I‘m really, really sorry for your (sudden) lost and thank you for sharing your sad story. I’m absolutely no expert and gonna say things I think. Seeing your girl she definitely doesn’t look gravid, she has a too much arrow shape towards her hips and when she would be carrying eggs towards egg bound, she would be more plumb towards her hips. This is where the eggs should be, therefore IMHO you didn’t do anything wrong.I'm so sorry to hear of all these losses. I lost my first Chameleon l, Sylvanas on Wednesday. I am reeling from her death, questioning what I missed. I never saw her use her egg laying bin although she had gone to it a few times. Her belly seemed full at times but other times she made it look very flat. I had her for six months and bought her at 4 months (I believe), so she was just two months shy of a year. Prior to her death, her appetite decreased but she was still eating at least one insect a day, so I thought it was just part of her maturing. She remained as active as usual, no sunken eyes, white urates, everything looking normal. I came home to find her deceased, hanging by her tail from a branch with ants on her. Her tongue was out and bleeding. Her nose had dried blood and her eyes bled a little when I put her in a bag for preservation. I was a new reptile mom but I did a lot of research and did everything right to my knowledge. I don't understand what happened. I don't think she was gravid because I felt her stomach post mortem and didn't feel eggs. Please someone help me figure out what happened to my baby.
Thank you. When I found her she probably had closer to one dozen ants on her. It seemed like the death was recent. I had recently deep cleaned her cage (didn't use any products except a chameleon cage cleaning bottle/brush and petroleum jelly on the outside of the cage to keep ants out. In the last couple of weeks since the deep clean, I hadn't seen more than one or two ants at a time, so I would be surprised if ants caused her death. I've heard of parasites being a big cause of death. Do they cause internal bleeding?I‘m really, really sorry for your (sudden) lost and thank you for sharing your sad story. I’m absolutely no expert and gonna say things I think. Seeing your girl she definitely doesn’t look gravid, she has a too much arrow shape towards her hips and when she would be carrying eggs towards egg bound, she would be more plumb towards her hips. This is where the eggs should be, therefore IMHO you didn’t do anything wrong.
A strange thing is her lack of black coloring, my girl died pretty rapidly and yet she had lots black spots (death coloring I would say) and that’s what we see a lot with dead chameleons. Therefore, my gut feeling tells me it’s a sudden poisoning from the ants, especially with the blood from the eyes and nose (check I.e. symptoms from venomous snake bites). What kind of ants are we talking about? And how many, 1 or 2 or a dozen?
Again I’m just ventilating my first thoughts. I know @kinyonga @ferretinmyshoes are more knowledgeable with these things
Thank you for sharing your experience, it may help many others here. I’m so sorry for your loss.This is a really rough thread, but I’m so glad that this topic is being discussed. I lost my beautiful blue ambanja male, Bastion in July. I could still cry just typing that out. Talking about him and looking at pictures of him have been especially difficult.
Bastion was a special case; I got him knowing he had a tongue disability (it was explained to me that he was born with it). He couldn’t shoot it out more than a half inch or so, and his aim was terrible. He was always off by about 1/4th of an inch. Eating on his own was basically impossible, so he had to be exclusively hand fed. He was about 7-8 months old when I first got him, so I figured him eating only 9 or so feeders was pretty typical (I knew that it would soon be time to cut back anyway, given that he was approaching adulthood). Over the course of three weeks, I noticed him gradually accepting less feeders. Nine bugs turned into only five, five of them turned three, and eventually it got to the point that he would only take 2 feeders a day. Half of the time, I could only get him to take one. It wasn’t for lack of trying, either! I tried hanging up clear feeding cups that were tall and relatively wide to see if he’d try climbing in to “gum” the feeders off the bottom. That was a no-go. I tried hanging paper hot dog/french fry trays, and he wouldn’t even attempt to feed on his own. I tried every feeder I could think of - numerous species of roach, grasshoppers, silkworms, BSFL, pupated bottle flies, crickets. I gutloaded everything well, too. The only thing I could reliably get him to take at LEAST two of was superworms, but of course that was far from ideal.
Sometime in June, I noticed Bastion keeping his left eye shut. I knew for certain that it wasn’t due to an A deficiency as I was supplementing twice a month every month with Repashy LoD. Soon after that, he shut both eyes and began declining so fast, I didn’t expect him to make it through the night. I knew it wasn’t MBD - I had JUST put a brand new Arcadia 6% in his T5 fixture just before I got him. Distance from basking was the recommended 8-9 inches, and by that point the bulb was only 2 months old. Whatever was wrong with him didn’t track as a RI, either - no bubbles, no crackling sounds, mouth kept shut. My regular exotic vet wasn’t available and no one could get me in until the following day. I knew he wouldn’t last for much longer, so I made a snap decision and took him to see a retired vet tech friend (she also keeps/rescues chameleons). She got a weight on him, gave him a sub-q injection of Baytril and he began improving. Within two days, Bastion was back to normal, which was great news buuut.. I was left wondering what the hell all that was about. I had been providing the same level of care for him I had for Beau, the only difference being that Bastion had to be hand fed.
