The Predator - His Story


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Hey guys.

Meet Predator. An 8 month old veiled chameleon born and bred by myself......
Predator was a perfect little 4 day old veiled chameleon from a very nice bloodline until he met the cats. As these guys were being born, I had just bought a new house. The door to the cham room didn't close right at the time. So the cats got into the room and decided they needed to chow down on some baby chams. They ended up eating 4 of my hatchling nosy be's, and 2 baby veileds. When I got home from work and found out what happened.....I nearly had cat soup for dinner.....then the wife calmed me down. lol. Anyway, I found predator laying on the floor twitching in the living room.......the living room is on a different floor. He was missing a good bit of his top jaw and his back legs looked to be completely skinless. I had him pinned for dead. He was so done, I'm not even sure why I tried. But I warmed him up, and he started moving around a little bit. Even with all his new problems, he wouldn't give up. He ate and drank all by himself the whole time. After about 2 weeks you couldn't even tell that he had any leg injuries, and his face had all but healed over. To this day he's still alive a kicking. As you can probably tell from the pics, he's only about the size of a normal 3 month old veiled or so. I'm not sure why he's had so much trouble growing....but I'm assuming it had something to do with the trauma as a baby.
The reason I'm posting this is because I just took some pics and I wanted to show off my little monster. lol. And help warn other people that cats and chams dont mix. Do anything and everything in your power to keep them away from each other.....or this is what could happen.


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Oh, ok... I posted on kingsnake that he looke dolder than 4 days - I thought you mistyped. I grow my veields much slower than most breeders - and at 8 months, they're bigger than him. But not at 3 months. He may very well be stunted, but he might not be. My veileds do not reach full adult size until they are 12-15 months old. It oculd be the trauma just slowed his growth, not stunted it. Just have to wait and see.

How big was is father?
His father wasn't massive. He's roughtly 16 inches or so. Maybe a couple inches longer. But all the other babies from his group definately grew much quicker. I prescribe to the.....feed your babies as much as they'll eat....formula of raising chams. How do you go about "slow growing" your babies? I'm interested to hear about your method.
Ok, coffee-induced rant on one of my favorite topics.
Well, I feed my babies as much as they'll eat - once a day. Or, when
I'm there, like on weekends, or days when I'm home at a reasonable
hour - a little less food, but twice a day.

I do not allow food to be there constantly. Just a few bugs, every day.

The result is that at 2 months old, they are eating 1/4" crickets - they
could eat a 1/2", but it's not the best size for them.

I feed them the same way until they're about 9 months old, then I start
to cut back a bit.

My veileds usually reach full size at 12-15 months of age. My current
big male, now 5 years old, took the longest - 15 months. I got him
from the Kammers, who claim to follow the same "slow growth"
practice that I do.

What I have NOT seen is any evidence that chameleons grown faster
are likely to die younger. I learned form snake breeders that such fast
growth is shown to decrease longevity in Boas - but I have not seen any
evidence to support it in chameleons.

I have always been absolutly amazed and perplexed at the number of
cases of MBD, despite all the information and availability of good
priducts. My first veileds - actually all of them except the last clutches -
were all rasied without ANY UVB whatsoever. Just repcal, that's it.
Nevr had any MBD, nor did any of my customers (and I was a small
hobbyist breeder, so I was able to keep close tabs on my babies).

All of my babies grew up to be larger than my first breeder male, a

Bck then, you either had to live in Florida or CA, or use just repcal -
useful UVB bulbs didn't exist.

Now, they're here, Repcal isnt' the only supplement you can use, and
more info is available - yet MBD still happens.

The lights came on when I bought a few females from some breeders.
Figured I'd get back inot breeding, nwo that I had graduated college.
These females were 1.5 months old. I had suspected 1.8" to 1/4"
crickets would be needed. I was surprised that they were eatign 1/2"
crickets, and could easily down a 3/4" if they needed to!

I set up a new reptisun, and supplemented them with repcal every few
days. They ate like crazy, and grew faster than anythign I'd ever seen.
I even brought them outside a few times - they had been raised with
some sunlight, so I figured I'd do the same. All was well, until they
were approachign 3 months old. They turned to jelly,a nd one died
from MBD, the other recovered, with no real deformities somehow.

