Sudden change in coordination overnight! Please Help

Chris L

New Member
All of my setup information is in a subsequent post due to size limits.

I am very concerned about my Chameleon today. I have had him a little over a month and everything has been looking great. I have been waiting on him to start a shed cycle since I got him. He had just finished one the day before I picked him up. Either way he has been doing really well and seemed very healthy until I got home from work today. Yesterday evening he started a shed cycle. I have been trying to get the humidity up in his cage since I got him and havent had much luck. I reached out a week ago on here for pointers on my setup. People recommended I try plastic on a few sides of my cage to help maintain humidity. Make a couple changes to my lighting and try adding more live plants. Also I was told about some of the gutloading options for my crickets. I asked about adding a fogger to help bring humidity up as well. Taking the recomendations I ordered a herpstat 4 controller and all sensors. I ordered a fogger. I ordered repashy bug burger cricket food, And some vinyl sheet. This past saturday I installed the herpstat and programmed it to fully control all my lighting and basking temps. And I started playing around with the fogger to see what it was capable of. He does not like the fogger at all. He runs from the mist and I think it cools him down too much. Even on the lowest setting which is barely visible. The Herpstat seems to be great at the moment. I put plastic sheet on the outside back of the screen with magnets on Sunday night and one of the sides to try it out. It really didnt change any humidity to speak of even trying the fogger to see what it does. The fogger doesnt really help, either it tries to run forever and not cycle the humidity sensor in the herpstat. Or I aim the fog directly at the humidity sensor and it just short cycles. I havent been running it yet unless I am playing with it to see if I can get it to function. Not while I am not home or watching.

Yesterday when I got home from work I noticed he started shedding on his head, and back. I got excited to see this, so looking at the humidity levels around 39% I gave him about a 30 second mist with the mistking. He seemed grumpy but just fine. His skin started coming loose rather quickly after that. So I watched him last night to see the progress. It appeared to be moving along well. When I went to sleep he was bedding down for the night on a limb with about 50% of total body loose and ready to fall off. This morning I left for work very early, I went to check on him still sleeping in the same spot. Looked almost identical to the night before. I dusted some crickets with calcium and dropped them in the cage. Turned on his dripper and left.

When I got home I was excited to see how he had progressed. There was only a little skin left on his feet, and probably about 50% of his tail to finish. He was just sitting on his basking spot. I decided to give him an extra mist real quick using the pulse on the mistking. He never likes this directly spraying on him. I sprayed it for about 3 or 4 seconds only. But when he started to move away from the mist this time I noticed something very scary. He is extremeley lethargic and shakey. His movements are not fluid and coordinated. He is almost dragging limbs to an extent and was having trouble grabbing and moving from branches to vines. I tried to stay calm at first and watch him to see. It looked at first like he was trying to rub his feet and tail against things to get rid of the loose skin. But the more I watched the more concerned I have become. He sortof sways back and forth while hes moving. He is also not sitting still almost at all anymore. And he is not moving in a natural way. He appears that he is having trouble holding his body up.

I have now taken the two sides of plastic off the cage, the back piece is still on at the moment. He also ate two crickets suddenly that were leftover in the cage since the morning. After seeing that I added 7 more just to see. He hunted down and ate 3 of those immediately. Within 20 seconds. These were only gutloaded, and not dusted as I just put some in to see if he would eat.

His legs do not appear to be swollen in any way, I have looked to see very closely. They appear to be straight and perfectly normal. No signs of bends in any way , no swollen feet. His mouth seems to be perfectly normal, no signs of aswollen jaw or anything abnormal. His eye turrets still look protruded and fine . Not seeing any recessing or sign of dehydration. His colors look great and normal especially where the old skin is already gone. The only thing that I noticed other than the lethargic movements and coordination is what may have been a sneeze like sound. So i assume this could mean that he may have an upper respiratory issue since I have been playing with humidity.

