Sad and lost


New Member
I am a reptile lover and got interested in chameleons. A month or so ago I decide I was going to have my own pet chameleon and I went to the pet store to look at them. The lady helping me seem to know alot and owned one herself. Long story short she told me to research and set up first, which i thought to be a fair start to a new pet. I bought a book, heavely searched the internet, and set up a terrarium. It has hibiscus growing, a vine and some foliage to hide in along the vine. the bottom has a little water dish with a dripper dripping and the subtrate is eco-earth (a coconut fiber) which was recomended. I also have a spay bottle I mist and tempertures were fine humididy was low the first day but right around where it should be the second day. I practice maintaining the temperatures. Finally I purchased my chameleon, the pet store had just got them in, he had a stong grip and no signs of what I had read about looking out for. I had him home two days and work up this morning(the third day) franticly calling vet's cause my chameleon was on the ground and seemed weak and trying to breath. He drank the first day/ afternoon and ate three crickets and drank the second day. He died on the way to the vets, she told me he was sick when I got him and any infection wouldnt have developed that quickly. Sorry for the long post but I don't want to be killing these beautiful little guys therefore i could uses some more opinions first. From what I have said can anyone see anything that I need to change or have suggestions of where I can get healthy chameleons? The one I had ever so briefly was a veiled chameleon and even though I was told it wasnt my fault, im double checking and second guessing everthing before I want to take on another one.
Im goign to try and post my terreium


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Sorry to hear about that...The 2nd day i got mine he waa on the ground but he was just exploring. what kind of chameleon is he
what sucks about it is you don't feel so well after a death of something,life etc. its not a great feeling. the thing is on the otherhand when theyre tiny they are more vunerable.i just moved a veiled about 2-3 months old into a big cage , i was watching her explore it and i was watching how dangerous it could be for a unhealthy little creature,i mean there was drops of water falling from the top of the cage and if one would of capped her on her head while she was at the bottom it looked like it could break something maybe.

if i was you id change some stuff in your cage around and buy another one
Is that an all glass enclosure? I guess that would be fine until your new chameleon gets to about 4 months of age. Chameleons such as veilds need proper air circulation. I suggest you purchase or build a screen cage. Also I think those are live plants. Did you wash the plants?
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Customer service

What chance is there that you might bring something from the vet back to the pet store you bought the cham from and showed the owner that the animal was clearly sick when purchased. Ask for another animal as getting your money back these days is nearly impossible.
You may want to add some more vegitation so it goes higher in the cage. Misting, screen cage, UVB lighting, and a bare bottom'd cage are some things you should look into.
I see two basking lights over an all glass enclosure (how hot was it in there?)
No UVB light that I can see.
Presence of a coconut fiber substrate, and a critter keeper in the enclosure.
The critter Keeper is for??
I would replace the walls with screen or use this for some other animal and get a new screen enclosure, get a reptisun 5.0 flourescent tube from zoomed and a hood, lose one of the basking lights, get an additional thermometer for the basking area, lose the substrate, keep my crickets in a seperate enclosure outside of the chameleons, set up a little dripper and add some plants.
Then, I would moniter the heat and humidity for at least a week till I knew I could keep it somewhat stabilized before considering adding a cham.
I think he may have gotten too hot. Sorry, but it looks like it could get like an oven in there.
Did you wash the plant? Make sure you wash what ever plant you put in there throughly. You have to rid the plant of any pesticides that might still rermain on the plant. There might be a chanced that he was poisoned from remaining poisons from the plant. That might definately be a possibility.
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thanks for the help

hey everybody,
In response to all your questions, the temperature was being watched for a good two weeks with the whole set up. The temperature was 90o to 95o in basking area and about 75 at the opposite corner. At night it was about 70. I know it didn't get to hot; I have a glass thermometer I was using for testing the basking area, the two shiny ones you can see in the image and also have a ten year old red eared slider turtle and know a little about regulating reptile temperature. Speaking of the image, the critter cage I put in there after, it wasn't in there with the chameleon.
About the ventilation we think we should cut a screen door in it, in the front. The top is screen to so that should work (how are you supposes to manage humidity with the screen? I know people do it. Otherwise it's made of fiberglass and is 22in. square and 36in. tall. We're going to lower the lid so it wont be so big maybe next time? Maybe to much space for him?
As for the plants we washed them and made sure there was no perlite either. The lights were a 13 watt repti glo 5.0 uvb, 75 watt daylight halogen heat lamp and 25 watt 6500k daylight energysaver for plant growth.
As for the water, I dripped it twice a day and he drank once off the sides and once from a stream of water out of a home made dripper that dripped on the leaves in the corner for about ten minutes, I know he was drinking. The water was not softened and was left out to de-chlorinate, the only thing was I didn't heat the water so it was warm, I read somewhere later that was a good idea.
I'm going to take the suggestion of more plants; I think there should be more places to climb and hide and more plant leaves. I am also thinking of feeding out of a clear cup to is that a good idea?
thanks for the help everyone.
Oh I live in Canada too, I need to keep some heat in the cage as we have a foot of snow outside and things are cooler indoors then in the summer.
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hey everybody,
...I am also thinking of feeding out of a clear cup to is that a good idea?

