Scratching.... Should I be worried?

Tyaeda

Member
Chameleon Info:
Your Chameleon - Male, Veiled. 4 Months old (approx), had him for a month.

Handling - Almost daily. The amount of time out of his cage varies. Yesterday we redid his entire enclosure, so he was out for at least an hour... but this is the only time we ever handled him that long.

Feeding - Crickets, mealworms, and house flies. Gets 4-5 crickets 3 times a day, one mealworm a day, and a fly or two if he can catch them while he's out of his cage. Gutload varies between oranges, carrots, oats, and roasted kelp. Oh, and a piece of christmas melon I was using in a short pinch a couple days ago.

Supplements - Exoterra brand. I also have reptical + d3 that I don't use. Calcium (every cricket and mealworm, everyday), Multivitamin (every other monday), Calcium + D3 (every other monday that I don't give him his multi). This monday past was multi day.

Watering - I use a manual pump sprayer, and spray his enclosure for about a minute, at least 4 times a day.

Fecal Description - Never been tested for parasites as far as I know. He goes at least once a day, and it's white and dark brown.

History - I bought him from a local reptile specialty store / reptile zoo. They only had him a day, but said he was from a breeder in Russia. Don't know the significance of that, if any.

Cage Info:
Cage Type - 2x2x4' tall, screen enclosure.
Lighting - Exoterra 13W Reptile UVB 100 (Former Repti Glo 5.0 Compact), 50W Halogen Basking Spot. Both are in 5" domes from "All Living Things". They go on at 7am, go off around 7:30 - 8:00pm. I also have a grow light for the schefflera. My husband has been taking him outside for 15 minute sunbaths every day for almost a week now.

Temperature - Basking is usually 80*F - 85*F, Ambient is usually 70 - 80 during the day. Lowest overnight was 60*. We have two humidity/temp gauges, one near the basking, one near the middle portion on the opposite side from the lights.

Humidity - 20 - 50 % Humidity, maintained through lots of manual mistings.
I've been having a hard time maintaining both humidity and temps with the weird weather we've been getting. 3 days ago it was 30*C out, today it's 11*C.

Plants - Schefflera that he's been eating. It has aphids... Planning on getting a new one very soon. Just introduced a small pothos yesterday.

Placement - In the corner, between two windows, in my dining room. I have four cats that don't pay any attention to him. But other than that, it's only my husband and myself.

Location - Ontario, Canada

Current Problem - I came home from work this morning, and my husband told me that he took a video of our chameleon acting weird. The video is of him scratching at his head and face, rubbing his feet on the vines, and possibly favoring his back feet like they hurt. He just shed last week, it took about a day, if that's relevant.
I don't know if this is a sign of something serious, or something chams just do occasionally. I've never seen him do anything like this, except when he's shedding. I don't know if we're overreacting or if there's a problem we should see a vet about. Today he's eaten all of his crickets, and I haven't seen him scratching himself. I'm still worried something might be going on.

Here's the video my husband took last night (around 7pm). Any ideas as to why he's doing this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SXbtGN5w_g
 
Your video does not work but does it look like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyJsiTXmAwY

That's a very strange behavior but the owner in that video said it was a one time thing

Edit: At first it said your vid was unavailable and now after watching it, it looks like your cham just looks like he's itchy to me. lol But I would keep an eye on it and if it continues then call a vet. Hopefully someone else can chime in
 

AngieL

Avid Member
Hi! To me he looks itchy. It could be a skin irritation or that he has some stuck shed on his face. My chameleon did something similar once and she was trying to remove shed.

Houseflies are not a great choice IMO. You don't know what kind of things they've been eating and what kind of dog/cat/animal poop they have been hanging around on prior to flying in your house. Due to this I would think that parasites could sure be a possibility. Do you notice anything under his skin in the areas that he's itching?

He's scratching quite close to his eyes too so could be that he has an issue there. Aphids are a big problem and could be getting to him and leaking sap from the plant which could also irritate him.

You are not misting him enough so if he does have something wrong with his eyes he's not getting a good opportunity to clean them. In this area I would suggest longer direct misting so that he has a good chance to drink as well. Do you use a dripper?

