Syringe feeding and stressed chameleon! Please help

hi everyone - the vet wants my chameleon to be syringe fed because he hasn’t been eating and was sleeping during the day. The only problem is, he literally will not let me do it at all! He is so extremely stressed and right now I feel like it’s just going to make everything worse. He ate today because they syringe fed him. Should I just leave him for the rest of today? His lights go off at 9pm. Any suggestions on how to get him to syringe feed? I just covered his cage with a blanket (left the lights on) because he was that stressed. I honestly have no idea what to do..... obviously he needs to eat but they said 0.5ml twice a day... just feel like that stress is going to make it much worse.. plus the syringe food shoots out so hard and I don’t really know how to get it to go slower because I saw the picture of the glottis and esophagus location and I’m afraid if it goes too fast he’ll aspirate.
 
here is a picture of him from after the vet visit
 

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What have you been using for supplements and how often are you using each?

so here’s where I thought my problem was but the vet said it wasn’t a concern. I got Roscoe exactly 2 weeks ago. I did my research and asked the woman for calcium WITHOUT D3. Didn’t notice she gave me the calcium with D3. She also gave me a multivitamin by flukers with had beta carotene, just learned yesterday that chameleons can’t really convert that to Vitamin A. So 2 days ago I got the correct calcium and have been feeding that (although he hasn’t eaten so he hasn’t actually gotten any!!!!) I also ordered reptivite. I told the vet all of this though especially since vit A are antagonistic, I figured he could be Vit A deficient? But all she said was good research and gave him IV fluids and gave me cat food to give him. She also didn’t show me how to give him food. Anyways right now I covered him so I wouldn’t stress him out and he’s sitting under his UVB (just checked). I have been having issues where my humidity has fallen to 25% which could be the problem. What do you think? The vet really just brushed this off, but she was an emergency vet and I don’t think she had much experience with chameleons. His urates and stool were normal. I saw them in his travel enclosure on the way back from the vet.
 
Hun can you post your help form here. And recent pics.... I just would like to go over everything before you force feed to make sure it is not a husbandry issue. Force feeding is basically a last thing you do....

will do. Let me update the info on it. Will take a minute
 
@Beman @MissSkittles

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? Veiled, male, juvenile. Has been in my care for 2 weeks.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? I really never handle him at all. Today I handled him a lot, because of the vet and attempting to syringe feed him twice.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? I have been feeding dubia roaches and superworms. I put 10 of each just so that they hit each other and move around in the cup. I do this every day. Recently, I had to throw all of my feeders out because I noticed mold in the plastic bins. I really don't think it was moldy when I had fed him last, so I don't think this is the issue. Currently gutloading with collard greens, sweet potato and carrot every time.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? Unfortunately, I somehow never noticed that I had calcium with D3 and no phosphorus, so as of 2 days ago I was dusting with D3. I also had used the multivitamin from flukes with beta carotene. Bought calcium without D3 2 days ago and ordered reptivite. I was on the schedule of dusting 6 days a week with calcium and 2x a month with vitamins. Although, if I do actually need to syringe feed him I may consider adding calcium and vitamins to the food just this once. - Correct me if im wrong for doing this though.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? He will not drink in front of me. I hand mist for about 2 minutes every 3 hours. I also have a dripper
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? He has not been tested. His last droppings were very moist and his urate was all white - but before his vet visit he had mostly yellow and some white.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. He was bought from a pet store... probably my worst mistake, but I really could not leave him there... I really just wanted to get him out of that little box. Also I am having a major drainage issue. Mine just is not working and I have to keep wiping out water. Getting that fixed asap though.

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? He is in a large reptibreeze (will be moved to an xl)
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? using a 60W regular bulb and UVB is t5.. I think 10.0?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? So I live in a horrible apartment and it is quite literally impossible to maintain a steady temp because we have 1 heat setting. Basking spot is normally 80-85, ambient is 72.5. I have a temp gauge.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? humidity remains about 40%, really having a tough time increasing overnight though. I create them by misting and have a dripper.
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor? He is above a bin. He is next to a tv, but in a corner and it is pretty low traffic. He is usually about 6-7 feet off the floor but right now he is 4ft because my drainage system needed to be tested. I am going to add another bin underneath him once he is less stressed out. Right now I am just covering him so that he has the least stress possible.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located? Currently in Pennsylvania.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
He looks dehydrated, hasn't eaten in two days, and caught him sleeping with his eyes closed

--------------

Please Note:

  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
Pictures: there is my current enclosure, usually the bottom is fuller but when I was putting him back I put the plant in an awkward position.. didn't want to move it and stress him out even more. The picture of him on a branch is last week and the picture of him on my hand is today after the vet appointment.

