Yellow Urates


Chameleon Enthusiast
Credit: Petr Necas

Myth and truth about the white urate...

MYTH: Once upon a time...
someone created a myth:
A well hydrated chameleon has urates completely white...
Whenever an orange part appears, it is a sign of dehydration and you must soak the chameleon with water...
And the parrottes flew into all directions and spread this tidings.

TRUTH: In healthy and well hydrated chameleons, the ammount of visible orange crystaline urate comprises from 15 to 50 per cent!
More orange is a sign of dehydration.
Less orange than 15% and even totally white urates is a sign of overhydration!

In an organism, too much water is same dangerous as not enough water. The osmotic pressure tears the cells and ruptures appear all around the body causing damage and opening gates for infections, abscesses and subsequent death. Too much water (white urates) puts also the renal system partly out of function and any organ, that was forcefully stopped in function, can cause lethal harm.

The hyper-hydration can happen in the captivity through forceful ways of hydrating. In any case when you force a chameleon to drink bringing water to the mouth, he will reflexively swallow regardless he wants/needs to drink or not
It can happen through misting and most likely it happens while showering them when also nostrils are covered with water and they have no option... Some “experts” call this unnatural and forceful harmful way of drinking “stealth drinking” and dare even to recommend it and show it on videos.

Some people might object:
Water is not poisonous, is it?
It builds upto 72% of our bodies...
Try to drink 5 gallons... you will have heavy problems...
Try to pour clean water into your eyes for 20 minutes...
As Gus Hunter quotes:
First rule of toxicology. Everything is potentially toxic, it just depends on the dosage and concentration.

On the pic, there is a natural native dropping of T. jacksonii xantholophus at the end of dry season, perfectly healthy and hydrated male specimen.

On a other pic (courtesy Julie Mokry), a perfect captive dropping of F. pardalis showing the right proportion of crystalline and toothpaste-like urates.
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