Please help! Chameleon's eyes closed. 😢

Faithan84

Member
I am new to chameleons. I've been doing tons of reading and learning. I've been making changes slowly as I have time/money.

Chameleon Info:

Your Chameleon - Kiwi is 3-5 months? Female Veiled. I've had her since December 20, 2020.

Handling - Very seldom. Only a few times. I've been working with her to get her comfortable with me.

Feeding - I started with crickets, mealworms, and waxworms. I recently switched her to crickets, black soldier fly larvae, and green bottle fly spikes. I've been hand feeding her about 5 crickets, then placing 5 black soldier fly larvae, and several green bottle fly spikes in a feeding bowl every morning. She's been eating everything I offer. I've been offering the crickets carrots, zucchini, cucumber, apple, kale, Fluker's Cricket Quencher, and Fluker's High Calcium Cricket Diet. I understand that there are higher quality gut-loads. I'm working my way there. I don't yet know how to gut-load the larvae. Am I feeding her too much?

Supplements - I've been using what I got in the beginning: Zoomed Repti Calcium without D3, and Zoomed Reptivite. I've been studying the crickets with the calcium about 6 times/week, and dusting with the Reptivite once a week. I've ordered Arcadia EarthPro-A and Repashy Calcium Plus Lo-D (per chameleonacademy.com's recommendation).

Watering - I've been doing a heavy mist in the morning and the evening. I've been using the Mist'r Lizard 16oz spray bottle until it's empty each time. I haven't been timing it. I've got a Little Dripper that I fill each day. I've seen her drink occasionally. She still gets nervous with me near her cage. I've been using spring water for all water in the vivarium.

Fecal Description - Poop has been normal, as far as I can tell. The brown part has been a little dry, but the white part has been consistently white with a very small amount of orange. She was pooping daily, but that has slowed down to every couple of days. I upgraded her cage with plants and branches two weeks ago and I think she may be pooping somewhere different or it is falling in a plant. She has not been tested for parasites.

History - She has been pretty happy. Her colors are pale green when sleeping, and she's been darker on her basking branch. I see her most often on the basking branch through the day. She darkens and gets defensive when I get near the cage and always has an eye on me. She turns more green when I feed her. I have a cat, but she seems more interested in the crickets than the cham. I don't think she's stressing the cham.

Cage Info: I am another victim of the Zoo Med Repti Breeze Chameleon Kit. It's a 16"x16"x30" screen cage. I'm in the process of designing a larger hybrid cage to move her into. Today I added plastic panels to 2 sides of the cage to help maintain humidity.

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Lighting - Zilla Slimline Tropical 25 UVB T8 Fluorescent Fixture (I think this is what I have.) It sits on the top of the cage. I know I need the T5 HO. I have an Eco Incandescent Natural Light 100W replacement bulb for basking, and an Incandescent 60W Grow light for the plants. The fixture for both bulbs hangs 4" above the cage. All lights are on a 7am-7pm timer.

Temperature - Floor - 70-73°F, middle of cage - 75-77°F, Basking - 80-83°F Night temps drop to mid 60's. I have an Infrared Thermometer Gun, the Zoo Med digital thermometer that came with the kit, and a ThermPro digital thermometer/hygrometer that records highs and lows. Temperature and humidity have been my main concerns since I've gotten Kiwi. I also have a space heater about 2' from the cage that is on during the day.

Humidity - This has been a challenge for me. I had bad information to start out with. I've been using a humidifier at night, watering the plants every other day, and misting twice a day. Day humidity is around 20-40%. Night humidity goes up to around 65%. I have the hygrometer that came with the kit and a ThermPro digital thermometer/hygrometer that records highs and lows. Hopefully the new panels will help maintain a higher level of humidity.

Plants - Yes. I have a money tree, 2 pothos (one big, one small), a nerve plant, a spider plant, a polka dot plant, and a maiden hair fern. I have natural branches placed throughout. The plants need to grow a bit more to provide more privacy. She's taken a bite out of nearly all of them but prefers the pothos and money tree.