There was NOTHING I could do to prevent it. I spoke to Ed and
Liddy, to see what they thoguth of it. Apparantly, they'd seen it before
- even among chamelens who were kept outside from day one. Full
sunlight, and they still get MBD.

Veiled chameleons CAN be grown so fast, their chances of getting
MBD can be near 100%. Even my current breeder female has some
signs of mild MBD - and I was REALLY careful to make sure I took
every precaution - cause I knew she was a fast grown girl. She's got
some healed over broken ribs. It neve rgo tto a point that it was visibly
affecting her, but her bones weren't as solid as they should have been.
At 4-5 month sold, her casque, while straight, could be bent from side
to side (the bone part - not the caritlaginous tip). My holdback male's
casque, through out his growth, was never moveable. Always solid.

I remember, years back, wondering how the heck people's chameleons
were coming down with MBD, when the owners had reptisuns, repcal
or minerall, gutloading, and varied diets. It neve rmade sense until I
saw it happen to ME.

Some breeders, apparantly, have different experiences. Most grow
them fast - but many never report having such problems. I think most
of these fast grown veileds are ok, and even if they do get MBD, it's
never noticed, as it's a mild case. But even the ones that show no
symptoms are much more likely to have bone problems and sustain
inury. My little male, when he was 4 months old or so (I annot
remember ) jumpd and hit, head first on a piece of hard wood. No
injury at all. My bi gmale has jumped and landed, belly first, on th
esides of platic tubs - never had a broken rib. When they're grown
more slowly, they are less likley to suffer broken bones.

Basically, in my experience, the faster they grow, the more suceptible to
MBD and injuries they are.
poor little cham :(

Cats and chameleons definitely do not mix. Disturbing to think about, but a good warning. I would recommend being very careful around dogs as well. Good look with predator. Does he require any pain medication?
WOW ERIC! That was a huge post. I'm sure I'll have stuff to add, or questions once I have time to read it all. lol. (I'm at work)

But in response to Brad....I've never had him on pain meds at all. When it happened he was only 4 days old. So I figured at the time there was no way he'd be able to live through the trauma of the attack....let alone any aditionaly stress that the meds would add. So he was given no meds, no anti-biotics, no anything. He healed up all on his own and has gotten to this point without much help from myself. I did little different than what I did for all my other babies. Short of getting his own cage after the incident.....he was treated just as I would treat any other baby. He doesn't seem to be in any pain at all. He hunts and drinks just like all the other chams.....and appears to be quite healthy considering.
Intersting stuff Eric.

I cant say I've really tried to grow my veilds fast or slow. I just feed them daily, supplement them....and keep a reptisun on them. Most of the males seem to start bobbing their heads around 7-8 months but by no means are they full grown animals. The females usually dont start showing receptive colors until around 8 or 9 months. The females that I've kept back seemed to all produce somewhere in the 40-60 egg range. All this info seemed pretty average to me when I was raising them. I've definately seen veileds raise much quicker...but by no means would I call mine slow grown either. I cant say that I noticed any signs of MBD in any of the babies that I grew out. And none of the babies I sold to people I knew turned out with any MBD either.

I think our goal should be to replicate the wild. How fast do they grow in the wild?? I'd think they'd grow faster in the wild being that they have a constant supply of food. But on the other hand, if the captive data is suggesting that "slow grown" produces healthier...sturdier chams, then maybe they do grow slower in the wild, and thats what breeders should strive for.....
I think they probably grow fast -but not as fast as some breeders grow them. Even if they have food constantly in the wild, they are eating flies, wood lice, grasshopper nympths, etc. And they have to hunt - not to mention parasites.

In captivity, some breeders, have a constant supply of food - literally, there is always food, as mucha s they can eat at any given moment, always right htere - they don't even have to look for it. Plus, these food items are fatty, rich crickets - not a random assortment of small insects of varied nutritional values.

