Sick baby panther

walnut22

New Member
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Panther chameleon named Walnut, male, exact age is unknown but probably something like 2-3 months now, I’ve had him since Jan 8.
  • Handling - I try to do it as little as possible, only to weigh him and check his body condition every few days right now.
  • Feeding - I have offered him A LOT of variety (mealworms, dubia roaches, hornworms, waxworms, superworms, soldier fly larvae) but he has only ever eaten crickets. I put about 15-20 of them (medium) in there every day, by the next morning there’s usually only like 5 left but there is definitely some getting out (seen them in my bathroom). I’ve seen him eat once only. Dubias and mealworms are always available in a cup, but I really don’t think he’s eating those. Currently also offering waxworms in the cup every few days, also not eating those. I gutload the roaches, crickets and mealworms with Nature Zone Total Bites, I just leave it in their containers and they devour it.
  • Supplements - I dust everything offered with Rep-Cal calcium w/o D3 or Phos every other day and Rep-Cal Herptivite once a week.
  • Watering - I have a dripper that goes through a fake vine 24/7, a fogger that goes 30 min off 30 min on 24/7, and I mist twice a day morning/dusk until everything except for the area he’s sitting at is dripping… so for about 1-2 minutes. I’ve seen him lick water off his nose and he hangs around the dripper vine sometimes, so I’m pretty confidant he’s drinking. I live in a pretty dry area so I do have to introduce quite a bit of water through my various methods.
  • Fecal Description - I’ve only found one dropping since I’ve had him, but there could definitely be more I haven’t found. It looked good: wet, urates nice and white, feces dark brown. He’s never been to a vet (yet), so he has not been tested.
  • History - I got him from a local reptile store that is pretty reputable, they seemed knowledgeable about panther chams, but I can’t say with 100% certainly that he is captive bred. See, the cage next to his was labeled CBB, but his was not. It might’ve just been a slip-up, and they really do seem to care about the health of their reptiles there, but I don’t want to write off the possibility that he might be wild-caught. He was in with several other of the same age, which makes me think CBB, but he’s having issues, which makes me think wild-caught… y’know?

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Screen cage, 24 x 18 x 36. It’s against a corner and the two sides facing the wall are covered up to help with humidity.
  • Lighting - For UVB I’ve got the Zoo Med 5.0 compact fluorescent in a reflector dome taking up about a quarter of the top. I am planning on getting a T5HO. For heat I BELIEVE I have an Exo Terra 60 watt daylight heat lamp, but I could be wrong. This one is in an adjustable reflector dome that also takes up a quarter of the top and I dim it to the proper temp. I do 12 hours on, 12 hours off for both lights.
  • Temperature - Bottom of the cage temp is about 70 degrees, basking temp is about 82-86, and overnight temp is about 68. I measure with a digital probe.
  • Humidity - Humidity is consistent at about 64%. The fogger I mentioned is what does the brunt of the humidity work. I measure with an analog gauge.
  • Plants - No live plants right now, but I’m planning on getting a ficus in there.
  • Placement - Cage is in the corner of my animal room/office on the other side of the room from the vent. I’m the only person who goes in there regularly, so traffic is low. Top of the cage is 66” from the floor.
  • Location - I live in the front range of Colorado, so pretty dry.

Current Problem - He is not growing at all and he has his eyes closed sometimes during the day. He has shed twice now since I’ve had him, but he has weighed 4-5 grams the entire time. I know growth rates vary, but the fact he is eating so little and his eyes have been closed is very worrying. His mouth is pale yellow, which is also very worrying and makes me think liver or kidney issues. He peruses the cage a few times a day, but most time is spent either under the basking bulk with his eyes closed or hiding on top of the tallest plant with his eyes closed. I previously had a veiled, so this isn’t my first baby cham, but this is the first time I’ve encountered problems like this. I want to take him to a vet, but it might be several days or several weeks until I can get in to my trusted exotics vet and I would really like some input on what I can do in the meantime.

