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Chameleon Not Eating

Discussion in 'Chameleons' started by blair, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    I'm a new chameleon owner and don't see my veiled eating. I have been offering crickets dusted with calcium. The Chams enclosure is open air, 16x16x30tall with a 100 watt basking light and 5.0uvb bulb at the top. I have a drip and he is drinking water every time I see him. I also have a pothos in the bottom and mist the cage 3-5 times daily. He seems to have no interest in worms. Today I caught him sleeping about 2 hours before bedtime and my wife says he does take a few naps throughout the day. Any advice would be appreciated, I'd hate for him to take a turn for the worst and feel like if there is a problem we r catching it early. I read in the fall they only need 8 hours of light but don't know if that's true.

  2. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Here is our site's caresheet, please take some time to review it and make sure you have proper conditions inside of the enclosure:
    Veiled Chameleon | Herp Center
    How long have you had him? Any idea of his age? Would you mind posting a few photos of him and the enclosure?
  3. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    Hello, thanks for the response. We have only had him since Sunday and have no idea of his/her age. I will see if I can sex him when I get home tonight. He didn't want to wake up today until my wife moved him from under the pothos to the basking/water spot around 10am and he seems awake and alert now. She says he naps frequently throughout the day which I'm reading is not normal. I haven't actually experienced this behavior yet, when i get home from work he's usually licking at his drip. His enclosure sits next to a ball python enclosure so i'm considering moving them as i'm worried he can sense the snake. Also we have three dogs that when excited can make a lot of noise in the living room.

    I'm a little worried about the heat. I started with a 60 watt or something like that which was recommended to me from pet store but the enclosure doesn't heat up enough. I put in a 100 watt and still believe the temps to be a little low. I don't have adequate branches for the cham to actually move around much under the light and am working on a cross support for him. I will say my thermometer/probe seems to be very slow and well...worthless so i intend to get an accurate reading today and make a decision on putting in a 150 watt basking light.

    I'm not sure he's eating quite enough. Maybe i just don't see it happen because the enclosure is big it takes a while. i don't take the crickets out if he doesn't eat them and i believe they are slowly disappearing. I never have more than 4-5 in there at once though. The cham seems to love his water which i'm assuming is a good sign

    We have had to handle him more than i'd like, setting up new cage and adding to his cage and well today to warm him up. I'm very worried as there's no way he's used to his new home yet and i keep having to bother him.

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  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, it will be almost impossible to stabilise temps and humidity in a screen enclosure. I see you mention "probe" so I take it the hygrometer is digital?
  5. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Let him get settled for a bit. You don't even need to offer food. Water is very important though.
    I have to echo the above post reguarding screen enclosures. You read all the time that they are required for Chams. However there is no way you can provide enough humidity in an enclosure - in a dry room.
    Fluctuating humidity and temperatures are common in nature for sure but that can be day to day not changing within 15 minutes of misting.
    It is very bad for Chams to not have proper stable humidity levels and by stable I mean like in nature.

    The only way to do this is to have a mostly sealed off habitat.
    As a whole the reptile community seems to be really slow to grasp this concept (except us enlightened few I guess :) )
    There has already been studies done on zoo animals that has really pushed this topic as of late.
    TJOHNSON722, Darkbird and murrindindi like this.
  6. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Sorry, phone went ran out of time; is the UVB source a compact bulb?
    Edit: If the lizard is constantly drinking it suggests dehydration and/or too much heat.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
  7. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    First off i really appreciate all the feedback. This may sound silly but I catch myself worrying about our reptiles a lot lately. We traded a 55 gal tank for a baby cham and a very small terrarium and he didn't make it. He was sick from the get go and now I think I worry too much about the new one. I hear that chameleons are not for beginners and well, that worries me because I knew nothing about them until recently

    I'm looking for some tile for the back to help keep some of the humidity in. I do understand that won't help a lot but if possible i'd like to find a way to keep him in his current enclosure for now. I've done tons of digging through info on rainfall systems and humidifiers. I had talked myself out of both but the consensus here seems to be that i will have a hard time with humidity in the screen enclosure so i would like to try a humidifier next to the enclosure. Any suggestions on cool mist vs warm mist or neither?

    @murrindindi, I do not have a working hygrometer as of now and yes the UVB is a compact reptisun 5.0. I have an extra 18 inch 5.0 UVB light that i could easily put up there ( that would give me an opportunity to put a CHE in place of the compact bulb to maybe get the heat level where it needs to be). He doesn't look dehydrated but he drinks quite a bit. Can dehydration occur due to poor humidity levels? I can't imagine the basking spot is over 90, i asked my wife to measure today and she said 78, which i don't believe is possible with a 100 watt light 10 inches away. My wife also just called and said he fell off of a vine. He was moving down away from the light to "nap" and fell into the pothos. He has a very strong grip with arms and tail so it's weird to hear that he fell.

