Veiled Chameleon Loss of Appetite

Halo54

New Member
I have a Veiled Chameleon about 6 months old. He has all of a sudden lost his appetite for almost every type of food that I give him. I have taken the time to make sure that I give him a wide variety of food, i.e. crickets, mealworms, superworms, waxworms and I have even tried night crawlers. About 3 weeks ago his appetite decreased to eating almost nothing a day from about 9 crickets to about 2 or 3. I recently read that waxworms are not very nutritious so I was trying not to give them to him because if there was one thing that he did eat it was them. I figured that with time he would become hungry enough to eat one of the many other options that I offer him. Well that has turned out to not be the case. I did manage to catch him a moth the other day and he very readily ate that. I am so desperate for help that I went back to giving him waxworms if it is the only food he will eat, but he doesn't even get too excited over those anymore. He is housed in a Screened Chameleon Enclosure 30"L x 18"W x 36"H, with a basking spot lamp and flourescent hood with a reptisun 5.0 bulb. He has a large water dripper and I spray him at least 3 times a day. His basking area is about 95 degrees and his ambient temperature in the rest of the enclosure is about 70-75 degrees during the day. What am I doing wrong? Is it alright to offer him waxworms all the time? How can I purchase moths or flies to keep him entertained? We have just recently entered into fall and thought maybe that the temp change has affected his appetite. Could this be true and if so when will he begin eating again? If the ambient temp is too cold does anyone have any suggestions on keeping the room warm enough for him? Sorry for all the questions, I am just desperate to find the right advice.
 

Jordan

New Member
What kind of supplements are you using?
What kind of schuedule are giving them to him on?

The cage temperatures sound close enough. Maybe getting the ambient up in the 80's. The real problem with wax worms I think is that they are just to fatty. I still do feed them on occassion. They are have extremely high in moisture. Maybe you should try some silkworms. They are awesome. Not to fatty, full of moisture, and are pretty good nutrition wise. If you are in Canada www.canadiansilkworms.com. If you are in the U.S. www.coastalsilkworms.com. Both provide good prices and you can obtain everything need to house them.
 

Halo54

New Member
I use herpavite on Mondays and Thursdays, Calcium on Tuesdays and Fridays and Miner-All on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This is how the breeders suggested that he be supplemented. I thought about trying silkworms and have been reading more about them. Is it your opinion that my chameleon is bored with his food??? i just want to cover the bases an make sure that there aren't any other underlying issues (guess its hard to tell). Also, what do you suggest to help get the ambient temperature up higher? (i.e. another basking light).
 

chrisandpugs

New Member
Hi!
Is your Chameleon still drinking water and pooping normally? Hopefully, that's a good sign if everything else is going O.K.

Can I suggest an excellent food stimulant.....It's Phoenix Worms and you can order them thru Mulberryfarms.com. (You can order both the Phoenix worms and Silk worms from them) Chameleons do go crazy for them because they wiggle a lot and are very nutrious and very high in calcium! I buy the medium size (because I just got another juvenille Veil Chameleon) but your Chameleon would do well on the large size(Believe me, Phoenix worms are small even if you order the large size. They are odorless and needs no refrigeration!).
Hope your Chameleon does get better. I know the feeling when your beloved Chameleon ceases eating...It's truly frustrating to diagnose the cause.

Christine
 

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
Howdy,

Posting separate photos of your veiled and detailed photos of his enclosure would be very helpful. Sometimes clues can be spotted in these photos.

How long have you had him?
 

Jordan

New Member
A loss of normal appetiate could mean alot of things. Veileds are aggressive hunters and usually get very excited when they see food. I guess I would propose a test of sorts. Add a couple crickets and a couple of wax worms into the cage at the same time however you have been doing it so far. If he is acting excited and going straight after the wax worms you probably have a case of a picky eater (and smart). With the steady food everyday some times they will pick out what they like the best. If that is the case cutting him off from food altogether for a day or two might get him back on the diet you want him to be on. I know that sounds mean but he would have plenty of days like that in the wild. When you start to feed him again start back with just crickets for the first week. That will probably be the staple of his diet and he needs to get use to them. Then introduce the other insects back in slowly and sparingly over the next week. If he like those wax worms that much leave them out for two weeks.

