper fat, protein, calcium and vitamins all in one--plus the herpavite smelled like fish or something yucky and the Repashy kind smells like...fruity heaven. The bottle directs to use it everyday which I kind of wondered about since there is definitely calcium WITH D3 in it. I know it isn't hard to over-do the D3, so we are careful about these freaky directions...

Thanks for the tip about the silk plants, I didn't think they would try to eat the fake ones but it totally makes sense! I will make sure they are on their little stem nice and tight. :) I'll chill out on the mistings too since he hasn't been doing the cleaning maneuver as much and I'm not QUITE as freaked out about him having some weird foreign object lodged in his little eyeball. No fungus por favor...

I lowered the temp in my place tonight so hopefully he will be able to balance out his body temperature wise and hopefully keep his eyes open ALL DAY tomorrow! Maybe I will just leave my basking spot for now since it is between the temps you awesome peeps have suggested... Oh and speaking of lights, I am really worried about the coil bulb I have and am definitely going to try to find a linear!!! Perhaps this could be why he has been closing his eyes sometimes too? Has anyone else ever had a cham do the weird eye things but not all day just every once and a while when he thinks no one is looking?
 

torizazu

New Member
Thank you x 3238957924 again Elizadoalot!

I think I'm going to have to recruit the boyfriend to fix us up with a drainage system, that sounds wayyy more convenient than using half a roll of paper towels to soak up all that extra water 3 to 4 times a day (and a lot more economical!) We plan to have a really tall and much wider cage some day so we need to seek out a drawer!

I have his lights on a timer right now, 12 hours of light and then dark. I bet you're right about his little circadian rhythm being off-kilter a little. I know for a fact the guy before me would randomly have his lights on and would often sleep in and forget about the poor little guy's lights. Maybe this is making him stressed out and causing the eye issues. Like I said though, it's very weird and not like I have seen anyone else describe it. He acts completely normal and is very sneaky about having them shut :confused: I only catch him doing it occasionally, ugggh!

Thank you so much again! I'm glad you think he's a cutie too :) I wish I knew what type of panther he is! Time will tell I suppose :))
 

torizazu

New Member
Also-- this is what Allen Repashy had to say about his chameleon dust...in case anyone was interested.

"The ICB dusts are formulated to have everything you need. It has enough D3 to be used without UVB, but if you can afford to do both, this is the best insurance. It is balanced and designed to be used EVERY time you feed insects. You can't overdue it for this reason..

Good luck, Allen"
 

Elizadolots

New Member
Oh, you're welcome. We're all here to help each other. You'll pay it forward soon!

In the wild it's not good to let others know you aren't feeling well. So, they cover their distress as much as possible. That makes it very hard on us. Hopefully with every day in your care, he'll get better and better.

They are remarkably resilient considering how fragile they are. They do bounce back!

The thing about D3 is that it's a delicate balance. You need to give it to help them absorb calcium unless your chameleon can spend 2 hours a day in the sun, in that case he can manufacture enough D3 for himself. However, too much artificial (not self produced) D3 inhibits absorption of Vitamins that are important, especially for eye health.

So, it's important to monitor how much you give. I think somewhere on here someone broke down the various supplements and came up with an idea of which should be used how often.

In general, however, I believe that "less is more" when it comes to supplements. Keep your feeders well fed with lots of good stuff and that will get into your chameleons.

View the supplements sort of like a multivitamin. You wouldn't count on them for all your nutritional needs and you wouldn't compensate for poor nutrition by overdosing on vitamins.

If your boyfriend is handy, have him construct a wooden frame for the plastic drawer. That will be much stronger. You can get those drawers at Target and Walmart among other places (if there's a BIG LOTS around, check there!). They don't cost much.

It's a simple, inexpensive, easy way to handle the drainage issue. If you find the water on the bottom doesn't naturally run to the hole(s) just put something heavy there, like a plant pot or a rock.
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
definitely get some plain calcium for every feeding. honestly my gut instinct says i would not use rapashy. even though they make excellent products for other lizards. i personally like products that have beta carotenes for vit A instead of preformed vit A.

Vitamin A found in foods that come from animals is called preformed vitamin A. It is absorbed in the form of retinol, one of the most usable (active) forms of vitamin A. meaning they can overdose Vit A.

Beta Carotene is converted into Vitamin A in a regulated way, made into retinol in the body. so there is no threat of Vitamin A toxicity.

your guy is getting alot of d3. yes without uvb lighting d3 would be needed more.
 

torizazu

New Member
Thanks again for everyone's input :) It is super appreciated!

We took the little dude to the vet today for a fecal float and to see what could be causing him to close his eyes as he has been doing it more frequently...

She said he had extra clear mucous in his mouth which could be the beginning of an upper resp. infection and gave us some baytril for him :)
She didn't find any signs of parasites or worms in his fecal matter so he is all set :) The eyes being closed is a sign of stress from being switched to new environments so much lately!

Thank you again! :))

P.S. Does anyone have any inclination as to what locale he is? Thanks!
 
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