Wild caught acclimation and parasite treatments?


Chameleon Enthusiast
Before I start... Disclaimer wild caught chameleons should only be considered by experienced keepers ideally with the intention of breeding...

With that out of the way I have been working with chameleons on and off since the late 90s... I have had some wild caught experience but want to get more serious about a breeding project. In speaking with forum members with WC experience it seems that treating a WC for parasites is not always necessary or even recommended. Can anyone describe their experience with WC and their acclimation process from start to finish? Should we still consider treating for parasites immediately after import? Wait until they are doing well in captivity or not required at all? Thanks!

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
No experience, but common sense tells me treatment might depend on parasite species and load.
There shouldn't be any harm in getting a fecal test, and proceed from there. JMO.


Chameleon Enthusiast
I would think you’d want the animal to recover a bit from the stressors of the importation process before treating. Hopefully you’d be enlisting the use of a vet well-experienced with chameleons who would be guiding you.


Chameleon Queen
When I first started keeping chameleons in the 80's, all you could get were WC's. Most of them came in with health issues although not all of them had parasites.

Even after veileds and panthers were being produced CB, I continued to get other species as WC's so I could work with other species....and I sometimes got Panthers and veileds WC in order to ensure that I didn't breed related ones.

When chameleons came to me WC, I would keep them in quarantine in a separate area of the house from the ones I already had....and give them a few days to acclimate. This gives them a chance to settle in and takes some of the stress away which is said to lower the parasite load. However...if the chameleons seemed like they might have parasites and it was affecting them, I would get a fecal done. It doesn't hurt to get a fecal done even if you delay treatment.

The treatment would depend on the heaviness of the load of parasites. If the chameleon had a very heavy load and you treated it hard enough to kill off the whole load, the chameleon would more than likely die. When the parasites are living in the chameleon, it's taking a tole on the health of the chameleon but the chameleon can cope with it for a time. If you kill off the whole lot at once, then the chameleon has a lot of dead material (garbage) to get rid of and the chameleon's system can't handle it...so it dies....so we treated it more slowly.

Some parasites in a way don't need to be treated. One chameleon I had, expelled a live parasite and I took it to the vet who studied parasites at the teaching hospital where I took my reptiles...can't remember the name of it right now....have to look it up. The vet told me it wouldn't hurt the chameleon as long as I fed the chameleon well to make up for the nutrition the parasite was taking from the chameleon by living in it. He wanted me to try to get a male so he could determine the exact species that it was....so don't treat it, he said. I did get several more "worms" out of it ...but no male. When the chameleon died a couple of years later, he did an autopsy and got a male. I was never so surprised with anyone's reaction to finding a parsasite as I was to his that day!

This is going to take a while...so expect additions to this post for a bit.
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Chameleon Enthusiast
I read somewhere but can’t remember where that sometimes it’s okay and even better for the Cham if you don’t treat for parasites. I think it would depend on the type of parasite and how large the load is. It was an interesting article and may have even been one you posted @kinyonga
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