Senegal Chameleon not eating or drinking


New Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? Senegal Chameleon, 3 months, female. I have had for a little over 1 week.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? I do not handle my chameleon.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? I have tried small crickets, fruit flies, small hornworms, and small wax worms. I have had the most luck with crickets and waxworms but she will only eat 2-3 crickets at a time and she has only eaten twice since I had her. Once was Friday, almost a week after I got her, and the other was yesterday but I had to hold it in front of her month and she only ate 2 crickets. I gut load my crickets with different fruits and carrots. She hunted for them the first time she ate which was almost a week after we got her and now she ignores them. I have to hold them now.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? I use calcium but she has only eaten once with the calcium on a wax worm otherwise she has refused it. I have yet to have any success feeding with anything else
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? I mist at least 4 times a day for about 2 minutes and she has a dripper. I used to see her drink everyday but now she doesn't unless i drop the water directly in front of her and it's usually only 1 lick.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? The feces is normally brown with white urates but since she stopped eating or drinking for so long, the urate has turned almost orange in color. Feces is still the brown it usually was. It is not runny.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. The breeder said she has always been that color but she has always been a pale color whether it be the beige color she usually is with some green or gray when she's basking. I have attached a picture of her.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? I have the reptibreeze screen cage. Unsure of dimensions.
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? I have a 60w basking bulb and a linear UV light that is about 9 inches above her basking spot. The lights are on from 8am to 8pm.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? The ambient is about 75, the basking is about 85-90. the lowest it has gotten at night is 68 but it stays around 70. I have a probe for the basking temperature but I also use a temp gun for the basking spot and everything else.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? The humidity levels stay around 50 or 60. It will spike up when I mist. I do have a fogger on automatic if the humidity goes too low but it normally stays okay with just misting.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? No live plants yet.
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor? The cage is in a corner away from traffic areas and not near any fans or vents. The top of the cage is maybe 5 feet off the ground.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located? Oklahoma, USA.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about. My chameleon will barely eat or drink. She is not lethargic or anything but has only eaten a total of 6 crickets since I've gotten her and 2 waxworms and I've had her for about a week and a half. She was drinking water but around 2 days ago, she just ignored the water. She would stare at it but she has not drunk it. It does drip and she didn't have problems with it before. We had an appointment for a vet but an emergency happened and not we are not able to afford a vet visit for a couple more weeks. I am unsure of what to do to try and fix this problem at home so she'll make it to the vet appointment.

She has always been beige with some green lately but she looks skinnier and slightly dehydrated to me. I have attached a picture of her that I took today when her fogger was on. There is bell pepper on her leaf next to her since I tried to get her to eat something else if she wanted it but she also refused that. She also normally has more plants in there but some are being cleaned.
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Chameleon Enthusiast
Could you post a picture of her entire cage, please? Also, what is the brand, strength, and type of UVB bulb? Has she ever been tested for parasites? I think @kinyonga has kept these before


New Member
Could you post a picture of her entire cage, please? Also, what is the brand, strength, and type of UVB bulb? Has she ever been tested for parasites? I think @kinyonga has kept these before
I just added another picture of her cage. It's a little bare right now since I'm cleaning some plants. I believe it is a T8 reptisun 10.0 UVB but I am not completely sure since I threw the box away. It could be the 5.0 UVB. The breeder i got it from said she was tested for parasites before we got her and she was clear but we personally haven't since we had to cancel her vet appointment for now.


Chameleon Enthusiast
So I do not know specifics for senegal's but 90 seems way too hot. I would reduce back to 80. You should not be fogging at all during the day when lights are on. This is an RI risk. Only at night and only when temps are below 67 degrees.

You need real plants to fill out that cage. Try home depot or lowes and look for the ones in the link here.

She is extremely exposed and those fake plants are not made for reptiles so there will be risk of the dye leaching out when wet.

The light pattern does not look like you have an actual linear UVB fixture. Can you take a picture of the top of the cage so we can see the actual fixtures.

Husbandry program to learn correct housing

@kinyonga do you know specifics for senegals?


New Member
So final update: I did end up taking her to the vet because she really didn't look good today and she actually had extremely bad parasites so the breeder either didn't check or they lied about the results. I surrendered her to a reptile expert who has far more experience than I do with reptiles and he will hopefully be able to get her back in good health. Thanks for your help!


Chameleon Queen
Sorry I took so long to reply...I had a few things I had to do that took longer an unexpected today and I couldn't put off.

Is she supposed to be CB?

First thing that hit me when I saw her was parasites. I hope the vet she's with knows how to treat chameleons with a heavy parasite load. More in a minute.

IMHO 90F is too hot for her. I used to keep mine around 83F usually. They are real water hounds IMHO in captivity....don't know about in the wild.

@Beman ...I wondered about the lights too.


Chameleon Queen
Regarding a heavy load of parasites...
If you kill them all off at once you hand the chameleon's system a big load of "garbage" (dead parasites) to get rid of and the immune system may very likely not be able to handle it all at once. In a way, the live parasite load is tolerated to some extent until it's killing them more slowly gives the chameleon less "garbage" to deal with at one time.

I think feeding the chameleon more while all this is going on may help too because the parasites are sucking up a lot of the chameleon's food/nutrition.

Are you sure it's a female?

More about their care in a few minutes...


Chameleon Queen
I've found Senegalese to be fairly easy going once they are acclimated and the parasites are taken care of. They may be plain in the color department but make up for it in the personality and interest department.
They can be kept very similarly to veileds as a rule.

This is a very interesting article...but don't try to keep them in a group should you get's something I wouldn't recommend to someone who hasn't kept chameleons before for sure...


New Member

If CB means captive bred, she was supposed to be but I have my doubts considering her parasite situation.

The picture of the tank is a few days old since I wasn't home to snap a new one. She came with the enclosure and the lights so we replaced the UV bulb with a hood and a UVB light around 3 days ago. I put it so everyone could get an idea of what it looked like and I was going to update the picture when I got home but we ended up taking her straight to the exotic vet we had locally and then to the local reptile expert so he could take over care while she was getting treatment since I have never had to give any of my reptiles treatments before.

She was barely eating for the full week and a half we had her and she just stopped drinking as much which I know is strange for senegals since they're known for drinking so much water. The breeder told me to soak the fake plants for a couple days for some reason so I was doing that when she stopped drinking water so maybe it was because she was exposed? It's why the tank was so empty in the picture and maybe that stressed her out. I have never had a senegal before so I didn't know what the normal was for them. She was supposed to be a veiled chameleon but we were surprised with her so she was new to me.

I'm going to completely redo the enclosure IF we get her back or if we get another chameleon since I didn't know about the fake plant issue and I will keep in mind temperatures for the basking spot.

Thank you for your help! It was muchly appreciate. I will update this forum when I get an update on her but I am hoping for the best since I handed her over to someone who is more experienced than I am.
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