Does Chameleon Need Light At Night?

It seems the pet owners have lately grown an interest in having chameleons too. Well, we can’t blame them for the fascination as these color-changing lizards are amazing, literally. But as they’re not so common as pets yet, tons of queries often hit the internet and one of them is – does the chameleon need light at night or what.

Like any other diurnal animal, Chameleons too stay active in the daytime and sleep at night. As their eyesight is better than ours, putting a light closer to them can mess with their sleep. And if they don’t get enough sleep, that can simply have a bad impact on their health. So, keeping them away from the regular lights at night is a must.

But how are you going to keep them warm if you’d take the light away from them? Well, this article is all about getting answers to all your questions on ‘the light and the chameleon’.

Should I Leave A Light On At Night For My Chameleon?

The number of chameleon owners is on the rise. But lots of them are still unaware of a ton of things including the night-time schedule of the lizard. Not only that, but not too many of them know what the chameleons need once the sun is gone and yes, we’re talking about the light and temperature here.

Like we said earlier, Chameleons are no nocturnal animals. So, like your dog or cat, they too stay active during the day and for sleeping they pick the night time.

As one of the most unique creatures on earth, they come with the ability to visually track infrared colors and UV more than humans. So, they can detect color in the dark, even if it’s coming from a source that you’re unaware of. This means, putting a light close to their nest at night will do nothing but disturb their sleep to a huge extent. 

Clearly, these lizards love darkness, especially when they’re looking for a spot to sleep. This is also the reason why at night they end up in the darkest corner of their nest. They’re so sensitive to light at night that a regular room light can crack up their good night sleep. 

So, if you really want your Chameleon to be comfortable at night and let it have its required rest, then stay away from putting a light in or closer to their nest.

Can Chameleons Be In The Dark At Night?

Well, you’re not the first one among the pet owners who don’t have a clear idea of how to control the temperature of the lizard’s surroundings at night. But knowing it is a must because any mismatch there might end up in serious complications. For maintaining the temperature, you’ll also have to be sure about the region’s temperature in the first place.

The temperature you’re going to set has to be optimal on the basis of the weather outside, which can be both hot and cold. And yes, the temperature has to do a lot with how the lizard’s organs.

You can try the easiest way of measuring the temperature here – a thermometer. A temperature gun will also do just fine. But it’s better to keep an eye on the lizard’s color as well. That’s because once they get cold they dress themselves up in a darker color and we all know how good darker colors are at absorbing heat and light.

Yes, it’s true that a chameleon can be in the dark at night but keeping it at a compromised temperature is never a good idea. To be sure about the condition of the lizard in the room, you can also take some other signs into account. Yes, we’re talking about noticing if it’s keeping its mouth open when it’s hot.

On top of that, they go for brighter color patterns which allow them to let the excessive heat be eradicated as that makes them cool. They usually do this kind of stuff while sitting under the sun.

So, when you see they’re doing this at the night too, then probably it’s because you’ve left the room too hot for them, even at the night it’s not coming down.

What Kind Temperature is Essential For Chameleons At Night?

Do you know what the chameleons need the most for a good sleep at night? A drop in the temperature. But why? Well, low temperature slows down their metabolisms. As a result, it pushes their body to sleep in order to get all the rest it needs.

But the kind of temperature chameleons need is not the same for all species. Like their characteristics, there’s a difference here as well.

Veiled Chameleon

Veiled chameleons are usually seen in Saudi Arabia and Yemen which are well known for warm climates. So, handling a nighttime temperature of more than 40ºF is no big deal for them. But if you’re asking for the best temperature for them at night, then we’d say go for something between 55°F to 65°F.

Panther Chameleon

These chameleons have come from Madagascar and when it’s night, they need a higher temperature for a sound sleep. Usually, the ideal number for them on the temperature is 60° to Mid-70°. Experts advise maintaining the warmth to a consistent level.

Jackson’s Chameleon

This species of chameleons are from Kikuyu in Kenya. They’re mostly known as Jackson’s chameleon but you can also call them Kikuyu three-horned chameleons. If the temperature is kept at 60ºF, it’ll be just perfect for these lizards to have their share of sleep at night.

What Are the Best Ways to Keep A Chameleon Warm At Night?

No matter whether it’s hot weather or a cold one, you’ll have to maintain the right temperature in every manner if you want to see your lizard healthy. For that, you might need to think of ways that won’t involve any night light in the first place.

