Do Chameleons Recognize Their Owners?

Bonding with a pet gets way easier when they start responding to you. But for that, they need to recognize you in the first place, right? Probably this is why dogs and cats are still the most popular pets. But what about chameleons? Do they recognize their owners too?

Chameleons do recognize their owners from the age of one week. But how well they’re going to recognize depends on some crucial factors like sex and species. Also, your ability to form the bond matters here, and so does the kind of care you’re giving them.

FYI, these are the same factors that determine the chameleon’s emotional expression towards you. But how will you pull it all off? Well, this article is all about letting you know that with all the ins and outs.

How Intelligent Are Chameleons?

Who doesn’t like to have a pet that possesses a fair share of intelligence? Well, the expectations are pretty much the same when someone is planning to have a chameleon as their pet. But are they actually intelligent?

The answer is – yes, they are smart and intelligent. We’re saying so because there are a few factors that are indicating the signs of them being smart, including –

Recognizing Their Owners

Just like any other smart pets, they also can recognize their owners. We call it surprising because not all the wild animals can do that as it’s kind of unexpected with animals like chameleons who like to roam alone.

If the owners handle them jerkily, they instantly count them as threats. This is the reason why experts suggest the owners to handle them with food. After all, that’s how they’ll learn how to rely on the owner for bringing good things.

And yes, they’re also capable of reading body language. So, if the owner is out to grab them, they can easily assume that as they can read movements.

Survival Instincts

Any animal with strong survival instincts is considered intelligent. Thinking from that perspective, we can count the chameleons among the intelligent ones as well.

If you’ve already had your share of research on them, then you probably know that they choose to be careful while moving. Might seem like a lazy animal but they do make their move carefully and does all the calculations before making it which proves them as intelligent animals.

As they’re considerate and like to keep it safe, they haven’t developed features like jumping as that’ll lead them towards unnecessary risk. Plus, they know how to utilize camouflage and that’s without changing the color of their skin.

Can Chameleons Trust You?

We can simply name a ton of reasons why you need to build trust with your chameleon. It’s also equally important for them to trust you as their keeper.

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But before you start expecting too much, let us tell you, you’ll get a chameleon in every manner, not a cat or dog. So, if you’re asking for the same kind of bonding here, that’s not going to happen for sure.

Apart from having something like the ‘pet-owner’ relationship, there are a bunch of reasons why we think it’s important to gain the trust of your chameleon.

Making Them Feel Comfortable Around You

Unlike the dogs and cats, it hasn’t been too long since people started with the thought that chameleons too can be pets. But easing them up around humans is a tough nut to crack. So, in order to make them feel comfortable around you, you better gain their trust in the first place.

Accelerating the Domestication

Clearly, chameleons are not used to being home pets. But people lately are trying to change the scenario, and that’s nothing but impossible without them trusting you. So, if you really want to accelerate the domestication, you better attain their trust first.

Easing Up the Bond Building Process

We’ve already told you that you won’t see the ‘pet-like’ attitude in a chameleon. But if you somehow manage to gain their trust, the bonding creation process might get easier for you, at least a bit.

How Do You Get A Chameleon To Trust You?

Getting a pet to trust you is a tough job. But when it’s a chameleon, it reaches a tougher level. Like we said – tougher, but not impossible. To build up the trust between you and your chameleon, we say you better try the following techniques in the first place. By the way, these techniques also come in handy for taming the lizard.

Giving the Lizard Enough Time

Like any other pets, the chameleons too feel scared and stressed while entering a new home. So, clearly, you’ll be nothing but a stranger to the lizard. After all, moving from the pet store to your home is a big jump for them.

This is why you need to give it the time to get used to the surrounding. It’s because they roam stressed for a while and even skip eating for a few days in the new atmosphere. So, as part of building trust, make sure that you’re giving it the right amount of time to get comfortable with their enclosure.

Don’t think about jumping right in front of it every now and then when you can clearly see that it’s scared. Let them have their share of time to adjust. So, skip handling it for the first one or two weeks. Once they start eating, you can make your next move.

Hand Feeding

There’s a natural instinct in animals that they feel positive about the person who feeds them. So, if you’re asking for a way to gain the trust of your chameleon, we’d say nothing can be a better move than feeding your lizard with your own hand.

Once they’re used to the surrounding, you better try to feed them by your hand. Try using insects that they can easily snatch with the tongue. But you’ll have to be really patient for them to grow the trust this way unless you’ve got a brave lizard in there.

