Can Chameleons Bite Humans?

If you’ve had the chance to observe reptiles, at least from a distance, you should know that they usually bite under two circumstances and two circumstances only. First, when it comes to hunting something down and two, when they’re in a position where they need to defend themselves. But can humans expect to get bitten by the chameleons?

Well, humans too can get bitten, especially when they’re triggering stress in these color-shifters. Plus, A chameleon may bite a person if it feels threatened or has been treated roughly.

But apart from these, are there any other reasons that can turn the chameleon into a biter? And what to do when your lizard is biting you too frequently? Well, we guess we can get some answers to these questions.

Why Do Chameleons Bite?

Nothing in this world happens without reason. Guess what? The same goes for a chameleon deciding to bite you.

Threatening Situations

When feeling threatened, chameleons will take measures to protect themselves, just like any other animals and humans. Their teeth are designed to deal with the tough job. When a chameleon feels threatened, it will usually attempt to flee from the area and may spit as a warning before biting. This is a typical behavior for a chameleon that isn’t yet acclimated to its new environment and thus dislikes human contact.

Poor Handling

It may take some time for your lizard to adjust to being handled. Your pet’s anxiety levels will be over the roof during this moment, increasing the likelihood of a bite. Children are more likely to get bitten while handling these reptiles because they are not as delicate as adults. On top of that, they move more, which might alarm the lizard.


If your chameleon is hungry, there’s a chance of it becoming hostile. So, make sure that you’re feeding it often. Your chameleon’s mood may change for the worse if it isn’t getting enough to eat, regardless of its surroundings.

Because they need to be fed every day, juvenile chameleons are less likely to attack their food supply. However, when the chameleon reaches the age of 8 or 9 months, it only needs to be fed once a day and can become more combative as it is no longer necessary to be as devoted to the source of the food.

Environmental Stress

In addition, a chameleon’s surroundings can be a major source of stress. Constant anxiety can develop if there is not enough room, if the environment is too hot or too cold, or if there is not enough or too little light or air circulation.

See also  Are Veiled Chameleons Good For Beginners? [Pros & Cons]

Illness brought on by stress shortens a chameleon’s life expectancy, prevents it from reaching its full growth potential, and reduces its immune system’s ability to fight off infections. Your chameleon will become afraid and aggressive as a result, increasing the risk of a bite.

The lizard’s increased aggression and other symptoms of disease necessitate a thorough evaluation of his or her environment to determine what changes if any, need to be made.

Social Stress

Your chameleon will be anxious and protective if it is kept in an environment containing other chameleons. A chameleon can also get agitated and defensive if it is kept alone but is able to observe another chameleon.

Your chameleon’s health may suffer under this stress, and it will become more irritable and perhaps violent as a result. Under these conditions, it is prone to bite. In addition to providing them with separate enclosures, you may wish to consider installing screens between the tanks they share.

Reproductive Stress

When pregnant, a female chameleon’s natural protective instincts kick in full force. Producing and laying eggs saps their strength, and they become instinctually protective of their young until they are buried. If you’d approach her too closely, she will likely bite. During this period, your female chameleon might be more delicate. She requires more room, more time, and more calcium.

What Kind of Teeth Have Chameleons Got?

Although chameleons are deceptively small, their powerful jaws and sharp teeth can cause painful injuries to humans. In common with other reptiles, chameleons come with Acrodont dentition. In Acrodont dentition, unlike mammals, where the tooth sockets are independent of the jawbone, the teeth are fused to the bone.

Biting is not one of their primary functions; rather, they use their teeth for chopping insects and leafy vegetation. Some chameleon owners mistakenly believe their pets don’t have teeth because their pets rarely bite people. Those who have got bitten by a chameleon are well aware of the reptile’s numerous serrated teeth.

How Would Chameleon Bite Make You Feel?

As is the case with many reptiles, it is often the shock of being bitten that causes the most distress. If you aren’t used to interpreting chameleon behavior, you can be shocked if your pet bites you.

The chameleon’s amazing speed here is another of its many surprising qualities. However, the size of the chameleon and the message it was trying to convey determines how painful the bite actually is.

The biting force of a newborn or juvenile chameleon is negligible in comparison to that of an adult of a similar species. As one might expect, a chameleon bite may be quite unpleasant and even dangerous, and the larger the species, such as a giant veiled chameleon as opposed to a pygmy or Senegal chameleon), the more severe the bite will be.

