Problems with shedding, black scales.

Barye

Member
Hello!

Disclaimer: I'm not the veteran chameleon caretaker. And Jojo is my first chameleon ever, so please, don't be too harsh, as I want my pet to feel the best as it's possible. However, it sometimes doesn't succeed.

Jojo is a one year old chameleon. I was actually two times at vet's with him.
One day it was due to his casque was burnt and part of it just fell off as he scratched it on the mesh of his old tank.
Then, I was worried about his lack of apetite and very dark-brownish colour, where he was usually light green. As I've found out, there were two types of issues. 1.parasites and 2.problem with shed on his tail.
At the time, Jojo had two layers of shed on his tail, and there were no chances he will remove it himself. It is where the issues with shed began. I did what the vet told me, and finally succeeded with picking his double shed off his tail.
Suddenly, Jojo became bright again and started to eat normally.
Lately, he had another shedding, but it was so problematic i decided to help him a bit. I thought i actually removed the dead skin. But the skin under it was kind of blueish and more slimy than usual.
I decided to stop on that, and later on, i saw that the exact place i took the skin off, was all black. It doesn't feel like a crust. It feels like a normal scales, but they're entirely black.
There are also several smaller shedding problem on his head (mostly casque, and one of the eyes. When i try to remove it he starts to shaking too much, so it's to dangerous to do it.
What can I do to help him regenerate the normal colour of his black scales? And also, how to make him eat crickets? I know that diet based on mealworms is very bad for them, but he just refuses to eat anything else.
Crickets or Cockroaches will always die sooner than he'll be interested to eat them. It is also worth to mention that at the moment when he's inside the tank, his skin is dark green, however if i pick him out of it, his skin becomes light green.

The new tank is 60x60x170cm.
UVB and Heat Lamp is provided.
The hottest place has around 30 Celcius.
The Humidity is mostly around 40%, however it is around 70% as the issues with shedding started to happen.
Fogger was purchased recently, earlier i was just sprinkling the water over the tank.
Jojo is fed using mealworms and crickets( however as i mentioned, he just dont eat them)
Calcium is provided with every meal, and two times a month, i suplement him with Reptivite vitamins.
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome! :) I haven’t yet read all of your post or carefully inspected your pics, but I will be. Initial thought on the black spot on the casque though is a thermal burn. More to follow.
 

Barye

Member
I believe thermal burn could be a result of inhabiting the old tank, as he had the heat bulb around 5 cm above the ceiling. Now it's around 20 centimeters distance.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ll be putting my feedback in bold.
Jojo is a one year old chameleon. I was actually two times at vet's with him.
One day it was due to his casque was burnt and part of it just fell off as he scratched it on the mesh of his old tank. Ok, so this is the black area on his casque. Did the vet give you any special cream for the burn? Usually silver sulfadiazine is used for burns to prevent infection and promote healing. While currently it appears to be a solid black eschar/scab, when that falls off the tissue may be open.
Then, I was worried about his lack of apetite and very dark-brownish colour, where he was usually light green. As I've found out, there were two types of issues. 1.parasites and 2.problem with shed on his tail.
At the time, Jojo had two layers of shed on his tail, and there were no chances he will remove it himself. It is where the issues with shed began. I did what the vet told me, and finally succeeded with picking his double shed off his tail. Was he treated for the parasites? What were the parasites and what treatment was used?
Suddenly, Jojo became bright again and started to eat normally.
Lately, he had another shedding, but it was so problematic i decided to help him a bit. I’m curious about your humidity as that may be causing his shedding problems. I thought i actually removed the dead skin. But the skin under it was kind of blueish and more slimy than usual. Generally we never remove shed unless it is constricting a limb and causing cut off circulation or other issue.
I decided to stop on that, and later on, i saw that the exact place i took the skin off, was all black. It doesn't feel like a crust. It feels like a normal scales, but they're entirely black. I’m going to guess that they are bruised/damaged. It should heal with time and with his next shed, should be normal again.
There are also several smaller shedding problem on his head (mostly casque, and one of the eyes. When i try to remove it he starts to shaking too much, so it's to dangerous to do it. Don’t do it.
What can I do to help him regenerate the normal colour of his black scales? Time And also, how to make him eat crickets? Are they alive crickets? Are they the correct size for him? I know that diet based on mealworms is very bad for them, but he just refuses to eat anything else. Sometimes you have to use tough love. No healthy chameleon (especially a veiled) will ever starve themselves to death.
Crickets or Cockroaches will always die sooner than he'll be interested to eat them. It is also worth to mention that at the moment when he's inside the tank, his skin is dark green, however if i pick him out of it, his skin becomes light green. Inside his enclosure he’s relaxed. When you take him out, he’s stressed.