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Make sure that you’re giving them the first insect of the day this way, as that can increase the chance of it easing up the lizard on you. That’s because, during their first meal, they remain extremely hungry and can actually walk up for you if you’re offering them food right then. And don’t go for any insects that are not tasty to the lizard.

By the way, we’re not saying that you’ll have to use the hand exclusively. If you’re not comfortable with that, you can always try things like tweezers or tongs. But whether you use your hand or a tweezer, don’t take it too close as that might make the chameleon nervous.

Once again, nothing will happen overnight, including gaining the trust of your lizard. So, keep repeating the routine for days, and it even can take weeks to break the shell. And don’t force it on the lizard, as that might backfire and push your pet away from you. If it’s showing the ‘not interested’ sign, then just skip it for the day.

Letting Them Explore Outworld

Well, the term ‘outworld’ here doesn’t exactly mean the world out of your house but out of your lizard’s enclosure. We count this as a crucial part of the trust-building process as it’ll allow the lizard to acclimate to the new home and get used to the surrounding.

But make sure that you’re letting them do it on their own. Forcing never is or was a good idea. After all, without the trust, no matter how gently you’re handling them, they’ll still count you as a threat or predator.

To let them explore, all you have to do is keep the cage door open and put a branch or small tree close by the cage where they can see it. But don’t leave the room right after that. You’ll see your lizard gradually leaving the cage to wander around, especially for exploring the branch.

Don’t get surprised if it takes hours initially. But with time, their curiosity will drive them out. Once they start doing that, they’ll get comfortable around, gradually, of course.

When you see them getting out of their cage, put a hand right in front of them along with a branch. Sooner or later, they’ll start growing trust, and they’ll try walking on your hand as well, just the way they do with the branch. Once they do that, try holding them too, and we believe they’ll allow you to do that.

With time, make sure that you’re increasing the handling session but don’t be pushy about it at all. Pay attention to the signal they’re sending, keep trying with patience, and with time, the lizard will start trusting you.

Do Chameleons Have a Personality?

Chameleons are surviving in this world for thousands of years. Any animal with that much time on earth will surely develop a personality, and so did the chameleons. Chameleons are mostly known for several noticeable aspects of their personality, including –

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Unlike some of their similar species, chameleons are known for their calm personality. Though they’re always aware of the presence of predators around them, they’re not seen expressing much of aggression toward both humans and other animals.

Slow and Gentle

Yes, they indeed are super slow and aren’t much of a frequent mover. So, unless there’s a state of emergency, they can stick to a place for a very long time. Besides, even if they make a move, that’ll be really gentle.


Chameleons like to explore as they’ve mostly lived in the wild. It’s not that they don’t enjoy exploring as simple house pets. But that’s only when they’re comfortable with the surrounding. So, once the lizard gets to know the place and trusts the owner, it starts to explore out of sheer curiosity.


Don’t be surprised to see a bit of harshness from the chameleon as they too react aggressively once they feel stressed. Otherwise, they’ve got quite a happy and pleasant personality that anyone would like for sure. 


Well, for obvious reasons, you can’t categorize chameleons as social creatures as they’re basically designed to roam alone. But still, they do communicate when they’re kept as pets. The most common media of communication they use are changing color, body language, and vibration.

How Can You Tell If Your Chameleon Likes You?

There’s a major difference between mammals and chameleons. It’s just they can’t express emotions like your pet dogs or cats. What they mostly do is differentiate between the threats and non-threats.

So, it’s kind of hard to find out if they’re like you or not. But you can surely find out if it’s feeling relaxed around you or not. Now the question is, how to understand that in the first place? Well, we’d say look for the following signs.

  • It’s not changing color when you’re around.
  • The chameleon’s eyes are rolling around the surroundings calmly.
  • It’s not curling up the tail like it does while feeling threatened.  
  • Rather than sticking to the enclosure, it spends its time on the branches while sunning under the lamp.
  • The apatite of the lizard is really good as your presence doesn’t threaten it.
  • It doesn’t feel stressed while eating from your hand.
  • The lizard doesn’t hesitate to explore the surroundings when you’re around.

Final Words

While getting a pet, anyone comes up with some common expectations, and one of them is bonding with the pet. The same goes for a chameleon as well when they’re brought as a pet.

But as they’re not any random pets, like dogs and cats, it takes time for them to cope with the surroundings and recognize the owner. But for that, you need to hold on to your patience and follow the proper process, which we guess you’ve already learned from this article. If that hasn’t made it all a bit easier for you, we don’t know what would.

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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