white skin on top of back and gaping a lot

Anthony Hendrick

New Member
Chameleon Info:

Species - Panther, male
Born - April 2008
Location - Ireland
House - Has been in a glass viv 1m x 1m x 50cm since February '09 with the following decor:

- 2 big Real Ficus Plant the height of the cage , 1 dracaena Bi-colour and two smaller ferns
- A lot of fake hanging Ficus and Hibiscus for back drop
- plenty of appropriately thick vines with a good basking spot
- pebbles on bottom for drainage (recently removed orchid bark substrate and put in pebbles in order to install a basic drainage system
- basking spot is at eye level.

* Handling - All the time. He is very relaxed with contact. I take him out all the time and he likes it.

* Feeding - He gets 3 to 4 crickets every two days. The crickets are gut loaded with the following:

carrot
cucumber
parsnip
banana
almonds occasionally
apple
Red and yellow peppers
peas occasionally (will start giving them more peas for greens)
orange
blueberries (just started gut loading them over the past week with these.
kiwi
steamed potato occasionally
grapes occasionally


I put a soaking wet tissue into their tub every two days for a water source.
I also store them near the vivs heat bulb which makes them a lot more active causing them to eat a lot lot more!

I used to give him locusts because he stopped eating crickets but he has since started eating crickets again so happy days as crickets are easier to gut load and are a lot cheaper. I don't know about other countries but in Ireland you pay 4 euro for 8 crickets which is bloody ridiculous.


* Supplements - I dust almost every cricket he gets with Nutrobal. He used to get every cricket dusted and he used to get fed 3 or four a day but over the past year I have calmed down a bit as he is getting older.


* Watering - I use an automatic misting system called Namiba Terra "Tropical Rain System" It produces very fine spray from two nozzles
this is controlled by a timer which activates the system 5 times a day for 3 minutes at a time. I also have a hand held pump sprayer which I use to shower him with about once a week ( I understand I should do it more often and over the past two weeks I have been spraying him three times a week. I will keep this up)

* Fecal Description - He has a problem with passing feces. This a has been thoroughly investigated by a vet and from x rays they conculded that the reason he is passing only once a week is a result of an old bone fracture at his lower spine near the base of the tail. He has had a few falls (from bed to floor) so this was obviously my fault. As a result he goes once a week. The feces is quite moist and healthy looking but the urate is always slightly yellow with an orange patch at the end. this orange patch can sometimes be quite large and I have asked the vet about this but she tells me it is a result of the urate sitting in his bowels for so long.

* History - there is no other information.

* Lighting - 90cm Repti sun bulb left on 12 hours/day (bulb is always replaced after 6 to 8 months)

- 100 watt basking bulb also

Temperature - 150 watt ceramic bulb with semi-circular fitting positioned outside the roof of the vivarium for safety (hooked up to a habistat "pulse proportional" thermostat

The cage is kept at 25 degrees celcius during the day (near the topof the cage) and 22 celcius at night.

Humidity - The himidity in the cage ranges from 40 percent to 90 percent. i am having trouble regulating the humidity as it seems to fall quite quick (any advice would be much appreciated)

Placement - the cage is in my room. It's quiet, there's no sound or view of traffic. I have a drum set in the room but he doesn't seem to mind this and it never gets played for more than an hour at a time (I know this seems really irresponsible but I made sure that this wouldn't be a problem before I bought him by consulting an expert)

current problem - My cham has two problems.

1. He has patches of shedding skin on his back and head. He hasn't she in at least 6 months so I presume his body is trying to she but no matter how much I spray him or apply shedding aid his skin won't shed. I then reviewed the viv temps and decided that the heat sensor was positioned too low in the cage which would result in higher temperatures being obtained so I moved the sensor more towards the heat bulb. The temps are now what they should be.

2. Over the past week or two he has started to gape a lot. The temps aren't too high but from past experience I have noticed that when he is about to shed he gapes occasionally. I don't know if this is due to stress or from feeling uncomfortable.