Since I have started typing out this post he has eaten atleast another 3 crickets. I am hoping someone has some insight on this that is not terrifying.

Thank you for any help
Chris
 

Chris L

New Member
Chameleon Info: Pablo Picasso
  • Your Chameleon - Male Panther Chameleon, I believe it to be an Ambilobe. Approximately 9 months old. Has been under my care since February 23rd, 2019
  • Handling - I attempt to hold him maybe once every couple days, but he does not like to leave his habitat. So far he has only sat on my hand inside the terrarium. But has not been outside the cage.
  • Feeding - I feed him gut loaded crickets daily. I have been feeding him around 10 to 15 medium crickets every day and make a solid attempt to remove any uneaten from the cage at night. However most of the time he eats all of them. I feed him in the morning before I leave for work. I am gut loading his crickets with orange and papaya slices, along with mustard green leaves and water pillows inside their cricket keeper. I clean it and change the gut loading supplies every two days. I have attempted to get him to eat hornworms, and waxworms. So far he won't touch either. He loves to hunt and is not interested in anything sitting still.
  • Supplements - I am using all Rep_Cal products for supplementation. Calcium dusted daily with every cricket feeding, Calcium + D3 every other saturday, and Herptivite every other saturday on the opposite weeks. So calcium M-F and alternating weekends D3 and Multivitamin. .
  • Watering - I have several watering options in my setup. First, all water that goes into the setup is treated with zoo med reptisafe water conditioner. Primary: Mistking pro200 with digital cycle timer. 2 gallon reservoir in the base cabinet with fish tank heater to keep water at 82 degrees. 20s at 7am to simulate morning dew. 1.5m at 10am, 1m at noon, 1.5m at 3:30pm, and 30s at 6:30pm. The cage and plant always dry between cycles.
  • I have a dripper on top of the cage that drips into the plant leaves. Set to roughly one drip per second every morning . No dripper/ misting of any kind at night.
  • I also have a hand mister that I use to give him extra small amounts periodically. Mostly I use it to help wash and clean feces and other items inside the terrarium.
  • At night I struggle with humidity levels in my house and with an open air cage it really mostly stays the same as ambient. I have a humidifier on the floor next to the cabinet the cage is on. It comes on once all his lighting and all other systems shut down for the evening. I have noticed that it is able to maintain between 48 and 50% humidity by the morning. But by the end of the day before it comes on its back to between 35 and 40%. Which is what my house stays.
  • I also have a custom fabricated drain pan in the bottom of the cage that drains into a 2 gallon reservoir in the bottom of the cabinet.
  • Fecal Description - So far, all of his fecal droppings look absolutely textbook. Formed and dark brown, Urate is white and hard. Sperm plugs have been present several times but not daily by any means. I have not seen any orange/yellow urate at all. And has not had an episode of diarrhea at all. Here's hope that I am doing my part correctly. I have never had any parasite testing done, nor did the place I got him from.
  • History - I have been looking for a panther chameleon for several years now. I had a local breeder that stopped after some unfortunate events. I got wind that a local chain pet store “Petco” had ordered a Panther to stock in the store. I immediately went there to see what they were thinking. I was terrified to see the setup they had waiting for his arrival. Not anything a panther needs was inside this setup. It was a reclaimed snake tank. Glass, Water bowl, One vine, 94 degrees ambient and about 85% humidity. I asked what they were getting and they had no idea. They told me the “supplier” just sends a panther. No idea if male, female, locale, or any details. I told them it didn't matter what they got I had been looking for a healthy panther for years and I would take it. I put my name in and told them to hold it. The day he came in he was just finishing a shed cycle. But was just sitting on the bottom in the wood chips not moving. I took him home immediately.

