Signs your chameleon is dying.

Lennoncham

Chameleon Enthusiast
So I thought I would make this thread to help people recognize the signs of a dying chameleon due to another recent thread.

Some of the obvious signs that there is something wrong would be lethargy, sitting low in the cage, not eating/drinking, closed eyes, sunken eyes, edema, swollen joints, blood shot eyes etc.

@nightanole you mentioned you can usually tell about 90 days before. I’m curious as to what are some of the first signs you see and how it progresses to death.
 
Last edited:

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
Id say some of the first signs is less roaming. For the most part they have a daily routine they stick to. For my free rangers its warmup under the heat light, wonder 4ft to look out the window, then patrol the room looking for rogue chameleons, then back to the heat lamp, repeat. At 90 days out, they will spend MUCH longer time at their favorite spots, and not travel much between them. So now the day may just be 4 hours near the heat lamp, and 4 hours at the window. The room patrol may only happen once a week. If they are in a cage, they will no longer be using the entire cage, they will start spending the majority of the time in 2 cubic ft of area. With the beardies, all of mine would stop shimming up the sides of the cages to get to other levels, they would stay at ground level.

And a long with that is while volume of food per feeding wont go down, they will stay satisfied for much longer. Maybe going from wanting fed every other day, to 3 times every 2 weeks.


And everything i am typing is for "natural death", your chameleon is perfectly healthy, its just time for the wind down.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Id say some of the first signs is less roaming. For the most part they have a daily routine they stick to. For my free rangers its warmup under the heat light, wonder 4ft to look out the window, then patrol the room looking for rogue chameleons, then back to the heat lamp, repeat. At 90 days out, they will spend MUCH longer time at their favorite spots, and not travel much between them. So now the day may just be 4 hours near the heat lamp, and 4 hours at the window. The room patrol may only happen once a week. If they are in a cage, they will no longer be using the entire cage, they will start spending the majority of the time in 2 cubic ft of area. With the beardies, all of mine would stop shimming up the sides of the cages to get to other levels, they would stay at ground level.

And a long with that is while volume of food per feeding wont go down, they will stay satisfied for much longer. Maybe going from wanting fed every other day, to 3 times every 2 weeks.


And everything i am typing is for "natural death", your chameleon is perfectly healthy, its just time for the wind down.
That's interesting thanks for sharing. I noticed my Panthers doing this especially around the winter months, and obviously the parsonii does, but I wonder if in my case it was just because the temperature changes.
 

chameleonl0v3r

New Member
That's interesting thanks for sharing. I noticed my Panthers doing this especially around the winter months, and obviously the parsonii does, but I wonder if in my case it was just because the temperature changes.
I just got a baby veiled chameleon and he likes to stay pretty close to the light. Is this an issue? he comes down to eat and every once in a while climbs the walls and plants, but mostly basks. Im thinking this is just him getting used to his surroundings and it is also winter :/
 

Lennoncham

Chameleon Enthusiast
Id say some of the first signs is less roaming. For the most part they have a daily routine they stick to. For my free rangers its warmup under the heat light, wonder 4ft to look out the window, then patrol the room looking for rogue chameleons, then back to the heat lamp, repeat. At 90 days out, they will spend MUCH longer time at their favorite spots, and not travel much between them. So now the day may just be 4 hours near the heat lamp, and 4 hours at the window. The room patrol may only happen once a week. If they are in a cage, they will no longer be using the entire cage, they will start spending the majority of the time in 2 cubic ft of area. With the beardies, all of mine would stop shimming up the sides of the cages to get to other levels, they would stay at ground level.

And a long with that is while volume of food per feeding wont go down, they will stay satisfied for much longer. Maybe going from wanting fed every other day, to 3 times every 2 weeks.


And everything i am typing is for "natural death", your chameleon is perfectly healthy, its just time for the wind down.
Thanks for the detailed explanation. I knew they had a wind down period near the end but didn’t know what to watch out for.

Since this is for a natural death you would know that they are getting up there in age and are watching for these signs.

For a younger chameleon you would have to watch out for signs of health problems. Which is why when owning a chameleon it is crucial to learn what health problems they can have and what symptoms to watch out for. you should check out your chameleons daily for any signs or symptoms. As I learned recently it is good to check inside their mouth often to look for problems.