Placement - My room is in the basement of the house. It stays cooler down here, which is why I've struggled with temperature. It is on one end of a long room. My desk is close to it and I often sit there to do school work. The top of the cage is about 6' above the floor.

Location - I am in central North Carolina.

Current Problem - 2 weeks ago I upgraded her cage with more real branches and plants. I started giving her the new food 3 days ago.

Yesterday morning I saw her rubbing her right eye on a branch. For most of the day she kept it closed, but occasionally opened it to look at me. When it was closed, she sometimes moved it around. From info I found here, I assumed that she has a foreign object in her eye. I think the recommendation was to do an extra misting. I did an extra misting in the afternoon.

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I'm wondering if the black soldier fly larvae's substrate may have gotten in her eye. Am I supposed to wash them off before I give them to her?

Also, I recently figured out that she is female, not male like the pet store told me. I made her a nesting bin, but not as big as recommended because I didn't account for it when I updated her cage with plants and branches. She's probably not mature yet, so I figured I have a little time before I have her large cage ready. It is approximately 8.5"x8.5"x5" deep. I filled it with damp washed play sand. I set her feeding dish in the bin (because it changed my layout). Could she have gotten a bit of sand in her eye? I noticed today that the green bottle spikes are able to escape the feeding dish.

In the afternoon she was resting in a spot I'd not seen her before, and it took a few minutes to find her. She went to sleep at a normal time and was light green.

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This morning I found her hanging from the top of the cage before her lights came on. This is the first time she's done this. Usually she is still sleeping when I check on her. She's changed in color from spotted to green to brown this morning, possibly related to my presence. I've seen her rub her right eye on a branch again. She's mostly keeping it closed but is occasionally opening it. She's a little more feisty than usual, but it may be because I'm paying more attention to her. She opened her eye to feed and ate as normal. She basked with her eye closed. This evening I saw her left eye closed too. 😢 She got ready (in her spot) for sleep about an hour early. She didn't startle or budge while I was working on adding the panels. I misted the cage and she raised up on her hind legs and froze in place with her eyes closed and her resting colors. I definitely haven't seen her do this before. She's back in her spot and sleeping now.

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The earliest vet appointment I could get for her is in a week and I plan to have a fecal exam done.



Any advice in the meantime would be much appreciated!
 

Kamikaze Chameleon

Avid Member
Yeah I think most important is getting the light the t5ho will make a huge difference also getting your humidity to the correct level. Is she closing both eyes? Its very possible she got that in her eye or maybe the substrate in the lay bin?Also maybe try to stick to one supplement brand, if your going to use EPA you should also be using the calcium pro and revitalize d3.
 

Faithan84

Member
Yeah I think most important is getting the light the t5ho will make a huge difference also getting your humidity to the correct level. Is she closing both eyes? Its very possible she got that in her eye or maybe the substrate in the lay bin?Also maybe try to stick to one supplement brand, if your going to use EPA you should also be using the calcium pro and revitalize d3.
Yes, she had both eyes closed this evening. What are the benefits to sticking to one supplement brand?
 

Faithan84

Member
Yeah I think most important is getting the light the t5ho will make a huge difference also getting your humidity to the correct level. Is she closing both eyes? Its very possible she got that in her eye or maybe the substrate in the lay bin?Also maybe try to stick to one supplement brand, if your going to use EPA you should also be using the calcium pro and revitalize d3.
Is this the correct light? https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07HJG7TJ4/ref=ox_sc_saved_image_1?smid=A3JC9UG1DXZJCB&psc=1
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m guessing you’re using the Chameleon Kit supplements? If thanks so, it is the Zoo Med Reptivite with D3, which should only be used once every two weeks, with the calcium without D3 on all other feedings. With the Chameleon Academy schedule, your lighting needs to be better, so stick with the Zoo Med supplements for now. What strength and brand of bulb are you using in the T8? Her basking shouldn’t go over 78-80*F at the max. Do you have any 24 hour exotic animal hospitals near you? She needs her eye(s) looked at and probably flushed or something. I wouldn’t wait a week for that. Here are gutload (you need a better gutload), feeder (variety is best for both this and gutload ingredients), and lay bin charts for reference (would you like helpful links for female veileds as well?):
 