Thank you so much for the help! The vet wants me to go to an exotic vet just to get my husbandry checked... don't know if thats worth it if I can get it checked here. Let me know if you think I should go.
 

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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Beman @MissSkittles

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? Veiled, male, juvenile. Has been in my care for 2 weeks.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? I really never handle him at all. Today I handled him a lot, because of the vet and attempting to syringe feed him twice.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? I have been feeding dubia roaches and superworms. I put 10 of each just so that they hit each other and move around in the cup. I do this every day. Recently, I had to throw all of my feeders out because I noticed mold in the plastic bins. I really don't think it was moldy when I had fed him last, so I don't think this is the issue. Currently gutloading with collard greens, sweet potato and carrot every time.
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? Unfortunately, I somehow never noticed that I had calcium with D3 and no phosphorus, so as of 2 days ago I was dusting with D3. I also had used the multivitamin from flukes with beta carotene. Bought calcium without D3 2 days ago and ordered reptivite. I was on the schedule of dusting 6 days a week with calcium and 2x a month with vitamins. Although, if I do actually need to syringe feed him I may consider adding calcium and vitamins to the food just this once. - Correct me if im wrong for doing this though.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? He will not drink in front of me. I hand mist for about 2 minutes every 3 hours. I also have a dripper
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? He has not been tested. His last droppings were very moist and his urate was all white - but before his vet visit he had mostly yellow and some white.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. He was bought from a pet store... probably my worst mistake, but I really could not leave him there... I really just wanted to get him out of that little box. Also I am having a major drainage issue. Mine just is not working and I have to keep wiping out water. Getting that fixed asap though.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? He is in a large reptibreeze (will be moved to an xl)
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? using a 60W regular bulb and UVB is t5.. I think 10.0?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? So I live in a horrible apartment and it is quite literally impossible to maintain a steady temp because we have 1 heat setting. Basking spot is normally 80-85, ambient is 72.5. I have a temp gauge.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? humidity remains about 40%, really having a tough time increasing overnight though. I create them by misting and have a dripper.
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor? He is above a bin. He is next to a tv, but in a corner and it is pretty low traffic. He is usually about 6-7 feet off the floor but right now he is 4ft because my drainage system needed to be tested. I am going to add another bin underneath him once he is less stressed out. Right now I am just covering him so that he has the least stress possible.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located? Currently in Pennsylvania.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about. He looks dehydrated, hasn't eaten in two days, and caught him sleeping with his eyes closed

--------------

Please Note:

  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
Pictures: there is my current enclosure, usually the bottom is fuller but when I was putting him back I put the plant in an awkward position.. didn't want to move it and stress him out even more. The picture of him on a branch is last week and the picture of him on my hand is today after the vet appointment.

Thank you so much for the help! The vet wants me to go to an exotic vet just to get my husbandry checked... don't know if thats worth it if I can get it checked here. Let me know if you think I should go.
I am going to go through everything now... I will have a few more questions...
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
@RoscoeVeiled Ok hun see feedback in red bold...


Chameleon Info:

