This is common in young chameleons, and chameleons in new or newly renovated enclosures (after a week or 2 most chameleons will return to normal behavior). Constantly climbing the screen is a sign that they are uncomfortable. Reevaluate your husbandry to be sure you have appropriate coverage, temperatures, UVB levels, cage size and elevation. If this is all up to standards it may be that your chameleon is searching for a mate. Note that screen climbing may cause your chameleons nails to be torn out from their sockets and will not grow back, although not fatal this may lead to infection.
A dehydrated chameleon will have recessed/dark circles around their eyes. Stress, illnesses, and exhaustion will also cause sunken eye turrets. It is imperative to monitor for additional signs of illness and well as correcting/improving your hydration methods.
Chameleon showing lethargy and sunken eyes.
Swelling of the abdomen may have one of several causes; impaction, heavy parasitic load, obesity, pregnancy (gravid), or egg-binding. If this is observed with eyes closing or lethargy your chameleon will require an emergency vet visit. Gravid females will have a large abdomen and may reduce/stop eating when close to laying. You may notice scratching at walls or digging. They may become egg-bound if a laying bin is not provided or they are unable to pass the eggs. Overweight chameleons will have enlarged fat pads in their head, casques, and lower abdomen, and it will be harder to see the muscles and bone structures in their arms and legs.
Swelling of the eyes is most commonly caused by vitamin A deficiency, injury, infection, parasites, or a foreign object. A vet visit will be necessary to determine the exact cause. Slight bulging while attempting to clean out their eyes is normal, but marked swelling or distended eyes is cause for concern. Vitamin A deficiency is most often the case in and may be corrected by a change in supplementation. Foreign objects will require medical assistance if the chameleon is unable to expel it and eye irritation persists.
Chameleon with swelling or puffy in the lower part of the eye.
Swelling predominately in the lower neck/collar area of your chameleon is a symptom of gular edema. Most often this is due to over-supplementation of fat soluble vitamins A and D3, which are stored in the body and can become toxic in excess (hypervitaminosis).
Any insects parts visible in the fecal matter are an indication that their temperatures are too low for proper digestion or are carrying a heavy parasitic load. Feeding in the mornings and keeping appropriate temps will give your chameleon the time and warmth they need to absorb nutrients from their feeders. In some particular cases, where chameleons are allowed to eat wild insects, there may be a beetle or hard shelled insect that has an exoskeleton too thick to be broken down within the chameleons digestive systems. If husbandry changes are ineffective, a fecal exam for parasites will be recommended.
It is common to see the rib bones of healthy, and even obese, chameleons. Malnourished chameleons will present obvious skeletal formation in the limbs, head and casque. Severely malnourished chameleons will have sunken eyes/cheeks, dry/dull skin, and limbs and ribs that appear to be bones covered in skin. A fecal exam for parasites may be recommended for chameleons whose appetite is good, yet continues to appear malnourished or whose growth is recessed.
Watery or runny fecal matter may be caused by a diet containing high numbers of hornworms, waxworms, silkworms, or caterpillars. This may also be a sign of excess hydration, which can become an issue due to the chameleons natural reflexive drinking response. Reduce feeders high in water/fat content and/or reduce misting sessions to 2 minutes/2x per day (morning and evening). If changes in diet and hydration are ineffective a fecal exam will be required to determine if a large parasite load may be the cause.
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