No announcement yet.

Any experienced chameleons owners? I need help!

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Any experienced chameleons owners? I need help!

    I just had a neighbor give me her chameleon because she knows I am an experienced gecko breeder. Just from looking at this cham, I know something is wrong. Without experience in chams, I am not sure what to do. See pictures below and details that I have.

    I believe they have had this cham for a month or two. I saw a picture of it when they got it and it looked MUCH better than these pictures. They had it housed in an 18x18x24 exoterra with a waterfall, plenty of climbing places and moss/rocks in the bottom. They also housed it with 2 red belly toads they have had for over a year. This is the 3rd cham they have owned, all placing them in the same cage. The first one died so they bouth the 2nd and 3rd around the same time. The 2nd one died and now this 3rd one is looking bad. They are feeding calcium dusted crickets, but she hasn't seen him/her eat for a while now. They had a UVB bulb on and the temps she said were around 70-85 degrees.

    I have put him/her in an 18x18x24 with a bushy vine that runs from top to bottom. I am going to put a drip system in the cage for water and put a few crickets in to see if he/she will eat.

    He/She looks extremely skinny.

    It also looks like it has had diarrhea of some kind.

    Any ideas/suggestions on what I can do?
    3.1 Chahoua
    6.20.19 Crested Gecko

  • #2
    Oh boy, she appears very thin and her eyes look sunken from dehydration. The very best thing you can do for her is to make sure she is hydrating herself, mist her cage several times daily and run the dripper. I would remove the substrate at the bottom and replace with paper towels, as well as remove her tank mates if you haven't already. I would also get rid of the waterfall as chameleons commonly use them as toilets and they usually are bacteria cesspools. I recommend putting a tupperware container at the bottom of the cage to catch runoff from the dripper that you can empty easily to avoid a flood at the bottom.

    For feeders, the best for her would be bugs that are high in moisture like silkworms. Dust her feeders with calcium without D3 only.

    For the dehydration, you can try the shower chamber for her:

    Does she have a basking lamp?

    Lots of people do not like housing chams in glass terrariums and rather screen cages, but if you can keep the temps and humidity in the right areas as well as enough foliage in there to prevent her from stressing out and flailing about on the glass sides, I don't think it's a problem.

    Here are more references:

    I hope she improves for you! I would also think about taking her to the vet if possible.


    • #3
      Thank you! I didn't get the cage with her so I have her housed alone in an exoterra with paper towels in the bottom. I have tried getting her to drink but she isn't. I am going to leave her alone for the night and then try the shower thing in the morning! Hopefully I can get her to drink. She keeps her eyes closed most of the time.

      I have another cage that may work better for her. I will also need to get a basking light set up. Thanks for all the information!
      3.1 Chahoua
      6.20.19 Crested Gecko


      • #4
        Sometimes it can take chams a while to start drinking during a misting. Hopefully she will drink for you in the shower!


        • #5
          Melanie... OMG, that poor poor cham! I am really sorry. I have bred and raised chams in the past and they are incredibly fragile. This one, as mentioned by the previous post is really dehydrated and sick. The eyes closed is a tell tale sign there is something significantly wrong with the cham. The eyes are really sunken in, the hips are bony, arms and legs thin, tail is thin, and the vent area looks swollen and pretty bad. Diarrhea and feces around the vent area is not good. Chams are not too far from geckos as far as what signs of a sick animal.

          From the casque, this looks like a Veiled? Yes? A lot of Veiled's are captive bred. However, I have gone to pet stores and seen Veileds and Senegal Chams in a shared enclosure. Chams- especially wild caught are notorious for parasites. If the previous chams had parasites and they were placed in the same cage, well you know, each new animal introduced can pick up the parasites. Crickets left in the enclosure, can eat the feces, and spread the parasites. You know the cycle... happens with geckos too.

          Try what you can with this guy. I wish you all the best. I sincerely hope this Cham makes it- and with you it has a great chance!
          4.7.??? Crested Geckos 1.1 Leachianus 1.0 Gargoyle Gecko


          • #6
            Wow, Holy crap. Do you like your neighbors much? Because I don't, reading this.

            First off, that's a Veiled chameleon and it's in VERY bad shape, poor thing. It looks like either an immature male or a very very underweight female, but I can't tell for sure. I would seek the advice of a herp vet ASAP, as opposed to the internet. I can't diagnose or offer help that a vet would, but I have kept and bred chams for over 6yrs and that animal is in very poor condition, and may be close to dying. Feces around the vent is an extremely bad sign, and he needs to see a vet as soon as humanly possible.