I gave him a day’s worth of Fluker’s Repta Boost several days ago. This was before I had seen him eat anything at all and I already had him for something like a week and a half at that point. He’s so tiny that I really did not want to risk starvation and I had already tried tong feeding and putting various feeders in his mouth, but he either runs off to hide or spits out the feeders every time. I don’t want to do it again if I don’t have to, since obviously it's very stressful for such a tiny baby, but I’d rather him be alive and afraid of me than dead.

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kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Welcome to the forum!

How long did your veiled live?
Was your setup and care exactly he same for the veiled?
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome. I’ll give you a total husbandry review in a little bit. While you’re waiting, you need to finding the fastest way to get a linear T5HO with either 5.0 or 6% uvb. This is absolutely essential and is one of the biggest problems that I can see.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ll be putting my feedback in bold. I’m going to split this in 2 sections to avoid it getting too long.
  • Your Chameleon - Panther chameleon named Walnut, male, exact age is unknown but probably something like 2-3 months now, I’ve had him since Jan 8. Very young chameleons are very fragile and usually a reputable breeder won’t rehome until they are at least 3 months old. They have no ability to tolerate even the smallest error in husbandry.
  • Handling - I try to do it as little as possible, only to weigh him and check his body condition every few days right now. Good.
  • Feeding - I have offered him A LOT of variety (mealworms, dubia roaches, hornworms, waxworms, superworms, soldier fly larvae) but he has only ever eaten crickets. I put about 15-20 of them (medium) in there every day, by the next morning there’s usually only like 5 left but there is definitely some getting out (seen them in my bathroom). I’ve seen him eat once only. Dubias and mealworms are always available in a cup, but I really don’t think he’s eating those. Currently also offering waxworms in the cup every few days, also not eating those. Usually variety is great, but for this little guy right now I’d say stick to crickets and dubia (if you can get small enough ones). Make sure they are the correct size. He may be small enough that pinhead crickets and bean beetles are most appropriate. Anything larger than the space between his eyes is too large for him to eat. Mealworms are not a suitable staple…too much chitin and not enough nutrition. At his young age, he should be getting fed twice a day, pretty much 20+ feeders each time. I gutload the roaches, crickets and mealworms with Nature Zone Total Bites, I just leave it in their containers and they devour it. I’m not familiar with this stuff, but first glance tells me that it may keep your bugs alive, but won’t offer enough nutrition (similar to the infamous orange cubes) Attaching gutload graphic. The healthier and well fed your feeders are, the more nutrition they will pass on to your chameleon.
    I suggest setting up a feeding station in a spot that he can easily see from his basking branch so he’ll learn where the food is. If feeding crickets, any escapees will get hungry and can bite your cham if you don’t put something for them to eat inside the enclosure. The green cubes will work for this.
  • Supplements - I dust everything offered with Rep-Cal calcium w/o D3 or Phos every other day and Rep-Cal Herptivite once a week. You should be lightly dusting all feeders daily with calcium without D3 except once per week. For that one feeding, you’ll alternate between using the Herptivite and a calcium with D3, so that each is given one feeding every other week.
  • Watering - I have a dripper that goes through a fake vine 24/7, a fogger that goes 30 min off 30 min on 24/7, and I mist twice a day morning/dusk until everything except for the area he’s sitting at is dripping… so for about 1-2 minutes. I’ve seen him lick water off his nose and he hangs around the dripper vine sometimes, so I’m pretty confidant he’s drinking. I live in a pretty dry area so I do have to introduce quite a bit of water through my various methods. This isn’t giving his enclosure any time to dry out. You should be misting for at least 2 minutes, 2-3 times daily…just before lights on and off and mid day. The dripper can be used mid day instead, but only for about 20-30 minutes. Most of us aren’t fans of those fake vine drippers with water reservoirs as they are bacterial risks. Foggers should never be used during the day as they increase risk of respiratory infection.
  • Fecal Description - I’ve only found one dropping since I’ve had him, but there could definitely be more I haven’t found. It looked good: wet, urates nice and white, feces dark brown. He’s never been to a vet (yet), so he has not been tested. A veterinary visit with a fecal check for parasites is definitely needed right now.
  • History - I got him from a local reptile store that is pretty reputable, they seemed knowledgeable about panther chams, but I can’t say with 100% certainly that he is captive bred. See, the cage next to his was labeled CBB, but his was not. It might’ve just been a slip-up, and they really do seem to care about the health of their reptiles there, but I don’t want to write off the possibility that he might be wild-caught. He was in with several other of the same age, which makes me think CBB, but he’s having issues, which makes me think wild-caught… y’know? Even more reason for a vet visit and fecal check.

