How To Tell The Age Of A Chameleon? Expert Tips

Age – probably that’s what you’ll find the most difficult thing to figure out just with the glance of your eyes, whether you’re talking about humans, animals, or trees. With a simple glance, there’s a very lean chance of assuming the right number there. But what about your favorite reptiles – the chameleons? How to tell their age then? 

Compared to adult chameleons, it’s easier to find out the age of newborns. It’s common to see size and color differences across species for tracking the age. When it comes to juveniles and babies, their ages can be assessed by looking at their sizes and colorings. But once they reach the age of 2 years, assuming that number turns into an expert’s task.

But is there no other way to find out their age without someone literally telling you that? Well, there are, actually. Don’t worry; this article is all about putting that info on your table.

What Are the Easiest Ways to Tell Your Chameleon’s Age? 

Nobody said that finding out the right age of  your favorite color shifter will always be piece of cake But there are a bunch of methods you can try if the store you’ve got it from didn’t say the right number on their age. 

1. Checking the Size

The first one is examining the chameleon’s size. A young chameleon will always be significantly smaller than an adult specimen of the same species. Newborn veiled chameleons can be of a size between 3 and 6 inches if you simply start measuring them from their nose to tail. 

They achieve full adult size by the eighth month. Males can usually turn 12-19 inches long. But you definitely won’t see a similar kind of growth in the females, as they can reach a size of 8-12 inches at most. Interestingly, these reptiles keep getting fatter until they reach the age of 2 years old.

When it comes to the length of a newborn Jackson’s chameleon, from nose to tail, is between around 3-5 inches. Males can grow up to the size of 8 to 15 inches. But the females have fallen behind here as well. The females of the Jackson species can grow up to 7 to 8 inches while reaching the age of 6 to 8 months.

By the way, let us give you some suggestions on this ‘size’ method. If you’re into finding out the age by size, grab a growth chart of your chameleon species first. The next thing you’re going to need is measurement tape. Then simply measure it, match it with the chart and find out at this size what its age should be. 

But don’t blow away the possibility of the reptile being malnourished, which might negatively impact its size. This is where you might get confused. So, if you’re not trusting the size, go for the next method. 

2. Checking the Coloration

In case you’re not convinced that measuring sizing is an effective method, you’re free to examine the chameleon’s color as another way to figure out its age. A chameleon that is still a juvenile will have colors that are more vivid than those of an adult. But if you’re really not an expert on this, finding out the right age might be as hard as finding a needle in the grass.

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The young ones among the veiled chameleons are light green in color. Their colors begin to emerge gradually once they turn into adults, which is generally around the age of four months. The males dress up in a dark green color and have blue, brown, and also gold patterns on their bodies.

But this is where the adult females walk on a different route. Over their green skin, you’ll notice yellow, white, and blue patterns, which is surely missing on any males. They pop out of the egg with brown color. But these Jackson’s hatchlings change to a green tint once they hit between the ages of four and five months.

3. Consulting a Veterinarian 

Whether you’re purchasing a chameleon or simply adopting it, it’s highly suggested that you take your new pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible. It’s just that you can’t and shouldn’t skip the initial checkup with a trained reptile doctor. 

Well, this is your catch. Along with knowing about its health condition, you can get its age as well. But you need to make sure that the one you’ve gone to is a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles. 

The thing is, they’re familiar with the color distinctions and size variation that exist between the many types of chameleons, including infant and juvenile chameleons. So, finding out the right number on the reptile’s age is no big deal for them. 

4. Consulting An Experienced Breeder

Your pet’s age as a youngster can probably be roughly determined by a competent chameleon breeder who is well-versed in the kind of chameleon you have. The vast majority of respectable breeders do not offer juvenile chameleons for sale if they are younger than six weeks old.

It’s possible that pet businesses and people who raise animals in their homes aren’t as careful as them. A good breeder pays attention to the development of juvenile chameleons throughout time and is knowledgeable about the changes in size and color that occur with age. So, if you’ve got stuck on the age part, coming in touch with a reputable breeder might fix that up.

Why Knowing the Age of Your Chameleon Is Important?

You’re probably asking yourself the same question that why should you even need to know the age of your chameleon, right? Well, you do need to keep track of it, at least for the following reasons. 

1. Lifespan 

In a generic sense, no pet of yours are not going to outlive you and the same goes for chameleons as well. This means, sooner or later, they are going to leave you. But if you don’t even know how much your chameleon has aged, you’re probably not going to be able to assume how much time it’s got left to stay with you. 

2. Diet Pattern

The diet and age of a chameleon is related to each other, just like any other pet out there. But when you’ve got zero clue about its age, we bet getting it the right diet can be a bit harder than you’re thinking. So, you need to keep track of its age in order to give it the right food with the right proportion. 

3. Breeding

If you’re planning on getting started with the breeding of chameleons, then knowing the age of your reptiles is a must for you. After all, you don’t want to leave it open for mating, even if it’s not physically fit for laying eggs. The thing is making a female chameleon lay egg before it’s physically fit can lead it too death. 

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At What Age Can You Breed Your Chameleon? 