    I'm hoping he is just stressed. My plan is to take whatever advice i get from this forum (which has been great), make some final adjustments to his habitat and leave him alone for week or so. I will take him to the vet if his health seems to decline at all.
  8. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I`m having serious problems with my laptop, not sure how long I can continue.....
    You need to cover virtually ALL of the screen, you can use plastic sheeting/similar. The screen is blocking most of the UVB (and at least some of the heat). The compact UVB bulbs are not very efficient.
    The lizard isn`t falling because of stress, it`s probably the conditions.
    If you don`t know what the humidity is how do you know what the temps are?
    You are basically trying to heat/humidify the whole room because the screen won`t hold either. In a fully enclosed space you could probably stabilise the humidity without using a humidifier (or repeatedly increasing the wattage of heat bulbs which will dry out the air anyway)!
    Dehydration WILL occur if the humidity is too low for any length of time (guaranteed).
    No vet (or medication) can help until all the conditions support the lizard.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
    TJOHNSON722 likes this.
  9. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Dehydration can definitely be cause from insufficient humidity.
    I used to have 2 Veileds Chameleons. This was years back when the only reptile info was in books (written by inexperienced authors usually)
    I lost them both due to screened enclosures and what I now know to be the cause of lack of humidity.
    You would want a cool-mist humidifier, not the warm one.
  10. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    I covered 2 sides of the enclosure in plastic (may have to cover the rest) and broke down and bought a cheap hygrometer to give me an idea of where I'm at. Apparently humidity was at desert levels lol. The gauge gave me a good idea that when I was misting, it wasn't near enough spray. Humidity went from 10-15% to 50% pretty fast. I did go with a cool mist humidifier and a $0.77 timer to turn it on every so often. we'll see what happens. Tried hand feeding a super worm and a cricket and he seemed interested, took one bite and spit them out. He went outside while i worked on the enclosure and seemed to perk right up. I did have to put an extra 75 watt basking bulb in to get the temp to 85. I also replaced the compact uvb with an 18 inch.

    Thanks again for the input. I'm confident I'm headed in the right direction. Will post an update over the next week or so.
    kriminaal likes this.
  11. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Hi and welcome. I'm going to echo what the others have said, get that screen covered. The only people I know who are using screen cages successfully with anything are using them in dedicated reptile rooms where the humidity and ambient temperature are already in the correct ranges. The one guy I know who breeds panther chams builds his own cages, and only has a small area for ventilation above and below the door, the rest of the cage is solid plywood. So your going to want to cover as much of the top as possible without interfering with the lights, and all the sides. Another thing, chameleons are very subject to stress related issues, so much so that it will kill them, so stop handling yours unless absolutely needed. It might also be a good idea to relocate the cage to a quieter area if at all possible, I doubt the dogs are helping the situation. Your heading in the right direction, so hopefully with a few more tweaks the caging issues will be taken care of.

    Edit: Wanted to add that proper gauges for measuring temps and humidity are essential. You can get a reasonably decent gauge at Walmart for around $12 that will give you temp and humidity at the base unit, and a second temp reading through a probe. Not the best units, but good for the price. I usually put the base unit in the cool area of the cage, then either use the probe to measure the basking site, or just locate it in the hot area of the cage and use and infra red temp gun to measure the basking temps. And yes, chams are generally not recommended for beginners, but veileds are the hardiest of the different species.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
  12. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    I agree with all above suggestions. The dogs are stressing him out. The cage needs to be covered as much as possible or its a loosing situation with temps and humidity. When you do do this, you may not need as much heat on him either. So when or if you cover all sides (maybe plexiglass) keep an eye on temps and hunidity as you may need to adjust it. Trust me, weve all been there. The 12.00 thermometer hygrometer with probe at walmart is accurite and you can get it with the other outdoor thermomters. Keep us updated.
  13. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    I have to say you were all 100% accurate on all accounts. I had to cover all 4 sides of the open air enclosure with plastic to keep the humidity in, I also was able to cut back on the lights for heat. Still not optimal as I'm having to spray many times a day. I have been considering a misting system to regulate this and see several for about $70.

    I also had to move the enclosure to a room with less traffic and I swear within the hour the Cham started picking off crickets.

    Thank u all for the responses we are doing well. He still isn't very active but I have to believe that is due to a new home and lots of stress. He isn't sleeping during the day which is a turn for the better. Odd thing is I never see him drinking water anymore. I would assume he's hydrating thru the regular misting and will keep an eye on him
  14. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Thats awesome! yay. I love happy endings. Keep us updated.
  15. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Good to hear.
  16. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Very glad to hear this, and hope it continues to improve. Just a suggestion on the misting systems, but you will greatly improve their lifespan by using R/O water rather than tap water. It's usually the mineral buildup from tapwater that sends them to an early grave.
  17. blair

    blair Well-Known Member

    A quick update on the Cham. He seems to be doing well. I don't see him drinking at all but I work a 9-5 and he doesn't look dehydrated. He is eating and the temps/humidity are manageable.

    I took him and the pothos out today and worked on/cleaned the enclosure. Thought I'd try to put him in shower while he waited, he seemed thoroughly terrified and I pulled them out after a few minutes.

    I had 2 6ft vines tangled all over and he had a very hard time changing directions on the thin vines. Several times we saw him dangling struggling to right himself. I tied them both together so they are much thicker and will see if he likes it. I also had to cut back a lot of the pothos, it was taking up too much room and I never saw him go below half way on the cage, also worried his food had too many hiding places.

    Thanks guys for the help. My only regret is not researching colorful chams but we love him he's part of the family!

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