Tongue problem


New Member
Hi, around 3 months ago I bought my first vield chameleon. He's now 6/7 months old and he can't use his tongue properly. For the first 2,5 months everything was fine and then suddenly he stopped using his tongue. He started getting inside his feeding cup what was making all the crickets jump out ( he was trying to get them from like 1cm distance, what usually did not work). At first we just thought his tongue was a bit sore so we waited a few days but it wasnt getting any better. We rang the pet shop where we got him from and they said that he probably got lazy and we shouldn't feed him for a few days and let him get hungry but that didn't help either, he just started chasing crickets. We tried to make him use his tongue by hand feeding him but it wasn't coming out more than about 3 cm and after he tried a few times he would just give up and walk away. We decided to take him to the vets and our local reptile expert said she can't see any kind of infection in his mouth, she said he seems really healthy and it's definitely not mbd as he is really strong and his bones and tail are perfectly straight and we should just hand feed him for a while, not force him to use his tounge and it should get better on its own. That was almost 3 weeks ago and we still hand feed him everyday, he can shoot his tongue a lot faster and better now but if you hold his food more than 3/4 cm away from him, he misses every single time, and by like 3/4 cm. it's like he can see his food but his tounge is going the wrong way. I'm not too sure what to do, exept from that he seems happy and healthy, he's not loosing his appetite and he's quite active. Does any of you have any idea what's wrong with his tounge? Did anything like that ever happened to your chameleon? Should I be worried? Thank you for help x


New Member
Hey there, the most common reason I have read about chams not using there tongue was do to supplementing problems, but I'm no expert. You should fill this out, and some more experienced member will help you out. Hope he gets better.

Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
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?
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?
Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.


Established Member
Supplements, too much or not enough can cause tongue problems . If you could fill in the above form we will try to help you.:)


Chameleon Enthusiast
If he is missing his food it could be an eyesight problem which is maybe caused from vitamin A deficiency. Sounds like he has a combination problem with his tongue and his eyes. Atleast if he can shoot his tongue out a short distance, he should be able to lock on his prey with his eyes and make contact. I mean, yes it is something to worry about but can hopefully be corrected with correct vitamins. what do you feed your crickets? Have you ever tried any other feeders besides crickets? Can you please fill out the form???


New Member
thank you for your replys
Your Chameleon: male veild chameleon called hugo, 6/7 months old, hes been in my care for almost 3 months now.
Handling: almost everyday for 30 minuts - an hour.
Feeding: brown medium cricets, medium locusts, i tried wax worms but he doesnt like them that much, i bought some butter worms and calci worms but hes not the biggest fan of worms for some reason. i feed him about 8-10 locust/crickets a day plus 2 or 3 worms. I used to just give them bits of orange or apple but now i bought some prorep bug grub for them.
Supplements: i use komodo calcium, exoterra calcium + d3 and exoterra multi vitamin. i also have exoterra water conditioner but i dont use it a lot, ive heard that clean boiled water is better. And i use calcium 5 days a week, calcium +d3 once a week and multi vitamin once a week, i usually put a little spoon (the one they give you with your supplements) in the bowl and let crickets run around in there for a few minutes.
Watering: I mist the viv a few times a day, he drinks drops for the spray bottle when i put it in front of his mouth a few times a week, he doesnt drink that often but when he does he drinks constantly for like a minute.
Fecal Description: As far as i know its fine, brown and white( sometimes a tiny bit of orange around the white but that doesnt happen often) seems quite... hard? at least when i clean it a few minutes/hours after. and no he hasnt been tested.
History: Im not quite sure, i bought him when he was 3.5 months old from a pet shop, they have his brother in there, hes 15 months old and doesnt have any problems with his tongue.

Cage: wooden with a glass front, 1m wide 90cm high and 40cm deep, were planning to upgrade when hes a bit bigger.
Lightning: 10% exoterra uv light, its a long tube, almost as long as his viv with a reflector and 60w prorep red basking bulb. both lights are on from 8am till 9pm.
Temperature: basking spot - 82-86, the middle of the viv around 72.
Humidity: trying to keep it around 65%, it doent go any lower than 44% at all.
I mist the viv a few times a day.
Plants: theres 2 live plants in there, one of them is a ficus, im not sure what the other one is but i got it from a garden centre where they sell reptiles and they said its reptile friendly.
Placement: We keep him in our tattoo shop so evenings and nights here are very quite. hes got 2 vents in his viv and a little fan right next to one of them to help the air to circulate. the top of the viv is about 2 meters away from the floor, there is no traffic at all as one side of the building is a private parking and the other a city centre and there is about 4 meters to the closest window.
Location: greater manchester, uk
Problem: as i said in my first post, he cant use his tongue :(

thank you very much for all the help x


New Member
This is Hugo :)


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Established Member
Could be supplements. Can you check your Komodo calcium to see if it contains d3? I use Komodo cricket dust which is plain calcium to be dusted lightly daily. Your calcium with d3 should be used twice a month and multivitamin twice a month. Your uv being inside your viv could be causing eye problems. I have mine inside the viv with the reflector pointing down. I also have lots off leafy plants in there so he can get away from the light. An ordinary household bulb can be used for basking and might look more natural than the red one.


New Member
Yeh I checked to make sure and it's just plain calcium. I don't think it's the uv light, I was told they should be able to get to their uv light as close as they want, in the pet shop where I got him from they have those little cages around all the uv lights and they always claim them. They have 2 chameleon experts in there and I took him to the vets and no ones got any idea what it could be. I don't mind hand feeding him everyday for the rest of his life I just wanna be sure that he's fine and it won't get worse :( what about that vitamine a? How can I make sure he's got enough of it? Thanks for all your help :)


New Member
With the supplements you want to place a pinch in a bag then put your crickets in and shake.

You need to give
Komodo pure calcium daily
Calcium with D3 twice a month
Multivitamin such as reptivite from zoo med twice a month.

All the supplements need to go on the crickets.

The uv shouldnt cause any problems as long as its on the cage roof and he can get away from it.

It would be a good idea to switch the basking light to a white light emitting bulb. A normal household spotbulb from B&Q will do. They need no heating at night and they can see red so its best to have a white light.


Avid Member
Hello. Sorry your cham is having a problem.
This is an excellent writeup by a very experienced chamkeeper about the various causes of tongue problems:

You stated that the cage is wooden with a glass front.
Is there anything between the UV bulb and the cham such as plastic, glass, or screen?
The reason I ask is that UV doesn't pass through plastic or glass, so even though he has the light, it is as though he doesn't have one if there is plastic or glass between the bulb and the cham.

In addition to heeding the good advice already given, you might also have a look at this detailed Veiled caresheet that the moderators wrote. It's good just to check it and see if everything is just as he needs it to be for him to live a healthy, long life with you:

Hope your cham is on the mend and back to shooting his tongue, soon. :)


New Member
Supplements, too much or not enough can cause tongue problems . If you could fill in the above form we will try to help you.:)
I agree! Then other problems can occur, speaking on behave of a owner with the same issue but then lead to not eating at all. All I can advise you of is taking your cham to a chameleon educated vet! Good luck ... I hope he recovers well ;-)
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