What is all this black on her stomach?

Finola22

Member
Hello, my chameleon, Sally, was recently keeping her stomach lighter shades when basking under her light and in real sun. Then shortly after her stomach turned black and has been since. This was about a week ago I believe. She is a little fat, but do not think she is pregnant. We have a laying bin set up at the bottom of her cage anyways though just in case. We feed her about 3 worms everyday and will soon be changing it to about 5 every other day. She has a UVB and regular heat lamp with an ample amount of climbing space and coverage space in her cage. She is quite friendly so she spends a lot of time outside of her cage. We have come across smaller black spots on her skin before but they have all had simple explanations such as a small fall she had endured earlier in the day or so on. This is different though and it hasn’t faded much. She has also shed recently and there was no change. Please help, I know this is a lot of information!
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Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Healthy chams do not have “small falls” and I know you kind of answered some of these questions in your original post but if you want educated answeres we need detailed answers.

Please fill out the “how to ask for help” form and post your answers back here. Quality pictures will help us help you.

Chameleon Info:
◦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.

--------------

Please Note:
1The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
2Photos can be very helpful.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hello, my chameleon, Sally, was recently keeping her stomach lighter shades when basking under her light and in real sun. Then shortly after her stomach turned black and has been since. This was about a week ago I believe. She is a little fat, but do not think she is pregnant. We have a laying bin set up at the bottom of her cage anyways though just in case. We feed her about 3 worms everyday and will soon be changing it to about 5 every other day. She has a UVB and regular heat lamp with an ample amount of climbing space and coverage space in her cage. She is quite friendly so she spends a lot of time outside of her cage. We have come across smaller black spots on her skin before but they have all had simple explanations such as a small fall she had endured earlier in the day or so on. This is different though and it hasn’t faded much. She has also shed recently and there was no change. Please help, I know this is a lot of information! View attachment 221426View attachment 221427View attachment 221428View attachment 221429
If this coloration isn't changing when her normal color does, I'm afraid you have thermal burns to deal with. Notice how there are areas where the normal skin texture has changed? Some areas look more damaged (lumpy, swollen, with spots that almost look pus-filled) than others. Could be there are areas where the burn is deeper and areas where it is less so. If these were bruises from falls it would have faded in a day or two. The first thing to do is check the temperature right where she was hanging under the lights. Probably much too hot. Gravid females often bask more than they would otherwise. It's possible she is in the earlier stages.

Raise the basking bulb higher off the cage to reduce the temperature (she's hanging on the mesh, so lowering her perches won't necessarily prevent her from continuing to burn herself). The next thing you need is a reptile vet who can provide you with burn medication (one good one often used is Silvadene), monitor the dead skin as it starts to slough off, and to treat for pain and possible secondary infections that could show up. This is a large burn. You'll have to watch her for dehydration. Burns do heal, but it is going to take quite a while.
 

Arpretty

Established Member
From looking at the picture, I would assume she must hang upside down under the basking light and has gotten what looks to be a pretty severe burn. Agree with Carlton’s^^ advice. Personally, I see cham’s hanging upside down under a basking bulb if their perch is too low/far away from the heat source.
 

Finola22

Member
If this coloration isn't changing when her normal color does, I'm afraid you have thermal burns to deal with. Notice how there are areas where the normal skin texture has changed? Some areas look more damaged (lumpy, swollen, with spots that almost look pus-filled) than others. Could be there are areas where the burn is deeper and areas where it is less so. If these were bruises from falls it would have faded in a day or two. The first thing to do is check the temperature right where she was hanging under the lights. Probably much too hot. Gravid females often bask more than they would otherwise. It's possible she is in the earlier stages.

Raise the basking bulb higher off the cage to reduce the temperature (she's hanging on the mesh, so lowering her perches won't necessarily prevent her from continuing to burn herself). The next thing you need is a reptile vet who can provide you with burn medication (one good one often used is Silvadene), monitor the dead skin as it starts to slough off, and to treat for pain and possible secondary infections that could show up. This is a large burn. You'll have to watch her for dehydration. Burns do heal, but it is going to take quite a while.