If he seems indifferent to either food source you may have a more serious problems on your hand. A recheck of your husbandry and diet may be in order. I personally at that age would have just cut back supplementing calcium to an every other day statis (unless he was still very small). I only supplement vitamins once a week. I mix up the gut loading so much that I do not really see a need for it. I do have a job that lets me do so very easily and free so I realize that everyone can not do that. Still that seems like a lot of supplements. Someone else could advise you better on that. They are hard on the liver though.
 

Halo54

New Member
Wow, thanks guys for the advice...now to answer all the other questions...He is still pooping but obviously it is much smaller considering that he is barely eating.....it looks the same but on a much smaller scale....I will post pictures of the enclosure after work today.....I have had him since May and he was doing terrific until a couple of weeks ago....In terms of the supplementation I will try revising my method....I believe that he is still drinking water, but I have noticed that his eyes are much more sunken in.... I bought him a reptile emergency hyrdration medicine (electrolyte formulat)from the pet store....I gave him a dropper full last night....I just want to make sure that at the very least he stays hydrated until I can figure out the issue......He is still active and spends all day awake.....(I guess that has to be a good sign).....Also, I have tried testing the theory of what he will and will not go after.....At this point he doesn't get excited over the crickets or worms....although he will eat the wax worms.....so I tried to see what he would do if I put a moth in his enclosure and he sure enough went after that right away...I have also tried it with flies and he has done the same....as soon as it lands close enough to him, he gulps it right up!!!! Does that suggest boredome with everything that doesn't fly??? One more thing, what are you guys gutloading your crickets with??? thanks again
 

Jordan

New Member
In the hydration concern maybe tring to get them wet. In the cage they will most likely run for cover when the spraying starts. Get them wet anyway. I wait until mine have gotten under some vegatation and drench the area. Do this for a couple minutes. With some chameleons I think it shocks them with the water coming in all of a sudden and it may take a couple minutes for them to feel comfortable to drink. I use the hottest water I can get. As it is sprayed through the air it cools off. This can also get a steamy effect in the cage.

You could also try sticking him in the shower for the next couple of days. A plant with some dense foliage will do the trick. Make sure the water is warm but not hot. Bounce the water off the side wall. This will make the drops smaller so it is not a hard pounding of water. Make sure that there is a spot where he can get out of the water if he gets to hot. A twenty to thirty minute shower will usually get them going good again. Keep in mind that they can absorb water two ways other then just drinking. Throught the humidity in the air and absorbtion throught the skin.

I am not sure what to say about the food. Veileds do not usually have trouble with this. The ambient temperature in your cage is a little low. I like to keep mine in the 80's if possible. You could try a slightly high wattage bulb in his basking area to see if this warms the ambient temperature the rest of the way. I would say 90-110 is a safe basking range for that age provided that he can not get directly under it and burn his casque. Low temperatures will slow their metabolism. 70-75 would not be low enough in my opinion. Moths are not really great for them but could stimulate his appetiate. Mine get enraged at moths. Bigger crickets may get his intrest too. I use fruits and vegatables to gut load. The only thing I do not use is carrots, spinach, and icebergh lettuce. These all contain oxialates which can slow the absorbtion of calcium. I do still through in a bottle cap with some fluckers calcium yellow gelatin. Just to make sure they get good calcium.
 
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Tygerr

Avid Member
I've got two little 'bowls' (actually plastic container lids) in my cricket box. One contains a dry gutload, and the other is for wet ingredients.