Yikes, another Canadian :). If you are going to try cup feeding, use material that he can't see through otherwise he will try to shoot through the plastic.
Haha Dave! Canuck Takeover! Would be neat to see what the ratio is for each country/are. Maybe Brad can rig up somethign like that for interests sake. Back on topic though...

Melany a few questions for you...

Which store did you acquire your chameleon at?
Have you contacted the store with news of the death?
Do you have photos of the chameleon you can post?

The cage is a decent size, and has good dimensions to it. I haven't seen one like it before. Was it self built? The only difficulties would be if the chameleon you were buying was very very small and young, then this cage would not be suitable. Chameleons from petstores are often too young to be sold. and sometimes even within the age where there till may be some random die off from unknown reason. For this size cage you should be after a chameleon that is off to a good start, around 7" long or more most likely. At this age/size they should have honed in on the instincts they will need for such a cage.

The immediate problems I see with it are the reflections, both glass and acrylic can give off VERY clear reflections, and in the photo you can see that there is one quite obvious. This can be a source of stress for chameleons, in some cages they are surrounded completely by 4 or 5 other chameleons glaring back at them! You could paint the solid sides as well as open others for ventilation with pet screen (Not aluminum toe ripping screen).

You may have experience with turtle temperatures, but for chameleons its much more delicate. I suggest digital thermometers with a corded probe. they are very accurate and will be able to tell you the temperatures in different areas of the cage.

Lastly, as discussed, more vegetation. Real plants will keep the humidity up for you along with heavy misting.

I'm in Burlington, just a short drive from where you are now- so your troubles with our climate parallel my own, along with some other users that live near us both. I'll post some info about my own caging so that you might be able to take some ideas and apply it to your own cages, just as I have taken other things from other peoples experiences.

This photo below is one of my less densely planted cages- I'm showing it because it has a good angle of view, showing the entire front is screen, the top is screen, and there is a large section at the rear for airflow. The heat lamps on the top pull air through the door and out the top and rear panel.

Normally the light is right over where the chameleon is sitting in the photo, but the light was too intense for the camera and it was making the chameleon look like a white blob, though it still is bleached from the light intensity.


What kind of chameleon did you get? If the chameleon was wild caught this is very hard to deal with for a person new to chams, not that its easy when you have some experence behinde you either. It sounds to me like the chameleon you got was having issues b4 you got him. although they can go downhill fast when sick if you have a healthy cham it should not die that fast in a new place even if you setup is not perfect.

Im in canada as well in Richmond Hill, i use screen cages and maintain the humidity with plants regular mistings, and i have them for the most part in one room with a humidifier runing to keep humidity in the room (expecially important in our winters) mind you i have alot of chams in one room. Glass cages can be used with great success as well id suggest at least 2 sides with mesh though for proper air flow, always keeping an eye for stress from reflections ect (some chams are very stressed buy this some are not bothered at all)

If you get a new chameleon make sure its a captive bred chameleon preferable male, You can check out our local reptile expo too there are a few a year next one is in February. Make sure the chameleon is healthy active and alert. and keep reading up.
thanks again

I'm all for growing more plants, and if that will deal with the humidity problem a little thats great. Now im going to deal with ventilation. Yes, the terrarium is homemade so turning part of it to screen wont be a problem and I guess i will shrink it a bit if when i get another chameleon it is small, but are there any suggestions on how to keep it from getting to cold at night?
The kind of chameleon I got was a baby veiled chameleon and I went straight to the pet store (pet paradise in Guelph) after the vet and they took all the chameleons off the counter an said there going to monitor them for a few days, I was told to return Monday to talk to the reptile lady about refund/ replacement. They had just got them in the day before I got mine. If he was sick that hole time like the vet said. From the sounds of it all this added stress of moving and a new, not entirely perfect environment, probably didn't help at all.
Maybe ill just wait until this reptile expo in February, I'm not sure I want another chameleon from this pet store even if they give it to me free.
I'm also a plant lover, and does anyone have a problem with rotting plants because of so much misting? It hasn't happend yet, I just thought it might. A screen side will help with this i imagin.
A night time temperature of 70 is fine. Infact a bit lower would be fine. This is assuming that each morning of the day after the temperature drops, the temperature MUST be able to get back into the 80s with a hot basking spot. With babies these temperatures should not go to either extreme as their little bodies heat up and cool down, hydrate and dehydrate, very quickly.

The reptile expo in February will offer not only a few species of chameleons, but potentially larger and better started chameleons than you will find at most pet stores. Any chameleons that come into my store would be monitored for about a week before sale, and all would have to be at least 3 -4 months.

Rotting plants shouldn't be an issue if you take proper precautions like adding drainage and or hydroton/hydrocorn to your pots. Humidity doesn't have to be soaking all hours of the day, each day it should dry out to ensure that mold and mildew etc don't start.
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