Tail discoloration: normal/weird shed/injury/infection?

DoveSnow

Member
Okay so I noticed this today on our boy Loki’s tail but my son says he noticed it yesterday and thought he was going to shed (not sure how I didn’t see it as I interacted with him quite a few times misting his enclosure).

I’ve never seen this and we’ve never had any issues since we got our chams as babies on Dec 10 2021. They typically shed all at once but it has been a while since his last shed.

It looks like just his tail is about to shed but also not. It’s lighter, cloudy almost like before shed but it’s only his tail. He uses his tail like normal, curling, grabbing, support, escaping etc and is acting normal eating, roaming, sleeping, color etc. The only thing is that is a bit out of the ordinary is he has been in his sleeping spot with tail curled up like he’s going to sleep early the last few days but he’s also done this before.

I’m terrified honestly. I’m not sure if I'm overreacting. I’m not sure if this is something I need to take him to the vet for.

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Loki is an ambilobe panther boy and I’m not sure of his age but we got him and his brother in December from a local breeder and they were tiny, only a a few inches long (we were told he was 3 months but I suspect he was a bit younger). They were our first chameleons so we didn’t know. So he’s at most 10 months old.
  • He actively explores his enclosure spending the morning on his basking branch and then wanders the enclosure the afternoon and likes to spend time mid enclosure enjoying his foliage but rarely if ever at the bottom. He loves to try and escape anytime we open the enclosure- see the shenanigans in the pic of the enclosure I was trying to take. He also climbs on us if we ever have a body part close when his enclosure is open.
  • Handling - we have plants next to windows they enjoy basking on every couple days. They also will sometimes crawl onto us when we open their enclosures. They’re super friendly. I’d say we handle them about every 2 days but briefly. I have five children ages 3-14. The younger kiddos know not to even open their enclosure let alone hold them. My kids are very gentle and respectful of their needs.
  • Feeding - they’re Fed adult black crickets every other day (put in 5-12 depending on size into feeders and they eat a portion and leave some which I remove) and a few superworms once a week or two as a treat, they’re gut loaded with repashy bug burger and mainly sweet potato yam/carrots and dusted every feeding with repashy cal and every two weeks with repashy cal loD - see pics
  • Supplements - see above and pics
  • Watering - We hand spray minimum 3-4 times a day for a few minutes (always only when dry) but more depending on humidity levels and time of year (dry where I live) and if it’s hot and water evaporates quickly (we don’t have AC but it’s not usually necessary). We also pay attention to urates and humidity levels. They drink most often when we spray but sometimes not. I also use a drip cup every other day just in case (also helps water some of my more water needy plants).
  • Fecal Description - no noticeable smell, dark brown or black uniform oval, sometimes segmented, with white to cream urates with a yellow/orange cap. Sometimes there’s like a drop of water on them sometimes not. Since summer began it doesn’t happen as often. Sometimes they look smooth and shiny and sometimes dull. They were tested in December for parasites according to their breeder, I requested this. I have not tested them and planned to at their one year check up.
  • History - no history of any issues and he has always been a happy healthy cham from my knowledge.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - reptibreeze XL 24x24x48, screened. He and his brother Cosmo each have their own enclosure.
  • Lighting - reptisun 5t ho 5.0 24 in linear UVB, just replaced bulbs a month or so ago (every 3-6 months). Basking light is a dome with adjustable lighting (usually on full unless it’s hot and then it’s adjusted for proper basking temp, not often) with exoterra 60w standard daytime heat bulb. The dome is in the top left back corner on a clamp above the mesh and the basking branch is about a foot away from the bulb. They are on a timer, schedule is 630a-630p.
  • Temperature - usually 70-90 gradient during the day, low of approx 65 at night this time of year, basking about 85-90. See pic I took of todays readings of ambient (mid cage) temp and humidity. I have a digital permanent hygrometer thermometer that alerts me to out of expected temps/humidity. It’s placed in the middle of the enclosure. I also use portable therm/hygrometer to check basking temps.
  • Humidity - usually 50-85, average usually 50-60. We live in a dry area so its hard to get it above 60 during the day in between misting. Our night fogger broke and a new one is on the way. So I spray the cage down before bed and if I wake during the night (more often than you think with a toddler). It has been dropping at night though. We usually fog for 5 hours nightly but our fogger was just dumping all its water and I tossed it about a week ago.
  • Plants - live exclusively: pothos, umbrella, money, asparagus fern, nerve plant, goldfish plant, monstera, I think that’s it, we have many but I’ve checked them all to be cham safe.
  • Placement - cage is on the ground in our all season room connected to my boys’ room. He’s always been happy here. The room is fully part of our 1920s craftsman home and it low traffic and quiet. No fans or vents but we will open the window next to his enclosure part of every day.
  • Location - East Bay Area Ca