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Part II
Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Screen cage, 24 x 18 x 36. It’s against a corner and the two sides facing the wall are covered up to help with humidity. To help keep humidity in, I suggest covering the outside back and 2 sides with shrink fit window insulation. https://www.acehardware.com/departm...QgUNg0Jy1j7cMLvoZJIaAvysEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds As your guy gets to be an adult, he’ll need a minimum 2x2x4’ enclosure.
  • Lighting - For UVB I’ve got the Zoo Med 5.0 compact fluorescent in a reflector dome taking up about a quarter of the top. These give off very intense uvb in a very small area. Your cham would have to be within 2-3” of the light in order to get any beneficial uvb from it. The T5 with either a ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% is the standard as it provides a good range of uvb and ideal UV index of 3.0 is approximately 8-9” down from it and has gentle gradients. I am planning on getting a T5HO. This needs to be obtained NOW! There is no waiting…your chameleon needs correct uvb. For heat I BELIEVE I have an Exo Terra 60 watt daylight heat lamp, but I could be wrong. This one is in an adjustable reflector dome that also takes up a quarter of the top and I dim it to the proper temp. I do 12 hours on, 12 hours off for both lights.
  • Temperature - Bottom of the cage temp is about 70 degrees, basking temp is about 82-86, This is a bit too hot for a little guy. It should stay around 80 at basking. and overnight temp is about 68. I measure with a digital probe.
  • Humidity - Humidity is consistent at about 64%. The fogger I mentioned is what does the brunt of the humidity work. I measure with an analog gauge. Analog gauges are notoriously inaccurate. Get a digital one with a probe.
  • Plants - No live plants right now, but I’m planning on getting a ficus in there. Live plants will help boost and maintain your humidity. Pothos is a cham keepers best friend. Get rid of all the fake and add lots of live safe plants…you want to create a forest edge with places for your cham to hide, take shade and explore. You also need to add lots more branches and vines for your cham to travel.
  • Placement - Cage is in the corner of my animal room/office on the other side of the room from the vent. I’m the only person who goes in there regularly, so traffic is low. Top of the cage is 66” from the floor.
  • Location - I live in the front range of Colorado, so pretty dry.

Current Problem - He is not growing at all and he has his eyes closed sometimes during the day. He has shed twice now since I’ve had him, but he has weighed 4-5 grams the entire time. I know growth rates vary, but the fact he is eating so little and his eyes have been closed is very worrying. His mouth is pale yellow, which is also very worrying and makes me think liver or kidney issues. He peruses the cage a few times a day, but most time is spent either under the basking bulk with his eyes closed or hiding on top of the tallest plant with his eyes closed. I previously had a veiled, so this isn’t my first baby cham, but this is the first time I’ve encountered problems like this. I want to take him to a vet, but it might be several days or several weeks until I can get in to my trusted exotics vet and I would really like some input on what I can do in the meantime.
The main problems that I see is he isn’t getting any D3, either by supplement or uvb. Without D3 he has no way to process any of the calcium you’re giving him. It’s basically going in one end and coming out the other. Calcium is needed not just for bones, but essentially every function of the body. D3 is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it’s slower to leave the body and the supplemented form can build up to toxic levels. This is why we rely upon uvb to provide the bulk of it as it provides a different type of D3 that does not build up. We give the added supplementation in small doses mainly as assurance that our chameleons are getting enough of this ultra important vitamin. I am not one to use scare tactics or be overly dramatic, but if your chameleon doesn’t get proper uvb and supplementation, he won’t survive. Having his eyes closed during the day is a very bad sign and means he is very ill.

