Does Chameleon Poop Smell?

You’ve already seen how amazing chameleons are at showing off beautiful colors through their skin. But does it look like they have similar control over their other things like poop? We don’t think so! Still, any pet’s poop can be a pain in the neck, especially when it smells real bad. But does chameleon poop smell?

Well, the good news is – if you’re expecting smelly or messy poop out of your cham, it’s going to give you none. That doesn’t mean you should delay the cleaning right after it’s done with dumping. But what if you somehow get late in cleaning it? Don’t worry, it usually dries up which makes it kind of easy to clean.

Now the question is, are there reasons that can make the poop of your lizard smelly? Guess what? There are! Let’s scroll a bit down to find out the reasons.

Why Does My Chameleon’s Poop Smell?

Poops are poops! So them being a little smelly is nothing unusual. But the thing with chameleon poop is it won’t punch right in the nose and make you feel puke. Actually, the poop is significantly low on the smell part. But does it mean that your chameleon’s dump can never get stinky?

Well, the answer is – no, it can and that can be triggered by parasite infestation. You can easily track the difference in the smell as it’ll get worse compared to the previous state of smell, especially when you’re having the lizard for a certain amount of time.

Once you see this happening, feel free to blame the parasitical infection. After all, chams are pretty much prone to parasites. So, whenever you’re noticing the smell of the lizard’s feces is getting worse, reach the vet with your cham. Once they’re treated, the irritating smell should be gone.

When You Shouldn’t Worry About the Smell? 

It’s not the poop that’ll always be the source of the smell. They can emit a “rotting meat” alike smell too that usually come from their jaw. You’ll sense that from the moment they place the scent marker in their nest with this smell.

If you’re expecting that smell to be a sign of something going wrong, we’d say lean back and relax. Actually, it’s more of a normal act for these lizards. They usually do this as a part of their hunting behavior. This smell helps them in attracting their prey to their location.

In case you’ve researched the cham’s eating habits, then you already know that even in their natural habitat, they count insects as their prime prey. The best way to lure them toward the chameleon is by hitting them with the smell of rotting meat. In a different way, you can call it the lizard’s way of setting the ‘decoy’ to hunt them down.

That works great in the wild as they need to hunt for food there. But it won’t feel so good when you’d deal with that smell in your own house. Now the question is, is there no way to skip that unpleasant odor?

Well, the thing with this smell is it eventually dissipates and captive-bred chams don’t emit it frequently. But still, if you want to skip it and find it unbearable, we’d suggest keeping your lizard well fed. After all, they don’t feel the need to look for prey when their tummy is packed with enough food.

By the way, if they still smell like this even after feeding them well, don’t get too bothered with the smell. Chameleons emit tons of other natural odors that you’ll get used to with the course of time.

Do Chameleons Make Your Room Smell?

The best thing about a chameleon is it usually doesn’t make its owner’s room smell terribly. But we can’t say that’s always going to be the case, especially when the owner got a sensitive nose that can sense anything including the bad odors from their pet chameleons. Well, a chameleon can smell bad for a bunch of reasons like –

Organic Soil

There’s no way to deny that organic soil is great for both plants and animals as they don’t come with any kind of harmful chemicals. But once the manure gets mixed with it, there’s a chance of it emitting a smell that you might find irritating at times.

On top of that, the misting keeps the smell fresh as you need to do it more often to keep the lizard hydrated. As a solution to that, for replanting your plants, you can simply use organic soil that is mostly made from coconut husk.

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Standing Water

As a chameleon owner, you probably already know that they need lots of water. So, clearly, you just can’t skip misting as you need to maintain the humidity level of the enclosure up to the mark and for keeping the cham hydrated. After all, the lighting setup generates enough heat to dry up the enclosure.

But if the water in the enclosure somehow fails to escape through the heat, especially the water standing underneath the pot plants, there’s a chance of it causing a bad smell. A bad drainage system can also trigger the smell as it will prevent the water from flowing away.

The best way to get rid of this problem is to allow the water to dry up and keep the misting on pause till then. In case you don’t want to wait that long, you can simply raise the plant stand so that the water can drain out.

Rotten Root

Yes, the rotten roots in your cham’s cage too can make your room smelly. Usually, this happens due to poor skills in plant keeping. This can also be triggered by the poor drainage system. And using excessively compact soil can also lead your plant that way.

There is one more reason that can make the root rot and that is none other than overwatering. Like any other thing, more than enough water can make the roots of your plant go bad.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent that with a proper drainage system. After all, that’s what going to eliminate the chances of water sticking in the same place for too long. Along with that, we’d suggest you use the kind of soil that doesn’t hold the water back.

