What more can I do for my little guy?

skywes13

Member
Hi everyone. I recently took home my very first cham after researching and following the hobby for several years. Initally he was doing well and acclimating to his new home well, but around maybe around two weeks ago he began to refuse food. I double and triple checked my husbandry and did tons and tons of extra research via this forum, neptunethechameleon on youtube, and chameleon academy. I didn't understand what I could possibly have wrong, so I came to the conclusion that he didn't have enough variety in his diet and he was being picky. I ordered small black soldier fly larvae and silkworms from josh's frogs bc thru my research those seemed to be the most nutritious and best fit for my little man. I ordered it earlier in the week, a tuesday, and chose 2 day shipping assuming it would come (last) thursday or friday. i waited and waited and still by friday they hadn't even sent them out (i'm assuming bc of covid or the cold weather or behind on shipments). the week went on and my guy, Jupiter, was still mostly refusing food eating maybe 1 cricket every other day or so. I didn't act fast or urgently enough because I had heard that sometimes chams will go on hunger strikes and thought it might be okay as long as I got the food soon enough ): . unfortunately I didn't realize the urgency of the situation because I wasn't aware that my guy was only a little hatchling (currently 2 mo old), I thought he was closer to 4 mo old. On monday I decided I couldn't wait any longer for the order from josh's frogs so i drove out an hour away and picked up some bsfl and more crickets from a local insect breeder. talked to the man there and he gave me lots of good info, and i figured out the issue wasnt the variety but the food i had originally been given at the repatrium was beginning to grow too big for my guy and thats why he was refusing. now that I have the right size and slightly more variety I've been offering my guy the new food, but I think it may be too late. he still only eats maybe 1 or 2 or 3 bugs each day, and he's deteriorating fast. 3 days ago the worst issues were that he was refusing food and sometimes i would catch him with his eyes closed during the day (my guess is he probably has lack of vit a due to barely eating). today, he has bad motor skills, wobbling all around, and has his eyes closed a lot more often (currently as I write this he's been sitting on the same branch w both eyes closed for the past 2 hours), so I think he was hiding it before (also why I didn't completely understand the urgency of the situation) and now it's gotten so bad that he can't mask it ): i tried picking him up bc he was hanging upside down on a vine and when I did he couldn't even hold himself up while in my hand. first thing tomrorrow morning i will be making a vet appt for asap. my heart is so broken for my little guy, i'm not sure what more to do, i feel like the worst cham mom for not acting with more urgency )): do any of you more experienced keepers have any advice for me? is there something wrong w my husbandry? do you think my little jupey is dying? ):

& here's his info filled out for some extra context...
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? 2 month old panther, not 100% sure about sex but I'm assuming he's a boy. I got him Dec. 31st 2020 so nearly a month now.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? As little as possible, held him maybe a total of 4? times since i first got him, once getting him into his new home and then only ever when i was super concerned and was checking to see that he was still breathing (ex: today came home and he was hanging upside down so i nudged him onto my hand to make sure he was still alive).
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? Feeding (more like offering) him a mixture of gutloaded 1/8" crickets and small dubias (i gutload with majority carrots, some apple and orange) and small black soldier fly larvae which i feed w only oatmeal to delay their growth. i put 5 worms and 5 crickets and maybe a couple dubias into a feeder run cup i made myself and put it in his enclosure twice a day for 30 mins to give him a large window of oppurtunity to eat and i watch from my bed, but he tends to only eat 1-3 bugs a day ):
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? repticalcium w/o d3 and repashy calc plus LoD. i normally dust w the repticalcium w/o d3, but i suspect that he may have a vit a deficency so i've been dusting mainly w the repashy. (if that assumption is wrong pls tell me and i'll only dust w the calcium)
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? i mist 3/4x a day for around a minute and a half or two minutes. (i live in tx so its pretty dry and cold rn hence the more frequent mists). i also made my own dripper out of a plastic water bottle w a tiny hole at the bottom and in the cap, i refill it 2/3x a day and it normally will drip for 10-15 mins when full. i used to see him drink nearly everyday but now i haven't seen him drink or even interested in watching the water droplets at all and instead hiding away when i fill the dripper or spray, so i'm also extremely worried ab dehydration, but at the very least his eyes dont look sunken in.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? i used to see new ones daily and they looked not too dry not super moist w a white or slightly beige-ish urate. recently they have been few and far between, w them being more shrivled/dry and a more yellowish urate, not quite orange though. (could it be from his lack of eating? or is it bc he hasnt been drinking?)
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. i purchased him from a local reptarium (dfw reptarium for any texas keepers that may be familar w the name), and i was told that he was 3 months old. when he was brought out to me to take home he was in a plastic container w the numbers 11/9 on it and didn't think much of it initally, but now i'm assuming that was his actual hatch date I can't believe I didn't catch that earlier. very disappointed w them, they could've at least told me the truth so i could've been more prepared and known that circumstances are slightly different considering that he was actually a hatchling.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? small reptibreeze for now, i believe the dimensions are 16x16x20 (only temporary enclosure, will upgrade once my guy grows, rn he's probably 3 inches long)
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? for uvb i have the reptisun t5 5.0 24'' sitting on top diagonally, basking bulb i have a normal home light thats 75w (recommended by neptune the chameleon on yt)
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? basking stays around 82-85 F, bottom stays around 73-75 F. i'm actually not sure what the overnight temps are, but i will check tonight. I measure using a temp gun.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? humidity stays between 50-80%. after i mist it'll go up to 75 or 80% then as times goes on and the water begins to evaporate it'll drop to around 50/60% and i'll let it stay there to create that drier period. i have taped vinyl shower curtains to 3 sides of the enclosure and i hand mist w lukewarm water every 4/5 hours.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? unfortunately not, using mainly silk plants to decrease chance of impaction if he decides he wants to have a little salad.
  • 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? located on top of a desk in the corner of my room (which is in the back corner of my grandparents house so it's nice and quiet and calm).
  • Location - Where are you geographically located? North Texas