One of the prime reasons why lots of the chameleon owners want to know their reptile’s age is because they want to go for breeding. Well, a female chameleon can attain sexual maturity as early as 4 months old. But that doesn’t mean she should be introduced to male chams – not until she’s around a year old, at least.

Hold on a sec! Before drop the idea, let us tell you something. Have you heard about Dystocia? Well, it occurs when a female chameleon tries to lay eggs before it is ready. And the worst-case scenario? Sometimes death can be the result of this kind of premature breeding.

About a week and a half after having sex, the female will start to pace. If she begins laying eggs at this time, between 9 and 12 months, make sure that you’re transferring her to a nesting box. 

As we said, a chameleon’s sexual maturity is often determined by it gets to the age of 12 months. But that doesn’t mean the strength of the egg goes high with age. It’s actually quite the opposite. The eggs of adult chameleons are far more delicate than those of young chameleons. To be sure about the stability of the egg, you can always check it out with your thermometer and hygrometer.

And if you’re confused about the season, then we’ll say it’s the early spring when most of the chameleons start reproducing. But to help them out with that, you will have to set the temperature to 10-15° Fahrenheit. Otherwise, you won’t be able to imitate the condition they get in their natural habitat during the winter. 

Now the question is, how are you going to be sure that they’re ready for mating? Well, when they’re dressing up in bright and bold colors, you can count them ready. Once the female is in egg-laying mode, you’ll see her walking on the ground and pace.

As this is not anything a chameleon would do regularly. So, noticing that shouldn’t be a problem for you. But if you’re seeing unburied eggs around, then you better take her back to the cage. 

The optimal conditions for hatching eggs are a constant 84 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) and 50 percent humidity. You should also monitor the incubator’s heating element and maintain a water dish close by to prevent the incubator’s air from becoming stale.

Once you start seeing the shell breaking, get ready with the baby care staff, as you’re going to need them soon. By the way, depending on the species, it might take up to a year for a chameleon egg to hatch. So, before you get into this breeding game, know this – it’s a game of patience and time.  

How to Tell the Age of Different Chameleon Species Based on Size?

There’s no way to deny that checking out the size of a chameleon is one of the most effective ways to find out the age of a chameleon. But it’s also true that you can never stick to a single growth chart for all of them. So, you better get the right chart for your chameleon and track the age accordingly. 

1. Veiled Chameleons

Veileds are the most popular ones among the chameleons, especially for the beginners. After all, they’re super easy to get, comapartively cheaper, and of course, easy to take care. But when you’re getting a veiled chameleon, the pet shop might not always be able to tell your the right age. 

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Don’t worry; tracking that shouldn’t be a problem with right growth chart. If the reptile is within the size of 3 to 4 inches, it’s probably a hatchling. But once it hits the age of 4 weeks the size goes to 4 – 6 inches. 

If your one is like 5 to 7 inches long, then the chance in quite high that its age is something like 2 months. When it reaches 3 months of age the size jumps to the range of 8 – 12 which can go up to 14 inches till they become 4 months old. 

You’re probably guessing at what age they will stop growing. Well, you won’t be seeing that happening before they hit that ‘1 year old’ milestone. At the age of 6 months they show significant growth rate that make get them a length of 12 – 18 inches, which can 14 – 20 if they’re 9 months. And they become 1 year old, they size reaches up to 18 to 24 inches. 

2. Panther Chameleons

If you’re asking for the most colorful chameleon out there, nothing beat the panther on that for sure. Probably that’s why they come with such a big price tag. But when it comes to age measurement, things here are pretty much the same as of Veiled chameleons. 

The reptile is most likely a hatchling if it is between 2 and 4 inches long. After four weeks, though, its size increases to between 2 and 5 inches. Yours is probably about 2 months old if it’s 4 to 6 inches long. At 3 months old, its size increases to 5–18 inches, and by 4 months old, it can reach a maximum length of 10 inches.

By the way, just like the veiled, panther chameleons too stop growing after 12 months. They reach the length of 8–16 inches between the ages of 6 and 9 months. And when they reach the age of 1 they can grow up to 18 inches long.

3. Jackson’s Chameleon

You already heard about this species, right? This one surely is among the most interest species of chameleons out there. But just like veiled and panther vary from one another when it comes to growth, this one is too pretty much the same with its own growth pattern. 

If the reptile is between 2 and 4 inches long, it is probably a hatchling. But after a month, it grows to be between 2 and 5 inches long. If yours is 3 to 6 inches long, it’s probably about 2 months old. It reaches the range of 3-7 inches when it’s 3 months old, and its length goes up to 8 inches when it’s 4 months old.

Like their veiled and panther counterparts, Jackson’s chameleons reach their maximum size after a year. In the age range of 6-9 months, they grow to a full 5-12 inches in length. At a year old, they can reach a maximum length of 15 inches.

Before We Go…..

We bet the first thing you’re thinking of after reading the article is a Chameleon Growth Chart. After all, that’s what you’re going to need in the first place to understand your reptile’s age. Okay! If that’s the case, then let us ease things up a bit for you with our blog Chameleon Growth Rate Chart: How Fast Do Chameleons Grow?

So, just click on it and grab your growth chart.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. 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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