We will definitely take this into consideration. I have some Silvadene, I will put a little on her stomach and see if there is any relief. We are watching her carefully. We suspected a burn or bruising of some sort but as you said brushing usually goes away fast so a burn is more likely but there is really no way for her to get to her light from her basking spot. We have the light about a foot away from her basking spot because it is pretty extreme heat. We have never seen her upside down in her cage unless she rolls over on a stick but she quickly moves back to right side up so I’m not sure how this could have happened. Thank you for your input though we will keep an eye out and hopefully provide as much ease as possible for her during the recovery.
 

Repti

Member
What is the temperature at the basking spot, and can you also please fill out the ask for help fourm it will help us help you.
 

Finola22

Member
Healthy chams do not have “small falls” and I know you kind of answered some of these questions in your original post but if you want educated answeres we need detailed answers.

Please fill out the “how to ask for help” form and post your answers back here. Quality pictures will help us help you.

Chameleon Info:
◦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.

--------------

Please Note:
1The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
2Photos can be very helpful.

Chameleon Info:
◦Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
Sally is a female, we are not sure of her exact age but we have had her for about 6 months though, she seems to be hitting maturity now because she has had a lot more coloration and doesn’t want to eat as much or as often.

◦Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
We handle our chameleon very often. She is very friendly and will sometimes go right up to the glass in her cage and wait until we take her out. We bring her outside a lot to bask in the sun as well.

◦Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
We are not guy loading our super worms that we feed her or the crickets we get every now and then. We also feed her some grubs and different bigs from the yard sometimes when we can for variety. We feed her now about 3 bugs a day but will soon be switching it to about 5 every other day.
Supplements- what brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
We use the zoomed repti calcium supplement with vitamin d3 and dust the food about every other day.

◦Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
Sally drinks a lot in the morning when we must her cage and we keep it pretty damp in there for the first couple hours of her day. Sometimes she will drink more later when we most later on in the day. We also have a humidifier to keep the air humid.
◦Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
We have never tested her for parasites hit she was vet approved when we got her and have not had any issues until now. Her feces is normal brown colored, pretty moist and the urine concentrate is pretty white and about the same length as the poop.

◦History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.
Nothing we can think of

Cage Info:
◦Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
Her cage is 1 1/2 feet wide x 1 1/2 feet deep x 8 feet tall. She has her perch at about 6 1/2 feet and her light hangs down into the cage about 6 inches. Three walls are sealed wood while the third is a glass door we can use to get into her cage. The walls have holes drilled throughout that allow plenty of air to pass through.

◦Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
We have a 75 watt heat light with a UVB light that comes in a chameleon combo set from the pet store. We got the lightbulbs to go with it that were listed on the box. We turn the lights on and mist at 8 am and then turn the lights off at 8 pm.

◦Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
During the day her basking spot is around 88 degrees at the hottest, but it is Usually around 85. At the bottom of her cage it stays around the 70s. We have two thermometers in her cage, one near her basking spot and one at the bottom.
◦Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
We have a humidifier in her cage that keeps the humidity levels abound 70. We also must regularly to keep her hydrated and to keep he humidity up. The thermometers we have in her cage also measure humidity. We keep it between 70 and 80 in the cage.

◦Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
We do not have live plants in the cage. We have fake vines and sealed sticks and bamboo sticks in the cage as well. The sticks are real but all of the foliage in her cage is
bought from the pet store.

◦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?
The top of the cage reaches to pretty much the ceiling. It is in the corner of a bedroom where there is a fan but we use that to create airflow in the cage with 2 inch wide holes up and down the side of the cage facing the room.

◦Location - Where are you geographically located?
We are living in south Florida area so she has sunshine all year round.

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.
She had a big black area on her stomach that appeared recently. She hasn’t taken any falls and we have not seen her very close to her heat lamp at all or upside down in her cage whatsoever.