If it's helpful, I can attach some pictures later in the thread of him or his enclosure or whatever else is necessary. Please help me out, I'm so worried tomorrow morning I'm gonna wake up to him laying on the floor of his enclosure ):
 
Last edited:

cruz.m

Avid Member
Hi everyone. I recently took home my very first cham after researching and following the hobby for several years. Initally he was doing well and acclimating to his new home well, but around maybe around two weeks ago he began to refuse food. I double and triple checked my husbandry and did tons and tons of extra research via this forum, neptunethechameleon on youtube, and chameleon academy. I didn't understand what I could possibly have wrong, so I came to the conclusion that he didn't have enough variety in his diet and he was being picky. I ordered small black soldier fly larvae and silkworms from josh's frogs bc thru my research those seemed to be the most nutritious and best fit for my little man. I ordered it earlier in the week, a tuesday, and chose 2 day shipping assuming it would come (last) thursday or friday. i waited and waited and still by friday they hadn't even sent them out (i'm assuming bc of covid or the cold weather or behind on shipments). the week went on and my guy, Jupiter, was still mostly refusing food eating maybe 1 cricket every other day or so. I didn't act fast or urgently enough because I had heard that sometimes chams will go on hunger strikes and thought it might be okay as long as I got the food soon enough ): . unfortunately I didn't realize the urgency of the situation because I wasn't aware that my guy was only a little hatchling (currently 2 mo old), I thought he was closer to 4 mo old. On monday I decided I couldn't wait any longer for the order from josh's frogs so i drove out an hour away and picked up some bsfl and more crickets from a local insect breeder. talked to the man there and he gave me lots of good info, and i figured out the issue wasnt the variety but the food i had originally been given at the repatrium was beginning to grow too big for my guy and thats why he was refusing. now that I have the right size and slightly more variety I've been offering my guy the new food, but I think it may be too late. he still only eats maybe 1 or 2 or 3 bugs each day, and he's deteriorating fast. 3 days ago the worst issues were that he was refusing food and sometimes i would catch him with his eyes closed during the day (my guess is he probably has lack of vit a due to barely eating). today, he has bad motor skills, wobbling all around, and has his eyes closed a lot more often (currently as I write this he's been sitting on the same branch w both eyes closed for the past 2 hours) ): i tried picking him up bc he was hanging upside down on a vine and when I did he couldn't even hold himself up while in my hand. first thing tomrorrow morning i will be making a vet appt for asap. my heart is so broken for my little guy, i'm not sure what more to do, i feel like the worst cham mom for not acting with more urgency )): do any of you more experienced keepers have any advice for me? is there something wrong w my husbandry? do you think my little jupey is dying? ):

