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QUESTION: My Jackson's chameleon is about 10-11 months old. I got her from a store that took poor care of here. She is the first reptile i have ever taken care of, so i dont know much about chameleons. You have answered another question about MBD, so i think you could answer mine. She was 5 months old when i got her. She was fed only large crickets.( no supliments) She didnt have proper lighting; one red night lamp, no heating lamp, or UVB bulb. After i got her, ive noticed she has a crooked spine, and i think that is due to unproper lighting, and loss of vitamins. The guy i got her from also said i only had to spray 2-5 times a day and that chamelons were low-matnence animals, and fairly easy to take care of. Ive learned he was wrong, about most of what he told me. I have a screen cage now, but she happened to rip out some of her claws on it. Her feet have healed, but the claws havent grown back, like somebody at a store (petco) had said. Its been months since ive gotten her. Like i said, her claws havent grown back, and her spine is still crooked. Will her claws grow back? and also, could she possibly have MBD?

ANSWER: Hello Amanda,

Do you have pictures of her you could send along with her tank setup?
If she tore the nail bed out then her nail will not grow back.  If the nail bed is still in tact then they should grow back but it may take some time since she has had such nutritional problems.
What is the humidity in the tank?
Once the bones soften & become crooked, they will not straighten once the bones set.  

Are you using a UVB light & if so, what type & brand is it?  Which basking light are you using, a bright white light?
How often does she get calcium & a vitamin with beta carotene?  Chameleons are prone to getting a vitamin A deficiency so I would recommend herptivite with beta carotene instead of synthetic vitamin A which can become toxic over time.
I would recommend a liquid calcium to help her out since she does have metabolic bone disease.  

Can she get around very well or climb?  
What are the temperatures in the tank?

Chameleons are very sensitive reptiles & pretty hard to care for most of the times.
Is she eating right now?

Let me know how she is doing.

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QUESTION: ok, i do have a UVB bulb; 20 watt coil brand: Zilla. She is eating just as she always does: about 6-8 small crickets a day. The humidity is around 20-50 (i have a very hard time keeping it up. I spray many times a day, but it is even harder when my brother visits from collage, because i have to move down into my sister's bedroom becuase my room is technically his room, except when he visits and comes home in the summer. My Jackie stays upstairs in her room. She almost never leaves it.) Anyways she likes to stay on her banches in her cage, but occationally i catch her climbing around on the screen. All the plants and sticks i use are fake. Ive tryed keeping a live non-poisionous plant in he cage, but i almost killed it and she would never even go neer it. Temp: during the day; around 85 F night; around 75-80 F. Basking light: blue daytime bulb from Zoomed 60 watt i do believe. She gets calcuium almost 1 a week (sometimes im too busy and forget) other times i give it to her 2 times a week.

~ Thank you for all your help so far
P.S- I hope to have some pictures soon of the setup, but like i told you, my bro is visiting from collage right now, and also its 10:00 PM.

ANSWER: Hello Amanda,
I am sorry, I guess I did not get a notification or something & decided to check!
Please turn the Zilla brand coil light off, as it is hazardous to the eyes & health & does not emit very good UVB wavelength.  
The better UVB light would be the Reptisun 10 tube or the Arcadia D3 12% tube bulb, either one.
The humidity really needs to be around 70% more consistently though to help avoid dehydrationg.  
Do you have a drip type of system as well set up?

The calcium should be given 4-5 times per week right now since she is still growing.  
The temperatures sound fine right now, you could maybe bump them to 90-95 range for the basking, measured with a temp gun or digital probe.  
The basking light needs to be a bright white light such as a halogen or a household light bulb to help protect her eyes from the UVB.  They need to be mounted directly beside each other, also for best results.
I am looking forward to seeing your tank setup, too.  Thanks.
I am checking daily, in case my notifications got messed up in my email setting or something.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

This is my setup
This is my setup  

This is what the inside looks like
This is what the insid  
QUESTION: thank you so much! i will see if i can get a better UVB bulb for her. Also, i do have a drip system, but i dont use it sometimes because it floods the cage if i have it on too long. i do have a small bowl underneath, but if i kept the drip going contantly at a slow rate, it would still over flow. Do you know where i can possibly get the Reptisun 10 tube? i will turn the UVB bulb off for today, and have my dad check out the pet store to see if they have the UVB.
Also, ive noticed that when she gets scared, she puffs out her neck.( such as last night when i was practicing playing my flute. when i was putting it down, she flipped out, got all dark, but only dark spots, and leaned on the other side of the branch, puffing out her neck.) I was wondering if that was just a defense or something.

Hello Amanda,

Are you in the US?  
You can order online from

Either place has the Reptisun 10 tube bulb.  
You definitely don't want a flood in there then.  I guess just try to keep the humidity up as much as you can without flooding her out.  

Maybe the petstore may have the Reptisun 10 light, but do not purchase anymore coils/compacts, or any UVB lights from Exoterra Reptiglo products either.  She has metabolic bone disease & those are all low UVB output & wont help much at all.

They do have the tendency to puff their throats out when they get scared.  I am not sure why she would have gotten scared when you put your flute down though!  Sometimes reptiles get scared at the oddest things.

Let me know how she is doing.


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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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