Symptoms of a Sick Chameleon

Chameleon up close.

Chameleons are masters at concealing their disease. To predators, showing indications of illness indicates weakness and puts them at risk of being devoured.

Even though pet chameleons are safe in their enclosure, these natural instincts to hide signs of sickness remain and can make it difficult for pet owners to recognize potential problems.

Knowing what signs may indicate your chameleon is sick can help you get your pet the veterinary attention it may need sooner rather than later.

  • 01 of 05

    Not Wanting to Eat

    Chameleon looking at a cricket up close.

    Inappetance is a key indicator that any pet may be sick but it can be more difficult to notice when a chameleon isn't eating than it is in some other animals.

    Because are routinely supplied to pet chameleons in their enclosures, owners may mistakenly believe their chameleon ate the crickets they placed in the cage when the insects are simply hiding among the vegetation. This means you could believe your chameleon is eating when it isn't.

    Feed only a few crickets every few days to avoid this problem, and make sure your chameleon consumes them all. If you're not sure if there are any uneaten crickets in the cage, put some cricket food in a dish at the bottom and wait for them to come out.

  • 02 of 05

    Spending Time in an Unusual Part of the Enclosure

    Pay attention to where your chameleon usually hangs out so you can spot it when it's somewhere it shouldn't be. Your chameleon may have a favorite position or two in its enclosure, so if it's spending time in an unexpected location, like as the bottom, it might be sick.

    During the day, your chameleon may spend time near the heat light on a favorite branch, but if it is on the ground or hasn't crept up to the top of the cage as it usually does during the day, something is amiss.

  • 03 of 05

    Dull Color

    While regular shedding causes a transient dulling, muted that do not occur during the shedding cycle might be problematic. Chameleons are known for their beautiful hues, therefore if they are drab, dark, or ashen in color instead of lively, your chameleon may be ill.

    Dehydration, skin issues, a low body temperature, lack of UVB rays, malnutrition, stress, and other things can cause your chameleon to have a color change.

  • 04 of 05

    Sunken Eyes

    The eyes of a chameleon are among its most important physical features. A chameleon's eyes protrude from the side of its skull and move independently of one another. In a hydrated, healthy chameleon, these eyes should be rounded or practically pyramidal in appearance. However, if a chameleon is dehydrated, anxious, or ill, its eyes may seem sunken, flatter than usual, or even closed.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Abnormal or Absent Fecal Matter

    The typical chameleon stool is dark brown to black in color and oval in shape, with a slight bit of wetness. Urates that range from white to yellow can be noticed, but the feces should not be bloody, watery, or runny.

    Both constipation and diarrhea can occur and act as signs that your chameleon could be sick. Paying attention to the amount, color, and character of the stool is very important.

    Chameleons normally defecate once every few days depending on how much and how often they eat but if no normal stool has been produced in over two weeks, this may indicate a problem.

    Changes in the feces can occur if a chameleon stops feeding, has a gastrointestinal obstruction, has an infection that affects its digestive system, is dehydrated, too cold, or has intestinal parasites.

Providing the right habitat and nourishment for your chameleon is critical to its overall health. Stress and disease can be caused by chilly and dry enclosures, food that isn't with helpful nutrients, and cages that don't allow for climbing.

Checking to make sure your cage set-up is appropriate is the best first step to take to avoid sickness that is caused by husbandry issues.

If you think your chameleon is unwell, have it checked out by a veterinarian right away and keep it warm. Medications, hydration therapy, or other therapies may be required depending on the nature of your chameleon's ailment, but these warning signals of disease should not be overlooked.