Zulu update


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Happy New Year, all! I posted a version of this a few days ago, but I think it got lost in the holiday shuffle. Here's an update on Zulu, and I have a few more questions:

Thank you all, for your support.

Here's the latest with Zulu:

He's interested in food and has eaten quite a few worms on his own. I've offered him small crickets as well, and I'm pretty sure he's had some of those too. Today he's not very interested.

He can open his mouth about 1/3 inch. Yesterday he was using his tongue. It doesn't go out far.

He seems kind of depressed. The most interesting has been when I've taken him in the shower. He actually seems to get kind of excited by it. Can you recommend the best temperature?

The previous owner left standing water for him only. He was an adult by this time, so I'm guessing he figured out how to drink standing water, or else he would have died, despite the fact that everything I've read says they don't. I have him on a bird stand in the shower, with the water pointed at the wall. It fills up the cup. After I turned off the water, he went over to the cup and hung on to it. I don't know if he drank or what. Interesting behavior, though.

My vet took him off Baytril. He's got the bacteria that causes mouth rot. She's injecting him with a different med -- didn't catch the name. The stringy stuff in his mouth is now gone, but that crusty, hard glaze around his gum line is still there. Does anyone know what that is and what to do about it?

I don't know if he has lock jaw, but I'm guessing, if that's a proper medical condition. Any thoughts about this? (Jan. 2 - he didn't open his mouth at all, even to hiss at me. :-( )

Thank you all for your help and input. I really appreciate all of your expertise and wisdom that you share.

Happy New Year to all,

All best,

Wow you have your hands full. Most chams don't eat ever day, you might try feeding him every other day and see if he is more willing to eat.

Most keepers say water temp should be almost down to room temp. just above that. If you use warm water it will be hot him. That said I mist my chams with very warm water every day. i would try a dripper on his cage so he has the opportunity to learn to drink clean water instead of standing water.

I would gently try to swipe his mouth off with a warm damp cloth. You don't want to hurt him but it might remove the crusts if you do it daily. They may just be a build up.

Let us know how he does.
Thank you, Laurie. I will. You may have missed my earlier, more involved posts about Zulu. He has been one sick little man, and I have been trying my best to do whatever I can for him. He's been under the vet's care now for at least a month. I go in just about every three days now for fluids and shots. He's still pretty strong and alert, but there were days when I felt certain he wasn't going to make it. It took about a week or more for to determine he has mouth rot, and he had it pretty bad. He was on Baytril for a while, and it did nothing. I flushed out his mouth, I fed him A/D dog food, he had subcutaneous fluids...it's been going on a while. He started to eat on his own around Christmas, although not a lot. Some days he's really interested, but for the last two, he hasn't been. I'm trying to do right by him. There's plenty I don't know, and several people on this forum have been very generous with their wisdom. I'm getting smarter; hopefully not too little too late. I should also mention that I don't know how old he is, but I would guess he's at least 4 or 5 years old. So what all is going on with him is anyone's guess. Anyhow -- thanks for your support and advice. I'll try to wipe his mouth in the morning.

BTW, how often do you spray his cage?

And, if you use a drip system, where does the water go? Do you have a pan in the bottom of your chammy's cage?


Mom, you are being such a trooper!

I've read cases of chameleons learning to drink from standing water, though it's not common at all. Given that you suspect it might be the case, can you set up a safe water bowl for Zulu? As I recall, you have a cage like mine, the PVC pipes and cloth mesh. Those don't lend themselves to hanging things off the side of the cage quite as well as screen cages. But maybe you can work up something involving the corner pipe...I'll think on that. If he's staying near the bottom, of course, you can leave a water bowl there. Just make sure it's not too large or too deep (in case he falls in) and that you clean it out thoroughly every day.

I spray with a hand sprayer at the moment, though why I haven't used Christmas money to buy something that's easier on my carpal tunnel, I don't know... anyway, I like to get the cage dripping wet. Spray the plants and vines, spray the top of the cage until it rains.

The easiest way to deal with the water would be to get one of those big rubber storage drawers, cut hole in the top, put the cage on it. The water will drain into the drawer. You can just empty the drawer every day or more if needed.

If I'm wrong and you have a screen cage, then you'll need to drill holes in the bottom of the cage as well, but that's easy.

Lockjaw is actually tetanus. I doubt he has that. However, it's possible he has a broken jaw. From what I've read, that's not totally uncommon with chameleons who've had bad early years. You might mention the idea to your vet.

You might check your local stores for this: Zilla Caloric Supplement.. It might help to rotate it in to your feeding schedule. Also, I know that some people here have made what they call "bug juice" to keep an animal going. Hopefully someone will post that recipe. I'll try to find it for you. It's sort of gross though. I seem to remember it's made in a coffee grinder or small food processor, so if you do it, you might want to purchase one just for that!
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