            I also want to stress that a glass terrarium is not appropriate housing. While it is true that some species of chameleons (Peacock, carpet, some pygmy or bradypodion species) can do well in a glass tank, it is not recommended for a Veiled and will actually contribute to the distress. Without the increased airflow from a proper mesh enclosure, a respiratory infection could set in within an hour, easily, and that added stress is enough to kill him/her. A glass tank is seriously a death trap for a chameleon; it's nearly impossible to regulate their finicky temperature requirements in what amounts to a glass oven, and the excess humidity is not good for an animal that comes from arid Yemen. Please, please move it to a proper mesh cage. Even an Ikea laundry mesh hamper can work as a temporary measure. Live plants are also entirely essential for chameleons, not just fake ones, so please get him a pothos or a Malabar Spinach, or something living that he can drink water off of, and get beneficial CO2 from.

            Do you have UVB/UVA on it now? What are you feeding and what supplementation are you using? Proper supplementation is a formula for each species and is definitely not as simple as just dusting a few crickets. You need to be dusting his feeders daily with D3 Rep-Cal, weekly with a combination of Miner-All and non-D3 Rep-Cal. Are you offering any vegetation? Veileds are omnivorous and calcium-rich greens like spinach and kale would really help it. You can use binder clips to attach them to the branches and they love that.

            This is why chameleons aren't for everyone; they're incredibly high maintenance and need incredible amounts of care, far beyond our geckos or any other species. They are so sensitive you can actually kill some species just by looking at them too much, and no, I'm not kidding. A chameleon is probably the hardest animal to take care of properly, and while Veileds are pretty hardy, this is a classic example of why proper housing and care is essential. A lot of people love the look and beauty of a cham, but not everyone is cut out to care for them, and certainly not your neighbors! Glad he/she is in better hands now.

            If anyone doubts anything I'm saying here, you can either PM me for more information or check out forums members there are awesome and very helpful, too.
            3.8.0 C. ciliatus , 1.1 G. vittatus , 0.1 G. gekko , 2.0 F. pardalis ambilobe, 1.0 C. calyptratus, 0.1 P. grandis, 1.0 P. curtus


            • #7
              Poor thing! I pray it feels better soon, no matter which way its path leads.
              Good for you for taking it in and trying your best for it!!
     Crested Gecko ( Panchi, Cobar, Jodhaa, Mocha, Poe, Durc, Tivonan, & Stelona.)
              0.1 Leopard Gecko ( Mehndi )
              1.0 Tokay Gecko ( Ralphie )
              2.0 Dogs ( Mel, Buck )
              0.4 Cats ( Koyo, Lupin, Hope, Flop-Tail )


              • #8
                I really appreciate all the advise above, unfortunately I was too late to save this sweet girl. she made it through the night but passed away yesterday afternoon. I have talked to the owners about proper care but may pass along a lot more of the details above. My husband and I have always wanted a chameleon but knew they had such specialized care so had never bought one before. Thanks again for the information!
                3.1 Chahoua
                6.20.19 Crested Gecko


                • #9
                  Oh the poor lass.

                  At least she was able to get a shower and some decent care before she went. You did a good thing here, and hopefully your education to the neighbors will prevent more cham deaths.
                  3.8.0 C. ciliatus , 1.1 G. vittatus , 0.1 G. gekko , 2.0 F. pardalis ambilobe, 1.0 C. calyptratus, 0.1 P. grandis, 1.0 P. curtus


                  • #10
                    Wow, heart just broke. Poor little girl. If they have had 3, and all have died, best choice for them would be not to get a cham. Especially since veiled chams are considered the more resilient. Unfortunately they sound like they got a lot of bad advice when setting up the tank. Hope you can either steer them down the correct path or convince them to get a different type of pet? Maybe a hamster is more their cup of tea.

                    It's always a challenge to take on rehabilitation of a reptile, thank you for trying!

                    But is by for the best place to get good info on care. The community there is very helpful and usually pretty nice

                    Sorry she died, but glad you tried
                    C. ciliatus D. leucomelas 0.0.4 Furcifir pardalis 1.0 living with 3.6 Bufo marinus 0.2 R. leachianus 0.1 Batrachomoeus trispinosus 0.0.1 (and 1.0 Pug)

                    Facebook Page