So basically he has had signs of a shed starting for over two months now and has started gaping quite a bit over the past two weeks.

One other thing. We have had a really bad cold winter with a lot of snow. Temperatures were down around - 8 to -10 degrees celcius at night. as a result he started to sleep under the ceramic heater (about 25cm away from it and it is above the viv so there is a wire mesh between it and him)
Perhaps the direct heat at night caused parts of his skin on his back and head to die???

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks guys

Anthony
 

jojackson

New Member
Chameleon Info:

Species - Panther, male
Born - April 2008
Location - Ireland
House - Has been in a glass viv 1m x 1m x 50cm since February '09 with the following decor:

- 2 big Real Ficus Plant the height of the cage , 1 dracaena Bi-colour and two smaller ferns
- A lot of fake hanging Ficus and Hibiscus for back drop
- plenty of appropriately thick vines with a good basking spot
- pebbles on bottom for drainage (recently removed orchid bark substrate and put in pebbles in order to install a basic drainage system
- basking spot is at eye level.

* Handling - All the time. He is very relaxed with contact. I take him out all the time and he likes it.

* Feeding - He gets 3 to 4 crickets every two days. The crickets are gut loaded with the following:

carrot
cucumber
parsnip
banana
almonds occasionally
apple
Red and yellow peppers
peas occasionally (will start giving them more peas for greens)
orange
blueberries (just started gut loading them over the past week with these.
kiwi
steamed potato occasionally
grapes occasionally

I put a soaking wet tissue into their tub every two days for a water source.
I also store them near the vivs heat bulb which makes them a lot more active causing them to eat a lot lot more!

I used to give him locusts because he stopped eating crickets but he has since started eating crickets again so happy days as crickets are easier to gut load and are a lot cheaper. I don't know about other countries but in Ireland you pay 4 euro for 8 crickets which is bloody ridiculous.

This is not enough food Anthony, I agree your prices are silly, perhaps you might consider breeding the crickets yourself? At your chams age Im surprised that amount is sustaining him at all, is there something else you feed aswell?

* Supplements - I dust almost every cricket he gets with Nutrobal. He used to get every cricket dusted and he used to get fed 3 or four a day but over the past year I have calmed down a bit as he is getting older.

You should continue the dusting. Does it contain D3?



* Watering - I use an automatic misting system called Namiba Terra "Tropical Rain System" It produces very fine spray from two nozzles
this is controlled by a timer which activates the system 5 times a day for 3 minutes at a time. I also have a hand held pump sprayer which I use to shower him with about once a week ( I understand I should do it more often and over the past two weeks I have been spraying him three times a week. I will keep this up)

* Fecal Description - He has a problem with passing feces. This a has been thoroughly investigated by a vet and from x rays they conculded that the reason he is passing only once a week is a result of an old bone fracture at his lower spine near the base of the tail. He has had a few falls (from bed to floor) so this was obviously my fault. As a result he goes once a week. The feces is quite moist and healthy looking but the urate is always slightly yellow with an orange patch at the end. this orange patch can sometimes be quite large and I have asked the vet about this but she tells me it is a result of the urate sitting in his bowels for so long.

He needs to get a bit more water, perhaps consider installing a bottle with aquarium tube to drip through the cage.


* History - there is no other information.

* Lighting - 90cm Repti sun bulb left on 12 hours/day (bulb is always replaced after 6 to 8 months)

- 100 watt basking bulb also

Temperature - 150 watt ceramic bulb with semi-circular fitting positioned outside the roof of the vivarium for safety (hooked up to a habistat "pulse proportional" thermostat

The cage is kept at 25 degrees celcius during the day (near the topof the cage) and 22 celcius at night.

Basking spot (beneath the heat) should be around 29c/85f Are you certain your readings are correct? If you use both both the bulb and ceramic, its likely its producing too much heat, especially in a glass tank, this would explain the mouth open (gaping) to cool down.
Unless there is bubbles, wheezy sounds breathing?



