Scared of food?

hallenhe

Avid Member
Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Male panther, 1.3 years old. Has been in my care since he was 4 months old (April 2010).
Handling - I handle him to take him outside when the weather permits (not much since November), and as needed for feeding/treatment.
Feeding - Last fall he mostly gave up on crickets and started accepting only worms (mostly supers; occasionally waxies or silkies), only taking a cricket very rarely. Gutload includes NatureZone Cricket TotalBites, bee pollen and carrots.
Supplements - Miner-All 0 5x weekly. RepCal phosphorus free calcium with D3 1x weekly. RepCal Herptivite 2x monthly.
Watering - Hand spritzing with warm water 5-10 minutes in the morning - I always see him drink, and he loves it. He consistently drinks for ~30 minutes after his misting, lapping water off leaves. Also has a drip system.
Fecal Description - Droppings appear healthy (brown fecal matter, white urates with no orange).
History - He has had coccidia twice and been treated with Ponazuril. Fecals have tested clean since November 2010. Had an apparent eye infection in February; vet had us gently apply Neo-poly-dex Ophthalmic Ointment 2x daily for 10 days, and mist eyes with saline. Eye infection has resolved.


Cage Info:
Cage Type - Free range consisting of live Ficus, Pothos and Schefflera, and fake Ficus.
Lighting - 100W PowerSun UV mercury vapor - on 7:30am - 7:30 pm
Temperature - Daytime range is 82 (basking spot) - 64; overnight lows = 62-64 F.
Humidity - 50-70%; humidifier comes on with furnace.
Plants - Ficus, Pothos, Schefflera. Spends most time on live Ficus; sleeps on fake Ficus.
Placement - He is not in any drafts, and is in a low-traffic room to the side of the living room. He can see out two windows; the front sidewalk and street are 50 ft away.
Location - Nebraska

Concern: Since his eye infection (from which he seems recovered), he has been acting scared of food (I've tried superworms, giant mealworms, waxworms, silkworms, crickets; handfeeding and cupfeeding). He will look at the food item, swing the eyes into focus, just begin to protrude the tongue - then it's as if he thinks better of it and he turns away. I leave food unattended in a cup in case he's shy about eating in front of me (which he hasn't been in the past), but he won't take it. For the past 3+ weeks, he has been on a liquid diet - worms, water, sometimes even a little Crested Gecko Diet -made into a slurry and slipped into him with an eyedropper. He takes this quite readily while in his drinking mode. I just got back from two weeks out of town during which he boarded at the vet's - they did a physical and reported nothing wrong, and that he seemed alert and active, but they could not get him to eat other than by feeding with the eyedropper. The best they had to suggest was that maybe he'd improve when I can get him out in the natural sunlight again. I sincerely hope so, but has anybody seen this behavior before, or have any suggestions?
 

reptoman

Avid Member
The only thing that comes to mind is try BB flies to see if they get him past his reluctance to shoot is toungue. Either that or cabage moths, painted ladies. Whatever you can get that actually flies around his cage. This has gotten my male panther past his reluctance with shooting his toungue every time. Mine had a bout with pinworms that I treated with panacur. He also had some eye issues that cleared up after 2 weeks of terramycin. He had not gotten past the point of taking feeders from the tongs or my fingers but he would not bother to shoot his toungue if it was more than 3 inches away. He is now getting feeders farther away and is slowly coming out of his funk. During this period he would make the most effort to shoot at prey, sometimes with success, at feeders flying inside his cage. Seems he could not resist the urge. Hope this helps and hope he gets back to good health soon.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Heather I sent you this on Face Book but also though I should post it here incase it might help somebody else, too.

This is what Dr. Alfonso recommended when one of Lizbeth's male panthers would not eat. He said to try hornworms because they will sometimes go for those and if he wouldn't eat hornworms to give him some of the little brown or green anoles like we have in our yard. It would be so sad because they look like a little Dulce my Cuban Knight Anole. He said the anoles almost always work. Hendershot went for the hornworms so we didn't have to try the anoles. Now he will only eat superworms.
 

morpheon

New Member
It's kind of funny to see you Hallenhe post your husbandry condition, since i honestly didn't expect to find anything wrong in it! It's not like you were a beginner, especially with pardalis! :) But of course, you never know, and a good review is never a bad thing!

Sadly i can not give you any advice other than the ones you have already tried or already received from other members! :S All i can do is wish that your chameleon will start eating something soon!!