Well, if the temperature at night goes too low, then trying the following ways might get it back on track. 

Heating the Room Rather than the Enclosure

Rather than putting the heater in your reptile’s enclosure or heating it up separately, it’s better to warm up the entire room and match the desired temperature. This way you can avoid using a heat lamp. After all, heat lamps emit infrared light that can mess with the reptile’s sleep

Cover the Enclosure

Have you seen how bird owners usually cover their bird’s cage? Well, you can try something like that here too. Just take a piece of fabric or cloth that can resist the insertion of cold air. It’ll help you to maintain the temperature of the enclosure, especially when the weather is significantly cold.

Creating a Light Schedule

If you’ve had your share of research on lighting in a chameleon’s nest, then you probably you’ve already read about the lighting schedule. Yes, we’re talking about keeping the light on for 10 – 12 hours and turning it off later on. That will be enough for them to have a sufficient amount of sleep at both night and day.

Should Chameleons Sleep In The Dark?

Yes, they can, and keeping dark enough is more than important to let them have sound sleep along with keeping them healthy. As the presence of any light leads to the disturbance in the sleep of the lizard, it’s better to keep the light off. But what about the UVB lights? Isn’t it too important for the chameleons to function?

Well, the answer is yes and it has to be kept on for 12 hours every day. But that’s only in the daytime. You can skip keeping the light on at night as maintaining a low temperature allows the lizard to have the perfect sleep.

Does Your Chameleon Need Any Heat Lamp At Night?

Well, if it’s a veiled chameleon, then our answer is ‘Yes’. They do need a heat lamp.  If the weather out of the enclosure is cold, then adding a heat lamp is a must. As they’re ectothermic animals, they can adapt to warm climates only.

On top of that, due to being cold-blooded animals, it’s hard for them to maintain their body temperature if there’s any kind of fluctuation in the environment outside.

How Can You Maintain The Ideal Temperature For Your Chameleon?

If there’s anything your chameleon needs right along with food and the right enclosure, then it’s the ideal temperature. Otherwise, it’ll be nothing but difficult for them to function properly. This one thing is so crucial that any negligence on this part might bring in serious complications including behavioral changes.

The easiest way to keep the temperature up to the mark is using a basking lamp. They can hold on to the ideal temperature during the daytime with ease. But it’s better to keep them off at night.

Fifty Watt halogen bulb is another good option as a perfect source of heat. All you have to do is put it inside the tank. But for that, you need to know in which location to put it in the first place. The ideal place for the bulb is the ceiling of the tank if you want equal heat everywhere in the tank.

By the way, don’t forget to maintain a minimum distance between the perch and the bulb which shouldn’t be more or less than 6 to 8 inches. After all, experts say, that’s the perfect basking spot.

You’ll also have to keep an eye on the temperature and set it as per the need of the chameleon. To be sure about the temperature, try using a thermometer.

What If The Temperatures of Your Chameleon Are Wrong?

When you’ve taken the responsibility of a pet like a chameleon, the price of negligence on essential aspects like temperature can be really high. In conditions like extreme or cold weather, without the right temperature, their organs too might not work in the proper manner.

Though the number of chameleon owners is on the rise, still tons of them don’t know how to control the lighting setup’s temperature. The need for temperature varies on the basis of species and the region they belong to which we’ve discussed above already.

Along with checking with your temperature gun or thermometer, see what kind of color the lizard is on right then. If it’s in a dark color, then it’s trying to draw more heat, which means the temperature is already down. But if you’re seeing it in a brighter color, then clearly, the heat is higher than needed.

So, the first thing you need to do is adjust the temperature first. You can try heating up the room with a heater or can cover up the nest with a cloth. In both ways, the temperature will start to rise to the ideal level.

You can also change the position of the heating lamp if it’s not being able to provide enough heat to the lizard from its current position. Also, check the watt of the bulb or lamp you’re using. If it’s not delivering enough heat, try changing the bulb.

Final Words

There’s no way to deny that, the right kind of light setup contributes greatly to the growth and healthiness of a chameleon. But that doesn’t mean you need to light up their nest at both day and night.

After all, like you, they too need a little darkness for sleeping. So, let just the lizard be in the dark when it’s sleep time and keep the light away or off for that time.

In case, you’re feeling like the temperature is not on point, take all the initiatives to fix that up. We guess you’ve already known what to do in such a situation as you’ve gone through our article.

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping shrimps as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my shrimp keeping knowledge with you.

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