I’ll insert a link to the health section here for future or current readers of this if they haven’t read it yet.
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/health/
 
Last edited:

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
That's interesting thanks for sharing. I noticed my Panthers doing this especially around the winter months, and obviously the parsonii does, but I wonder if in my case it was just because the temperature changes.
yea my whole crew slows down in the winter, and the beardies do go into a light brumation(yup you are in your log, yup you will have an attitude if i take you out of your log). But i find they eat "less", not less frequently. And with their daily routines, they just dont have them in the winter, they kinda stay in one spot.
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
I never thought about looking in my chameleons mouth. How often should this be done if the chameleon is not showing any signs of illness?

I know the vet looked in Peri's mouth. But I thought she was just checking his teeth.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I just got a baby veiled chameleon and he likes to stay pretty close to the light. Is this an issue? he comes down to eat and every once in a while climbs the walls and plants, but mostly basks. Im thinking this is just him getting used to his surroundings and it is also winter :/
Hi hun. Your going to want to post your own thread as this one is for signs that your chameleon is dying. You will get responses with your own thread :)
 

Lennoncham

Chameleon Enthusiast
I never thought about looking in my chameleons mouth. How often should this be done if the chameleon is not showing any signs of illness?

I know the vet looked in Peri's mouth. But I thought she was just checking his teeth.
I’m not totally sure how to answer this. It’s hard to check inside their mouth unless you stress them enough to gape at you. Which isn’t good to do that often. You can try and look at different parts of the mouth while he is eating. Also look at his lips if they aren’t lining up there is probably something going on inside his mouth.
 

Lennoncham

Chameleon Enthusiast
@nightanole With a natural death like you described would the end be as I seen with my carpet chameleon?

looking fairly normal one day then the next sunken eyes and head pads, loose skin, loosing pigment in scales.
 
Last edited:

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Tony_S just peek inside while he's chewing food. It's not as much of an issue with good care in Panthers. Trioceros with the glands can easily become infected though. Still good habit to look around when they eat, but usually nothing to worry about for most species.
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
@nightanole With a natural death like you described would the end be as I seen with my carpet chameleon?

looking fairly normal one day then the next sunken eyes and head pads, loose skin, loosing pigment in scales.
That is how my last fat tailed gecko went. I was tagged from the other thread on this, he was slightly thin (over 20 years old) and was eating/drinking fine, then one day eyes sunk in to the point he couldnt open them, and looked like he hadnt eaten/drank in weeks, yet if you misted him he still drank as normal. Im not a vet, but i chalk that up to liver failure, as kidney failure takes a weekish, and they dont look dehydrated/malnourished.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
NEAR DEATH..Many chameleons (Senegals in particular) will start to get dark marks on the body as if parts of the body are dying. Many chameleons will raise their heads in the air and breath with their mouths open. They stop eating and will spit the food out if you try to feed them. They will hang by one or two feet from the branch...hang feet over a branch while resting their body on the branch to weak to hold on properly.

Some will sort of rally...perk up for the last few hours as though they are going to recover. I think that is their last attempt to appear healthy to predators.

And like @Lennoncham said...show "lethargy, sitting low in the cage, not eating/drinking, closed eyes, sunken eyes, edema" etc.

I'm sure there's more that I've missed/forgotten over the years.
 

Lennoncham

Chameleon Enthusiast
NEAR DEATH..Many chameleons (Senegals in particular) will start to get dark marks on the body as if parts of the body are dying. Many chameleons will raise their heads in the air and breath with their mouths open. They stop eating and will spit the food out if you try to feed them. They will hang by one or two feet from the branch...hang feet over a branch while resting their body on the branch to weak to hold on properly.

Some will sort of rally...perk up for the last few hours as though they are going to recover. I think that is their last attempt to appear healthy to predators.

And like @Lennoncham said...show "lethargy, sitting low in the cage, not eating/drinking, closed eyes, sunken eyes, edema" etc.

I'm sure there's more that I've missed/forgotten over the years.
Thanks for the detailed explanation.

This is why it is important to watch your chameleons behaviour. Nobody know you chameleons like you do. Noticing something off in their routine can be the difference between them being healthy and slowly going down hill.

I know this isn’t a subject anyone likes to think about but it’s something that we will all go through at some point. It’s important to recognize the signs to help prepare ourselves and also when assessing other people’s problems.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Being forewarned is a good thing...but let's hope we don't need to think about it often.

Your welcome for the explanation. In 30 years I've lost more critters than I'd like to think about...especially since a lot of them were wc's.
 

janjan20

Chameleon Enthusiast
I noticed when my last Cham was sick/before he died he did not fully get into his pj colors. He stayed darker, not sure if this is common but this was my experience.
 
Top Bottom