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Faithan84

Member
I’m guessing you’re using the Chameleon Kit supplements? If thanks so, it is the Zoo Med Reptivite with D3, which should only be used once every two weeks, with the calcium without D3 on all other feedings. With the Chameleon Academy schedule, your lighting needs to be better, so stick with the Zoo Med supplements for now. What strength and brand of bulb are you using in the T8? Her basking shouldn’t go over 78-80*F at the max. Do you have any 24 hour exotic animal hospitals near you? She needs her eye(s) looked at and probably flushed or something. I wouldn’t wait a week for that. Here are gutload (you need a better gutload), feeder (variety is best for both this and gutload ingredients), and lay bin charts for reference (would you like helpful links for female veileds as well?):
Okay thank you for the info. Once I get the better light, will I need to change to the other supplements?

I'm not sure what brand the uvb bulb is, but I do think it's a T8.

I've seen different recommendations for the basking temps, with the highest at 85° for female veileds. I can lower it if necessary.

I'll call the vet tomorrow to see if I can get her in sooner.

I'll work on the better gut-load and add the solarmeter to the list. I had no idea that chameleons were so $$$$$.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Okay thank you for the info. Once I get the better light, will I need to change to the other supplements?

I'm not sure what brand the uvb bulb is, but I do think it's a T8.

I've seen different recommendations for the basking temps, with the highest at 85° for female veileds. I can lower it if necessary.

I'll call the vet tomorrow to see if I can get her in sooner.

I'll work on the better gut-load and add the solarmeter to the list. I had no idea that chameleons were so $$$$$.
You don’t have to change the supplements at all if you don’t want to, Zoo Med is a proven great brand! For the strength of the UVB bulb, I meant that brands have different strengths of T8 bulbs like 5.0, 10.0, etc. On the bulb itself, it should say the brand and strength of the bulb. Are you using the bulb that came with the Zilla fixture? Higher basking temps and over feeding have been proven to shorten lifespans on females. Yup, chameleons are a money pit but are so worth it! Here are some great links, especially The Chameleon Academy (they have the most accurate and up-to-date info!):
https://www.chameleons.info/en/
http://raisingkittytheveiledchameleon.blogspot.com/2007/12/keeping-female-veiled.html
http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/external-resources/
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
https://chameleonacademy.com/veiled-chameleon-care/
 

Faithan84

Member
You don’t have to change the supplements at all if you don’t want to, Zoo Med is a proven great brand! For the strength of the UVB bulb, I meant that brands have different strengths of T8 bulbs like 5.0, 10.0, etc. On the bulb itself, it should say the brand and strength of the bulb. Are you using the bulb that came with the Zilla fixture? Higher basking temps and over feeding have been proven to shorten lifespans on females. Yup, chameleons are a money pit but are so worth it! Here are some great links, especially The Chameleon Academy (they have the most accurate and up-to-date info!):
https://www.chameleons.info/en/
http://raisingkittytheveiledchameleon.blogspot.com/2007/12/keeping-female-veiled.html
http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/external-resources/
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-husbandry-program-getting-started-with-chameleons/
https://chameleonacademy.com/veiled-chameleon-care/
Thanks for the links. I feel as if learning about chameleons is becoming my second job!

This is what I could see on the bulb.
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How worried do I need to be about her current behavior?

Is there a cheaper/effective version of the Solarmeter?
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
THE PLASTIC COVERING NEEDS TO BE TAKEN OFF OF THE FIXTURE ASAP BECAUSE SHE IS NOT GETTING ANY UVB RIGHT NOW! That is a Zilla tropical bulb. With a T8 fixture, you need either an Arcadia 12% or Zoo Med 10.0 T8 UVB bulb of the matching length to your fixture. Here’s the Chameleon Academy’s link for UVB. @Beman will be better at telling you how far away her basking branch should be away from the UVB bulb. You can DIY a Solarmeter, there’s a thread on here with a link for that, but I personally bought the name brand meters straight from Solarmeter so I had peace of mind that the meters were calibrated correctly.
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-cage-set-up-replicating-the-sun/
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
T8 10.0 or 12% bulb and basking would sit about 7 inches down with fixture sitting on top of the cage. Plastic cover over the bulb needs to be removed as already mentioned. I hate that this brand puts one on it. :(
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I just saw your enclosure. Keep in mind you want a full 7 inches down to the branch below this fixture with the T8 10.0 bulb... But you need to make it so the UVB sits above the branch at that distance. So it looks like you will have to adjust that highest basking branch down.
 