I gave him a day’s worth of Fluker’s Repta Boost several days ago. This was before I had seen him eat anything at all and I already had him for something like a week and a half at that point. He’s so tiny that I really did not want to risk starvation and I had already tried tong feeding and putting various feeders in his mouth, but he either runs off to hide or spits out the feeders every time. I don’t want to do it again if I don’t have to, since obviously it's very stressful for such a tiny baby, but I’d rather him be alive and afraid of me than dead. With such a little one, nutrition is essential, but the stress of force feeding may be way too much for him. Not to mention the risk of aspirating the ReptiBoost. Get the correct uvb immediately and set it up 8-9” above basking area. Get small enough feeders. It’s better to have them be a bit too small than too big. Make that vet appointment for as soon as possible…ask to be put on a cancellation list if they have one. Hopefully with correct uvb, your little one will perk up and be okay.
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walnut22

New Member
Thank you, I'll be getting a T5HO as soon as possible... as in tomorrow or the next day, if weather permits. Vet appointment is on Wednesday. You are a lot more helpful than reddit lol, they just told me he should only drink out of a cup and deleted my post 😑. I kept my veiled in pretty much the same setup, just with a different cage and some different plants. I used the same gutload for him as well, it's more of an obscure brand but it worked great for me. I will be giving them what you suggested in the graphic though. He lived 9 healthy years, no MBD or anything, went downhill in a matter of weeks despite medications. Not sure exactly what took him, we're thinking maybe a stroke, but I'm focusing on my new guy here.

The only reason I've been offering anything other than crickets and dubias right now is because he has just not been eating, so I wanted to try and offer as many things as I can in case he feels like taking something unusual like a mealworm. Mealworms and waxworms were never meant to be a long-term staple, just an emergency substitute to get SOMETHING in him if he wasn't going to take crickets or dubias... which didn't work anyway, so I'm back to square one. I'll stop offering mealworms. He didn't take any crickets at all until after I gave him the ReptaBoost. I only gave him that because I have experience giving oral meds to my veiled, so I'm confidant there was no aspiration. He went right back to patrolling the cage after that. You can see the feeder cup on the right, which is what I use for worms and dubia. A surprising amount of crickets wind up stuck in there as well, but most of them hang out along the top edge of the cage where I have seen him grab one up. I'll look into a gallery/cricket feeding station.

I can see why it might seem like the cage is constantly wet, but it really does dry out super fast. Like, half hour after I mist and it's already completely dry. Without the fogger, even with me misting upwards of 8 times a day and with the sides of the cage covered, humidity in the cage was always below 40%. I tried a room humidifier and that only got up to 50% at full blast, which was even lower in the cage because of the lighting/heating. It was a losing battle so I caved and got the fogger. The left side of the cage is where the fogger and dripper go, while the right side is left dry except for misting, so he can choose whether he wants higher or lower humidity. I apologize if I worded it poorly, but I do not have an actual "dripper plant" with a reservoir. The dripper just drips along the leaves of a fake plant so he can lick it off the leaves. The fog also only goes straight down in the outside corner into this plant (it's the big one on the front left of the cage pic), so unless he wants to crawl into the plant the fog never directly hits him. This is what I did with my veiled and I never had any respiratory issues with him at all. As an aside, I'm confidant of the humidity readings because I have two different brands of gauges saying the same thing. I always use two different gauges for any reading, including temp.

