Whether it’s human or animal, aggression is a behavioral part of every living being. Clearly, that goes for the chameleons as well. But aggressive behavior not only harms the lizard but also brings trouble for the pet owner.
Now the question is – how would you deal with your chameleon when it’s behaving aggressively? Well, you can try making their living space more comfortable for them. Giving them sufficient time to settle down might also do the trick. Even hand-feeding the lizard has been proven effective in calming them down.
But is there any other way that can speed up the calming process and make it easier to deal with an aggressive cham? Well, there is, and that’s what we’re going to tell you about in this article.
All you need to do is just scroll down and grab the answer.
Why Is My Chameleon Being So Aggressive?
If you’re going to ask about the most solitary and shy reptiles out there, you will find chameleons at the top of that list. But that doesn’t mean they don’t get angry or display any kind of aggressive behavior. There are a bunch of reasons that can trigger aggression in the lizard, including –
When you’re seeing your lizard acting like it’s mad at you, then there’s a high chance that it’s battling with stress. Like we said before, they’re solitary animals. So, they kind of hate interactions.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a man or a chameleon on the other side, they get intimidated easily. After all, if only you’ve been around your chameleon when it was a baby, it’s more inclined to trust you. If you haven’t been there, don’t worry, their trust can be earned over time.
They also express their aggression by hissing. They use this only when their message is all about asking the opponent to back off, or they’re in need of some space. Don’t do anything stupid at that time like handling them. Otherwise, they might land a bite on your hand, thinking they’re defending themselves.
You might be wondering what can possibly make a cham mad in the first place through stress. Well, things you’re probably taking lightly right now can be a brutal cause of stress for the reptile.
They’re so sensitive that even your fast movement might stress them. Apart from that, things like loud noises and frequent movement around the cage can make the lizard stressed. And guess what? Even if you put them from one place to another or change the temperature, they’ll get stressed.
Disease and Injury
What can easily infect a chameleon’s body more than anything? Well, we’d say it’s the parasites. Lots of the chams also fall victim to bacterial, fungal, along with viral diseases. Discoloration, wasting away due to loss of sunken eyes, appetite, and listlessness pops up as the other signs of disease.
Another thing that might bother your cham the most is the injury, especially at its feet and toes. On top of that, eye injuries can also be a pain in the neck. All these health issues that we’ve mentioned above can be the reason for their aggressive behavior. You’ll experience it more than ever while handling them.
Plus, the toxins you’re using for household cleaning or killing bugs might harm the reptile real hard.
‘Extremely Territorial’ – well, that’s the term comes to our mind when we think of a chameleon. It’s seen that they can’t stand the presence of any other animal around, not even their own species. Probably you’ve already noticed that whenever you get closer to their cage and they respond aggressively by lunging. changing color and sometimes hissing.
We can’t blame them though as that’s their nature and that’s how claim their territory. So, if you’re planning to slip in another lizard within their enclosure or put them in a place where they see other animals, they might get triggered and show signs of aggression.
How Do You Tame An Angry Chameleon?
Dealing with an angry pet can be tricky. But when the pet is a chameleon, things get a bit trickier. So when it comes to taming an angry chameleon, you just can’t go with the regular methods you would’ve tried with a dog or cat. Instead, you can try the following ones.
Allow Them to Have Enough Time
When you’re getting your chameleon home for the first time, there’s something probably wrong with the lizard if it’s not feeling stressed or afraid. After all, you’ve just put it in a new environment it’s got no idea about.
So, what you can do is give them enough time to get comfortable with the surroundings. Unlike the other reptiles, they’re more prone to stress and also comparatively fragile. Every time they change locations, it stresses them up more than anything. Even they might skip their meal in the new home. So, if you’re giving them time to cope, they might start liking it in a while.
Make Them Feel Comfortable
The essential steps of taming an angry chameleon include making them comfortable in the first place. There are three ways to do that and you need to try them all. The first one is housing. Make sure that you’re putting their enclosure in a quiet room where too much traffic is missing. That’s because the presence of other living beings often stresses them up.
The next one is arranging enough climbing space. Give them an arrangement where they can climb higher than your head. When they’re sitting at a higher level, they feel less threatened.
And last of all, try to provide lots of foliage, at least enough where the lizard can hide and feel safer. But that doesn’t mean you need to overcrowd the cage, just enough that can be used as a hiding place to take down the stress of the reptile.
Try Hand Feeding
Indeed hand feeding is a great experience for any pet owner. Plus, it’s the food that makes the lizard associate you with a positive vibe. So, once your lizard gets used to the enclosure, try hand-feeding.
Don’t worry, you won’t have to slip the insect into its mouth. All you need to do is just hold the insect till it snatches the snack with its sticky and long tongue. They might not go for the food in the beginning. This is where you have to be patient and keep trying unless the lizard is very brave.
But how they’re going to react to the hand-held food depends on the timing too. So, to increase the chance of feeding, try to do it with their first insect of that day. After all, that’s the time when they’re in their hungriest state. So, there’s a high chance of them snatching it away from your hand.
