Poor aim - what’s up?

My little guy (3 1/2 months old) seems really healthy except for one thing - he misses his food with his tongue quite often - even at just over an inch away. He still eats plenty, just usually involves sticking his tongue out a very short distance or getting close enough to gobble them with his mouth.

This has me worried as I know this can point to bigger issues/problems with their husbandry, so I’m looking for some feedback about what we might be doing wrong, or some suggestions about how to tell what else might be going on (such as an eyesight or tongue issue).

Enclosure: Dragon strand hybrid enclosure, 2x2x4. Live plants, oak sticks. I’ve attached a photo of his setup. A fan runs low outside the bottom to encourage airflow through the enclosure.

Basking/Heat: We’re using a 150 watt incandescent bulb hanging 16” above his main basking branch. It is on from 7:30am to 5:30pm. Basking temp (measured with heat gun and a digital thermometer) ranges 84-86.

Ambient daytime temp: low-mid 70s.
Nighttime temp: Mid-high 60s

UV & Grow Light: We’re using arcadia T5 12% UVB hanging 14” above his main basking branch. It is on from 7:00am to 7:00pm. We also have a grow light (Sansi 70 watt full spectrum LED) that is on for the same hours, and sits about 8” above his cage. UVB measures 2.5 to 3.0 on the solar meter at the top of the cage.

Misting: Twice daily (6:30 am and 7:30pm) for 3 minutes, a half hour before lights go on and a half hour after they go off.

Fogger: 30mins on, 30 minutes off from 1am to 5:30am

Food: Marty eats an average of ~11 bugs/day, consisting dominantly of black soldier fly larvae (~40%) and small dubias (~25%), with some super worms, wax worms, crickets, and the occasional hornworm thrown in. All but the black soldier fly larvae are dusted with ReptiCalcium (no D3) daily and all bugs are dusted once every couple of weeks with Repashy Calcium Plus. We gutload daily with carrots, sweet potato, dandelion greens, and bee pollen, and throw in occasional fruits (mango, blackberry, apples). So far he almost exclusively cup feeds - he’ll take horn worms off the branch.

Daytime humidity: ~45-60%

Nighttime humidity ranges ~67%-86%.

Water: Aside from misting and fogger, a dripper goes from about 9:30am-1:00 daily, and he also has a shot glass full of water. We’ve never seen him drink but he doesn’t seem to be dehydrated from what I can tell (Eyes aren’t sunken, no persistent skin wrinkles, urates are white or creamy white). Also may be worth mentioning all the water we use for his cage is distilled water to avoid lots of buildup on the plants/in the misting system.

Behavior: Marty stays mostly in the top half of his cage (wonder if he needs more of a warm temperature gradient?). He basks a lot but moves around to different places and positions (he’s active) during the day and snuggles up in a hiding spot to sleep at night. His coloring seems healthy - most of the time his coloration is about as pictured, though he gets a bit darker when basking sometimes, and brightens and poofs up if we do something that frightens him. He usually will eat first thing in the morning and go back for a second round sometime midday.

Alright, I think that’s all the pertinent information. Any advice appreciated :)
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi. Your husbandry looks pretty good, but a couple of things you could try. Your basking temp is just a tad high for a small one...try to lower it just a few degrees. You should also lower your uvb so that it is closer to 12’ from basking. If you have a solarmeter 6.5 that would be even better to find the correct distance for optimal uv index of around 3.0. Generally the standard is a 5.0 or 6% uvb bulb as it’s usually about 8-9” for correct uvb. Although I know many use Repashy Calcium Plus for their chams, including some breeders, I’d try Reptivite with D3 or Repashy calcium plus LoD instead at one feeding every other week.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Try crickets, roaches, grasshoppers, etc for main staples, they hold more gutload and supplement. Have you been gutloading your BSFL? If not, that could be the issue. While BSFL are healthy, they shouldn't be used as a staple feeder
 
Hi. Your husbandry looks pretty good, but a couple of things you could try. Your basking temp is just a tad high for a small one...try to lower it just a few degrees. You should also lower your uvb so that it is closer to 12’ from basking. If you have a solarmeter 6.5 that would be even better to find the correct distance for optimal uv index of around 3.0. Generally the standard is a 5.0 or 6% uvb bulb as it’s usually about 8-9” for correct uvb. Although I know many use Repashy Calcium Plus for their chams, including some breeders, I’d try Reptivite with D3 or Repashy calcium plus LoD instead at one feeding every other week.
Yeah, the UVB is super far because it’s the 12%. We are using the solar meter 6.5 to measure. If we wanted to lower it we’d need to go down to the 6% or the index would be too high and I think we’d be risking overexposure. I’ll look into a swap on the D3 supplement and we’re thinking of getting a lower wattage heat bulb but putting it closer. Still some perfecting to do! Thank you <3
 
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Try crickets, roaches, grasshoppers, etc for main staples, they hold more gutload and supplement. Have you been gutloading your BSFL? If not, that could be the issue. While BSFL are healthy, they shouldn't be used as a staple feeder
We’ve been gutloading everything. We’ll try to lean a bit more on the dubias and crickets and see what happens.He definitely had to warm up to the dubias. I thought BSFL were pretty solid but maybe nutrient rich doesn’t mean staple. Thank you!
 
Bsfl are high in calcium and protein but I guess not great for a staple. Really a variety of insects is best and these people here know what they’re talking about.
Oh totally, I was just saying I came in with a misconception :) We’re aiming for a variety but we were trying to be heavier on the nutrient rich stuff (maybe to a fault) - we’ll definitely play with the balance.
 