Humidity - The himidity in the cage ranges from 40 percent to 90 percent. i am having trouble regulating the humidity as it seems to fall quite quick (any advice would be much appreciated)

With the mister you describe and a glass cage, humidity shouldnt be a major issue. Excessive heating will dry the air and cause humidity to fall.


Placement - the cage is in my room. It's quiet, there's no sound or view of traffic. I have a drum set in the room but he doesn't seem to mind this and it never gets played for more than an hour at a time (I know this seems really irresponsible but I made sure that this wouldn't be a problem before I bought him by consulting an expert)

He wont care, unless your a lousy drummer! :p :D


current problem - My cham has two problems.

1. He has patches of shedding skin on his back and head. He hasn't she in at least 6 months so I presume his body is trying to she but no matter how much I spray him or apply shedding aid his skin won't shed. I then reviewed the viv temps and decided that the heat sensor was positioned too low in the cage which would result in higher temperatures being obtained so I moved the sensor more towards the heat bulb. The temps are now what they should be.

2. Over the past week or two he has started to gape a lot. The temps aren't too high but from past experience I have noticed that when he is about to shed he gapes occasionally. I don't know if this is due to stress or from feeling uncomfortable.

So basically he has had signs of a shed starting for over two months now and has started gaping quite a bit over the past two weeks.

One other thing. We have had a really bad cold winter with a lot of snow. Temperatures were down around - 8 to -10 degrees celcius at night. as a result he started to sleep under the ceramic heater (about 25cm away from it and it is above the viv so there is a wire mesh between it and him)
Perhaps the direct heat at night caused parts of his skin on his back and head to die???

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks guys

Anthony
Its possible he has sustained a burn, the heating sounds excessive, can you post a cell phone pic of him? If he has its probably from the bulb rather than the ceramic despite the higher wattage. Use the ceramic at night if temps get lower than 16c. recheck the temps with a different thermometer see if you get the same reading.
 

Anthony Hendrick

New Member
Hey jojackson, thanks very much for your detailed reply. to answer your questions

1. I understand now that I am not feeding him enough. I will go back to feeding him 3 a day at least. Also, despite the cost of locusts, I will start buying them more often as he only gets crickets now. There's not much choice in Ireland, it's basically crickets, locusts, meal worms and/or wax worms and that's it.

2. I will start dusting every cricket I give him again. I used to but I was advised by my vet not to give him so much anymore as he has stopped growing so he doesn't need as much. My vet seems a bit stupid though so I won't be going to her anymore. He gets nutrobal which does contain D3.

3. The basking spot is about 30 degrees under the bulb at the moment so I will move down the perch a little bit so he's not as close to the bulb.The ceramic is hooked up to a pulse proportional thermostat and the sensor is about 30cm from the ceramic heater so that won't cause the cage to over heat as the thermostat carefully regulates the temperature. However,the sensor was too low down in the cage up until a week ago so the cage was over heating. The sensor is now higher so it is better regulated now.


4. I have a dripper system set up in his cage but I don't always fill it up to be perfectly honest.Ill start filling it up every day.


5.He may have sustained a burn from being under the bulb for too long. As I said in the last post, during the months of November and December we had really bad weather and so at night time the thermostat was working hard to keep the temperatures up. My cham would sleep under the ceramic heater (about 20cm away) so perhaps that really dried out his skin/burned him.
I've never seen a cham burned before,maybe you can tell me from the following pics.......ill post more tomorrow coz my internet connection is too slow at the moment

Thanks again for the help

Anthony
 

Attachments

Last edited:

ataraxia

Avid Member
im sorry if i offend and i could be anything but right. let me get this correct....we have a power sun bulb + 100 watt house bulb + 150w ceramic + aquarium = no way on gods green earth are your temps 77*F (25*C). many things need to be changed about your cage and care. first bulbs should never be in the cage. RISK of BURNs! second it looks like your juvenile is in a aquarium. his days are counting down as we speak. he is white/gaping most likely because he is burning up from the heat. this is just my opinion but i was going to go through and point out things that are wrong in your care. i think it will be much easier to just give you a basic care guide. please read this info and change what needs to change in your husbandry.

