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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 12071
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I have a veil chameleon. She's not eating and her eyes are

Customer Question

I have a veil chameleon. She's not eating and her eyes are kind of buldging out. She's shedding and has been for a couple days now. I don't know what to do?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the chameleon's name?
Customer: Emmy
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Emmy?
Customer: No not really just that she was fine this just started happening
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. Some additional information will be useful.

How long has this been going on?

How old is Emmy?

What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the enclosure?

What brand and size of UVB light do you have? How old is the bulb?

What do you feed Emmy? Any supplements?

What is the humidity level?

Thank you.


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This has only been going on for a few days.Her uv light that we put on at night is 75w build and it's set in a dome lamp.She has a all screen cage so the humidity level doesn't get that high in her cage and I may need advice on how to keep the humidity up in her cage.I feed her large crickets about 3 or 4 a day. And sometimes super worms large ones. No supplements to her but we feed the crickets orange cube cricket diet which is supposed to give Emmy her nutrients and vitamins.She's 3 years old.Temps are between 65 and 70 on the high side and 55 to 60 on the low sideAnd humidity doesn't get over 60% but I have had her for a long time and this has never been a bother to her.Please help :(
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for getting back to me. I apologize for the delay - I was called away and just returned. I suspect you got your information on care from a pet store. Most people do. While we should be able to rely on such information, unfortunately, it is often wrong. They sell people the wrong lighting, advise the wrong foods, and often don't know the correct temperatures for the various reptiles. After months or years of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. Some of what you have been told is wrong, and I suspect that is why Emmy is having so much trouble. Even though you have been trying so hard to keep her healthy, when you didn't have correct information to begin with, things are going wrong.

I'm working on your answer now and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for waiting. To be honest, I'm not sure why Emmy hasn't gotten sick before now.

I'm going to start you out with a first aid measure to take. Buy some unflavored Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak your chameleon for about 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their vents (where droppings pass out), so make the water deep enough to cover the vent.Be sure to supervise closely.

Chameleons are one of the most delicate of reptiles, and are more difficult to keep in captivity than most species. To complicate that, pet owners trust pet store personnel to give them good information on care, and that doesn't often happen. As a result, many chameleons die young.

You have been given incorrect information on temperature. Chameleons are adaptable to temperature extremes in their wild habitat, but there they can move around to find warmer or cooler spots. In a cage they have no choice. After months of being too cold, illness often develops. The coldest part of the cage should be 82.5*F. There should be a warm basking area that is kept at 89*F to 113*F. That sounds hot to us, but to a chameleon, it is just right. at night the temperature can be allowed to drop to 72*F to 79*F. Use a good digital probe thermometer to measure the temperature. You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the fixture or by changing the bulb to one with higher or lower wattage. If you have to lower the fixture, don't put it so low that your chameleon can touch it and be burned. The heat lamp will have to be on in the daytime.
Prey should be dusted in plain calcium powder. The cricket vitamins don't contain enough calcium to do any good. Chameleons also need plant foods. One of the easiest ways to provide them is to grow live plants in the cage. Live plants also keep the humidity level up. This site has lists of safe and unsafe plants:

You can also feed collard greens and other purchased greens. This site has great information on what vegetables to feed, and how often:

I don't think you actually have a UVB light. It's extremely important that you buy an additional light that produces UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand that does. If you choose another brand be absolutely certain it provides UVB rays. Don't take the word of pet store personnel, but read it for yourself. Full-spectrum, DayGlo, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to a reptile’s health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because they won't be able to produce vitamin D. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for the proper lighting. MBD causes a very slow and painful death. UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't sufficient because the glass filters out the UVB rays.

Once a chameleon gets sick, it almost never recovers without veterinary care. I recommend that you correct all the conditions in Emmy's habitat, start giving Pedialyte soaks, and then, tomorrow morning, schedule a vet appointment. This link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope Emmy will reach a full recovery.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!

Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.

You're welcome. I just hope Emmy will be ok.

Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?