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Reptiles/Could it be my UVB bulb?


QUESTION: Hi. I have a 13 month old Yellow Crested Jacksons chameloen. Her name is Jackie, and I was wondering if you would be able to help me.

I had to move her down into the basement where me and my sister share a room whenever my brother comes home from collage. She is just down there for the summer, and its not cold down there, or else I wouldnt have agreed to keep her down there. Well, I got her a new night bulb. It is a dark purple, instead of red. After I moved her down, Ive been noticing that she hasnt been drinking as much, or eating as much as she used to. Maybe its just because shes in a new place, but I dont think so. She looks happy and healthy. I noticed today that some crickets are missing in her cage, so I hope that she ate them, and I put 3 more in just now. She gets all dark when I mist her cage too. Its as if shes scared of water, or the bottles that I use. But she hasnt been drinking lately. Also I havnt seen her poop in a while too. The last time I noticed her poop, was last weekend, before I cleaned out her cage.

I was wondering if there was anything I could do to help her. The big thing Im worried about though, is that occationally she closes one of her eyes. Shes only 13 months old, and she can live up to 5 years, so its not as if she is old or anything. One time, I'll walk in, and she would close one eye, then maybe 10 or so minuets later, she would close the other. She looked up at the UVB bulb sometimes and then close one eye. Please help.

ANSWER: Hello Amanda,

Do you know what the temperatures are in the tank & the humidity?  You will need to use either a digital probe or temp gun to measure the temps?
They do need a cooler tank at night
I wouldn't keep any insects in the tank overnight with her though as they can bite.
Which UVB light do you use, a compact/coil light or a tube bulb?  
Are you using a calcium supplement & a vitamin supplement?

Do you have any pictures of her?  
If she is not drinking, you will need to find a way to get her hydrated.  Do you have a water dish/tub in her tank?

Let me know how she is doing.


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Light/cage setup
Light/cage setup  
QUESTION: She pooped yesterday. There was a lot, which means that she must have been eating. Also, the urate was a pure white. That means that she has been drinking too. She also drank a lot yesterday. I sat on the floor, spraying the leaves, when she moved up to me, and drank the drops of water I dropped near her mouth. She also still shuts her eyes. I've noticed today, though, that she shuts the eye closest to me, the one on the other side of the UVB bulb. The UVB is a 'Zilla' coil. I've also tried shutting off the UVB bulb, to see if that would help. The temp. in the cage is around 80F every day, and about 60F at night. I only have the stick-on temp. and humidity gauges. The humidity, after I spray, is around 60. Before I spray, it is around 30. I have tried keeping a live, non-poisonous plant in her cage, but I kill almost every plant I come in contact with, and it also flooded her cage. She also barely touched the plant. I'm waiting for it to grow a little more, before I try putting it in her cage again. I do use vitamin/calcium supplements, but I usually get them dusted at Petsmart. No, I do not have a water dish/tub, because chameleons don't drink unless they realize that what you are spraying the plants with, is water. To do this, they have to see the water drip. I also have no way of taking the crickets out at night, and if she decides to eat at night, I would have no way of getting the crickets in there for her to eat, so I just leave them in there. (I know after 10 days, I have to take them out, because they might bite her)
P.S. Jackie's cage is a small screen cage.

Hello Amanda,

Great, definitely turn the Zilla compact/coil UVB light off.  They are very hazardous to the eyes.  You will need to switch to the Reptisun 5 tube, or 10 tube bulb, or the Arcadia D3 12% tube for better UVB emissions.  
I recommend getting either a digital probe or temp gun for better accuracy of the temperatures.
The humidity is fine, at 60%.  
Yes, very true, they do need a drip system for drinking, but they also enjoy a large water bowl dish to bath in, as well. It helps with overall hydration.  You can place a small pool of water beside the tree in which the water cascades off of it.
The crickets may not have much nutritional value though being left in the tank for such a long time with no food, but also it is a risk that they can bite or nibble on her eye lids, etc while she sleeps.  Do you gutload the crickets?
They are susceptible to vitamin A deficiency so you will need to be sure she gets a multivitamin once weekly with beta carotene in it. Does the powdered coating come off of the insects though by the time she eats them?  She may not be getting enough of the calcium or vitamins if it wears off.  

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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