round two is not doing well


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We bought my daughter a veiled chameleon in March. It was healthy and plump. She misted it in the morning and we came back from errands around noon, it was dead. It appeared to have died with it's mouth wide open..

We bought a second one about 6 weeks ago. Everything was going great...eating, misting, climbing. We added to the cage two fake plants to give him the jungle feel. My daughter woke up this morning and turned on his light. She said it was up on the plants. She noticed about two hours ago that it was going down to the bottom of the aquarium, so she went to get it some crickets. She called me in b/c it "didn't look good". It was spread eagle on the floor of the aquarium with it's eyes closed. I watched it. It seems to be laboring to breath. It will periodically gasp with full mouth.

I jumped on this site and read some of the other entries. I did give it a few droppers of water. It doesn't appear dehydrated....belly plump, eyes normal. He looks great, but he is definetely hurting badly. We have placed him back in the floor of his cage and will wait to see what happens. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as my budding herpatologist is quite upset.

My husband and I had a veiled about 10 years ago that we raised from a hatchling. He was about 2 yrs. when in the course of a move, he was killed by a cat. I just don't remember having such issues.

20 gal. glass aquarium (high)
astro-turf floor
synthetic tree limbs for climbing
fake plant life
water bowl in bottom for extra humidity
misting bottle twice a day (hated it)
temp. around 80
heat lamp for at night
100 watt bulb light for daytime
diet of pinhead crickets dusted with calcium (we usually leave 3 to 4 in there all the time)
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Here are two pictures. One from two weeks ago and one from this morning.


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Hello Kenny'sDisco,

Could you please list the details of the images you tried to upload? File extension (.gif, .jpg, etc), file size, and file dimensions. You can find all this info by right-clicking on an image and choosing to view it's properties. Sorry about the image problem; I have been working on them recently and may have messed something up.

My guess would be that your chameleon is experiencing some kind of respiratory problem. The cause most likely being the use of a glass aquarium. Using glass aquariums can restrict air flow and ultimately give your chameleon a lung infection. Also, your temperatures seem low which can also be a leading cause of lung problems.

Once I can see the pics, it will be easier to give advice on the cham. However, from your description the chameleon is already at the point where he should see an experienced reptile vet (preferably experienced with chams) as soon as possible. Chameleons usually do not show signs like this until they are really suffering.

His setup should be changed as well. Most chameleon species should be kept in screen caging. Here is a link to a veiled chameleon care sheet i found on the petco website. Note the required temperatures.

Veterinarian info
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Thanks for the follow-up. The chameleon died. I'm so bummed...I didn't realize that glass wasn't good. Our other cameleon lived in the same tank for 2 years! They both died the same way....gasping for air. It was so sudden!!
:( :(
I am sorry to hear that. If given the correct setup, veiled chameleons can do very well in captivity. They usually are not the best pet for children though; excessive handling can really stress the chameleon out and adversely affect their health. If you decide to try again in the future, please give us a visit before doing so. We will be happy to answer any setup questions you have.
want to try again

Thanks for the advice. Hopefully you got the pics. Just to clarify some more details. We never handled the veil. I told my daughter that they do stress easily and they are best viewed from a distance. Even when we would put our hand in the tank to get the water dish or clean up, it would flare-up. I would explain all about stressing them out. She was very respectful of this. (we have many other types of retiles that she does handle)

Also, I'd like more information about lung infections. Our other chameleon that I mentioned lived in the same tank and it was built into a bookshelf, so there was very little airflow there!
Well, I am sorry to hear of your loss. I really belive that it was due to respitory issues and due to glass tank. If your setup was clean and always clean it will help lots but if left unmanaged it will grow fungus and mold and the cham will have respitory issues. With out clean cycling fresh air, they will have respitory issues.
Better luck next time and cya around.
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