Faithan84

Member
THE PLASTIC COVERING NEEDS TO BE TAKEN OFF OF THE FIXTURE ASAP BECAUSE SHE IS NOT GETTING ANY UVB RIGHT NOW! That is a Zilla tropical bulb. With a T8 fixture, you need either an Arcadia 12% or Zoo Med 10.0 T8 UVB bulb of the matching length to your fixture. Here’s the Chameleon Academy’s link for UVB. @Beman will be better at telling you how far away her basking branch should be away from the UVB bulb. You can DIY a Solarmeter, there’s a thread on here with a link for that, but I personally bought the name brand meters straight from Solarmeter so I had peace of mind that the meters were calibrated correctly.
https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-cage-set-up-replicating-the-sun/
😢😓 I feel like the more I try the more I get wrong. I took the plastic off. I'll get a better bulb tomorrow.

I'll get a better system for the 24" cage.

I'm so stressed with all of this. I hate that I keep running into bad info.
 

Faithan84

Member
I just saw your enclosure. Keep in mind you want a full 7 inches down to the branch below this fixture with the T8 10.0 bulb... But you need to make it so the UVB sits above the branch at that distance. So it looks like you will have to adjust that highest basking branch down.
Thank you for the input.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
😢😓 I feel like the more I try the more I get wrong. I took the plastic off. I'll get a better bulb tomorrow.

I'll get a better system for the 24" cage.

I'm so stressed with all of this. I hate that I keep running into bad info.
This is how every brand new keeper feels... But this is why the forum is here. To help others learn. Don't be hard on yourself.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
😢😓 I feel like the more I try the more I get wrong. I took the plastic off. I'll get a better bulb tomorrow.

I'll get a better system for the 24" cage.

I'm so stressed with all of this. I hate that I keep running into bad info.
Just make the needed changes, and hopefully it’ll all work out. Definitely do x-rays at the vet, as well as bloodwork (if it’s safe to and the vet recommends it)! You’re here now and learning, which is a great step in the right direction!
 

NickSwizzle

New Member
Mines eyes were closed exactly how yours were a few months ago and was even black like yours for a few days.We took her to the reptile vet and it turned out that she was just super dehydrated and vitamin deficient,yours might have the exact same problem.I’d recommend taking your chameleon to the vet 👍🏼
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Mines eyes were closed exactly how yours were a few months ago and was even black like yours for a few days.We took her to the reptile vet and it turned out that she was just super dehydrated and vitamin deficient,yours might have the exact same problem.I’d recommend taking your chameleon to the vet 👍🏼
They do not need a vet they have an issue of the UVB lighting being blocked by a crappy fixture design. No UVB light = multiple issues including eyes closing.
 

Faithan84

Member
Just make the needed changes, and hopefully it’ll all work out. Definitely do x-rays at the vet, as well as bloodwork (if it’s safe to and the vet recommends it)! You’re here now and learning, which is a great step in the right direction!
They do not need a vet they have an issue of the UVB lighting being blocked by a crappy fixture design. No UVB light = multiple issues including eyes closing.
Thank you for your help earlier this week!

I made the recommended changes: On Tuesday, I got the Zoo Med ReptiSun T8 10.0 UVB Lamp and raised it to about 7-8" from the basking branch. I made a better fresh veggies gut-load for the crickets, and yesterday I offered her 2 hornworms in case she was dehydrated.

She seemed to be better yesterday, though still had her right eye closed. She went to sleep and got up at regular times. This morning though, she refused food. She hissed, lunged, and turned away when I offered a hornworm and a cricket.

What's next? Should I just wait to see if the uvb does its work?
 
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