The UV and Thermal Burn in Chameleons


If the position of the otherwise relevant sources of heat and UV is too close to the position, which the chameleon uses for basking or it can simply reach, thermal and UV burns happen. They are one of the most frequent injuries of chameleons in captivity. 

If the burn is not damaging the skin fully, the troubled area usually shows a long term discoloration (darker if the skin remains functional and lighter if it is damaged deeply) and is unable to shed. The healing process can last several weeks to months and not rarely, it leaves scars or discolorations and skin problems for ever.

The PREVENTION is easy: 

Just do not allow the chameleon to get too close to too strong heat and UV source, the lights should be put outside of the cage and the heated mesh should not exceed 100 F (37'C).

HEALING is problematic: 

Light burns require nothing but healing power of the body itself, and no moisture allowed to the troubled area not to cause autolysis and lesions. Deeper burns need to be treated with antiseptic cream and eventually with antibiotics and painkillers, all of which are strictly to be prescribed by a VET, do not do layman medication in any case and do not accept it from incompetent and unauthorized people. 

Author: Petr Nečas