I will definitely be trying live plants again, but I have had very little success with it in the past. I just struggle to keep plants alive for whatever reason, which doesn't make any sense, but I'll try again if y'all think that's best. I will ask, since there's no open garden stores near me, where do you all get your live plants? Is there a good online spot for them? I know Josh's Frogs sell plants, but I've never bought any from them, and they don't seem to have any tall plants.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’ll take the easiest questions first. You’ll need a decent plant light for most plants to thrive. I love my big 70w Sansi for hibiscus and high light needing plants. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TKKG8Q3/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I use some of these for lower light plants like spider plant, philodendron, etc. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BRKG7X1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
To find plants, check out Lowe’s and Home Depot for house plants. They will usually be inside the store but next to their outside area. You could also try florists, but will pay a lot. I’ve bought plants off Amazon, eBay, Etsy and even BioDude, but they are all very small and need a lot of time to grow to the sizes we need. You could also check out what your friends and family have for houseplants and ask for some cuttings to start your own. Pothos, philodendron and wandering Jew are super easy to start from cuttings.
Reddit really told you to use a cup for water?!? Wow! Cham’s don’t drink from cups and usually don’t even recognize that it’s a water source. The very best source for all things chameleon is https://chameleonacademy.com/chameleon-basics/ The info is correct and kept up to date as we learn more about how to best keep chameleons. Neptune the chameleon on YouTube is also a great source.
What I think is going on with your little guy is lack of D3. Since he’s so very young, he has no reserves to fall back on. I’m not a vet or expert, but I do know this much. As I said previously, without any source of D3, he has no way to convert the calcium to a usable source. Calcium is needed for bone growth as well as muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Keep in mind that the heart is a muscle and muscles and nerves throughout the body work to keep everything running.
Try that window film along with some live plants and I think you’ll see a big boost to your humidity. At night to simulate the natural hydration our chams get in the wild thru fog, you can use the fogger and boost your humidity as high as it’ll go as long as temps are at least below 70.
Do keep us updated as to how your little guy does and what the vet says/does.
 

walnut22

New Member
Drove through a snowstorm to get him to the vet today! He pooped on the vet so they were able to send that in for testing, which is really funny and lucky. They put him on a dewormer (Fenbendazole) in the meantime. Vet says the rest of my husbandry is good but the basking temp for panthers should be closer to 90, so I'm going to listen to her here and raise it. I thought it might be low because he spends a lot of time basking, but I didn't want to raise it until I was sure. She seems to think that since he's drinking fine and is relatively active with strong bones and no impaction that its probably something intestinal, hence the dewormer. I'm still going to do all the things you suggested for quality of life, the UVB tube and fixture will be getting here whenever Josh's Frogs decides to ship it, but from what she's seen UVB deficiency wouldn't cause the symptoms he's having. I've seen her for years and she's incredible, so I fully trust her. We'll see how it goes!
 

ccclcl

Member
You are a lot more helpful than reddit lol, they just told me he should only drink out of a cup and deleted my post 😑.
My god...I used to have such faith in leaning on reddit when picking up a new hobby, but that's just rediculous. Apparently the platform has gone downhill, or chameleons are just niche enough that they've been invaded by a misled husbandry cult. Now I'm tempted to go check it out.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
You said..."His mouth is pale yellow, which is also very worrying and makes me think liver or kidney issues"... Just for future reference...many Panther chameleons have yellow inside their mouths...it's natural...nothing wrong with it...

https://www.licensestorehouse.com/u...ther-chameleon-furcifer-pardalis-9483371.html

https://www.dreamstime.com/panther-...eating-insect-his-yellow-mouth-image107653151

Read the part about temperatures they recommend keeping hatchlings at...
https://www.madcham.de/en/aufzucht-von-jungtieren/
(28C is approximately 82F BTW)
 
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walnut22

New Member
My god...I used to have such faith in leaning on reddit when picking up a new hobby, but that's just rediculous. Apparently the platform has gone downhill, or chameleons are just niche enough that they've been invaded by a misled husbandry cult. Now I'm tempted to go check it out.
Yep, apparently we aren't allowed to mist our chameleons anymore and have to exclusively use this method one moderator made where you let water drip into an overflowing glass taped to the side of the cage. They say that should take care of all humidity and hydration needs and if you mist or use a humidifier then you get your post deleted so nobody doubts their methods lol. I guess the majority of chams that won't drink out of a cup should just wither away, or something. Very much a misled husbandry cult!

Check it 👇
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