Monday, November 7, 2011

My Town Monday: the Chameleon Cage, San Diego, CA

Welcome to a My-Town-Monday post. I'm a little late getting this up. I had a dental appointment this morning. However, my dentist was a no-show, and I ended up running a few errands since I was already out and about.

It's been a while since I wrote about our male and female veiled chameleons (Mr. Cone Head and Fat Letta, respectively), and I thought I'd bring you up to date on Fat Letta.

Fat Letta, our female veiled chameleon, around 4 years old. Don't mind the white skin on her head. She's shedding. (photographed with my droid)

Unless you're into veiled chameleons, you probably aren't paying much attention to the fact that she's not holding herself up on her legs, but is resting on her belly. Poor Fat Letta is calcium depleted, and her bones aren't doing particularly well. I give her a sticky liquid calcium by oral syringe twice a day in the hopes of improving her condition. I also hold a bowl of crickets close to her for feeding as there's no way she could get around the cage on her shaky legs.

Fat Letta is an over-achiever in the egg deparment, and that's the cause of her bone problems. She insists on producing eggs every couple of months. About a month ago, she tunnelled down in the five-gallon Home Depot flower bucket to lay 30+ eggs. In the morning, she was still in the tunnel of cold, damp sand. Not a good sign. She used to tunnel down, lay her eggs, smooth the sand over so I had no idea where she'd deposited the eggs, then climb up to the top of cage to bask under the heat lamp.

This last time, my heart in my throat, I reached into the tunnel to lift out her cold, still body. I really thought she'd died, but then she blinked at me. Fat Letta is almost four years old. I believe veiled chameleons live 4-5 years in capitivity. The vet has suggested a hysterectomy. But, even to me, a crazy chameleon lover, this sounds a little over the top. You can imagine Mr. Summy's response!

These braided branches give Fat Letta a thicker area for grasping with her sore feet. (photographed with my droid)

I returned home today after my almost-dental appointment to find Fat Letta on the bottom of the cage. I think she lost her balance (her front legs are especially weak) and fell off her branch. I braided in extra branches (they're fake) and will figure out a way to fashion a net partway down the cage.

Sorry to not have better news. However, the fat lady hasn't sung yet. Perhaps the calcium will kick in. In addition, I've changed the UV bulb, in case that's exacerbating the bone issue.

Please check out the posts by the other My Town Monday participants by clicking here. No doubt they're a little cheerier.


  1. That is so sad about Fat Letta. Hope the calcium treatment does work. I’m glad I’m past the menagerie stage around here – too many sad deaths to deal with.

    (I too had a dental appointment this morning – alas, mine was not cancelled.)

  2. Beth: I'm really hoping she pulls through. At least one of us has her dental appt out of the way. Mine is now postponed until the 21st. I hope yours went well--as in a cleaning only.

  3. Oh poor Fat Letta and poor you guys. It is funny how attached we get to our pets. I was changing the cage of our hamsters this weekend and they fell asleep in them temp box (a cardboard box). When I was done and I noticed that there was no noise coming from their box I just about passed out. They can't die, not on my watch anyhow ;) They were fine. Phew.

  4. pets are a whole planet!

    Aloha from Honolulu

    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >


    < ° ) } } > <

  5. Chantal: Isn't it crazy?! Did you ever think you'd end up attached to a hamster? ;) Life is funny.

  6. Cloudia: I never thought I'd turn into a pet person. I have been proven wrong. ;)

  7. Charles: I agree. It looks strange. As do the chameleons. ;)

  8. So sorry to hear about Fat Letta. We had a female dove who went overboard on the egg-laying, too. I hope the calcium treatments work for her.

    Good luck on your dental appointment later in the month. I had mine last month.

  9. I hope things get better with Fat Letta!

  10. I'm sorry to hear about Fat Letta. I hope the calcium treatments work too.

  11. Awww, she's so cute! We have a turtle, so yes, I'm serious. It's amazing how they burrow into your heart. I hope she pulls through!

  12. I hope she feels better soon, but I'm with you on avoiding invasive medical procedures on aging pets.

  13. Sorry to hear about Letta. And hope she improves.

    Thanks for these updates, Barrie.


Comments are always welcome!