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - 18x18x36 open air screen cage, Custom floor pan drainage system. Elevated plant stand to keep bottom empty and cleanable. Multiple vines, and sandblasted grape vines. Live Ficus tree planted in ceramic pot with fully draining bottom.
  • Lighting - Just added this past weekend a Herpstat 4 channel controller to allow full control over basking temps and light cycles. Zilla 20 inch lighting hood. Completely gutted and rebuilt with dimmable t5 ho ballast, Repti Sun 5.0 18” t5 UVB, and 2 50 watt gu10 mini halogen basking lamps. The lighting is automated to simulate natural cycles as best as possible. UVB comes on at 8am, first basking light comes on at 10am, second basking light comes on at noon. Then they subsequently turn off in reverse order.
  • Temperature - Cage floor stays between 65 and 70 degrees all day and night, top of cage ranges from 65 in the mornings and 85 degrees in the hottest part of the afternoon. Basking spot is monitored by its own temp probe and ranges from 70 to 90 degrees at the hottest part of the day. I measure temps and humidities with one top and bottom mounted temp/hygrometer , and have a temp meter with remote sensor that is mounted on the main basking spot.
  • Humidity - My humidity is unfortunately lower than I want it to be. It likes to stay ambient to my house 90% of the time. Which is between 35 and 40%. At night I run an auxiliary humidifier on the floor and it brings it closer to 50%. I have lots of watering options trying to combat this but still struggle to overcome the houses low relative humidity.
  • Plants - Yes, Live ficus tree inside in ceramic pot. The pot has many drain holes in the bottom, and has been potted in artificial ceramic media with a small bed of activated charcoal to filter any contaminants that come from the plant to the bottom of the cage.
  • Placement - The cage is in the corner of my main living room. Next to an outside window. It is near a vent thats blocked off, and not near any fans. Its outside of the normal traffic path for the room. The cabinet is 30” tall and the cage is 36” tall. Putting the top of the cage 66” from the floor.
  • Location - I am located in Marietta Georgia, USA. Right outside of Atlanta.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your husbandry looks pretty good! Your Cham wouldn’t hate you if you upgraded his cage in the future.

To the important stuff: my veileds are often shy, and appear weak/lethargic when shedding. I don’t know why, perhaps shedding in the wild comes with extra risks of predation like snakes, or perhaps by ‘dragging’ themselves and their limbs during shedding it helps remove old skin. The fact that he’s interested in food, actively hunting, and able to capture prey speaks volumes, though. It is rarely harmful to make a trip to the vet, but panic is probably not called for if he’s still tagging bugs.
 

SharpShooter

Avid Member
All of my setup information is in a subsequent post due to size limits.

I am very concerned about my Chameleon today. I have had him a little over a month and everything has been looking great. I have been waiting on him to start a shed cycle since I got him. He had just finished one the day before I picked him up. Either way he has been doing really well and seemed very healthy until I got home from work today. Yesterday evening he started a shed cycle. I have been trying to get the humidity up in his cage since I got him and havent had much luck. I reached out a week ago on here for pointers on my setup. People recommended I try plastic on a few sides of my cage to help maintain humidity. Make a couple changes to my lighting and try adding more live plants. Also I was told about some of the gutloading options for my crickets. I asked about adding a fogger to help bring humidity up as well. Taking the recomendations I ordered a herpstat 4 controller and all sensors. I ordered a fogger. I ordered repashy bug burger cricket food, And some vinyl sheet. This past saturday I installed the herpstat and programmed it to fully control all my lighting and basking temps. And I started playing around with the fogger to see what it was capable of. He does not like the fogger at all. He runs from the mist and I think it cools him down too much. Even on the lowest setting which is barely visible. The Herpstat seems to be great at the moment. I put plastic sheet on the outside back of the screen with magnets on Sunday night and one of the sides to try it out. It really didnt change any humidity to speak of even trying the fogger to see what it does. The fogger doesnt really help, either it tries to run forever and not cycle the humidity sensor in the herpstat. Or I aim the fog directly at the humidity sensor and it just short cycles. I havent been running it yet unless I am playing with it to see if I can get it to function. Not while I am not home or watching.