Chameleoking

Avid Member
Like Kinyonga said. Poor tongue control / Missing the insects can be a sign of a calcium deficiency, or deficiency in B vitamins, and /or sometimes vitamin A deficiency. A good supplement or improved gutload containing these vitamins usually helps within a week if vitamin deficiency is the reason and the case is not too far gone. And it looks like MissSkittles is aiming you in the right direction
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
We’ve been gutloading everything. We’ll try to lean a bit more on the dubias and crickets and see what happens.He definitely had to warm up to the dubias. I thought BSFL were pretty solid but maybe nutrient rich doesn’t mean staple. Thank you!
Oh totally, I was just saying I came in with a misconception :) We’re aiming for a variety but we were trying to be heavier on the nutrient rich stuff (maybe to a fault) - we’ll definitely play with the balance.
There are multiple species of roaches to try, too! A big variety of healthy feeders with the occasional treat is best! Silkworms are great, as well (but they have a specific food for them, you can’t use a variety of foods and ingredients to gutload)! The more variety and ingredients in gutload (in the correct ratios) means the healthier your cham will be! So using bugs that you can feed the variety gutload to, with other healthy feeders rotated in are best, then the occasional treats. Pupating the BSFL into flies would be great, too! Here’s feeder and gutload charts to keep for reference, as well!
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
While your husbandry is basically on point with the exception of a few minor details mentioned already... I think the important question is has he been doing this since you got him and or how long after you got him did it start?

I would switch the supplement. Kammerflage in the past only used T8 fixtures with their recommendation of using the repashy calcium plus every feeding. I know a year ago they were still compiling their research on using it with the higher output T5 fixtures. The Calcium plus may be too much for the cham's system since he is getting a higher output UVB source. So.... I would add in the repashy no D and use it at all feedings. Then two times a month say the 1st and the 15th use the Calcium plus. This will provide all the D3 and A that the cham needs. Here is the link for the calcium without D3 I would use https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N3BKCGA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

There is a difference in the calcium plus vs the Calcium plus LoD version. The calcium plus is a little more then double the D3 and vitamin A then the LoD version. So you could still use it 2 times a month or you could kick down to the LoD version since your providing the correct UVI level and really do not need a high D3.
 
While your husbandry is basically on point with the exception of a few minor details mentioned already... I think the important question is has he been doing this since you got him and or how long after you got him did it start?

I would switch the supplement. Kammerflage in the past only used T8 fixtures with their recommendation of using the repashy calcium plus every feeding. I know a year ago they were still compiling their research on using it with the higher output T5 fixtures. The Calcium plus may be too much for the cham's system since he is getting a higher output UVB source. So.... I would add in the repashy no D and use it at all feedings. Then two times a month say the 1st and the 15th use the Calcium plus. This will provide all the D3 and A that the cham needs. Here is the link for the calcium without D3 I would use https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N3BKCGA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

There is a difference in the calcium plus vs the Calcium plus LoD version. The calcium plus is a little more then double the D3 and vitamin A then the LoD version. So you could still use it 2 times a month or you could kick down to the LoD version since your providing the correct UVI level and really do not need a high D3.
I’ll try these switches! Yeah, I used the kammerflage setup and supplements for my last cham (who lived a long and healthy life), but we tried a different route with our new boy so we’re still learning how to perfect supplements and all aligned with this setup - it’s quite different! Appreciate the advice!
 
I’ll try these switches! Yeah, I used the kammerflage setup and supplements for my last cham (who lived a long and healthy life), but we tried a different route with our new boy so we’re still learning how to perfect supplements and all aligned with this setup - it’s quite different! Appreciate the advice!
Oh shoot I forgot part o
While your husbandry is basically on point with the exception of a few minor details mentioned already... I think the important question is has he been doing this since you got him and or how long after you got him did it start?

I would switch the supplement. Kammerflage in the past only used T8 fixtures with their recommendation of using the repashy calcium plus every feeding. I know a year ago they were still compiling their research on using it with the higher output T5 fixtures. The Calcium plus may be too much for the cham's system since he is getting a higher output UVB source. So.... I would add in the repashy no D and use it at all feedings. Then two times a month say the 1st and the 15th use the Calcium plus. This will provide all the D3 and A that the cham needs. Here is the link for the calcium without D3 I would use https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N3BKCGA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

There is a difference in the calcium plus vs the Calcium plus LoD version. The calcium plus is a little more then double the D3 and vitamin A then the LoD version. So you could still use it 2 times a month or you could kick down to the LoD version since your providing the correct UVI level and really do not need a high D3.
Oh shoot, forgot to answer your first question, the answer is, I’m not 100% sure because he was a pretty shy eater when we first got him (had him 2 1/2 weeks), but he’s always gotten his head pretty deep in the food bowl so I suspect he may have had the issue since he got here. That said, I totally trust kammerflage took good care of him husbandry-wise so at that point I’d wonder if it could be an injury that got unnoticed. If the changes to supplements/food/heat don’t help the vet is next.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh shoot I forgot part o

Oh shoot, forgot to answer your first question, the answer is, I’m not 100% sure because he was a pretty shy eater when we first got him (had him 2 1/2 weeks), but he’s always gotten his head pretty deep in the food bowl so I suspect he may have had the issue since he got here. That said, I totally trust kammerflage took good care of him husbandry-wise so at that point I’d wonder if it could be an injury that got unnoticed. If the changes to supplements/food/heat don’t help the vet is next.
Start with the supplement change... If you can get baby to get pissed and gape at you to see the inside of his mouth and tongue that would give you a better idea. My bet is injury due to the feeders maybe being too large for him and getting nipped or supplements.
 
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