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salty dog

Chameleon Enthusiast
When you look at your chams cage, think forest canopy, plants, vines, fresh air, dripping water and the ability to thermoregulate by moving up or down in the cage, lights out of the cage!! You need a new cage, yours is a display case of some sort converted, which is creative but not suitable the way you have it,plus it's too small, I build my own cages, there are plenty of ideas on this forum about it
 

Finola22

Member
When you look at your chams cage, think forest canopy, plants, vines, fresh air, dripping water and the ability to thermoregulate by moving up or down in the cage, lights out of the cage!! You need a new cage, yours is a display case of some sort converted, which is creative but not suitable the way you have it,plus it's too small, I build my own cages, there are plenty of ideas on this forum about it
The cage is about 8 feet tall and 1 1/2 feet wide and deep, it is a display case sort of but we built it out to have plenty of fresh air coming in from holes that are all over the cage as well as having the top door open sometimes throughout the day. The bottom half has the majority of the foliage and is much cooler while the top half is mainly sticks for her to bask on that are set further away from the cage so she won’t get too hot. Her basking spot stays between 80 and 88 degrees
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
i think that the cage is perfectly fine, it all depends on if she can find a way to get onto that screen since your bulbs are directly there.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
The cage is about 8 feet tall and 1 1/2 feet wide and deep, it is a display case sort of but we built it out to have plenty of fresh air coming in from holes that are all over the cage as well as having the top door open sometimes throughout the day. The bottom half has the majority of the foliage and is much cooler while the top half is mainly sticks for her to bask on that are set further away from the cage so she won’t get too hot. Her basking spot stays between 80 and 88 degrees
She couldn't get such extensive burns without getting close to the heat-producing bulb. Just not possible. Especially on her underside! If she was basking while perched right side up none of that area would be directly exposed to the heat. I suppose there's a remote chance that all this damage is due to some other disease, but I really doubt it.

Either she has found a way to climb right onto the top panel's mesh or something else hasn't been described to us. If the wood forming the sides of the enclosure is rough enough, she might be climbing up to the top of that long slanted dowel and scrabbling up the wooden wall so she can access the top mesh panel under the lights. She can probably stretch and reach farther than you think, now that she's figured it out. If the majority of the cage area is too cool, she may do this to get closer to the actual heat. How much of a temperature gradient does that cage have? If the only part of it that's "comfortable" is within the upper foot of height, that's where she's going to want to be. The lower areas won't get much use.

A big part of the problems with burns is that people don't understand why the cham doesn't realize it's getting too hot and move away from the heat source. They bask to warm their internal organs up, not their skin. It takes time and temp to thoroughly warm up. If the basking bulb temp is too hot but the rest of the cage too cool, they may end up sitting too close to the heat long enough to burn their skin. Their ability to detect skin overheating isn't great, plus basking is an adaptation for general daylight/sun exposure, not exposure to a focused concentration beam of heat from a lamp. They are "waiting" for their internal temp to rise...and can end up getting burned.
 
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Arpretty

Established Member
Does anyone feel that it looks like a fungus? I personally believe it has strong characteristics of a burn.... but I’m wondering about wood rot or poor air circulation and that causing a fungal buildup on the skin? Just thoughts. Either way.... I recommend a vet visit.
 

CC's Baby

Avid Member
If you do not have a temperature controller, maybe the lamp is too hot as well. But I tend to think that it could be from the branch and a fungus that is rubbing off on the belly that way it is positioned. You may consider changing that branch and seeing if it clears up.
 

Finola22

Member
Thank you all so much. I believe it is a burn, we have recently changed her cage around a little and I think she was able to get up the the heat lamp at some point for too long without us knowing. We have put a little silvadene burn cream on her stomach twice now and we will do so a few more times over the next few days. The blackness has gone down a bit. It looks like it is beginning to heal. It just really surprised us because it was so big and appeared after we had been speculating her pregnancy. We keep a really good eye on her since we let her free roam a lot when we are home so the light seemed unreasonable but I think it was that.
 
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