Yesterday when I got home from work I noticed he started shedding on his head, and back. I got excited to see this, so looking at the humidity levels around 39% I gave him about a 30 second mist with the mistking. He seemed grumpy but just fine. His skin started coming loose rather quickly after that. So I watched him last night to see the progress. It appeared to be moving along well. When I went to sleep he was bedding down for the night on a limb with about 50% of total body loose and ready to fall off. This morning I left for work very early, I went to check on him still sleeping in the same spot. Looked almost identical to the night before. I dusted some crickets with calcium and dropped them in the cage. Turned on his dripper and left.

When I got home I was excited to see how he had progressed. There was only a little skin left on his feet, and probably about 50% of his tail to finish. He was just sitting on his basking spot. I decided to give him an extra mist real quick using the pulse on the mistking. He never likes this directly spraying on him. I sprayed it for about 3 or 4 seconds only. But when he started to move away from the mist this time I noticed something very scary. He is extremeley lethargic and shakey. His movements are not fluid and coordinated. He is almost dragging limbs to an extent and was having trouble grabbing and moving from branches to vines. I tried to stay calm at first and watch him to see. It looked at first like he was trying to rub his feet and tail against things to get rid of the loose skin. But the more I watched the more concerned I have become. He sortof sways back and forth while hes moving. He is also not sitting still almost at all anymore. And he is not moving in a natural way. He appears that he is having trouble holding his body up.

I have now taken the two sides of plastic off the cage, the back piece is still on at the moment. He also ate two crickets suddenly that were leftover in the cage since the morning. After seeing that I added 7 more just to see. He hunted down and ate 3 of those immediately. Within 20 seconds. These were only gutloaded, and not dusted as I just put some in to see if he would eat.

His legs do not appear to be swollen in any way, I have looked to see very closely. They appear to be straight and perfectly normal. No signs of bends in any way , no swollen feet. His mouth seems to be perfectly normal, no signs of aswollen jaw or anything abnormal. His eye turrets still look protruded and fine . Not seeing any recessing or sign of dehydration. His colors look great and normal especially where the old skin is already gone. The only thing that I noticed other than the lethargic movements and coordination is what may have been a sneeze like sound. So i assume this could mean that he may have an upper respiratory issue since I have been playing with humidity.

Since I have started typing out this post he has eaten atleast another 3 crickets. I am hoping someone has some insight on this that is not terrifying.

Thank you for any help
Chris
From your form your husbandry looks good. Foggers though should ideally be run for a few hours during the night when the temps have dropped. Warm wet air can cause RI.

Are you feeding every day? Depending how thickly dusted feed items are, it could also be over supplementation.

The fact he's still eating and hitting the feed items is good.

Was he still cold at the time and is he basking OK?
 

Calypratus

Established Member
Could be he is trying to rub the skin on his tail and feet off. I can imagine shedding your skin is somewhat itchy. You husbandry seems fine. Maybe some more experienced keepers should chime in.
 

Chris L

New Member
Thank you for your replies. I monitored him last night until he finally curled up and went to sleep. After eating 7 to 8 crickets he seemed to get a burst of energy, he started climbing all over his cage. On the screens and on every vine or limb he could find. He eventually started moving and climbing much better. But still had some skin on his tail and the pads of his feet that he wanted off bad. I am hoping that this is just an adverse reaction of his shed cycle. And it goes no further. He was still sleeping this morning in the same spot when I left for work. I will check him and monitor him this evening and hopefully things have improved. Maybe he was just dragging the way he was to rub all the leftover skin off. Im keeping my fingers crossed.

Chris
 
Our male gets very uncomfortable, changing his patterns / movements & goes off feed while in shed. The female doesn't change her behavior at all.
The fact that he is still eating is a great sign.
 
Top Bottom