The new tank is 60x60x170cm. Very good size! (y):)
UVB and Heat Lamp is provided. Can you be more specific about the type of uvb you‘re using? Is it a screw in type? A long tube? T5? What % strength uvb?
The hottest place has around 30 Celcius. Perfect
The Humidity is mostly around 40%, however it is around 70% as the issues with shedding started to happen. This is why he’s having shedding issues. Ideal range during the day is between 30-50%. Chameleons are dry shedders and excessive humidity can make it harder for them to shed properly.
Fogger was purchased recently, earlier i was just sprinkling the water over the tank. You should not be using a fogger during the day when the temps are hot. This causes increased risk for respiratory infection. You need to spray or mist with water for at least 2 minutes, 2-3 times a day - right before lights go on and off and if you’d like to add a 1 minute misting mid day, that is fine. If you want to automate this, you need a misting system like a Mist King. At night if you can achieve a temp drop below at least 21c, then is when you would use the fogger and boost the humidity all the way. This simulates natural hydration like they get in the wild thru fog.
Jojo is fed using mealworms and crickets( however as i mentioned, he just dont eat them) I’m afraid you’ll have to tough love him into eating other feeders. Put the crickets or roaches in on feeding day and give him about a half hour or so to eat them. Do make sure he can easily see them from his basking area. If he doesn’t eat them after the specified time, remove them and try again the next feeding day. Make sure they are all the right size…no bigger than the space between his eyes and since he’s full grown, at least 1+ cm. There’s other feeders that you could try also. I give all of my chams a variety. I’m attaching a feeder graphic to help guide you along with a gutloading one. It’s equally important to keep your insects well fed so that they are nutritious.
Calcium is provided with every meal, and two times a month, i suplement him with Reptivite vitamins. I’d your ReptiVite contains D3, this is perfect.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I believe thermal burn could be a result of inhabiting the old tank, as he had the heat bulb around 5 cm above the ceiling. Now it's around 20 centimeters distance.
Yes, you most definitely want and need to have about a 20-22cm distance between your lights and basking area. Besides preventing burns, this distance will give the ideal uv index of around 3.0 when using the standard T5 fixture with either a 5.0 or 6% bulb. A good way to judge if your light is too hot is to hold your hand under it for about 30 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s a burn risk for your cham.
 

Barye

Member
Was he treated for the parasites? What were the parasites and what treatment was used?
I'm not sure what they were, I only know they were found in his poop, and they were cured using two types of medicines. One of them was in squirt by default. Other one i had to spill out of capsules and mix with water, and then, take into squirt manually. They were a dark red capsules.
Are they alive crickets? Are they the correct size for him?
I'm using banana crickets, which I am sure are not too big for him. I have also easy access to the house crickets, which are a lot bigger.
Inside his enclosure he’s relaxed. When you take him out, he’s stressed.
I would say the opposite, which is weird for me too. His default color is light green. He was like this when everything was OK, when he was young or when he's sleeping. Dark green skin seems bad :(
You should not be using a fogger during the day when the temps are hot. This causes increased risk for respiratory infection. You need to spray or mist with water for at least 2 minutes, 2-3 times a day - right before lights go on and off and if you’d like to add a 1 minute misting mid day, that is fine. If you want to automate this, you need a misting system like a Mist King. At night if you can achieve a temp drop below at least 21c, then is when you would use the fogger and boost the humidity all the way. This simulates natural hydration like they get in the wild thru fog.
Thank you for that correction. I will now just turn on his fogger on the night. I've got a fogger by ReptiPlanet, which allows me to mist him up to hour of duration in stable intervals (0.5h-4h) I guess I will just turn it on night at 1h of mist every 1h. During the day he will only get sprinkled two times. In the morning and in the evening. would that be alright?
Can you be more specific about the type of uvb you‘re using? Is it a screw in type? A long tube? T5? What % strength uvb?
The UVB is a screw type, 26 W, By ReptiPlanet. It's on the same height as the UVA (around 20 cm above the ceiling)

And also, I am afraid you failed to attach the feeder graphics :( I believe it would be great help in matter of variety.
From what can I say, Only feeders I've got a good access to are: Crickets (Banana, House), Mealworms, Superworms, Cockroaches (Madagascar, Turkestan)
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Just curious what part of the world you’re in. I’ve never heard of banana crickets and Google obviously hasn’t either. :)
You need to get a linear T5 uvb fixture with either ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% uvb bulb. Unfortunately the screw in bulbs aren’t able to provide adequate levels of uvb any farther away than 5-6 cm.
In your pics, it looks like your guy is showing stressed coloration. Here’s a couple of pics of my guy to compare. The first is his relaxed colors. The second is his stressed colors. The third is super excited showing off for his forbidden love. If you look carefully, you can see tiny bits of shed on him. I struggle to keep my humidity in the mid 40’s % which results in this. Eventually it all comes off (usually just in time for the next shedding :rolleyes:). While each cham has their own color ranges, usually the color and brightness they show when asleep is the same as when stressed.
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Barye

Member
Oh, in english it's official name is Jamaican Field Cricket. They're just called Banana Crickets in Poland.
As such, i've got also a limited access to Locusts (distance from the nearest breeder) and snails (it depends on if it's rainy outside or not)
I'm a bit confused as I though that dark green colors mean that chameleon feels sick or so. Does it mean that he gets stressed during a sleep? (he's bright green during sleeping)
Uploading a photo of him in his dark colors. (he can even look darker, but he managed to light up a bit before I could take a photo of him.
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ve no idea why chameleons brighten up when asleep, but it is something I’ve wondered about too. They certainly aren’t stressed when asleep. It can be confusing at times to ‘read’ their colors and what they mean, but the less vibrant almost muddy colors are the relaxed state. Here’s a couple of videos that may help explain better than I can.