Besides, don’t forget to check the roots at least once every week. In case the root has already started to get rotten, it’s better to plant a new one for the sake of the lizard. That’s because the rotten roots can lead a cham towards fungal infections.

Old Poop

We know what you’re thinking. Chameleon poop doesn’t smell much as it dries up soon. Well, not if you’re leaving it there for too long. Actually, a chameleon’s cage is a place that you need to water up every now and then. That water can simply make the poop go worse and create a terrible smell that you might find hard to withstand.

The easiest way to skip this is to check the enclosure before the next misting session and clean it up ASAP. Along with that, make sure that you’re checking the poop too every time you’re checking your lizard. If you’d see fresh poop, there’s a chance of you might not have to go through any hassle while cleaning it. Also, take a peek at the leaves.

Feeding Crickets

Though chameleons love crickets as their meal, you can’t also deny that they stink. So, when you’re putting them on your lizard’s food list, be ready to deal with the unwanted smell as well.

Now the question is, can you prevent that in the first place as for the growth of the chameleon, crickets work as a vital source of nutrition. Well, you can if you choose to go for alternatives like roaches and locusts. If you’re not in the mood to put the alternatives on your lizard’s dish, you better preserve crickets in a perfectly ventilated container.

Plus, you need to keep the container in check for the dead crickets too. After all, sometimes they kill each other before turning into the meal of the lizard. To be honest, compared to crickets, locusts are way easier when it comes to storing and maintaining. On top of that, they’re not as noisy as the crickets.

Feeding Roaches

We’ve already mentioned that roaches are the perfect alternative to crickets. They’re more likable among the cham owners as they’ve been proved greatly effective for feeding baby chameleons.

But like the crickets, they too can cause some unwanted smell, especially when the tub you’re putting them in is not well ventilated. Apart from that, you won’t have to deal with the smell until you’re feeding them to your lizard.

We can’t actually blame them for that, as emitting that smell is a part of their defense mechanism against predators. You need to take no additional steps to skip the smell as it lasts for a small amount of time.


We’ve mentioned this one before while talking about the smelly poop. If you can sense the smell from a comparative greater distance in the room, there’s a chance of your lizard battling with parasites. The easiest way to be sure about that is checking out if the lizard is losing weight or got runny poo.

If you get a confirmation on that, don’t delay in rushing to the vet where they’ll perform the fecal float exam in order to determine the next course of action. What you can do to prevent parasites is to ensure the total cleanliness of the enclosure.

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Plus, make sure that there’s sufficient light and heat for the lizard. And in case you’re planning on staying extra cautious, try to avoid making your cham eat any wild-caught insects. Rather than that, try using insects from any of the reputed insect breeders.

Wrong Substrate

What kind of substrate are you using for your cham’s nest? Is it something like the sand or bark? If yes, then you better be ready to deal with some irritating smell. On top of that, they’re tough to maintain and trigger health issues for the lizard.

When you’re misting over the bark, it water often gets stuck on the surface and makes the bark damp which leads to mold growth. As a result, the musty smell pops up which we believe you’d find unpleasant and makes you feel like not going any near to the lizard’s nest.

But using an easily maintainable substrate can surely cut off that hassle in the first place. In case you’re not in the mood to do so, simply use paper towels as you change those whenever you want.

The Missed Insects

There’s nothing to be surprised if your lizards miss one or a few insects you’ve just dropped in there as their meal. But missing them won’t save them from dying, will it?

So, when they die after a certain amount of time, the smell starts hitting the nose. If you’re asking for names, then we’d say insects like the Morio worm beetle can come up with the worst of smell.

Actually, not every owner thinks of hand-feeding their lizard. To make their cham feel like they’re in the wild, they just leave the beetles in the cage. But not every time the lizard manages to catch them and the missed ones trigger the smell on their way to decomposing, after dying of course.

We probably know what you’re thinking – isn’t it a bit hard to find out an insect such as beetles that is too good when it comes to hiding? Well, we agree with you on that. But the best chance is to check out the cage on a regular basis, especially in places like under the pots.

Sometimes the lizards lose interest in eating the beetles. If you can somehow sense something like this, it’s better to stop giving them these insects in the first place or remove them without any delay.

Do Chameleon Cages Stink?

Yes, it does and if you’ve gone through the earlier segments of this article, then we guess you already know that it’s quite a common issue. But if you’re asking for the most reason why the cage goes all smelly, then we’ve got a few answers for you.

By the way, don’t get surprised if you feel the odor is too strong compared to wild. After all, the cage or enclosure you’re putting your lizard into isn’t as big as the wild. So, the smell being a little stronger is nothing unusual.

The Flooring

Whether you’re going to use flooring in your cham’s cage or not is totally up to you. But if you want it to have the most natural look possible, then using compatible flooring is kind of a must here.

