Can Stress Kill A Chameleon? Tips To Reduce Stress

What makes you love the chameleons as a reptile? Their coloration, right? Well, most of the chameleon owners do quite the same. But they also hate the fact how super sensitive these color shifters are. Now the question is – are the chameleons so sensitive that they might die under stress? Or, in plain words, you can say – can stress kill a chameleon?

Stress can kill a chameleon. If a chameleon gets stressed frequently, it leaves a bad impact on its health and triggers numerous health issues. And the result? All of it puts extra pressure on the chameleon’s health and kill it, eventually.

But what actually triggers all that stress we’re talking about? And is there any way to prevent it? The good news is there are some ways to get rid of that, and we’re here to bring that to your table.

How To Know That Your Chameleon Is Stressed?

Any animal, the chameleon or otherwise, will find stress to be its greatest challenge while maintaining a healthy life. This is where the need of understanding the signs pops up. Yes, we’re talking about the signs of stress. Otherwise, how would you know if your reptile is in trouble or what? So, what are they? Well, feel free to find the answer below.

Long Leaf Strolling

If you’re making a list of the fascinating things chameleons do, it would be hard to leave aside the fact that they can do leaf walking. It’s a standard tactic for hiding in foliage, and lizards know how to utilize it frequently and perfectly. This one aspect of their activity is more than enough to understand how good they are when it comes to blending in with the greenery around them.

By swinging back and forth in this manner, they evoke the motion of a leaf blowing in the wind. Pretty brilliant move, right? Actually, it’s one of the best ways to sneak up on their prey and sometimes even avoid being spotted by a predator.

Their owners find it both usual and amusing when they do that. But when it reaches what humans would consider “extreme”, you’ll know your lizard is wandering around, activating its stress mode. So, if you’re seeing something like this, don’t forget to check out how long your reptile takes to start leaf walking after grabbing its prey.

If the amount of time is excessive, especially when you’re around, then there’s a high chance that the reptile is feeling threatened by your presence. Therefore, if you notice that your lizard is continually leaf-walking, the one thing you can do is, increase the quantity of hiding area available in its tank.

Closed Eyes

When a lizard is in trouble or feeling stressed, you can usually tell that right away by looking into its eyes. After all, a chameleon’s ability to keep its eyes open during the day is a typical indicator that it is healthy. This means even if its health is in a ‘not so good’ condition, its round, bright eyes will give you a message on that too.

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It’s safe to assume that your lizard isn’t feeling well if it’s closing its eyelids firmly. One possible reason for this kind of behavior is they do it as an attempt to process the distress that they’re encountering at that moment. After all, chameleons frequently resort to this strategy if they feel anxious or under a lot of stress.

Altering its color, biting, and hissing are also possible outcomes when the reptile suffers from severe stress. So, if you’re seeing your lizard acting like that, you can count it under stress for sure.

Extreme Colors

You may or may not have observed that, but chameleons can never perfectly match the hues of their environment. Yeah, we know it’s quite contrary to traditional beliefs. Actually,  their only tactic is to blend in as much as they can.

And indeed, the lizard’s color and pattern might reveal a lot about its mental health. We bet you already know that when the chameleon is happy, it will only show its true colors. But what about the part where it’s “stressing out”?

Well, you might find it a bit surprising as there’s a chance that it’ll be different from chameleon to chameleon. Darker hues, however, are more commonly associated with negative emotions like stress and dread.

If you’re thinking about the black and brown here to exact, then we must say you know your chameleon pretty well. After all, these are the kind of colors we’re talking about that expresses the chameleon’s stressed feeling.

Like the stress, any other mood of the lizard can be gauged by its coloration. So, if you notice that it has abruptly darkened its skin, it’s likely not in a relaxed state of mind. In such a scenario, checking the habitat’s temperature is what we call the best course of action. That’s because dark hues are more of a practical move for a chameleon when the temperature drops too much.

In case the temperature is not exactly the problem, you better investigate if any other factors or disruptions causing the lizard discomfort or stress. Once you detect one, take whatever steps are necessary to put your pet at ease.

Wait a sec! But what about all those bright and vivid colors these reptiles show off? Do they just always represent their stress mode? Well, wearing those colors at times is also part of their communication process. They might pop up with colors like blue, orange, or red when they’re not planning to stay invisible.

How to Reduce the Stress In a Chameleon?

Every problem comes with a solution and count stress in a chameleon on that list too. The only difference here is, you’ll have to apply a bunch of solutions to make a chameleon stress free. But what are they in the first place? Well, here’s the list.