The dry gutload I have been using for my crickets is the James / Wells / Lopéz Gutload. I've seen it recommended many times on this site.
It's quite simple to make, although some of the ingredients are a little hard to find (and a little pricey). You should try health food shops for a few of the ingredients (I still can't find dandelion anywhere...).
The crickets seem to love it. There's always a whole bunch of them crowded over the powder.
The only downside to making this gutload yourself is that you can't be entirely sure about the level of nutrients in the mix (on a commercial gutload they provide the nutritional info). However, where I live its very difficult to get good commercial gutloads, and shipping them here from the US is often more expensive than the gutload itself.

I put fresh fruits or vegetables in the wet 'bowl' every day for hydration. I try to rotate the veggies: oranges, apples, potato - anything with a good moisture content. I also throw in some egg yolk (since I don't use powdered eggs in the dry recipe). And from time to time I'll throw in some shredded leafy greens.

Ever since I started this routine, the crickets seem to be thriving. When I bring a new batch home from the pet store, they're usually seem slow and lethargic. After a day or so on the gutload they seem to become much more active - lots of vigourous jumping.

Jordan--> I wasn't aware of the calcium absorption problems caused by carrots. I thought they might even be beneficial for their beta carotene.
 

Jordan

New Member
Oxalates bound to calcium in the digestive process rendering them useless for absorbtion. I would think this would be more of a concern in a reptile such as an iguana who is directly ingesting the food. It is really unknow as to what degree it would effect the chameleon at. The variable would be how it is passing through the insect it is being feed to. Oxalates are at low levels in carrots and collards. Ones with higher levels of oxalates that might be in a chameleons diet via gut loading would be spinach or possibly beet greens. I have heard that iceburgh lettuce contains substainal levels but have found conflicting information. I find when dealing with sub par conditions then it is best not to take chances. Chameleons have enough trouble properly metabolising some substances because of the lighting.

I guess my real concern with a feeder such as a wax worm is the fatty content. This can effect the bodies ability to properly metabolise vitamin D. Over a substainal amount of time this could lead to M.B.D. Given as a treat every now and again is not a bad thing. On a consistent basis this could cause problems. I would honestly recommend picking up the calcium supplementation to an everyday statis for awhile. These calcium supplements should be phosphorus free and have vitamin D3 (or cholecaliferol depending on what the manufacture calls it). You can dust moths to in a bag. Do it softly so that you do not harm the moths (you still want them to fly). I guess when you first posted this thread it just sounded like a picky eater to me.
 
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kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
You asked..."Is it alright to offer him waxworms all the time?"...I only feed them to my chameleons about once a month. Have you tried silkworms yet or butterworms or phoenix worms?

You said.."We have just recently entered into fall and thought maybe that the temp change has affected his appetite"...quite possible...but he is likely still growing so he should still eat quite a bit.

You said..."If the ambient temp is too cold does anyone have any suggestions on keeping the room warm enough for him?"...I keep my ambient temperature warmer than that. To keep it warm in the winter here, I have an electric fireplace. I set it so the room stays in the mid to high 70's and they can still sit under the basking light if they want. At night the temperature is kept at about 72F. (BTW, UVB light should not pass through glass or plastic.)

You said..."I use herpavite on Mondays and Thursdays, Calcium on Tuesdays and Fridays and Miner-All on Wednesdays and Saturdays"...I use a phosphorous-free calcium powder at most feedings to help make up for the poor calcium/phos. ratio in the insects. I dust with a vitamin powder twice a month (one that has its vitamin A from a beta carotene source). Beta carotene doesn't build up in the system, but preformed vitamin A can. Because my chameleons don't get any direct sunlight, I dust the insects with a calcium/D3 powder twice a month. D3 from supplements can build up in the system, so caution is needed. Do you use Minerall I or O?

I gutload my insects well and appropriately too. I don't use commercial gutloads....just don't trust them.

You asked..."Is it your opinion that my chameleon is bored with his food???"...I have heard people say that their chameleons are bored with food. I haven't ever had a problem with this, so I can't tell you.
 

Keeneye

Member
I am having the exact same problem with my 6 month old male.... And it started as soon as the fall weather changes occured.... The only thing he will accept is mealworms and it's only 2 to 3 a day at that..
 
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