  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? Veiled, male, juvenile. Has been in my care for 2 weeks.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? I really never handle him at all. Today I handled him a lot, because of the vet and attempting to syringe feed him twice.
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? I have been feeding dubia roaches and superworms. I put 10 of each just so that they hit each other and move around in the cup. I do this every day. Recently, I had to throw all of my feeders out because I noticed mold in the plastic bins. I really don't think it was moldy when I had fed him last, so I don't think this is the issue. Currently gutloading with collard greens, sweet potato and carrot every time. Have you ever tried feeding crickets? This is typically what they are used to getting. Switching feeders out totally can make them go on a strike because they don't recognize the new feeder. Pull the red feeder cup. Bright colors like that they typically do not like. I would get one of these https://tkchameleons.com/collections/accessories/products/shooting-gallery
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? Unfortunately, I somehow never noticed that I had calcium with D3 and no phosphorus, so as of 2 days ago I was dusting with D3. I also had used the multivitamin from flukes with beta carotene. Bought calcium without D3 2 days ago and ordered reptivite. I was on the schedule of dusting 6 days a week with calcium and 2x a month with vitamins. Although, if I do actually need to syringe feed him I may consider adding calcium and vitamins to the food just this once. - Correct me if im wrong for doing this though. Do not add anything to the syringe feeding. So new supplements would be reptivite with D3 2 times a month every other week at one feeding only... Then calcium without D3 at all other feedings.
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? He will not drink in front of me. I hand mist for about 2 minutes every 3 hours. I also have a dripper... Make sure the dripper drips on plants at the top flowing down.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? He has not been tested. His last droppings were very moist and his urate was all white - but before his vet visit he had mostly yellow and some white. up to 50% yellow or orange is ok and still considered hydrated.
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. He was bought from a pet store... probably my worst mistake, but I really could not leave him there... I really just wanted to get him out of that little box. Also I am having a major drainage issue. Mine just is not working and I have to keep wiping out water. Getting that fixed asap though. Dragon strand makes drip pans.

Cage Info:

  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? He is in a large reptibreeze (will be moved to an xl)
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? using a 60W regular bulb and UVB is t5.. I think 10.0? Double check what the bulb says I need to know if it is the 5.0 or 10.0 and I need to know what the distance is from the fixture to the basking branches below it.
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? So I live in a horrible apartment and it is quite literally impossible to maintain a steady temp because we have 1 heat setting. Basking spot is normally 80-85, ambient is 72.5. I have a temp gauge. These temps are perfectly fine.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? humidity remains about 40%, really having a tough time increasing overnight though. I create them by misting and have a dripper. 40% is perfect as well for daytime. You can add a cool mist humidifier at night to up the level. This will help with hydration as well. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07V39ZYJB/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_vplXDb9GMSZDZ
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor? He is above a bin. He is next to a tv, but in a corner and it is pretty low traffic. He is usually about 6-7 feet off the floor but right now he is 4ft because my drainage system needed to be tested. I am going to add another bin underneath him once he is less stressed out. Right now I am just covering him so that he has the least stress possible. Remove the red cloth. They do not typically respond well to colors like that. Also you will reduce airflow. It will be more shocking for him that he has this big cover over him.
  • Location - Where are you geographically located? Currently in Pennsylvania.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about. He looks dehydrated, hasn't eaten in two days, and caught him sleeping with his eyes closed

--------------

Please Note:


  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
Pictures: there is my current enclosure, usually the bottom is fuller but when I was putting him back I put the plant in an awkward position.. didn't want to move it and stress him out even more. The picture of him on a branch is last week and the picture of him on my hand is today after the vet appointment. He is not showing the typical signs of dehydration in his eyes... He actually looks pretty good. How long has it actually been with him not eating?

Thank you so much for the help! The vet wants me to go to an exotic vet just to get my husbandry checked... don't know if thats worth it if I can get it checked here. Let me know if you think I should go.
No I do not think you need to go yet... Lets get basic husbandry down first...
 
@Beman it’s a 5.0, his basking is 9 inches and his UVB is maybe 11-12. Cloth is removed. I haven’t tried crickets.... mostly because I hate crickets 😂 he seemed to eat Dubias and superworms though and then he just stopped... I guess I’ll have to suck it up lol! Maybe I am being dramatic? Idk... the sleeping during the day thing really freaked me out. Both the eating and the sleeping have been going on for 2 days
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Beman it’s a 5.0, his basking is 9 inches and his UVB is maybe 11-12. Cloth is removed. I haven’t tried crickets.... mostly because I hate crickets 😂 he seemed to eat Dubias and superworms though and then he just stopped... I guess I’ll have to suck it up lol! Maybe I am being dramatic? Idk... the sleeping during the day thing really freaked me out. Both the eating and the sleeping have been going on for 2 days
Ok hun. Do not force feed yet they literally can go a week or two easy without eating. Granted it is not ideal when they are young. I want to try a few things. Ok so uvb distance to basking needs to be 8-9 inches. Get him higher to it so he gets the UVI level he needs. I think this will help with the closing the eyes during the day.