Spacious Housing

The right kind of housing can help a lot when it comes to calming a stressed chameleon. When you’re providing the reptile with enough space to hide, it finds out a comfortable corner to conceal itself from the elements that are triggering its stress. In a different case, a small enclosure too can make a chameleon feel suffocated and stressed.

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But what kind of enclosure exactly will do the trick? Well, we’ll say the finest possible homes for a chameleon are the screen cages as they provide total ventilation. In addition to being roomy, they also provide adequate hiding places and perches, which we believe your reptile misses the most when something causes it stress.

If you’re asking about the size, it should be around 16 inches by 16 inches by 30 inches. However, this only applies if your lizard’s age is 8 months or less. When they’re older than that, you better upgrade to a larger space, such as 24″ x 24″ x 48″.

Glass tanks are out of the question because they’re not that much good with the airflow. That’s enough to make the reptile more susceptible to skin infections. By the way, make sure the lizard’s cage and any areas around it are free of any sharp things as that can hurt the lizard.

Keep It Silent

One of the things that can trigger a chameleon’s stress is noise, like lots of the other reptiles out there. So, if there’s anything loud enough, like TV, music player, Vacuum cleaner or any other loud source of sound around, get them away from it as soon as you can.

The easiest way to do that is placing the chameleons reptile in a room which is away from people or any other major source of noise. And yes, you better keep your loud animals away from there as well including your dog.

Maintaining Right Temperature

You already know how super sensitive these color shifters are. And the interesting thing is they can easily sense the changes in temperature around them. But the sad part is, any downfall there can trigger their stress mode.

So, let’s not take any chances and keep the temperature on point. All you have to do is arrange the right kind of lighting system that includes heating lamp. To be sure about the temperature, you can always use a thermometer.

Reduce Traffic

Chameleons are not a fan of seeing lots of people around them. They’re loners and love to stay that way. So, if you really don’t want to see your reptile stressed, keep the enthusiast visitors away from them.

Also, make sure that you’re not putting the enclosure in a room where your family members often need to enter. After all, the chameleons are designed to stay cautious about their predators. So, too much movement around might stress them out as they’ll think someone has showed up to make them their next prey.

Ensure Hydration

Keeping your lizard thirsty is definitely among the easies ways to make it stressed. However, simply putting a dish of water in their enclosure isn’t enough here. You need to add a drip system to your reptile’s habitat as they’ll be able to keep their fluid levels up better that way.

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How To Know That Your Chameleon is Finally Stress-Free?

When it comes to freeing up your chameleon from stress, the process is indeed filled with hassles. After all, you need to be cautious all the time as you’re taking care of a super-sensitive reptile. But how are you going to find out if you’ve finally managed to reduce its stress? Well, look for the following signs to be sure there.

Good Apatite

Checking your lizard’s appetite is the quickest method to tell if it’s in a stress-free mode or what. Every 2-3 days, a healthy and stress-free adult chameleon should be fed at least six insects.

There’s probably something amiss if a chameleon stops eating or shows no interest in its favorite insects. In these circumstances, you should let your veterinarian handle it all and ask for confirmation of any suspicions you may have about the situation.

Enjoying the Heat

If your reptile is finally feeling stress-free, you will see it basking on the branches and chilling in the warm light of the heat lamp. This is a clear sign that the chameleon is relaxed and having a good time.

And if you’re still not convinced with that, you can check out its color, body shape, and tail position, as all of it can provide you insight into its overall health and stress level.


A stress-free chameleon is also naturally inquisitive. So, once it starts feeling better, it might start venturing out. Under the best possible case, you might see it walking over your hand even if you don’t want it to. But if you see it’s still trying to stick to the darker corners of the enclosure, then it’s probably because the reptile hasn’t fully recovered from the last wave of stress.

Actually, a chameleon that constantly seeks refuge in the shadows is an indication that something is up with its health or the environment. Even if you’re seeing them making less moves, then it’s probably because of one of two reasons – illness and stress.

Taking the Tongue In

If there’s anything that you want to call amazing after their eyes, we say you better give that title to their tongue. The thing is, their tongue is nearly twice as long as their body and still they are able to successfully contain the entire thing in their closed mouth.

But you’ll see that happening if the lizard is in good shape and free of stress. Actually, when the lizard is roaming stressed, you might see them gaping. After all, the continuous stress puts extra pressure on their health and makes them gaping, which is a sign of sickness.

Before You Go…..

Do you know what comes for free when your chameleon is under extreme stress? Anger! But we’ve only told you how to deal with the stress of the reptile, not their aggressiveness, right? Well, hold on a second! We’ve got something for you on that part as well. All you have to do is just click on our blog How To Deal With Aggressive Chameleon?

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.


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