Here's a very useful blog by sandrachameleon. She has lots of info on feeder insect variety and gutload which I think your little man could benefit from :) https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/sandrachameleon/
 
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little leaf

Avid Member
wow- thats an odd video - interesting - the only thing I could suggest, is maybe check the soles of his feet for shed, my one panther seem for some reason, not to shed the soles of his feet, and he will rub them like that, but not near to the existent as your little guy - but the other way I know he has not shed his soles is he will start to slip a little on the vines, and when I check, sure enough, there will be the whole bottom of his feet with stuck shed - once my Jackson had a baby spider IN her nose hole- and she scratched at her face - sorry I am not much help either- if the plants have little bugs ,maybe they are getting on his face and bugging him :confused:
 

Tyaeda

Member
I'm going to follow that feeder/ gutload list more closely. No more house flies.

I'm also going to mist him more, and change his water to distilled. I thought it already was, but it's just spring water which I hear is just glorified tap water. Maybe there's deposits in the water that's getting on his skin and making him itchy.

I'm going to call the vet soon to see what it would cost to do a parasite test, and go in for a visit. I don't see anything moving around under his skin anywhere, so I don't think it's that, but I'd like to make sure.

Thanks for the advice, I'll keep you posted.
 

AngieL

Avid Member
Good stuff :)

It doesn't have to be subcutaneous parasite (the type that live under the skin) there could be internal parasites too. It's good practice to test. I don't know about Canada but there's a service here in the UK that will send you a sample collector in the mail and you can send the poop off to be tested. It's about £15 here.

I don't use any special water but it all depends in your area and the water quality. I can't comment on if distilled water is better but I do know that if you need to treat your water you may want to get a reverse osmosis steriliser or access to one. I think they're expensive though! I'm not sure if mineral deposits would make him itchy but I'm no expert :)
 

Tyaeda

Member
Good stuff :)

It doesn't have to be subcutaneous parasite (the type that live under the skin) there could be internal parasites too. It's good practice to test. I don't know about Canada but there's a service here in the UK that will send you a sample collector in the mail and you can send the poop off to be tested. It's about £15 here.

I don't use any special water but it all depends in your area and the water quality. I can't comment on if distilled water is better but I do know that if you need to treat your water you may want to get a reverse osmosis steriliser or access to one. I think they're expensive though! I'm not sure if mineral deposits would make him itchy but I'm no expert :)

I noticed some water deposits on his plant, so I'm sure it's on him too. I'll see if this makes a difference. If not I'll get the reverse osmosis stuff.

I want to replace the schefflera because of the aphids. I know he's eating the plant, so I think any treatments for that might harm him. Better just get a new one, and replant it better.
 
My chameleon did it once. I thought it was funny. Never thought anything could up with that but I haven't seen em do it since
 

Tyaeda

Member
Update:

I changed his water to distilled, and now there are no more water deposits on anything. (I gave him a good shower with our pump sprayer to rinse off any old water deposits, he didn't seem to mind much at all.)

I have also improved his gutloading, by adding strawberries and romaine lettuce into the mix (with the oranges, carrots, oats and kelp). Found out that Mr.Pink likes to eat strawberries, he took a little piece of one right out of my fingers yesterday - no trickery necessary. :D It makes his poop a little softer (by the looks of it, I aint touching it) so hopefully that makes him a little more comfortable, and deters him from eating his plants.

Neither my husband or I have seen him scratching at himself since he took that video. Which is good :) He's eating, and otherwise completely normal - aside from the softer stool lol. I'm going to put off the vet check for a bit, but I still want to get him checked out by hopefully a vet that knows about chameleons.
 
Be very observant... Make sure there is no rostral rubbing, my veiled has always been a big rubber when it comes to shedding and I had to take him out of his aluminum mesh cage because he actually caused an abrasion while rubbing. He's always so impaitent when shedding.
It is generally a psychological issue, so if they are not shedding it can mean they feel cramped or unhappy in their home

http://chamworld.blogspot.com/2008/01/health-section-h-misc-and-conclusions.html?m=1
 
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