& here's his info filled out for some extra context...
Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care? 2 month old panther, not 100% sure about sex but I'm assuming he's a boy. I got him Dec. 31st 2020 so nearly a month now.
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon? As little as possible, held him maybe a total of 4? times since i first got him, once getting him into his new home and then only ever when i was super concerned and was checking to see that he was still breathing (ex: today came home and he was hanging upside down so i nudged him onto my hand to make sure he was still alive).
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders? Feeding (more like offering) him a mixture of gutloaded 1/8" crickets and small dubias (i gutload with majority carrots, some apple and orange) and small black soldier fly larvae which i feed w only oatmeal to delay their growth. i put 5 worms and 5 crickets and maybe a couple dubias into a feeder run cup i made myself and put it in his enclosure twice a day for 30 mins to give him a large window of oppurtunity to eat and i watch from my bed, but he tends to only eat 1-3 bugs a day ):
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule? repticalcium w/o d3 and repashy calc plus LoD. i normally dust w the repticalcium w/o d3, but i suspect that he may have a vit a deficency so i've been dusting mainly w the repashy. (if that assumption is wrong pls tell me and i'll only dust w the calcium)
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking? i mist 3/4x a day for around a minute and a half or two minutes. (i live in tx so its pretty dry and cold rn hence the more frequent mists). i also made my own dripper out of a plastic water bottle w a tiny hole at the bottom and in the cap, i refill it 2/3x a day and it normally will drip for 10-15 mins when full. i used to see him drink nearly everyday but now i haven't seen him drink or even interested in watching the water droplets at all and instead hiding away when i fill the dripper or spray, so i'm also extremely worried ab dehydration, but at the very least his eyes dont look sunken in.
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites? i used to see new ones daily and they looked not too dry not super moist w a white or slightly beige-ish urate. recently they have been few and far between, w them being more shrivled/dry and a more yellowish urate, not quite orange though. (could it be from his lack of eating? or is it bc he hasnt been drinking?)
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you. i purchased him from a local reptarium (dfw reptarium for any texas keepers that may be familar w the name), and i was told that he was 3 months old. when he was brought out to me to take home he was in a plastic container w the numbers 11/9 on it and didn't think much of it initally, but now i'm assuming that was his actual hatch date I can't believe I didn't catch that earlier. very disappointed w them, they could've at least told me the truth so i could've been more prepared and known that circumstances are slightly different considering that he was actually a hatchling.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions? small reptibreeze for now, i believe the dimensions are 16x16x20 (only temporary enclosure, will upgrade once my guy grows, rn he's probably 3 inches long)
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule? for uvb i have the reptisun t5 5.0 24'' sitting on top diagonally, basking bulb i have a normal home light thats 75w (recommended by neptune the chameleon on yt)
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps? basking stays around 82-85 F, bottom stays around 73-75 F. i'm actually not sure what the overnight temps are, but i will check tonight. I measure using a temp gun.
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity? humidity stays between 50-80%. after i mist it'll go up to 75 or 80% then as times goes on and the water begins to evaporate it'll drop to around 50/60% and i'll let it stay there to create that drier period. i have taped vinyl shower curtains to 3 sides of the enclosure and i hand mist w lukewarm water every 4/5 hours.
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind? unfortunately not, using mainly silk plants to decrease chance of impaction if he decides he wants to have a little salad.
  • 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? located on top of a desk in the corner of my room (which is in the back corner of my grandparents house so it's nice and quiet and calm).
  • Location - Where are you geographically located? North Texas

If it's helpful, I can attach some pictures later in the thread of him or his enclosure or whatever else is necessary. Please help me out, I'm so worried tomorrow morning I'm gonna wake up to him laying on the floor of his enclosure ):
Well I’m so sorry to hear that but I’ll tag a few people who can help review since I’m not really an expert but please post pictures! I read your thread and you need real plants here’s a link https://chameleonacademy.com/plants/
Sounds like he may be dehydrated and if he’s dehydrated he can’t eat. You’ll also need to upgrade his cage soon @ERKleRose @Beman @kinyonga
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Experienced chameleon vet ASAP! This is why neonates shouldn’t be sold. They’re extremely sensitive! For future reference, only buy a 3 month old or older chameleon from a good, reputable, experienced breeder who has healthy chams with clear genes (no inbreeding/line-breeding) and puts their chams‘ health before their colors or profit. I’m not experienced with babies that young, so I can’t help much
 

skywes13

Member
Well I’m so sorry to hear that but I’ll tag a few people who can help review since I’m not really an expert but please post pictures! I read your thread and you need real plants here’s a link https://chameleonacademy.com/plants/
Sounds like he may be dehydrated and if he’s dehydrated he can’t eat. You’ll also need to upgrade his cage soon @ERKleRose @Beman @kinyonga
Thank you so much. I will work on getting real plants asap. As for the dehydration, what more can I do to help him drink? I make sure to spray long enough that he knows whats going on and takes notice of the moving water, and I fill his dripper right on top of a large section of plants so it drips down in multiple different places. At this point it seems to me that he doesn't even care that the water is there, since he doesn't watch or go for the droplets like he used to. ):
 

skywes13

Member
Okay everyone here are some pictures:

