Can You Soak A Chameleon?

We can get you a list of pets out there who love to play with water. But not on any corner of that list, we see the name of chameleons. Well, we don’t blame them for that. They’re simply not designed that way. After all, not too many arboreal animals grow an interest in risky elements like water. But what about soaking? Will it be a good idea to soak your pet chameleon?

The answer is – soaking your chameleon is an effective method to deal with its dehydration. Plus, it takes down the chances of kidney diseases, especially when the reptile is battling chronic dehydration. The best suggested time for that is 10 minutes at most, but not more than once or twice a week.

Now the question is, how should you get it done when you’ve got no other choice but to soak it? Well, let’s clear up that part for you.

How Soaking Benefits a Chameleon?

It’s a known fact that Chameleons are capable of regulating their own body temperature. This is one of the interesting reasons why lots of reptile owners prefer getting chameleons. But keeping them hydrated is surely a challenge.

That’s the reason why vets suggest accelerating the hydration by soaking them in the water. So, if you’ve got one of these color shifters, try submerging them in water for ten minutes twice or once a week in order to assist them in remaining hydrated, under the advice of your vet, of course. Plus, it helps to lessen the likelihood that they will suffer from chronic dehydration, as we said before.

In case your reptile is more mature, you may want to give it a bath, as that will help the chameleon adjust to higher temperatures. Hold on a sec! We didn’t say you can’t consider the option of giving your chameleon a fine mist. All you have to do is just put a fake or real plant in the shower with your chameleon and get the showerhead adjusted, as you want the water to hit the wall rather than the plant. By the way, don’t forget to use cool water instead of lukewarm water.

How to Soak a Chameleon?

Okay, we’re admitting it – soaking a chameleon is scary as the reptile can’t swim, and a moment of carelessness might kill it. So, the best thing you can do is learn how to pull this off in the first place. Well, it’s not any rocket science and following a bunch of steps we’ve mentioned below is enough to get the job done.

Step – 1: Get the Right Kind of Box

You already know the size of your reptile. So, when your vet is suggesting you soak it, make sure you’re getting a decently big box to do the job. Otherwise, it might feel suffocated and feel more stressed than it already is.

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Step – 2: Fill Up the Box With Water

You can simply call it the most important step before making your chameleon land in there. You’re probably wondering – why? Well, the temperature of the water can simply raise the stress level of your chameleon.

So, we say you better go with comfortable, warm, and toasty water for the soaking. To be sure about the temperature, put your hand in the water and leave it in there for a bit. If you can leave it there without feeling the urge to pull back, count the temperature as perfect.

This type of water can help a lot, especially when it’s dehydrated, debilitated, or having issues with shedding. And remember, keep the water at a level where the reptile can stand up without getting drowned.

Step – 3: Land the Reptile Slowly

Once the water is ready, hold your chameleon gently and land it over the water slowly. Let it get used to the water, though it’s obvious that the reptile is not going to love it. Once it’s showing the sign of steadiness, pull your hand back.

Step – 4: Supervise and Wait

Now you’ve got nothing else to do but supervise and wait. If you feel like the lizard might escape, you can simply put the lid on. After a while, you’ll see the reptile is tolerating the water; leave it there for the next 10 to 15 minutes.

Step – 5: Pick Up the Chameleon

After the reptile is done soaking for 10-15 minutes, get it out and dry it up with a cloth or towel. Repeat the procedure once a week and do it twice if the condition of your chameleon is too bad on the hydration part.

How to Know That Your Chameleon Needs Soaking?

Come on! You and we are no doctors So, before you run any treatment procedure, you need to be sure that your vet is suggesting or agreeing with it. But for that, you have to find out the symptoms that support the treatment, right? Well, the same goes for soaking as well.

But the difference here is soaking is recommended under chronic dehydration. The rest can be categorized as anything between mild to moderate. So, if you see the following signs in your color shifter, make sure you’re seeing a vet to be sure about how bad it is.

Sagging Skin

Skin that has been dehydrated will sag and develop deep wrinkles. The problem is that when a chameleon’s skin becomes dehydrated, it loses its wetness and suppleness. Therefore, if you pinch the skin of your dehydrated chameleon, you won’t see it bouncing back once you release your finger.

Sunken Eyes

If your chameleon is roaming with sunken eyes, then there’s a high chance that it’s struggling with dehydration. They can’t move their eyes or see clearly until their eyes are sufficiently hydrated. So, if your reptile is actually dehydrated, its skin will lose its elasticity, causing its eyes to squint and sink. FyI, this serves as a second line of defense against dehydration.

But don’t count it as dehydration yet if you’re seeing this symptom only. Sunken eyes may be a sign of dehydration if they occur in conjunction with other symptoms, although they more commonly reflect stress or panic.

Urate Color

Just like the bearded dragons, A chameleon’s poop too says a lot about its health, especially its hydration level. By the way, that white stuff you usually see in their stool is called urate, and the color of that is enough to understand how dehydrated your reptile is.

