Veiled eating dirt


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Chameleon Care Sheet

•My chameleon: 7 mo female veiled
•Handling: 4-5 times per week 15-20 mins.
•Feeding: Mostly crickets and I alternate wax worms, superworms, horn worms and discoid roaches as treats. I also keep a bowl of “salad” (organic collard & dandelion greens, spinach, shaved carrots and sometimes a thin slice of zucchini) available but she almost never eats any of it. I change it out every day.
•Supplements: I dust crickets with calcium (w/out D3) every feeding, D3 twice monthly and repti-vite multi twice monthly as well. I also gutload all feeders. Crickets-Rapashy Bug Burger & Superload, and “salad” (mix of organic collard & dandelion greens, spinach, carrots, zucchini, and strawberries) and the same “salad” mix to the worms and roaches as well.
•Watering: drip plant and auto mister.
•Humidity: auto mister (every 6 hours, duration: 90 secs)
•Fecal description: brown with white (tinge of yellow) urea every 2-4 days. Consistency is semi firm, not runny.
•Cage info: aluminum open air screen. 16x16x30 in.
•Lighting: Reptisun 5.0 UVB bulb 6am-8pm and sometimes daylight blue 69 w.
She also gets approx 1 hr natural sunlight per day on outdoor completely enclosed screened lanai 3-5 days per week.
•Temp: 72 low end 82 high end.
Digital meter
•Plants: Non-living plants and vines and one live Pothos.
•Placement: Living room.
No children and it’s a pretty pretty calm and quiet area for her.
•Location: Florida

So, I had my veiled outside on our screened in lanai for her to get some natural sunlight like I have done many times before. I placed her in her ficus tree that I bought just for her and she did something she has never done before. I always sit out there with her just to make sure that she doesn’t get in to anything she’s not supposed to, plus I just like to watch what she does bc it’s fun. Lol.
Anyways, I happened to look up at her just as she snatched something up with her tongue from the base of the plant. I wasn’t sure what it was that she ate bc I didn’t see the whole thing go down, just the tail end of it. I thought perhaps she saw a bug or something crawling and snatched it up. So I decided to run inside and grab a towel to cover the dirt in case it was actually dirt or something else weird that she ate. As I walked outside with the towel, she snatched something else up, and this time I was pretty sure it was dirt. It could have possibly been peat moss bc there is some of that as well. I’m concerned bc there are tiny styrofoam balls in the soil as well. She seemed to be fine in the following days so I wasn’t all that concerned. I have since covered it with large rocks to keep her from getting to what ever it is she was eating.
I am currently out of town now, and my husband is home with her. He called me today and said that she somehow found a chunk of dirt that wasn’t covered by the rocks and apparently she snatched that up as well. My question is why would she be eating the soil? Could there be something wrong that I am unaware of? I am also concerned that there could be something in the soil that isn't good for her like chemicals or pesticides. I bought the whole thing from the store so I’m not sure what is in the soil. I plan to re-pot it in organic soil when I get home and get more rocks to make sure she can’t possibly get to the soil, but this can’t be good for her either way. I am also very concerned about the styrofoam. If she did get a bit of it, it couldn’t have been very much. I told him to keep her indoors until I return, but is this something I need to worry about? What would make her want to eat it in the first place? She is getting all of her nutrients, I am very diligent about all of that so I don’t think she could be deficient or over supplemented. But I am new at this.
Like I said, it could have been peat moss, but she is super fast with that tongue so there really is no telling.
I should also mention that I have a nesting box in her cage (although she has not laid a clutch as of yet) but she has never gone after that soil. That is organic with no chemicals or pesticides. So needless to say, I am perplexed.
Everything else seems normal with her, she pooped regularly yesterday and she seems to be eating a little bit less than usual but not by much. I’m just wondering if this could just be a weird quirk or something I should have a vet check out. Thank you in advance.

The Wild One

Chameleon Enthusiast
Usually the soil eating is low nutrition or it could be a bug as you said. I would buy a bag of flat river rocks, do a double layer so she wouldn’t be able to see any soil or bugs in it.
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