This is where the substrate come in handy. But the kind of odor you’ll have to deal with is also dependent on that. In case you’re going for the one that comes with manure, there’s a high chance of getting unwanted smells.


If you’re asking for the most effective way to make your chameleon’s cage smell bad, then we’d standing water is what you can rely on with closed eyes. Joke apart! You already know that you need to keep your lizard hydrated and for that you need to water the cage.

But interestingly, their and our water drinking pattern is never the same. So, to make them drink water, you need a dripping system. But for obvious reason, a lizard is not going to stand under the dripping system for the whole day, right?

So, when the lizard is not thirsty, the dripping system will still keep dropping water that might become a source of standing water. This water is good at creating the musty smell, especially standing in the same place for a long time. Plus, the misting too can lead to such hassles.

By the way, you don’t need rocket science to get rid of it. Just don’t forget to dry out the nest completely before you go for the next misting session.

Spoiled Root

Plants are something that you just can’t skip having in your lizard’s cage that gives the natural vibe. But when it comes to smell, rotten roots of those plants too can trigger the bad smell.

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Overwatering can also change the smell pattern within the cage. When you’re moistening too much, the plants stay in contact more than they need. This can deteriorate the condition of the plant and make the go bad, which ultimately leads to a bad smell. Plus, the overwater can kill the plants.

In case you feel like the real plants are causing too much smell though you have kept the water balance on point, then it’s better for you to shift to artificial plants and vines. They too can serve the purpose of the plant to a certain extent. They surely can’t generate oxygen but can provide all the cover the lizard needs.

How Do You Clean Chameleon Poop?

Whether the poop is smelly or not, cleaning it up is essential for every chameleon owner. But the question is when to it and how. Well, if you’re asking about the time, then we’d suggest you get rid of the poop whenever you see it. 

But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to worry too much if you see it later on. Actually, letting it dry up can make the cleaning process easier and less messy for you. One more thing! How easy will it be to clean the poop also depends on the substrate you’re using. 

Now comes the ‘how to do it’ part. It’s not any rocket science. Simply following the steps below is enough to clean up the poops in no time.

Step 1: Tracing The Poop

Check the enclosure properly and look into every bit of surface to trace the poop. If there’s any fixed spot where your lizard mostly takes the dump, look there first. Also, look into the leaves as much as you can.

Step 2: Picking Up The Feces

Grab a paper towel and pick up the feces you’re seeing lying on the surface. To ensure that all the traces of the poops are gone, take a damp cloth later on and give the areas of poop a bit of wiping. 

Step 3: Set Up A Cleaning Schedule

If there’s any trace of poop over the leaves or perch, go for the same process. Try going through the cleaning process every two to three weeks. 

There’s one more thing you need to keep in mind and that is not misting before checking out the poop in the enclosure. This will make them messier and if the drainage system is not good enough, the cage might hit you back with a chaotic smell.

Do Chameleons Smell Bad?

Generally, chameleons do not have any identical odor as other pet animals. Since the chameleon poops are smelly, people often wonder about the smell of chameleons. However, chameleons do not smell bad due to not having any scent glands.

Although these animals are odorless, you may find bad smells in the enclosure of your pet chameleons. Several things can be responsible for this odor.

If you fill-up the bottom of the enclosure with organic soil, your chameleons may be smelly due to dirting themselves with this soil. The substrate that you put in your chameleon’s enclosure matters a lot in stinking.

Besides, some live feeders can stink. Such as crickets, roaches, etc. When you feed these insects to your chameleons, they may smell bad. Because of having standing water for a long time, rotting roots of plants, unremoved poop of chameleons, and other factors can make chameleons smell bad.

Moreover, your chameleons may smell bad due to their health issues. If your chameleons suffer from stomatitis or mouth rot, they may stink.

Do Chameleons Eat Their Own Poop?

It might sound disgusting to you but they do eat their own poop. Behavior like this is not entirely new in the animal world. Even dogs do this sometimes but not under good circumstances of course. Similarly, a chameleon eating poop is nothing good as well. There are a bunch of reasons that can trigger a behavior like this in a chameleon.  

If there’s any undigested food left in the poop like insect parts, they might try to eat them up. But according to some experts, they might do this under parasitic infestation as well.

But the most common theory of this kind of behavior is the lizard not getting a sufficient amount of food. If your lizard keeps doing this even after filling up its tummy properly, then probably it’s time to see the vet and have a proper examination.

Final Words

Smelling a bit is quite normal when the pet you’re owning is a chameleon. And if it’s the smell of the poop that you’re concerned about, then we’d say there’s nothing much to worry about the smell that comes from their poop as it is nothing intense. Still, you should clean them up whenever you see them in the enclosure.

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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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