Really poorly male cham


New Member
Hi all,

I live in the U.K & I have a 3 month old male yemen who is very poorly.
Over the last week , he has stopped eating and drinks very little. Prior to this he would only eat fruit flies, although the breeder I got him off says he fed well on brown crickets. He is in a 24x30x18" homemade wooden tank. There are vents in the back and top and the front has mesh sliding doors. There is a 24" UV light and a basking spot. Temp is 85 under the spot and 70 in the cooler side. I have a dripper system set up which I have dripping constantly( with added vitamins in the water) the humidity is around 60-65%, nightime temp is about 65. He has lost lots of weight and looks really ill, his color has gone dark and his eyes are closed & sunken. The tank has live ficus, fern and unmberalla plants plus pieces of driftwood, all of which were thoroughly cleaned beforehand. The breeder I bought him off has been and had a look at the setup and says he can't see anything drasticaly wrong, so why has he gone like this?
Any ideas would be welcome, thanks in advance.
at 3 months he should certainly be eating feeders larger than fruit flies. Have you offered him silkworms, crickets, roach nymphs, mealworms, etc.? Did you just get him at 3 months or have you had him for a while? Have you had a fecal done for a parasite check?

What are you dusting his feeders with? You also said you have added vitamins to water? The humidity does not have to be really high all the time, things should be allowed to dry out for a bit each day so mold and fungus don't get a foothold, especially where you are as I know it can be quite damp. And the dripper does not have to be constantly dripping. Do you have any substrate on the floor of the tank? If so, remove it as this will harbor fungus and bacteria.

Can you post any pics of setup and of him? The sunken eyes sounds like serious dehydration - have you actually seen him drink?

I am sure others will chime in with more questions and ideas, too.

Where do you live? I might be able to come and check him out if you live in Essex/Kent or Hertfordshire tommorrow. When my Veiled chameleon was ill I used to swear by a liquid product called T-Rex Hydro-Life. Try and find some wax worms, he will like those and they help with underweight chameleons. It does sound like he needs to see a vet asap though as he is very ill from the description you give...
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I have had him for a month now and everything was fine to start with. I was dusting crickets twice a week with nutrobal but he soon went off them and that is when he seemed to go off crickets. There is no substrate on the floor at all because of the fungal problems etc. I have tried small locusts but he just looks at them and that's it! He seems to have no interest in crickets or locusts at all.
I have tried to coax him into drinking by dripping water onto his cask so that it runs down his nose but even that isn't working!
Sounds like he is dehydrated, I think your going to have to visit a vet. Try to force him to drink water like open his mouth and use a syringe to put some water in him.
I agree with whats been said by everyone, dehydration. I had that problem with my first chameleons a few years back, now they are fine. Definitely seek an experienced vet! I say this because inexperienced vets will go through things like x-ray, blood sample, injections etc all in 1 visit. And this can be costly. Whereas an experienced vet will beable to diagnose the problem from what you tell him/her and by looking at your chameleon. I live in the UK too and my first vet visit cost alot of money. I am only asking you to look around for a good vet practice and not to avoid going. Chameleons are specialist pets after all. If you want to try rehydrating your chameleon before you reach a vet, try gently pinching the chameleon's lip (in between; the front of his eyes and his nose) and maintain this gentle pressure. The Chameleon should soon open his mouth, this is where you would drip water into his mouth. I would drip the water between his lips and teeth, just to make things more comfortable for the poor thing. Another way is to open his mouth is to grasp the gular area and gently pull downwards. Goodluck and start searching for a specialist.
Thanks for the advice guys.
I have booked a day off work to look after him & I have been up all night. I have managed to get some "critical care" food into him and he has had some water too but he is just so weak. If I can keep getting bits of fluid into him, how long before I start to see an improvement, if any!?
Update on condition!

I just found him dead on the bottom of his tank! It's the second one I have lost now so I guess i'm just not meant to have a chameleon!
Thanks to those who posted advice.
I'm really sorry for your lost. But don't be put off in keeping a chameleon. Try photographing a picture of your setup and post it online. I'm sure everyone will help the best they can. R.I.P.....
I am so sorry!

Update on condition! I just found him dead on the bottom of his tank! It's the second one I have lost now so I guess I'm just not meant to have a chameleon! Thanks to those who posted advice.

Most of us have suffered a loss and can empathize with you. So very sorry to hear this :( As for not having chameleons again that you will have to decide. You may want to revisit your setup and feeding/dusting regimen. You mentioned nutrobal and I think in another recent thread someone noticed there is no Vit D3 in it?

If you can answer questions very specifically maybe we can help you troubleshoot for the future. It seems that Chamgirl is in UK, too. If she lives near by maybe you two can get together. There are other UK posters here.

Considering you only had him for a month and the breeder actually visited and saw nothing wrong, I would hope s/he would be professional enough to reimburse you in some way.

Again, very sorry :(


I am sure right now you just want to get thru your loss, but
when/if you feel up to it, here are some standard questions that are helpful: There is also a sticky link at the top of this forum on asking questions.
If your chameleon is having problems and you want input from other chameleon owners, be sure to include as much information as possible:

1. Cage type: What size and type of cage (screen, glass, etc.)?

2. Temperatures: What is the basking temperature? How do you measure the temperature in your setup? What is the temperature in the warmest spot? The coolest spot? At night? During the day? You should measure the temperature of the chameleons' skin or the surface of its current branch to get a more accurate reading. Do you leave any heat on at night? What is the temperature in the room at night?

3. Lighting: What brand is your UVB light? How long have you been using it? How long are your lights on each day? Do you leave any lights on at night? Where are the lights? on top?

4. Humidity: Do you have a humidity gauge? What is the range of relative humidity (RH) from lowest to highest? How long does it take to go from high to low? Do you use a humidifier? Do you live in the north or south (or other)?

5. Water: Have you observed your chameleon drinking? How often do you mist? Do you have a dripper?

6. Food: Have you observed your chameleon eating? What is the chameleon's diet? Where do you get your live feeder prey? What are you feeding the feeders? Fresh veggies? Gut load? If you use a commercial gut load what is the brand? If you make your own what are the ingredients?

7. Supplements: What type of supplement(s) do you use? Brand name(s)? How often do you use supplements?

8. Plants & branches:
What plants do you have? Are your plants alive or fake? Do the plants provide lots of coverage where the chameleon will feel safe? Can you see your chameleon most of the time or can it hide from your view?

9. Chameleon facts: How old is the chameleon? Do you know if it is wild caught or captive born? Did you get the chameleon at a show? Breeder?

10. Handling: Do you handle your chameleon? How often and how long? What is its reaction to you? Is the cage in a quiet part of the house or is it in a busy or noisy area? Any big stereo speakers near the cage? Is your chameleon alone in the cage? Can your chameleon see any other herps or pets from the cage?

11. Veterinarians: Do you have a veterinarian who KNOWS chameleons?
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