Now the question is – do you need to exclusively use your hand? Well, no. We can totally understand if you’re really not into the hand-feeding thing yet. In such a case, we’d say using a tweezer or tongs will be the best option for you. By the way, don’t forget to use tasty insects for the treat.
When you’re using your hand, make sure that you’re not taking it too close as that can make them really nervous. If you’re seeing the cham is not showing any interest in the food, skip hand-feeding it for the day. Don’t get desperate with the process as it takes time to build trust with an animal, especially when it’s a chameleon.
Allow Them to Explore Around
Being cautious about the surrounding is quite normal for the chams, whether they’re acclimated to their new home or not. As they’re trying to get used to your presence, don’t force them to come out of the enclosure.
But make sure that you’re allowing them to come outside on their own terms. As chams are not good at understanding your intentions, the first thing they’re going to count you as is a predator.
Now the question is – how will you make them understand that stepping outside is safe for them? Well, try keeping the door open while putting the branch or tree nearby it. You should stay in that room but move slowly as they count fast-moving elements as a threat.
In the beginning, they might take hours to come out. But with time, their curiosity will push them to explore their surrounding. Later on, they’ll get more comfortable about coming out and roaming around.
Once they start taking things easily, try putting your hand flat in front of them so that they feel like you’re giving them a branch to climb on. Don’t rush it, let them do that on their own. That way, they will start trusting you gradually and start walking over your hands, even allowing you to handle them.
Be Gentle with the Handling
When the reptile is allowing you to handle it, count it as a sign of trust. But don’t turn the handling into a terrifying experience for them. Try to keep it positive when they’re letting you hold them.
To make them feel more comfortable with this, you can take them to natural sunlight or let them roam on the plants all by themselves while you’re sticking around. With time, the lizard will understand that you mean no harm to it.
How to Prevent Your Chameleon from Acting Aggressively?
For obvious reasons, aggression is a part of almost all living species, even for shy animals like the chameleons. But the reptile can start misbehaving anytime and we bet you won’t like it. So, what you can do is try to prevent such behavior by following methods.
It’s true that stress is the most effective ‘chameleon’ killer. After all, this is where most of the health issues start popping up in the first place. But it’s nothing that you can’t prevent or reduce. All you have to do is just get rid of all the possible causes that can trigger stress in a chameleon.
As wrong lighting and heating can make the cham stressed, try to fix them up first. Also, make sure that the room is free of excessive animal or human traffic. As the chams can get stressed due to the presence of other chameleons, avoid letting another cham be in the enclosure.
And don’t even think about making the surroundings noisy. By the way, do you know that changing the cage layout or position can make them feel stressed too? So, like you should avoid handling the cham unnecessarily, avoid doing that too unless it’s the only mandatory. Also, keep yourself away from directly spraying over the reptile.
Preventing Illness and Injury
If you really want to keep your reptile away from all kinds of illnesses, make sure that the cage is always kept clean. Don’t even let any uneaten food lay here or there. Plus, if you see any animal that might spread bacteria, make sure that your lizard is not coming in contact with them at all.
Along with that, prevent your chameleon from coming in contact with any kind of toxins you’re using to clean up the house or control pests. And yes, don’t forget to wash off your hands before handling the cham. After all, no one knows what kind of germs you’re carrying in your hand.
If you’re sure about the fact that the illness is what triggering the aggression in the cham, try consulting a vet first. Trying to fix that up by yourself might cause harm to the lizard.
Respect Their Territorial Attitude
There will be nothing surprising if your cham starts acting like it’s being territorial, even with you, especially when you’re trying to handle it. This means it’s still not trusting you and counting you as a threat.
In this case, all you can do is have patience and keep trying till the chameleon is feeling happy with the surroundings. And don’t even think about putting two chameleons in the same enclosure. Otherwise, they’ll end up fighting each other and getting themselves injured.
How Do You Get An Aggressive Chameleon Out of the Cage?
Getting an aggressive cham out of its cage is a tough nut to crack but nothing impossible. For that, you can try a bunch of techniques and lots of chameleon owners have already given them a shot. The list includes –
Keeping the Cage Door Open
Chams are known for their curious behavior. Even if they’re filled with aggression, they still can’t hold their curiosity back. So, what you can do is just keep the door of its enclosure open and it might come out on its own.
Using a Branch
These lizards are designed to live in the trees. So, using a branch might work like positive reinforcement. But don’t take it closer by yourself. Leave it in front of the cage door and the reptile might climb on it by itself.
Using a Treat
Food is a universal language and that works for chameleons as well. So, if it’s behaving aggressively, you can try using a tasty insect that might make them come outside. But make sure that you’re using their favorite one. In case you don’t know what it is, you can give Fluker’s Gourmet Canned Food a try.
Holding by the Hand
Well, you can call it the last resort. Though handling can make a cham more stressed, if nothing else is working, that’s your best chance. But try to use a thick glove if you find their bites irritating.
Aggressive pets are never fun to be with and that’s quite true for chameleons as well. But if you know how to deal with aggressive chameleons, that shouldn’t be a problem. Just remember this, with time it’s possible to calm them down, even if they’re acting like the angriest reptile out there.