Stressed/hurt Chameleon

chloe924

Established Member
Hi all
I was wondering if anyone had any advice about de-stressing/ calming a chameleon after a traumatic event?

I’m a horrendous owner and accidentally stepped on my seven year old Panther on Monday. It was brief and not a lot of my weight, but I’ve definitely hurt and surprised him, so understandably he’s been highly defensive and fearful since. Which I feel sick to my stomach about!

I took him to the vet and while they didn't X-ray, they were happy with his checkup. They checked his breathing, grip strength, palpated his abdomen and felt along his ribs. Probably not the most thorough check, but honestly, unless he deteriorates, I can’t stand stressing the old man out more taking him back for anything further. His eyes aren't sunken in and are alert and unless I go close to the cage, his colours are their usual relaxed dull tones with no bruising.

So I was hoping for any and all advice I could get on how to make his recovery as smooth as possible please? & any warning signs to keep an eye out for.
I plan on keeping him in his cage for at least a week or two with no free range, giving his ribs a chance to heal if he has injured them. It’s the stress I worry about more though. Already he seems to hate me just a little less, but currently, he’s still terrified and will puff up if I go too close and try to hide behind his branches while not moving much.

Should I keep the front of his cage covered with a sheet so he can feel enclosed and safe? Avoid the room altogether? Or is sitting across the room & lower than him on the couch and otherwise ignoring him better? I know it's still early, but I've not been able to bribe him with his favourite food (silkworms) or water (He’s a freak of the species that loves drinking). So I'm freaking out and hoping to do the best for him. So sorry for the rambling rant!!

I've included a blurry zoomed-in photo from across the room. Unfortunately, his cage is a little sparse at the moment as his ivy isn't doing too well and I need to buy another to fill the gaps.
 

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Ugg sorry you are dealing with this hun. For now try to just watch for signs of bruising. As far as looking for decline your big ones are going to be eyes sinking into the turrets and him suddenly looking very thin. These are major signs of something being wrong.

I would not avoid the room but I would limit interaction. Sitting in the room so he can watch you is a good thing. Keep him in the enclosure for a few weeks. I would do this until he is back to acting like himself. Keep offering his favorite feeders so he can identify you as being safe. If he was used to handfeeding with these then try each feeding to do so. Might take a bit of time for him to know you are just his food delivery service again. I would not cover the cage. You can put ice cubes on top of the cage so he has more access to water.
 
I’m sorry that this has happened to you both. 😔 Ditto to everything said above by @Beman If he was injured, I would expect him to move carefully and slowly until healed, which could take a good amount of time. The signs that something is very wrong is the same pretty much, regardless of cause - sleeping during the day, not eating, drinking or basking, staying low in the enclosure, etc. I would proceed with my usual care - feeding and watering per usual schedule. I would avoid anything more than that like cleaning and things that are of lesser importance. Hopefully the only thing hurt is pride.
 
Thank you very much for the reassurance and well wishes everyone! I really appreciate it! :)

He’s just turned his back on me to crawl down into one of his usual sleeping spots so *fingers crossed* he just needs time. It's just really hard not to fret and hover all over him! Even though I know he needs space.

I will try the Ice cube idea if he doesn’t drink tomorrow & luckily I’m on antisocial shifts over the next week, so I can keep an eye on him during the day.
 
Thank you very much for the reassurance and well wishes everyone! I really appreciate it! :)

He’s just turned his back on me to crawl down into one of his usual sleeping spots so *fingers crossed* he just needs time. It's just really hard not to fret and hover all over him! Even though I know he needs space.

I will try the Ice cube idea if he doesn’t drink tomorrow & luckily I’m on antisocial shifts over the next week, so I can keep an eye on him during the day.
What is your current method of hydration? I might be able to offer additional options if he is shying away from the usual one you use.
 
I have the big dripper set up above a large Exo-Terra dripper plant (without the pump and tubing). It's all set up at the front of his cage, but I could use the dripper elsewhere if he doesn't want to move. Usually he's a glutton, hope the link works!
 
I have the big dripper set up above a large Exo-Terra dripper plant (without the pump and tubing). It's all set up at the front of his cage, but I could use the dripper elsewhere if he doesn't want to move. Usually he's a glutton, hope the link works!

K go ahead and keep his usual set up. Then add some ice cubes to the top of the cage so they will drip down in other places on the plants/branches. This will give him a few options.
 
So sorry this accident happened and you are not a terrible owner. We are so hard on ourselves when we hurt a loved one by accident. You took him to the vet right away which I doubt he appreciated but tells me you are a great parent/friend. The advice you have been given is great and btw love the climbing setup in his cage that you did. Just give him time and try not to act differently around him. He will come around. 7 and healthy, good going!
 
So today he has eaten a silkworm and had a drink, so I’m feeling a bit more reassured. He’s explored his cage a little too, perhaps a little slow/clumsily, but I dunno if that's just me over analyzing every movement.

He also tolerates me nearby as long as the cage door is closed, even though the poor guy has just started shedding his back, so no doubt feels doubly disgruntled! So yeah, I’m cautiously optimistic!

Thanks again everyone! Venting about this has made me feel so much better. 😊 This site and fantastic community has been so helpful over the years. Even though I’m a chronic lurker!
 
So today he has eaten a silkworm and had a drink, so I’m feeling a bit more reassured. He’s explored his cage a little too, perhaps a little slow/clumsily, but I dunno if that's just me over analyzing every movement.

He also tolerates me nearby as long as the cage door is closed, even though the poor guy has just started shedding his back, so no doubt feels doubly disgruntled! So yeah, I’m cautiously optimistic!

Thanks again everyone! Venting about this has made me feel so much better. 😊 This site and fantastic community has been so helpful over the years. Even though I’m a chronic lurker!
Happy to hear he is starting to rebound. ❤️
 
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