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Help!! Chameleon Won't Eat Or Drink. At All.

Discussion in 'Chameleons' started by John Rohan, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. John Rohan

    John Rohan New Member

    Got the family a juvenile veiled for Christmas. This is our first chameleon. But I have owned geckos before, a few turtles, and more snakes than I can count.

    Anyway, I have never seen a reptile so shy about eating! Even animals I caught from the wild weren't so stubborn. Have had him 3 days now and he's not slightly interested in food. That wouldn't alarm me too much at this point, but he won't drink anything either.

    More details: He is active and seems healthy so far. He pooped one time so he obviously has eaten at some point in his life. In the pet store he was in an enclosure that was much too small. In our home I set him up in a 4' tall bird cage, which he seems to love, the one thing that has gone right. He's still small so he fits through the bars, and seems to enjoy slipping in and out of the cage but mostly hangs out near the top in the branches. We were concerned at first, but he doesn't run away. The room is warm and he has a UV light.

    For food: I Started off with mealworms since I'm used to those. Since he wasn't interested, I switched to crickets. I tried putting the mealworms on the ground of the cage, and the crickets in little cups at medium height. I also tried simply holding the crickets in an open box right in front of him. No luck. I even put him in the bathtub with crickets. Still no luck (I found one person online who said they had success with that).

    For water: I put a bowl on the bottom of the cage and he never used it. Can't even put him near it, all he does is immediately climb up. I have misted the leaves of the cage a few times a day but never once saw him lick the water. The only water he has had at this point is when I used an eyedropper to place a couple drops in his mouth when he happened to open it.

    It's possible that he's overwhelmed by the size of the cage. So finally as a last resort, I put him a very small tank like he was in the pet store, and still he doesn't take water or even look at the crickets.

    At this point, I am getting really worried. Since he's so young, he should be eating something. At least drinking water. Now I'm really stuck. Even taking him back to the pet store isn't a great option. He would go back to a tiny tank and the next owner will probably have the same problem I'm having. I would appreciate any advice at all.
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Well first off, unless your home is kept around 80° during the day I can say it's not warm enough. The bird cage is a bad idea all around, these animals need a relatively sealed environment to maintain the proper conditions for good health. Another issue is that most chams won't drink from a standing water source, they either need to be listed or have some sort of drip system set up. I prefer to use an automatic misting system of some sort so I don't forget. Also, chameleons are some of the hardest reptiles to keep healthy, they are easily stressed and can be slow to recover. They should not be handled, especially if they already aren't eating, and moving from cage to cage will continue to cause problems. And skip the mealworms, they key off the movement of the prey and mealies don't usually cut it. I would concentrate on getting the temps and humidity set properly and then just leave a few crickets in the cage. A piece of Apple or carrot can be put in the cage so the bugs won't bother the lizard.
    AmityReptiles likes this.
  3. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I've kept Veileds in the past. Most of the info on the internet is useless. Like Darkbird said, you need a sealed environment. Sure they benefit from air flow but lack of moisture will kill them slowly as I found out the hard way.
    Like most reptiles you need to maintain the required humidity. Rising and dropping levels is very hard on them.
    Once he is acclimated I would set up a rain shower unit. A Mistking system is great if you can setup an enclosure that will support drainage.
    You need to have a drip system for water. Set it up so it bounces off of leaves before landing in a dish at the bottom.

    Right now you are stressing him out by moving him around. Get his enclosure set up properly and leave him alone with some crickets for food.
    Again I cannot stress the need for humidity enough. He will die a slow death without it.
  4. John Rohan

    John Rohan New Member

    Thank you both, I'll try raising the temp and humidity. I did that in the small tank, and he did end up eating 3 crickets (or at least I'm sure he did, I searched the enclosure and a couple hours later they were gone).

    I still want to get him drinking though. At this point, the bird cage isn't a cage for him, since he can slip through the bars, it's more like a jungle gym. I will get him a better enclosure.

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