Neptune the chameleon has lots of videos on a wide variety of topics that you may find helpful and interesting. I’m glad you included a photo of your enclosure as I do see that you’ve got a great base, but need to add more branches and safe live plants. While the size of your enclosure is perfect, the amount of area that your chameleon can use needs to be increased. All of that empty space is unusable and wasted. You could put a tall tree like a weeping fig (ficus benjamina) or schefflera (umbrella tree) and then add some branches or vine around it and hang some pothos. Remove the artificial plants and hang them on the outside screen to give a sense of more privacy.
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Barye

Member
Thank for all the info provided!
I just switched the shallow metal insect bowl with deeper plastic cup, that prevents the crickets to jump out on their own. (ended up with Jojo hitting the wall of the cup with his tongue, since he doesn't understand the concept of transparent materials. Although he eventually succeeded to eat one large cricket.
I am also covering all of his risky spots (casque,bruises and wounds on his back) with a silver sulfadiazine.
The new artifical plants should arrive today (including Ficus Benjamina)
The fogger is used as suggested, only at night.
Everything seems to go for the better. I will be uploading the updates in there.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Great! As the burns heal, don’t be surprised if the burned area falls off (like a scab) as the new skin forms underneath it. That’s a normal part of the healing process.
Getting the correct uvb is essential, so make that your next priority.
Live plants are best as veileds like to nibble at their plants and don’t understand about fake plants. One nibble of a fake leaf can result in a bowel obstruction, which can be very serious. I know it’s hard to do so much all at once (I’ve been there too), so do what you can as you can. Keep posting updates, pics of your handsome guy and all of your progress. :)
 

Jojo2

Member
Hello! I quickly read through your question and pictures, and have read through a bit of the other great advice you have received from others who are much more knowledgeable than I am. I just want to chime in with my own personal experience. I recently had these spots appear on my panther as well. It started off underneath stuck shed, but under the shed it was flat just like his normal scales. He has stopped showing his pjs and his normal bright colors, even his resting colors aren’t the same. He is always dull and grey, just like the images you shared. At first I was under the impression that they were thermal burns as well, but when I took him to the vet they confirmed otherwise. After they took cultures it turned out to be a fungal infection. My panther has been on meds for about a month and I am still struggling to get this infection under control. I can’t say for sure that this is the same issue you’re having, but from my understanding if your humidity is too high it could potentially cause a fungal issue. (Among other things) My personal advice would be to take him to get seen asap. Even if it’s thermal burns and not fungal. Wishing you the best!
 

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Barye

Member
It is identical as the other black scales, i mean, it's not a thermal burn.
Update: it is getting worse :( , even though he succeeded to shed a bit from his head, he still tries to starve himself to death. Last time he pooped it looked like his pee crystal was four time bigger than his food poop. He is brown gray all the time (with one exception of sleeping) and i can feel his bones on tail..
Getting him to vet tomorrow. Up until that i replaced his feeder cup to a more private place, where he's covered by plants. New plants coming tommorow, as well as ordered locusts.
 

Barye

Member
I noticed today a brand new feces.
They seem normal by size. That would mean Jojo ate something in the last days. But if so, why does he got that thin?
Also, the Arcadia 6% UVB lamp was also ordered.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Getting your guy to a vet sounds like the best action. Do have his stool tested for parasites when you go. That could explain his appetite and weight loss.
 

Barye

Member
So. Jojo was at the vet's today.
It has been found that there were many, many parasites in his body :(
He got a proper medicine, and I will need now to take out all of the branches and plants in his terrarium, and wash them in hot salt water to get rid of the parasites.
I will also clean the background with hot water steam to get rid of them in the background as well.
Jojo has a temporary quarantine plant nearby the fireplace, so it will be warm enough for him.
He has his vet visits ordered in week and two weeks from now.
Let's hope he will get rid of this garbage and win ;__;

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Barye

Member
Apparently, all he told me is that they were Protozoans, but I don't know the exact species of them.
I am cleaning the tank right now, and assuming that the Protozoans could develop in the wet soil (due to fogger working properly at the night, and not enough light coming to the bottom of the tank to dry it out)
I wanted to ask, what could I do to make the soil not overwetting with a fogger?
 
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