Got him into my regular vet soon after that experience. Vet said his lungs sounded clear and he didn’t think what happened could be chalked up to a RI. Suggested that eating is probably painful due to his tongue defect (Bastion would spend a very long time swallowing, despite being given appropriate sized feeders). Bloodwork showed that he had been fighting off an infection, and it also suggested an immunodeficiency. I was told that it was most likely congenital, and to keep his cage as clean as possible. My vet was so impressed with my husbandry, he was confident I’d be able to keep Bastion going despite the challenges (this same vet worked at a zoo AND had experience keeping/breeding panther chameleons, so I trusted his Judgement. Looking back, I wonder if I should have asked about quality of life versus quantity).
End of June/very early July.. I noticed what looked like a wart forming on Bastion’s left side. My immediate thoughts were “Sh*t, here we go again,” and “THAT looks like a papilloma.” The wart felt pretty flush with his skin, and he only had that one little blemish. BACK to the vet we went. My exotic vet wasn’t there during that particular appointment (he worked at that veterinary office one day a week, sometimes two. Every other day he was working at the zoo), but a tech did a skin scrape for us. The results came back negative for papilloma, which I remain dubious of to this day. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to discuss the results with my vet as he ended up having to move suddenly. The new exotic vet that took his place had zero experience with chameleons, so I began looking for someone else.
During this time, Bastion was taking maybe one feeder from me every other day. Sometimes I’d go for 2-3 days without feeding him just to get his appetite back up, but the MOST I could get him to take was two bugs. I knew something was up when I would offer him a superworm and he‘d turn his head away from it. He was going on 11 months and I *couldn’t* get him to put on weight, He also started going down to the bottom branch of the cage (where he slept every night) by 12 noon. He would just sit there. He’d keep his eyes open and would look around, but he wouldn’t move otherwise and I knew that wasn’t right. I also started noticing the wart changing in texture. It felt hard and raised when I would run my finger over it, sort of like a small cone.
Second to the last week of July, I woke up around 7 AM to check on both my boys. I found Bastion laying on his side at the bottom of his cage, still alive but barely. I rushed him to an emergency vet and made the decision to have him put down. It was one of the HARDEST things I have ever had to do. The entire experience absolutely gutted me. Sometimes, I wonder if I got too sure of myself after being told (by the vet) how well I was doing with Beau, and reality decided to bring me back down several notches. I wonder if it was a me problem and I just failed him. I mean, his breeder managed to keep him alive and fed for 8 months. Then he sent Bastion to me, and the little guy lived under my care for about 4 months before I had to euthanize him. I wonder a LOT of things. Mostly, I wonder if I was wrong to have Bastion put down.
One thing I can say I have definitely learned from all of this: Never again will I bring home another chameleon with a tongue disability or defect of the mouth. Their mouths and tongues are really all they have. If one or both those parts aren’t working properly, that’s a chameleon looking at a life fraught with complications. Congenital defects we can see also bring up the possibility of those we can‘t; I suspected something was off, but prior to bloodwork, I didn’t realize Bastion was living with a compromised immune system. There is already so little margin for error in healthy chameleons, and even less so in those born with health issues/abnormalities. I guess I couldn’t appreciate the gravity of the issue until I tried taking it on myself. I also wanted to apologize, this may not be the best example of a sudden death. it’s just that I brought home a chameleon that was seemingly normal beyond a birth defect. He was good until he wasn’t. Proper lighting, appropriate sized housing, correct supplementation, hydration were Provided. Good nutrition was provided to the best of my ability. When he was good, he was really good. When he’d crash, it would happen fast and hard.
This was an Incredibly difficult thing to write about. I’m not including any pictures of a deceased chameleon (I didn’t take any). I’m only including pictures of my sweet blue boy, when he was still here with me. I miss his quirky little personality so very much
Thank you for kind words, really appreciatedI so hope sharing what happened does help someone! Genuinely. Also, @Sonny13, I am so sorry about your sweet girl. Heartbreaking for sure. Sudden losses like these leave you feeling gutted and completely unsure of yourself. That said, your husbandry was spot on and I don’t think there was anything else you could have done for her. Its evident how much you love your chameleons, and you did right by her while you had her.
Your input regarding my decision to have Bastion put down is such a huge help. It’s such a relief to hear that from someone else with experience.
I actually do not have a solarmeter! I keep meaning to get one, but after reading your last comment, it’s definitely time to stop putting it off. Guessing and assuming we‘re at a 3 UVI is too much of a gamble..