I dont' know what the wild growth rate is, but I do know the wild females average cltuch size is around 20! Average in captivity is much higher. I barely feed my females - literally - less than 10 insects per week as adults. And I have clutches around 25-25 eggs. But they are HUGE eggs, and HUGE babies!

I'd say if they are bobbing their heads around 8-9 months, it's very similar to my males. When I see a 6 month old male that is over 15", I think that one was grown a bit on the "Fast" side.

And by the way - slow grown is a very relative term with calyptratus! I'm sayign that they reach FULL sizei n about a year, versus 6 months - I'd say my veields grow fast as heck. other breeders are simply "TOO FAST!"

It's crazy, when you have aniamls growing so fast, even full sunlight and lotso f food cannot prevent some form of MBD. If you're not havign that problem, then there's nothing to worry about.

I have bought 4 females from a particualr breeder over the years. EVERY one has come down wiht MBD of some form. Mushy casques, broken ribs, weakness, etc. Nothing severe - just that they all had it. I had some that were raised in full sun from day one. I kept them under new reptisuns, gave them some repcal and minerall 0, and even gave them sun a few times a week. They got the worst MBD I'd ever seen. one died from it.

The thing is, these breeders are not hobbyists - they sell the and are done with it. They dont' ever hear any feedback. None of them had any clue that they were producing babies with a near 100% chance of MBD.

On a related note - my female was showing receptive colors this week, so I let her see the male. She did her gaping threat. But I put her in wiht him - because he's been 'socialized" to a degree (he doesnt' force hinself on the females anymore). He courted her for a few minutes, and despite her gaping initially, she everntually allowed him to mate.

This is the females second mating. Her first clutch was large (42 eggs) because my femaoes first clutches are usually larger - I'm hesitant to withold food on a growing female. This past 3 months, she's been eating 5-6 insects a week on average. We'll see how big the clutch is.
Poor guy...


I saw the thread on the other forum but did not know the story of HOW it happened. You must have been devastated when you discovered what happened! Pretty impressive little guy, though. Does his tongue dry out with that piece of upper jaw missing? Does he shoot his food OK? Hope he has a long, safe life ;)

Suprisingly no. I've always wondered how it doesn't....because its just sitting out there in the open air. I dont know how he does it, but that things always ready when a cricket hops by. And as far as catching food, he's got just as good of aim as any of my other chams. Sometimes he takes a little longer to actually decide that he wants to shoot....but he always eventually does....and he never seems to miss. He's just a fun little guy.
Noah: Great job on saving the little guys life... That must have been a horror to walk into and see. Thinking about it just, well, (is there an icon to indicate feeling a bit ill?). Anyway, great work Noah... it's always nice to see a successful saving of a chameleon that goes through some troubles, one way or another. :)

Eric: Is it only the females you have noticed with MBD? Or a higher rate of MBD among your females? If so, I wonder if the fact that females need a higher rate of calcium due to egg laying and growth might have something to do with this?
Oh boy, that guy's a trooper alright. My fiance's two cats are a pain and a half (or far more). My kitty boy is a perfect angel, though! He even runs away from Mushu(The little Pygmy Leaf Cham) so he doesn't hurt him! Good thing my fiance's cats live over THERE. They aren't fixed so they're even worse. He's had mishaps before with them killing some of his earlier pets so now he puts cage clips on all the tanks (which have shown to be very effective). So anyone who has a problem like this should look into the tank clips, they should prevent any cheeky monkeys from getting inside the enclosures. Also, I'd think keeping the tank on a lower level if it is glass would be a wise choice.

I'm glad I also was able to convince my Fiance to get them fixed in the VERY near future, and I've also convinced him to lock them up into a large 2 level cage whenever he leaves the house.
Congrats on saving the poor little guy. I'm personally a sucker for the under dogs...the ones that need saving. That's why I ended up adopting a veiled with mbd, an impacted gecko & a chinchilla with a bad leg. Someone has to love them.
As for the dogs & cats, I'm very careful when it's time for Hammie, my veiled to come out. He can't come out unless the cat is locked in the other room & the dogs are outside. This has always worked out good until recentely, when old man winter hit. Now I can't leave the dogs outside so long. Hammie is having a fit, he wants out!
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