How To Bond With Your Chameleon?

When you’re getting a pet, the next thing you expect is bonding. And isn’t it obvious? Thankfully, with pets like cats and dogs, things are comparatively easy. All you need to do is feed them, play with them, and take care of them. But what about chameleons? How to bond with them?

It’s a time-consuming process to form a bond with a chameleon, unlike cats and dogs. But allowing them to have their time, handling them regularly, and feeding them by hand can help to a certain extent to create a positive relationship with them.

Now the question is, if it’s not like cats and dogs, then how much time is it going to take to form a bond with these lizards? And what are the exact steps that help with the bonding process? Well, that’s what we will be putting some lights on today.

Is Possible To Bond With A Chameleon?

This depends on how you’re actually defining bonding. If you’re expecting a bonding like cats and dogs with humans, then sorry to say, but you’re not going to get that from a chameleon. And don’t believe those cartoons where chameleons act like close friend who changes their color according to your moods.

So what is the meaning of ‘bonding’ when it comes to chameleons? Well, when it comes to animals, it’s their emotional centers that ease up the process of building a bond. But if you’re asking about reptiles like chameleons, they just don’t have that.

They will treat you as a threat or not a threat. If they’re considering you as a threat, they’ll show it through their behavior, like dressing up in brighter colors or hissing. But once they get the confidence that you’re not going to hurt them, they go into their neutral coloring. They even might climb on your hand as if it’s a branch.

Now the question is – is there no way to build an emotional connection with a chameleon? Well, you already know that these cold-blooded reptiles don’t have the ability to be emotionally expressive or show affection. But let’s not forget that chameleons are intelligent reptiles. So, don’t get surprised if they show some types of emotions.

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But you can be sure those won’t be anything like cats and dogs. They usually show two types of emotion – one, fear, and two, contentment. You’ll easily know when they’re stressed or afraid, thanks to their color-changing ability for that. And when they’re content, you’ll understand that too from the way they roam around or when you’re around.

Bonding With Your Chameleon – The Process

No matter which pets you take in, bonding with them requires a process. The same goes for chameleons. So, which process should you follow to make your colorful lizard your next best friend? Well, you can always start with –

1. Providing A Suitable Environment

If you really want your color shifter to thrive, you better get the exact environmental condition it needs. So, the moment you plan to bring it in, make sure that you’ve got the enclosure set correctly.

Fixing up the temperature here only is not enough. You need to ensure that the enclosure got the lighting, humidity, and hiding spot right on point. Once you make the lizard feel comfortable with the right habitat, it’ll feel more secure along with being open to bonding.

2. Respecting Their Space

Yes, chameleons surely are solitary animals, and that’s what makes the naturally cautious. So, you better give them enough space to make them feel less disturbed. Once you pull that off, they’ll simply be at ease.

Plus, you need to avoid making sudden moves and loud noises around them as that stresses them out. By the way, it’s better to set the enclosure in a place where the traffic of people and any other pet is significantly low. 

3. Spending Time Close To Their Enclosure

Try to spend some time close to your lizard’s cage on a regular basis. You can either sit or stand around. Along with that, feel free to engage in activities such as reading and working. But don’t forget to keep it quiet, as you know what sounds can do here. Over time, the lizard will gradually get used to your presence and become comfortable with it. 

4. Observing Without Handling

Once you notice the chameleon is not freaking out with you being around, start observing from a certain distance. You’re probably wondering why we’re not suggesting you handle it already.

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Well, you still need to understand their behavior and how they react under different circumstances. This way, the lizard will also become more familiar with your presence, and the stress or pressure surely not going to kick in.

5. Offering A Consistent Feeding Routine

Are you looking for the best way to make your chameleon positive associations with you? Then you better try that with feeding. All you have to do here is go with a regular feeding routine. Be close to the lizard’s cage during the feeding time.

Once they get used to that routine, they’ll start associating you being there with the arrival of food. This way, it’ll become easier for them to trust you.

6. Moving Slowly

When you’re around a chameleon, you better be moving slowly. After all, chameleons are super sensitive to movements, and we don’t blame them for that. That’s because any slow-moving reptile is an easy target for predators, and the same goes for chameleons. So, they’re kind of designed to stay cautious about the surroundings.

This means you need to approach them slowly, as any jerky or quick movement will stress them out. When you’re not threatening them with any sudden movement, they’ll start to feel comfortable with your presence and will stop counting you as a threat.

7. Hand-Feeding

The next thing you need to try is hand-feeding. Once you’re sure that they’re comfortable with you being around, count it as a green signal to feed them with your hand. If you’re not okay with you using the fingers or feeling a bit uneasy, try using a tong. Start with small insects, or you can simply try fruits, the one that doesn’t harm chameleons, of course.

8. Avoiding Forceful Handling

Do you know what chameleons hate the most? Forceful handling. So, don’t even try to do that. In case you didn’t know, chameleons got super delicate bodies. This means any kind of force over their body can lead to injury, and we bet you don’t want that.

Plus, unwanted handling can make them feel stressed. And if you do that too frequently, they even start losing trust in you and count you as a threat. Let the lizard decide when it will be okay with the handling. 

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9. Being Patient And Consistent

If you really want your lizard to be close to you, even a bit, then you’re going to need two things – patience and consistency. Surely these are something you need for all pets, but for chameleons, you need them to a whole other level.

The bonding takes time, and it varies from one chameleon to another. Some of them are more tolerant when it comes to handling over time. But some like to keep the contact to a minimum.

No matter which category goes with your lizard, you have to be patient and keep trying to be careful with it. Gradually, it’ll show signs of trusting you. Yes, it won’t be jumping on you and licking you like a dog or making the ‘purr’ sound like a cat. But yes, it surely will show you that it feels safe with you.

How Long Is It Okay To Handle Chameleon?

Once you become sure of the fact that your chameleon is comfortable with you being around or close to it, feel free to try the handling part. But you need to be careful with that. And the duration?

This is going to totally depend on how accustomed your lizard is to being handled. After all, depending on the chameleon, that can vary to a greater extent. But we’ll suggest that keep the duration relatively short

It’ll be better if you can just start with a small duration, like 5 minutes, and that’s at most. If you’re seeing the lizard feel uncomfortable in the first place, let it go immediately. But if you’re seeing a green signal there, try increasing the duration gradually.

By the way, don’t forget to keep your eyes open for stress signals, as you never know when they’ll start treating handling negatively again. So, if you’re seeing anything like changing in color, aggressive posture, or hissing – back off in the next minute. And don’t try handling again till the lizard cool off completely.

Before We Go…

Hold on a second! There’s one more thing that can influence a chameleon’s behavior in handling and bonding with you. Any guess on that? Yes, it’s the age. But how are you going to find out the age? Well, try our blog – How To Tell The Age Of A Chameleon? We believe you’ll get some idea about that.

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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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