We spent a lot of time and energy learning and preparing before we got them as we were new to reptiles and pets in general. We try our best with husbandry and feel we do well. My three sons and I care for them and they are tended to multiple times a day. We spot clean poop daily and replace the paper towels and clean the bottom of the cage about every week or if it gets wet. We have sanitized it once about two months ago and sanitize the bottom tray about 1-2 times a month with diluted chlorhexidine. Humidity has been more of a struggle the last month or so since summer began but we’ve been successful at keeping it up with more frequent misting. I trimmed some of his enclosure plants and moved one about a week ago.

I’m so worried. Is it a partial shed? Injury? Infection?

Anyone know what’s going on, I’m a very anxious Chammy Mom :(
 

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DoveSnow

Member
Here he is in his fav sleepy spot now. It’s less noticeable but still the same tail discoloration
 

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DoveSnow

Member
Anyone else? 😰 I’m losing sleep with worry like Loki is one of my kids and keep checking this post every few minutes 🫣
 

MzLaurie11

Avid Member
Most definately going to shed! Dont worry. But if after shedding there is some stuck shed at the tip of the tail I would help it along byrubbing it so it doesnt cut off circulation. Stuck shed at tip of tail and joints in legs and arms can cut off circulation and result in the death Or injury of whatever area is denied blood flow. The feet and hands are ok if the top sheds. The bottoms tske longer and you will see. Your beautiful cham rubning the hands and feet on branches. Now if the eyes dont shed properly, your cham may rub his face against things cause it driving him bonkers. If your cham is agressive with rubbing the eyes you can hold him and blow on the eyes to help it along to avoid eye injuies that happens by rubbing against something that pokes them. The light colored change is a typical indictor of shedding. also some chams get vety grumpy when shedding. Your cham is just gorgeous! Best of luck. BTW, worrying like a crazy person shows you care!
 

DoveSnow

Member
Thank you! I have a bit of peace of mind today, it’s worth it’s weight in gold!

He looks exactly the same today and is still acting normally and seems happy. My son did say that he first noticed it three days ago, not two like he first said. How long should a partial shed take? Again our chams have only ever had a full shed and it’s usually over very quickly, within a day typically. Thanks again! Sorry for the long initial post and all the cham mom worries. I’m still learning and happy to do so 🤗
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you! I have a bit of peace of mind today, it’s worth it’s weight in gold!

He looks exactly the same today and is still acting normally and seems happy. My son did say that he first noticed it three days ago, not two like he first said. How long should a partial shed take? Again our chams have only ever had a full shed and it’s usually over very quickly, within a day typically. Thanks again! Sorry for the long initial post and all the cham mom worries. I’m still learning and happy to do so 🤗
Partial sheds can take days... It does look like a shed coming on though. When they are adults it is not a quick explosion like when they are babies. See pics below. See how the skin looks ashy... He is about to shed those two areas in the coming week.

He looks great though. Healthy weight, Strong and muscular.

With him maturing you would drop back to roughly 5 feeders every other day.

I would keep basking between 80-85 max. Lower temps are supposed to mean longer lives.

Everything else in husbandry looks spot on. :)
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ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Your husbandry looks great! I just have a few notes no one else has gone through (beautiful cham, btw!):
-What is the distance between your UVB bulb and the basking branch?
-For daytime humidity, try to keep it at or above 55%. I know it's a minor adjustment, but misting for just a little longer should take care of it!
-If possible, raising his cage will make him feel safer and more secure in his cage
-Are your windows energy efficient? Older windows can cause drafts and cool the surrounding area in the winter and heat the surrounding area in the summer
-Is your new fogger cool mist or warm mist? Also, does it have crinkly tubing? If it does, you'll need to replace it with smooth tubing, like PVC pipe or aquarium vinyl tubing.
 