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If your chameleon’s urate is coming out with a white or off-white color, then the last thing you need to worry about is its hydration. The thing is, the reptile’s kidneys won’t be able to generate white urate if it’s missing out on its required share of the water.

But if the Urate is yellow in color, then it’s probably because your reptile is experiencing minor dehydration or illness. When you actually need to start worrying is if the Urate you’re seeing is coming in orange. You better grab your car keys and rush to the vet as it is severely dehydrated and needs medical attention.


If you’ve been a chameleon owner for a while or study about them more often, you’re supposed to be familiar with this term. Lethargy is basically the inability to move because of exhaustion or discomfort.

Your chameleon will be unable to maintain its normal activity level if it is dehydrated. Even if it is allowed to roam freely within its enclosure, it’ll probably stay close to the ground or stick to the lower branches.

A sluggish chameleon’s major issue is that it will be too exhausted to actively hunt out water drops, which will eventually increase dehydration. In a different way, we can say, Lethargic behavior in your chameleon may indicate that it needs more water or it’s simply feeling sick.

Lack of Apatite

Are you seeing that your chameleon skipping the food as if it’s any random dirt? Well, that’s probably because it’s dehydrated, as dehydration leads to loss of apatite. This is a major concern since feeding your chameleon is one of the primary methods by which you may replenish the moisture it has lost. If the reptile has reached this point, it’s time to take it to the vet.

It is extremely important to keep an eye on how your chameleon eats, especially if they seem to have lost its appetite. That’s because this might be an indicator of a more serious health problem. You will also be able to keep an eye out for any inconsistencies and address them as soon as they come up using this method.

What Triggers the Dehydration in Chameleon?

The most prevalent cause of dehydration we’ve noticed so far in chameleons is caretakers’ ignorance of the animal’s unique water-drinking habits. Licking droplets that develop on or drip off leaves is how chameleons get their water, rather than drinking from any flowing river or a dish in captivity.

In addition, they are only able to detect water in this state, as they are unable to distinguish between flowing and standing water. Even if they know how chameleons drink, there’s a high chance that they might not know how frequently or for how long they should mist. This is the reason why dehydration has turned into the top cause of mortality worldwide when it comes to chameleons.

But that’s not the only reason that’s killing chameleons with dehydration. Low humidity is another factor that might lead to that. Thankfully it’s nothing unfixable. With a bit of attention and the right measures, you can take care of that as well, just like most of the other issues.

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Now comes the third culprit that can make your reptile dehydrated. Yes, we are talking about the temperatures. Letting that go too high can also lead to dehydration since the chameleon will get overheated. On top of that, When the temperature is too hot, whatever water you’ll spray on your chameleon will evaporate before the reptile gets an opportunity to grab the drops.

And if you’re still confused about why you should be concerned about dehydration, let us tell you one thing. Like any other animal out there, when it comes to chameleon’s health, one thing leads to another. The diseases dehydration can trigger diseases that are capable enough to make your chameleon extremely sick, where it can literally die. So, taking it lightly will simply be a mistake.

Which Hydration Methods Can You Use Except Soaking?

It’s an open secret that chameleons are not a fan of soaking. So, if it’s triggering the stress of your reptile too much, then you should probably go for alternative methods. Well, you can try the following ones. Don’t worry; they’re completely safe, and most of the pet owners will surely agree with that.


We say you better start rehydrating your chameleon with misting. FYI, this procedure usually works for chameleons that are mildly dehydrated. If your reptile is still suffering from dehydration and your setup is on point, consider a few alternative options before seeking veterinarian care.

As an aside, if your chameleon has been dehydrated, you should spray it more often and for longer. Another method for monitoring your chameleon’s water intake is to dampen a perch/leaf and place it in its cage.


If you’re not considering soaking a safe option, you’re free to try showering. All you have to do is get your chameleon out of the cage, put them in the shower, and let them be there for the next 30-45 minutes.

Don’t think of using anything but hot water, and don’t let the shower drop water on it directly. Just turn it towards the wall where the water can heat and let the chameleon have the sprinkles. But do something like this only if the reptile is of an age of 6 months at least.


It’ll be better to add electrolytes to the water in case you’re worried about your chameleon dehydrating too quickly from drinking plain water. All you have to do is just make a liquid solution for the reptile consisting of half water and half electrolyte-rich liquid. Then use the same approach with the dropper/pipette.

Consuming electrolyte-rich drinks like coconut water and watermelon juice is a safe option. But make sure that you’ve checked out the sugar content. You try out sugar-free sports drinks as well. In that case, choose one that doesn’t contain an abundance of artificial colors and flavors.

Before You Go……

As you know now that you can soak your chameleon, you’re probably wondering if it can swim too. Well, we won’t blame you for that. After all, who doesn’t feel curious about their pet and feel like exploring more?

So, if you’re really into knowing more about this, we’ve got a blog for that too, named Can Chameleons Swim? Give it a click, and get ready to be surprised.

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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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