Cage:24x24x48' SCREEN cage lots of rope, vines and live plants if you can. live plants will help with the humidity. make sure you cover the soil with screen. put cage as high up in the room as you can. not near any vents, fans or windows.

Lighting: 5.0 reptisun or reptiglo linear tube (length depends on cage size)/house hold bulb for basking. the house bulb watt will depend on how far your nearest branch is from the light and your ambient room temps.
***change bulbs every 6 months.

Temps: basking temp around 90* / ambient temps 72* measure by digital guages.

Hydration: manual spray 2-5 minutes/2-3 times a day. provide a dripper. automated mister is also a great addition.

Feeders: gutload (24 hours before feeding) with fresh veggies and fruits and once a week with sticky tongues gutload. Crickets, mealworms, superworms, silkworms, hornworms, dubai roaches, reptiworms, BB flies.

Supplements: repcal calcium w/o d3 every feeding, repcal calcium w/d3 twice a month, repcal herptivite twice a month
 

jojackson

New Member
Atraxia , by my reckoning its an adult.

Hey jojackson, thanks very much for your detailed reply. to answer your questions

1. I understand now that I am not feeding him enough. I will go back to feeding him 3 a day at least. Also, despite the cost of locusts, I will start buying them more often as he only gets crickets now. There's not much choice in Ireland, it's basically crickets, locusts, meal worms and/or wax worms and that's it.

Not much in that regard in Australia either Anthony, if theres a place
where no spraying pesticides goes on, you can catch some wild food, but beware really bright colored bugs, these are usually toxic. caterpillas, moths and so on are generally ok.


2. I will start dusting every cricket I give him again. I used to but I was advised by my vet not to give him so much anymore as he has stopped growing so he doesn't need as much. My vet seems a bit stupid though so I won't be going to her anymore. He gets nutrobal which does contain D3.

I wouldnt expect a vet in Eire to know much about reptiles, its st Patricks country no :D They dont really stop growing but they do slow way down.

3. The basking spot is about 30 degrees under the bulb at the moment so I will move down the perch a little bit so he's not as close to the bulb.The ceramic is hooked up to a pulse proportional thermostat and the sensor is about 30cm from the ceramic heater so that won't cause the cage to over heat as the thermostat carefully regulates the temperature. However,the sensor was too low down in the cage up until a week ago so the cage was over heating. The sensor is now higher so it is better regulated now.

Atraxia is right Anthony, the bulb inside is asking for it, moisture and power dont mix either. Can you jury rig a safe 'holder' above the cage, likewise its probably better to raise up the ceramic than lower the branch, if the lizard can reach the screen top from a branch to bask, it can climb on it too. (upside down)

4. I have a dripper system set up in his cage but I don't always fill it up to be perfectly honest.Ill start filling it up every day.

I started with a wee bottle, got tired of daily filling too. In the end I suspended a 10 liter container and used a tap (aquarium tubing connection)
so I can turn it on and off easy, last a few days.



5.He may have sustained a burn from being under the bulb for too long. As I said in the last post, during the months of November and December we had really bad weather and so at night time the thermostat was working hard to keep the temperatures up. My cham would sleep under the ceramic heater (about 20cm away) so perhaps that really dried out his skin/burned him.
I've never seen a cham burned before,maybe you can tell me from the following pics.......ill post more tomorrow coz my internet connection is too slow at the moment

Thanks again for the help

Anthony
Might be easier to adjust the ceramics height so the temperature is nice beneath, not use the thermostat, but instead use a cheap electric timer if you can buy one, that way the ceramic is only on at night when you need it, and your not wasting power.
Since the top is screen and heat rises, it will be hard to get a sound reading with any probe type thermostat. Your probe is measuring air temp, which is good, but the heat goes up and away from it. attaching the probe to a branch for a better reading will be a pain in the bailey too, not to mention the tape getting wet.
It might be easier then to just raise that bulb above (outside) not directly on the screen, adjust a perch so the lizard can get within 8 inches of it, and take another reading. This and the UV light can be on a cheap timer aswell, less for you to do.