DoveSnow

Member
Partial sheds can take days... It does look like a shed coming on though. When they are adults it is not a quick explosion like when they are babies. See pics below. See how the skin looks ashy... He is about to shed those two areas in the coming week.

He looks great though. Healthy weight, Strong and muscular.

With him maturing you would drop back to roughly 5 feeders every other day.

I would keep basking between 80-85 max. Lower temps are supposed to mean longer lives.

Everything else in husbandry looks spot on. :)
View attachment 327172View attachment 327173

Thank you so much for the info, advice and pics! So helpful!

I already pretty much follow your feeding recommendations, I only feed every other day already :) and to clarify my range:
The Black crickets I usually get are fat and massive when full grown (bigger than an inch and some I don’t feed at all bc they look too wide) and they will only eat a few so I will offer 5 but sometimes I will get juveniles and they’re much smaller, about half the size or smaller, so I will offer 10-12. They have a feeder but some I let loose for them to hunt. They don’t always eat them all so I remove them from the cage at night. I get my crickets from rainbow mealworms. I usually order adults but there are always smaller ones mixed in, hence the difference in how many I feed :) if I should still only provide 5 smaller ones, please correct me!

I adjusted his basking lamp a teeny bit. He was usually around 86 so it’s down to 84 now. There’s a range though throughout the day sometimes it’s 81 and others times it’s 89, so it should run a few degrees cooler now thanks 🙏 just a note I don’t usually adjust it and check it daily but on hot days I def do as without AC it can get hot fast. Luckily it’s not hot that often but when it is I will throttle it down or turn it off completely on hot afternoons. Please let me know if I should adjust it down more!

Thanks again! Your cham is purdy too! I just love them and can’t believe I went my whole life until recently without them!
 

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DoveSnow

Member
Your husbandry looks great! I just have a few notes no one else has gone through (beautiful cham, btw!):
-What is the distance between your UVB bulb and the basking branch?
-For daytime humidity, try to keep it at or above 55%. I know it's a minor adjustment, but misting for just a little longer should take care of it!
-If possible, raising his cage will make him feel safer and more secure in his cage
-Are your windows energy efficient? Older windows can cause drafts and cool the surrounding area in the winter and heat the surrounding area in the summer
-Is your new fogger cool mist or warm mist? Also, does it have crinkly tubing? If it does, you'll need to replace it with smooth tubing, like PVC pipe or aquarium vinyl tubing.
Hi!

Thanks for your advice!

To be honest he was not initially going to stay on the ground. We were going to get a stand. But he was happy, and his brothers enclosure, although not right next to him and has a barrier would be at the same height. So I thought maybe it’s best to have him not at the same height. But if he will be happier and will definitely put him on a stand!

I’m not home now but I believe his basking branch is around 7inches from the top… maybe 6. But I remember measuring it when I installed it based on the UVB rating he was supposed to have (which I cannot remember now).

We do have to work hard to keep the humidity near 60 for sure. It’s usually around 55-58. The average yesterday in the pic was 58.0. We stay diligent and I will definitely try misting longer although when we do the bottom tray gets soaked from dripping water. I just worry about that part. We mist about 3-5 min a few times a day, usually closer to 5 min this time of year and always longer in the morning. I’ll bump it up a minute and see if that can keep us at 60.

The windows are all less than 5 years old and energy efficient. The one next to his enclosure is less than a year old thanks to a baseball hit by my 12 year old 😂 before we had him btw!

The mister is the one in the pic below. It is cool mist not warm. I just got the new one this afternoon and will set it up when I get home. I use crinkle line but once a month I sanitize with diluted chlorhexidine. I have also replaced them once and the newer top lines that curve are clear making any growth or collection of moisture obvious. We’ve never had problems but if you all think this is not enough then I will switch to PVC or vinyl tubing :)

Thank you again for taking the time to help!
 

