Why is my chameleon always so dark?

Josephmuse

New Member
Your Chameleon - Male Veiled Chameleon, owned since August 2018, not sure of age (Got from a rescue)

Handling - He comes out several times a week, climbs on the blinds and sometimes does educational programs. He really seems to like coming out and will reach up to grab onto me when I go into his enclosure.

Feeding - He eats mealworms, crickets, superworms, and roaches. Food is gut loaded. He eats like a horse, would eat and eat and eat if I let him.

Supplements - Food is supplemented with ZooMed Repticalcium with D3 and Reptivite every feeding.

Watering - Has a waterfall suspended half way up his enclosure that provides constant, flowing water. His enclosure is equipped with a misting system that sprays a few seconds every hour.

Fecal Description - Fecal matter is normal color (Brown and white) and normal consistency.

History - He came to me from a rescue. He did get a thermal burn on his Casque shortly after I got him (Roommates had a chameleon at the time and I followed there advice on enclosure, bad idea...). That was treated by the vet and the burn has since fallen off. He gets a antibacterial ointment on his Casque because the skin is still growing in.

Cage Info:

Cage Type - Lives in a custom built 2'x2'x4' wood and screen enclosure.

Lighting - Has a linear t5 UVB bulb and a deep dome reptiglow heat lamp 125w (I think? Can't find box and can't find the bulbs info on its side. Sorry)

Temperature - Daytime : Basking is 92.8f. Mid cage is 78.1f. Bottom is 73.9f. Nighttime : whole cage goes like 68f to 72f.

Humidity - Not sure what exactly it is. There is not a place to mount a humidity gauge in this screen cage. I am currently running on an, "I feel it is appropriate because he sheds well when he sheds" system. Eventually I will have one mounted on the back when I turn it bioactive.

Plants - Not yet, have some propagating in bins, waiting for me to finish the back of the enclosure.

Placement - In my living room, surrounded by the other reptiles and amphibians we own.

Location - The Pacific Northwest

Current Problem - My chameleon is always dark. He used to be really vibrant and colorful. Then the burn happened and I, and the Vet, figured he was dark because he was not really eating and was undergoing treatment. He is now long into recovery from that incident and has regained his enormous appetite. He sheds well, is very active, and loves coming out. Anyone else have this problem? I will attach photos of how he used to look versus how he looks now.

Thank you for any information you may have.
 

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Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
There are many, many reasons this could be happening unfortunately. Very hard to pin down. Oftentimes, their less bright colors actualy signify that they are content. Bright colors are a sign of stress and overstimulation. There are a couple things in your husbandry that need correcting ASAP, however. Maybe making these changes will help with his colors.

(1) Remove the mealworms from his diet entirely. They are nutritionally useless and, more importantly, are a risk of impaction. It's healthier and safer to stick with your other feeders. If he really likes grubs, then switch to black soldier fly larvae, which are extremely high in calcium and very healthy for them.

(2) Your supplement schedule is way off. I'm putting that in bold just to emphasize that this one really needs to be changed immediately, as you are overdosing him both with vitamin D3 and with multivitamins. These supplements are toxic if fed too frequently. You should only be using those two supplements twice a month. And you are missing the other essential supplement: calcium with NO vitamin D3. That is the one you should use for daily feedings. Definitely not the D3 one.

(3) The waterfall needs to be removed entirely as well. They are absolutely notorious for killing chameleons. No matter how often you clean them, they are bacterial ticking time bombs and will eventually (if it hasn't already) give your chameleon an infection of one variety of the other. You should stick just to misting, but it needs to be a minimum of 2 minutes per misting session

Everything else looks pretty good. Try to get some live plants in there. Hope that helps!
 

Josephmuse

New Member
There are many, many reasons this could be happening unfortunately. Very hard to pin down. Oftentimes, their less bright colors actualy signify that they are content. Bright colors are a sign of stress and overstimulation. There are a couple things in your husbandry that need correcting ASAP, however. Maybe making these changes will help with his colors.

(1) Remove the mealworms from his diet entirely. They are nutritionally useless and, more importantly, are a risk of impaction. It's healthier and safer to stick with your other feeders. If he really likes grubs, then switch to black soldier fly larvae, which are extremely high in calcium and very healthy for them.

(2) Your supplement schedule is way off. I'm putting that in bold just to emphasize that this one really needs to be changed immediately, as you are overdosing him both with vitamin D3 and with multivitamins. These supplements are toxic if fed too frequently. You should only be using those two supplements twice a month. And you are missing the other essential supplement: calcium with NO vitamin D3. That is the one you should use for daily feedings. Definitely not the D3 one.

(3) The waterfall needs to be removed entirely as well. They are absolutely notorious for killing chameleons. No matter how often you clean them, they are bacterial ticking time bombs and will eventually (if it hasn't already) give your chameleon an infection of one variety of the other. You should stick just to misting, but it needs to be a minimum of 2 minutes per misting session

Everything else looks pretty good. Try to get some live plants in there. Hope that helps!
Thank you so much! This is by far the best answer I've received from anyone! I've posted this in so many places and the number one answer I get is that he is getting old (Which is also possible because I was never told how old he was when I adopted him). I've removed the waterfall from his enclosure and our other chameleons enclosure as well. I was already planning to take the trek to my favorite reptile store tomorrow so I will get the new supplements then. As for the mealworms, he had the last of them today along with some crickets so I won't be buying anymore of those! Again, thank you! I'll hopefully post a follow up of this in a few months!
 

Josephmuse

New Member
What was the treatment he was undergoing?
He was given silvadene and then antibiotic injections. The burn was rather severe. I was then instructed to rub a little antimicrobial gel (Used one for animals) on the burn after the burned parts fell off. Every once in a while I'll still rub some on. Until the skin is fully formed and built up I still add some every now and then.
 

Chameleon Mike

Chameleon Enthusiast
There are many, many reasons this could be happening unfortunately. Very hard to pin down. Oftentimes, their less bright colors actualy signify that they are content. Bright colors are a sign of stress and overstimulation. There are a couple things in your husbandry that need correcting ASAP, however. Maybe making these changes will help with his colors.

(1) Remove the mealworms from his diet entirely. They are nutritionally useless and, more importantly, are a risk of impaction. It's healthier and safer to stick with your other feeders. If he really likes grubs, then switch to black soldier fly larvae, which are extremely high in calcium and very healthy for them.

(2) Your supplement schedule is way off. I'm putting that in bold just to emphasize that this one really needs to be changed immediately, as you are overdosing him both with vitamin D3 and with multivitamins. These supplements are toxic if fed too frequently. You should only be using those two supplements twice a month. And you are missing the other essential supplement: calcium with NO vitamin D3. That is the one you should use for daily feedings. Definitely not the D3 one.

(3) The waterfall needs to be removed entirely as well. They are absolutely notorious for killing chameleons. No matter how often you clean them, they are bacterial ticking time bombs and will eventually (if it hasn't already) give your chameleon an infection of one variety of the other. You should stick just to misting, but it needs to be a minimum of 2 minutes per misting session

Everything else looks pretty good. Try to get some live plants in there. Hope that helps!
All very good points. In addition what does the cage look like? Pics? He may be stressed if there is not enough coverage.
 
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