This is his full enclosure the night before I took him home, there has been no changes made to it.
jupey enclosure.JPG


This is him right now, I just took this picture less than 10 minutes ago (he has little bits of stuck shed on him because he just had his first shed this weekend)
jupey currently .jpg


This picture was taken Sunday night, he was having his first shed
jupey full body.jpg


Just for comparison, this was him the first day I brought him home
jupey first day.jpg
 

skywes13

Member
Update I just got up and looked at him closer and he fell off a vine ): Im so heartbroken my poor little guy. He has never fallen before, only wobbled or missed a step.
jupey lying down.JPG
 

skywes13

Member
Experienced chameleon vet ASAP! This is why neonates shouldn’t be sold. They’re extremely sensitive! For future reference, only buy a 3 month old or older chameleon from a good, reputable, experienced breeder who has healthy chams with clear genes (no inbreeding/line-breeding) and puts their chams‘ health before their colors or profit. I’m not experienced with babies that young, so I can’t help much
Okay, I think I found a vet that takes chams and I'm gonna call first thing tomorrow morning asking if they have experience dealing with hatchlings. I now know this, I'm so disappointed in myself that I didn't realize he was so itty bitty ): I really trusted that reptarium, have been going to them for nearly 5 years for my ball python and old beardie. Thank you so much for your input though.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would like to add that you could use a more varied gutload, longer misting sessions, lower basking temps. How far away is his UVB bulb from his basking branch? Definitely get a digital hygrometer and a digital thermometer with a probe (place where his casque/top of his back is on his basking branch). Real plants are better than silk, as silk can still cause impactions since it’s fake, though panthers aren’t known to eat fake plants like veileds are. If does try to eat them, replace them with live ones. Everything else is great, though!
Edit: Make him a hospital bin if he continues to fall
 
Last edited:

Tige21v

Established Member
I hope he pulls through!!
Try to keep the humidity in his cage up through the night. if you do not have a fogger, keep it misted. If he is in an all screen cage, try covering the sides with a plastic trash bag to help retain the moisture through the night
Being dehydrated will be harder on the guy than not eating
 

skywes13

Member
Nothing in your husbandry is jumping out at me. Possibly he has parasites or other issue that isn’t visible. Definitely agree with a vet ASAP.
Thank you, that makes me feel a tiny better, especially since I see you all over this forum with wonderful advice. Thank you so much for your reply, I will call a vet first thing tomorrow morning.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Okay, I think I found a vet that takes chams and I'm gonna call first thing tomorrow morning asking if they have experience dealing with hatchlings. I now know this, I'm so disappointed in myself that I didn't realize he was so itty bitty ): I really trusted that reptarium, have been going to them for nearly 5 years for my ball python and old beardie. Thank you so much for your input though.
Don’t be disappointed in yourself, you didn’t know, and you (and anyone) would’ve trusted the chameleon seller on your cham’s age! Only a few tweaks (literally only 3- they aren’t even drastic or close to that) are needed once he pulls through. You’ve been fantastic with him!
 
Last edited:

skywes13

Member
I would like to add that you could use a more varied gutload, longer misting sessions, lower basking temps. How far away is his UVB bulb from his basking branch? Definitely get a digital hygrometer and a digital thermometer with a probe (place where his casque/top of his back is on his basking branch). Real plants are better than silk, as silk can still cause impactions since it’s fake, though panthers aren’t known to eat fake plants like veileds are. If does try to eat them, replace them with live ones. Everything else is great, though! Definitely make him a hospital bin since he‘s falling
Okay I will definitely visit the grocery store asap, those were just some fruits and veggies that were already in the house. How much lower basking temps? Should I just take away the basking bulb entirely? It's a pretty low wattage and I have his basking branch quite a few inches down from the top. I measured exactly and his basking branch is ab 5.5" away from the basking bulb/uvb. Is that too close? I will definitely find digital measurers, any suggestions for the digital hygrometer? That would be my top priority since I monitor temps w a pretty decent temp gun. What's a hospital bin? Does it act as a cushion in case he does fall? Thank you so much for your advice, I am immensely grateful.
 