Now for feeders. you gotta suck it up. Go buy small crickets 1/4 size. You can make your own feeder run too. But I think this would be helpful for him to see the movement easier. I love the TK Chameleons shooting gallery and Highly recommend it. Here is a thing on doing your own run https://dragonstrand.com/constructing-a-chameleon-feeder-run/
 
@Beman okay, will do :). I am just not a fan of getting jumped on by crickets!! I used to work at a wildlife refuge and that was probably the worst part for me... don’t really know why. In your experience, do they get out into the enclosure and if so do they breed? That’s probably my main concern. I will change the UVB height tomorrow because he is sleeping now.
Thanks for helping me btw. You’re so active on the forums and I’m very new to this. I feel so much more at ease now. :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Beman okay, will do :). I am just not a fan of getting jumped on by crickets!! I used to work at a wildlife refuge and that was probably the worst part for me... don’t really know why. In your experience, do they get out into the enclosure and if so do they breed? That’s probably my main concern. I will change the UVB height tomorrow because he is sleeping now.
Thanks for helping me btw. You’re so active on the forums and I’m very new to this. I feel so much more at ease now. :)
I have never had an issue with crickets getting out... Honestly I have no issues with them when they are small it is when they are adults that I hate. Right now it will be important just to bite the bullet. I think you will find if you do a feeder run he excepts other feeders easier. But you mix them all in... So then he naturally starts eating the others and it does not become a huge deal if you do away with crickets. With the feeder run it gives him the ability to see the movement of them... More like hunting. I would toss like 3 into the enclosure... Free feed them and See if he goes after them.

Let me know tomorrow when you get them how he does with them. But if it were me I in no way would syringe feed yet. We have time to iron out the potential issues and get everything on point. You have to remember your feeding something he is not familiar with. He is in a new home. He is not used to anything.

Adjust the UVB in the morning. Even if you just put it more on the size where the basking is and basking next to it. So the distance is more like 8-9 inches. If you do not want to disturb him this would be fine.

It will be ok. We will get him on track. He really does look very good. I would tell you if I thought differently. :)
I help in a lot of different threads... So if something new happens just tag me. or put it in this thread and I will get an alert.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
Syringe feeding is very stressful. A better option IMHO is to slowly drip water on the end of its nose and when it starts drinking stick a cricket between its teeth head first. Hopefully it will eat this way.

Cat food has preformed vitamin A in it so you need to be careful with it,
 
I have never had an issue with crickets getting out... Honestly I have no issues with them when they are small it is when they are adults that I hate. Right now it will be important just to bite the bullet. I think you will find if you do a feeder run he excepts other feeders easier. But you mix them all in... So then he naturally starts eating the others and it does not become a huge deal if you do away with crickets. With the feeder run it gives him the ability to see the movement of them... More like hunting. I would toss like 3 into the enclosure... Free feed them and See if he goes after them.

Let me know tomorrow when you get them how he does with them. But if it were me I in no way would syringe feed yet. We have time to iron out the potential issues and get everything on point. You have to remember your feeding something he is not familiar with. He is in a new home. He is not used to anything.

Adjust the UVB in the morning. Even if you just put it more on the size where the basking is and basking next to it. So the distance is more like 8-9 inches. If you do not want to disturb him this would be fine.

It will be ok. We will get him on track. He really does look very good. I would tell you if I thought differently. :)
I help in a lot of different threads... So if something new happens just tag me. or put it in this thread and I will get an alert.

Okay, I guess I could move the UVB when I make the feeder since I’ll need to be in his enclosure for a bit. I guess the way he looks is being stressed from the drive and me holding him instead of dehydration. I appreciate the help a lot, there’s so much to learn. I will update tomorrow! may take me a little bit because I have to volunteer on a barn for a while and have many classes to attend!! Thanks again :)
 
Syringe feeding is very stressful. A better option IMHO is to slowly drip water on the end of its nose and when it starts drinking stick a cricket between its teeth head first. Hopefully it will eat this way.

Cat food has preformed vitamin A in it so you need to be careful with it,

okay, I guess I will see if he will eat the crickets within maybe tomorrow and the next day? Then if he still won’t eat I’ll try this. Even when I feel like I did all of the research needed, there’s still soooo much to learn... I’m so glad to have everyone’s help! Thanks!
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
How big are the insects you're feeding him? They should be a size that would fit comfortably into his mouth at this age.
 
@kinyonga hmm... I’m not home right now so I guess I can’t send picture. The superworms are pretty big, but he has eaten them before. On the other hand. I’ve got a shipment of BSFL, hornworms, and small Dubia roaches coming Wednesday.
 
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