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ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
To be honest he was not initially going to stay on the ground. We were going to get a stand. But he was happy, and his brothers enclosure, although not right next to him and has a barrier would be at the same height. So I thought maybe it’s best to have him not at the same height. But if he will be happier and will definitely put him on a stand!
We do have to work hard to keep the humidity near 60 for sure. It’s usually around 55-58. The average yesterday in the pic was 58.0. We stay diligent and I will definitely try misting longer although when we do the bottom tray gets soaked from dripping water. I just worry about that part. We mist about 3-5 min a few times a day, usually closer to 5 min this time of year and always longer in the morning. I’ll bump it up a minute and see if that can keep us at 60.
As long as it's at least 55% humidity during the day, you're good! Adding a stand under his cage will allow you to put a drainage system underneath (the cage) to collect pooling water away from inside the cage!
I’m not home now but I believe his basking branch is around 7inches from the top… maybe 6. But I remember measuring it when I installed it based on the UVB rating he was supposed to have (which I cannot remember now).
So unless you have a Solarmeter to measure UV levels, you'll want the distance from branch to bulb be between 8-9"
The windows are all less than 5 years old and energy efficient. The one next to his enclosure is less than a year old thanks to a baseball hit by my 12 year old 😂 before we had him btw!
As long as he can't see his reflection, all good then!
The mister is the one in the pic below. It is cool mist not warm. I just got the new one this afternoon and will set it up when I get home. I use crinkle line but once a month I sanitize with diluted chlorhexidine. I have also replaced them once and the newer top lines that curve are clear making any growth or collection of moisture obvious. We’ve never had problems but if you all think this is not enough then I will switch to PVC or vinyl tubing :)
A smooth tubing would be best as some contaminants aren't always visible. Also, if you haven't looked into this yet, Star San is what a lot of people on here use to clean their fogger and lines. It might be easier for you!

Also, you have one beautiful cham!!! 😍😍😍 If you wouldn't mind spamming us with more pics of him and his brother, it'd be greatly appreciated!
 

DoveSnow

Member
As long as it's at least 55% humidity during the day, you're good! Adding a stand under his cage will allow you to put a drainage system underneath (the cage) to collect pooling water away from inside the cage!

So unless you have a Solarmeter to measure UV levels, you'll want the distance from branch to bulb be between 8-9"

As long as he can't see his reflection, all good then!

A smooth tubing would be best as some contaminants aren't always visible. Also, if you haven't looked into this yet, Star San is what a lot of people on here use to clean their fogger and lines. It might be easier for you!

Also, you have one beautiful cham!!! 😍😍😍 If you wouldn't mind spamming us with more pics of him and his brother, it'd be greatly appreciated!
It was 7 inches from the screen. I know I based that on what I read for cham set up so I’m stressed. I moved it down to a little over 8 inches. I will readjust the basking bulb tomorrow morning for the new branch height too. Man I’m now worried about the last 7 months with it an inch too high. What can happen? How will it affect him? 😰
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you so much for the info, advice and pics! So helpful!

I already pretty much follow your feeding recommendations, I only feed every other day already :) and to clarify my range:
The Black crickets I usually get are fat and massive when full grown (bigger than an inch and some I don’t feed at all bc they look too wide) and they will only eat a few so I will offer 5 but sometimes I will get juveniles and they’re much smaller, about half the size or smaller, so I will offer 10-12. They have a feeder but some I let loose for them to hunt. They don’t always eat them all so I remove them from the cage at night. I get my crickets from rainbow mealworms. I usually order adults but there are always smaller ones mixed in, hence the difference in how many I feed :) if I should still only provide 5 smaller ones, please correct me!

I adjusted his basking lamp a teeny bit. He was usually around 86 so it’s down to 84 now. There’s a range though throughout the day sometimes it’s 81 and others times it’s 89, so it should run a few degrees cooler now thanks 🙏 just a note I don’t usually adjust it and check it daily but on hot days I def do as without AC it can get hot fast. Luckily it’s not hot that often but when it is I will throttle it down or turn it off completely on hot afternoons. Please let me know if I should adjust it down more!

Thanks again! Your cham is purdy too! I just love them and can’t believe I went my whole life until recently without them!
Correct if they are smaller feeders then I do a few more. The 5 every other day is based on more of a medium sized feeder that is not quite an inch in length.
 

DoveSnow

Member
Correct if they are smaller feeders then I do a few more. The 5 every other day is based on more of a medium sized feeder that is not quite an inch in length.
Thank you! I will keep all your advice in mind! I also think my chams know when to stop when full bc they won’t eat more than a few big ones and not all the small ones but I don’t want them getting gluttonous and overweight so I’ll def make sure to give appropriate amounts based on size. Thanks for all the advice, it’s much appreciated!
 
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