See also  How To Deal With Aggressive Chameleon? [Expert Tips]

A chameleon’s bite may also change in tone and content to suit the situation. A bluff “bite” from a chameleon, in which it strikes you with its closed jaws, is meant to scare you away or at least make you think it’s upset with you.

The second type of bite is a more deliberate “Leave me alone!” demand, delivered with an open jaw and a hard squeeze. Last but not least, an agitated or impatient chameleon may bite, grip on, and even whip its head back and forth a little in an attempt to cause harm and agony!

A chameleon that resorts to biting to convey its displeasure is clearly agitated and determined to be heard. It hurts like hell while getting bitten by a chameleon, and there’s a considerable possibility you’ll bleed if you do. Thankfully, bite incidents like this are rare as people learn to recognize the early warning signals.

What Are the Signs a Chameleon Shows Before Biting?

In order to warn you of an impending bite, chameleons will display a variety of behaviors. If you train yourself to recognize your chameleon’s signals, you can avoid getting bitten by avoiding situations that could escalate into bites. You’re doing this because you want to establish trust with your pet. Pre-bite warnings include:

  • Changes in color
  • Turning the side toward you
  • Gaping their mouth
  • Hissing and Feinting
  • Threatening with slow movement

What Should You Do After Getting Beaten?

The following are some things to bear in mind if a chameleon bites you in the first place. Firstly, chameleons don’t bite unless provoked; otherwise, they’ll give you plenty of notice before retreating. Biting is, indeed, a desperate measure.

Secondly, the worst thing you can do is yell, wave your arms around frantically (potentially harming your chameleon), or become upset and react against your chameleon. Once more, chameleons are extremely vulnerable to human attack.

The best approach to handle a chameleon bite is to let the chameleon hang on as long as it wants before releasing you. They may just cling for a brief instant, in which case the bite will be quite light.

To withdraw from the bite is the worst possible response. An exaggerated injury may cause the skin to split. Be wary of this if your children will be dealing with the chameleon; it might be challenging to instill in them the knowledge that this is the correct course of action.

Though the sting of a chameleon’s bite can be painful, you should never forget that this reptile is extremely delicate and should be treated as such.

See also  These 5 Are The Most Expensive Chameleons You'll Ever Find

How to Improve Your Chamaleon’s Tolerance Level?

To make your chameleon more tolerant of handling so that it doesn’t bite you, it’s important to create only pleasant associations between your presence and theirs. Under no circumstances should you attempt to handle your chameleon if it is displaying indications of stress, anxiety, or hostility.

Instead, you should aim to become associated with the supply of the chameleon’s needs, such as the provision of food, water, new leaves, or the activation of the heat lamp.

You should attempt associating your presence with whatever your chameleon has shown an interest in when you have seen it alone. Your chameleon will eventually learn to trust you and know that you pose no threat and will only provide benefits to it.

Hand-feeding is a common way for chameleon owners to gain their trust. Save your chameleon’s favorite snacks for when you pet and handle it. While this won’t make for a docile chameleon, it will help them to gain self-assurance and tolerance. Be patient and avoid having unrealistic expectations during this procedure.

Keep in mind that certain species of chameleon are more open to being handled than others. Furthermore, like humans, chameleons have distinct personalities. Some pets may be rather snarky, while others might surprise their owners by being quite kind. It’s a complete roll of the dice, and half the excitement of keeping chameleons is making these kinds of discoveries.

Are Chameleons Poisonous?

Before you freak out about chameleon biting, know this – these reptiles are not poisonous at all. There’s no need to worry about any venomous reaction, whether you accidentally hunted one with your cat or handled one yourself. Instead of attacking, a chameleon is more likely to disappear into the shadows and blend in with its surroundings by changing its color.

The greatest risk comes from the possibility of an assault by one of these little reptiles if it feels threatened. In spite of this, they rarely turn to defensive biting or attacking mode until they have lost all other options. You should just back off and give them time to compose themselves if you notice that they are fleeing or hiding. And if you’re looking for more light on the fact, you can simply click here.

Final Words

Just because of the fact that chameleons can bite, doesn’t make them bad pets. A bite from a chameleon is rarely more than a pinch, but when it is, it may be very painful. The most important thing to think about is whether you’re happy or not with a pet that you might not be able to handle very often. So, you should be more concerned about that rather than the chances of seeing any bite marks on your hand.

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.