---Thinking about it: have you tried giving your chameleon any fruits?
 

hallenhe

Avid Member
Well, I've ordered hornworms and bluebottles (I can just imagine grinding up a full-sized hornworm in the mortar and pestle for him; eww!). Hopefully one or the other or both will get him going, and I know everybody else will like the treat.
 

hallenhe

Avid Member
He has a travel cage (that's what he boarded in at the vets), and I'll put him in there with some flies for half an hour to an hour. (Or I could just have a room full o' flies, but I think I wouldn't find that half as fun as the chameleon would. However, turning 200 of them loose in a room at once would catch his attention if anything would.:p)
 
How is McG doing? Any better? It's possible he is just on a hunger strike, which can last for a while. I know you mentioned that while he was being boarded at the vet, they did an exam, but could he possibly have a sore in his mouth or even an injury to his tongue? I hope he gets himself in line for you!
 

jojackson

New Member
May be no more than upset at the abrupt change of environment, vet to you. Leave it be if your temps are good and its in good condition and hydrated, it will eat if things are avail.
Flying things and green things (like hoppers) never failed to excite my veileds.
Keep it hydrated and wait a few days, then introduce its preferred food. or flyers.

Just curious, how would you go about flies in a free range?
Melissa, That can be as simple as regulating the appearance of flies, by container control.
Aka, buying pupae (which hatch in a day or two at average room temp)
Add required amount of pupae to a dixie cup covered with saran wrap (few fork holes for air)
One small fly sized hole in the side of the cup high up, covered with tape or a bandaid.
As they hatch you can remove the bandaid and allow them to find their way out one at a time as they hatch.
I guess in a freerange set, you'd place it by a favorite perch.
Naturally you will end up with a few flys loose but the lizard will associate the cup with food after a time.

Ive done this before but had a beardy knock over/open the cup and ended doing the Aussy salute for a day or two! :D

Aussy salute = waving away pesky flys.
 
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sdheli420

Established Member
May be no more than upset at the abrupt change of environment, vet to you. Leave it be if your temps are good and its in good condition and hydrated, it will eat if things are avail.
Flying things and green things (like hoppers) never failed to excite my veileds.
Keep it hydrated and wait a few days, then introduce its preferred food. or flyers.



Melissa, That can be as simple as regulating the appearance of flies, by container control.
Aka, buying pupae (which hatch in a day or two at average room temp)
Add required amount of pupae to a dixie cup covered with saran wrap (few fork holes for air)
One small fly sized hole in the side of the cup high up, covered with tape or a bandaid.
As they hatch you can remove the bandaid and allow them to find their way out one at a time as they hatch.
I guess in a freerange set, you'd place it by a favorite perch.
Naturally you will end up with a few flys loose but the lizard will associate the cup with food after a time.

Ive done this before but had a beardy knock over/open the cup and ended doing the Aussy salute for a day or two! :D

Aussy salute = waving away pesky flys.
LOL i have dont that before ( i only free range), and i have found a slight solution..it keeps most of the flies close to the container..if its close to a basking site, make some strong sugar water, with some honey on a small damp napkin on the top, they usually "hang out" there for at least 30 mins or so before they feed and start flying around the room..
 

pssh

Avid Member
Any luck yet?

Had you already tried just not feeding him? I would also consider uping your gutload and trying out different gutload items. What you feed the insects changes the taste of the insects.
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
my guy was doing the same thing. he would take interest but would never follow through with it. i kept thinking ahh he'll eventually eat. well on the second week i thought to myself i better take a look. so i took him out and for good measure i drew some bottled water in a syringe just to take a peek and get some hydro in him....bam there it laid. my guy has a infection in his mouth. personally it looks like a bug bite wound, thats gotten a little nasty. i know he has been inspected by a vet and not saying this is the case with your guy but you should inspect him closely. look at his upper pallet. id also recommend when your weather breaks giving him some sunshine!
 

melric

Established Member
I'm just gonna reply to the title and say I wish I was scared of food! lol. That would mean less gym visits. :p
 

hallenhe

Avid Member
To update, he's not eating live food indoors yet (though he'll willingly take his bug juice from the syringe), it is now warm enough to start taking them outdoors again, and he will eat live food outdoors. He did a little of this when I first got him - didn't want to cupfeed, handfeed or eat things I turned loose in the cage (I keep them caged until they reach a certain size), but would eat outside (even handfed or cupfed). If we work hard, I'll have him eating indoors again by October; otherwise, it'll be a long winter of making Soup for Chameleon.
 
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