Assuming the room is warm you might have a go at knocking together a woodframe cage and covering it in flyscreen (taller cage will give you more temp varience between bottom and top) see if that works better, but keep what hes in now incase.
While humidity might be lower overall in a screen cage, the mister should take care of that pretty well, might be easier to drain too.

Its quite ok for the cage to dry out some, afterall it dont rain all day everyday in madagascar, periods of drier can help them shed as much as humidity.
Cant really tell about the white skin you mentioned, if you can get a close picture of just that spot?
That might well be shedding, sometimes they shed a bit here, a bit there, not always all over in one go. Since hes far from being overfed, he wont shed that often anyway, which explains the 6 months you said.

Cheers for now :)
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
i was guaging by the coloring on the turrets that he hasnt developed yet. he looks like my guy thats right around 10-11 months old. i did miss the part about april 2008 :)

jojackson - has given good advice please follow!
 

Anthony Hendrick

New Member
Thanks dudes.

Check on the label of the supplement and let us know how much IU/Kg is in the dust.
That would allow us to know how frequently you should dust with it.


Ill get back to you on that PSI, thanks for the heads up mate.

To be honest I never had a very strict plan with the dusting. I used it all the time (I was advised by some expert to use it all the time during the early stages as he was still growing). Now that he's nearly three my vet advised me to ease up a bit with the dusting but xrays a year ago showed that he had good bone density (according to the vet) so I presumed I was doing the right thing.

I started with a wee bottle, got tired of daily filling too. In the end I suspended a 10 liter container and used a tap (aquarium tubing connection)
so I can turn it on and off easy, last a few days


........ill get a bigger container methinks, refilling is a pain in the ass coz it's way up on a shelf behind the viv and u need a chair to get to it!

Might be easier to adjust the ceramics height so the temperature is nice beneath

Ill do that. Not at home right now but ill raise the level of the ceramic. He wouldn't normally go on top of the cage, he used to but i haven't seen him do that since he was a few months old,I miss it actually, it looks so ridiculous!

attaching the probe to a branch for a better reading will be a pain in the bailey too, not to mention the tape getting wet.

Actually I use thick sort of string for all thing needs, works a treat!! I tie everything to everything in the cage!!! I tied the sensor to one of those repti vine things and it's positioned about 30cm from the top of the cage.

Ill attach some better pics, the last ones weren't great, I was in a bit of a rush last night.From the pics it does look like the basking light is practically beside him but unless he stood up on his back legs he wouldn't touch it. I know him and he never goes near the bulb. However, I may need to raise it out of the cage more as it seems to be raising the temps too much.

I have to say i'm confident enough with the thermostat (there's a pic there). It's very good. It starts to intermittently cut the power as the temperature reaches 25 degrees celcius (I have it set to 25 day and 22 night). So at night literally turns itself on and off every 2 seconds in order to send just the right amount of power to the ceramic to keep the temperature steady, and obviously if it goes above the optimum temps it just turns off.

I do have the uv on a timer and the spray system,saves a lot of switch pressing action!!!