cruz.m

Avid Member
Thank you so much. I will work on getting real plants asap. As for the dehydration, what more can I do to help him drink? I make sure to spray long enough that he knows whats going on and takes notice of the moving water, and I fill his dripper right on top of a large section of plants so it drips down in multiple different places. At this point it seems to me that he doesn't even care that the water is there, since he doesn't watch or go for the droplets like he used to. ):
Please take him to an experienced chameleon vet like others have mentioned. As for water you can try giving with some with a syringe although it’s very dangerous and risky so I don’t think you should try it. Try dropping a droplet on his casque/head maybe he’ll drink, try gently wetting his “lips” I’ve noticed my cham will drink or open her mouth when she gets water there. There’s not much you can do but take her to the vet. I think your cham may have MBD his arm looks a little bent I don’t know if it’s just me though what do you guys think?
 

skywes13

Member
I hope he pulls through!!
Try to keep the humidity in his cage up through the night. if you do not have a fogger, keep it misted. If he is in an all screen cage, try covering the sides with a plastic trash bag to help retain the moisture through the night
Being dehydrated will be harder on the guy than not eating
Okay I will mist during the night. Yes, I have taped clear shower curtain lining to 3 sides of his enclosure, although I need to invest in some waterproof tape bc I think it's starting to leak through since I used just regular clear packing tape. Really I didn't know that about the dehydration, I will most definitely focus more on hydrating him. Thank you sooo much.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Are the bands of shed on arms and legs constricting or loose? Also, not that it matters to the current concern, but I think your cham is a little girl.
 

skywes13

Member
Please take him to an experienced chameleon vet like others have mentioned. As for water you can try giving with some with a syringe although it’s very dangerous and risky so I don’t think you should try it. Try dropping a droplet on his casque/head maybe he’ll drink, try gently wetting his “lips” I’ve noticed my cham will drink or open her mouth when she gets water there. There’s not much you can do but take her to the vet. I think your cham may have MBD his arm looks a little bent I don’t know if it’s just me though what do you guys think?
Yes vet is definitely my top priority. I'm hesitant to feed him/give him water through a syringe unless absolutely necessary in case that cases extra stress on him and his little body. Okay I will definitely try the wet lips technique. I don't think MBD is the issue, it may just be he has his body at a weird angle but I don't know /:
 

cruz.m

Avid Member
Yes vet is definitely my top priority. I'm hesitant to feed him/give him water through a syringe unless absolutely necessary in case that cases extra stress on him and his little body. Okay I will definitely try the wet lips technique. I don't think MBD is the issue, it may just be he has his body at a weird angle but I don't know /:
Yeah I say don’t try it and yeah maybe it’s the angle I’m not really sure do you think you can post another picture?
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Okay I will definitely visit the grocery store asap, those were just some fruits and veggies that were already in the house. How much lower basking temps? Should I just take away the basking bulb entirely? It's a pretty low wattage and I have his basking branch quite a few inches down from the top. I measured exactly and his basking branch is ab 5.5" away from the basking bulb/uvb. Is that too close? I will definitely find digital measurers, any suggestions for the digital hygrometer? That would be my top priority since I monitor temps w a pretty decent temp gun. What's a hospital bin? Does it act as a cushion in case he does fall? Thank you so much for your advice, I am immensely grateful.
I’ll post a gutload image below. I have no idea for two-month olds, but definitely no higher than 80*F, someone else will clarify. His UVB bulb should be 8-9” away from his basking branch. Home improvement stores have cheap and accurate digital thermometer-hygrometer combos in the weather section. I use three, one near the top of the cage, one in the middle, and one at the bottom. Granted, that’s for a bigger cage, but de get at least one. Get the digital thermometer with a probe, too. I also have an infrared temp gun to spot check areas. I’ve edited my post because you said he only fell once. If he continues to fall, make a hospital bin for him. It basically does exactly what you said and is used as the enclosure (and shorter). He could have parasites overexposure of UVB, or something else wrong with him that you can’t see. Definitely try to get bloodwork done at the vet, along with doing x-rays and a fecal float (bring a fresh fecal sample with you)
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sorry, here’s the image. Also posting a clear pic of him standing straight on a branch with his tail straight out will help us sex him
 

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