Assuming the room is warm you might have a go at knocking together a woodframe cage and covering it in flyscreen

Yeah, I completely agree with you about using a terrarium. I carefully looked into this but unfortunately it's not possible in ireland. The humidity is too low and the temps are just not there. I understand vivs don't provide the best ventilation but I think it's working well.He has never had a lung problem and there is never mould growing in it.With regards to drainage, I have a super duper cool method I set up recently. I tilt the viv very very slighty and have pebbles at the bottom (had to remove orchid bark, too unhygenic with the amount of water falling. Then I stick a little pipe in the door of the cage and place the end down at the bottom where all the water collects with the other end about a metre under the bottom of the viv on the ground in a bucket. Then you just have lose all self respect and when no ones looking..........suck on the end of the pipe........until the water starts to travel itself. no water goes in your mouth and it's really effective.......probably not the most hygienic way of draining a cage though!!!


Ill get better pics later, they're not great coz i'm using a crappy phone.

thanks again

Anthony
 

Attachments

Last edited:

jojackson

New Member
Theres an old saying, If it aint broke, dont fix it, that said, I still dont like that bulb inside.
Having managed for 3 yrs be a real shame if something went unexpectedly wrong.
Have you seen any more gaping?

Then you just have lose all self respect and when no ones looking..........suck on the end of the pipe........until the water starts to travel itself. no water goes in your mouth and it's really effective.......probably not the most hygienic way of draining a cage though!!!

Better you than me mate, turd water...uggghh!
You know for few euro, you can buy nifty plastic gadget (siphon) that gets it flowing by squeezing. Next time you stop by a pet shop.



Brushed your teeth today? :D
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
What is in the supplements you use and whatever you use to gutload/feed the insects in the way of phos., calcium, D3 and vitamin A? Is the vitamin A prEformed (acetate, palmitate, retinol, etc.) or prOformed (beta carotene)?
 

RenVet

New Member
Great advice here from the senior panel here Andrew. Follow their instructions closely. I also recommend getting the light out of the aquarium ASAP. I'd put my money on your big fella having superficial burns from the bulb and the reason why he is gaping is because he is hyperventilating/overheating in the aquarium setup. And heat exhaustion/ heat stroke is a life-threatening complication. Your going to want to get that bulb out of there and following the husbandry recommendations by the forum seniors and hopefully get your cham back on track. He's a stunner by the way!
Dr Ren (Vet)
P.S. Buy some calcium supplementation without the D3. The need of supplementation with D3 is controversial in (Panther) Chams due to their ability to regulate their D3 levels and absorbing what they need by way of UV-B. If the study interests you, you can find it here:http://www.reptileuvinfo.com/docs/chameleons-regulate-endogenous-vitamin-D3.pdf
 

Anthony Hendrick

New Member
"Check on the label of the supplement and let us know how much IU/Kg is in the dust.
That would allow us to know how frequently you should dust with it."


I use Nutrobal which displays its contents per gram:

200mg calcium

150 IU (so that means it's 150000/kg)

I also dust his food with AVI Pro plus

The IU on the container is 200000

I use this to a lesser extent

The Nutrobal to Avi Pro plus ratio is about 3:1
 

Anthony Hendrick

New Member
Thanks very much Renvet for your response.

I have since removed the bulb from the cage.

I have to say though, I am quite confident that he is not over heating in the cage.

He's not gaping fully, he's just opening his mouth slightly which I have never seen before. He also breaths out when he opens his mouth.

For the first time yesterday he tried to grab a locust from my hand without using his tongue. The second time he went for the locust he used his tongue. This has happened every time I gave him a locust/wax worm.

I'm starting to believe he has a problem with his mouth, perhaps an infection.

A vet visit is in order on Wednesday (even though he went just before Christmas)

I don't have an answer for the partly white skin on his back I have to say.

He has had the skin on his back since just after Christmas and he started this partly gaping thing just two weeks ago.

I said in a recent comment that as a result of the really cold weather over the christmas my cham slept directly under the heat bulb (which was positioned outside the cage about 30cm from the cham

Is it possible that he has dried out his skin without burning himself??

I will post a few more detailed pics of his back later. i'm not at home at the minute.

thanks again

(Ill definitely also take your -D3 advice on board, thanks for the heads up)
 
Top Bottom