Why Does My Chameleon Sleep So Much? [3 Reasons]

Okay, we admit it! Chameleons do look extra cute when they’re sleeping, probably as cute as any sleeping dog or cat. For them, that’s the best natural recharger, just like almost every living being. But the problem pops up when you often feel the need to ask yourself – why does my chameleon sleep so much?

Chameleons sleep too much mainly for 2 reasons. The first one is – it’s falling short of strength due to spending a lot of its strength on climbing and hunting. And the second one is – the light around is so deemed (fully dark or almost dark) that the reptile thinks it’s night, which, by the way, is nap time.

Now the question is – are there any other reasons that make your reptile sleep longer? Or is it okay for a reptile to sleep all day? And if not, how long should you let it sleep? Well, it’s time to find it all out.

3 Reasons for Chameleons to Sleep So Much

Yes, it’s true that chameleons sleep a lot. But what actually makes their naps so long, especially when they do nothing like the cats and dogs on the activity part? Well, our research says the following reasons do trigger such kind of behavior.

1. Diurnal by Nature

What’s the most common characteristic of diurnal reptiles? We bet you know that, as it’s nothing but them staying active during the day and staying active at night. As chameleons slip into the same category, they’re nothing different there as well.

This means they invest all of their energy in day-long activities, which include climbing and hunting. If we’re not wrong, these two consume a ton of their energy and make them tired. To compensate for that, they need to sleep for at least 12-14 hours every day. On top of that, these long sleep promote their overall health as well.

2. Temperature

Yes, temperature too can have an influence over the reptile’s sleeping pattern. Due to being cold-blooded reptiles, to a huge extent, they depend on external heat sources in order to keep their body temperature on point. Plus, it helps a ton in their metabolic process as well.

Their body becomes less active when the temperature goes down, and their sleeping mode starts working. After all, it’s the night when they expect a fall in temperature so that they can sleep. So, if you’re letting the temperature stay down for too long, there’s a chance that your reptile might sleep for a longer period of time as well.

3. Lighting

Like humans, lights can mess with the sleep of a chameleon as well. After all, like any other diurnal animal, they sleep at night and depend on daylight to determine their sleep-wake cycle. So, if they’re getting inadequate light during the daytime, that might extend their sleeping schedule.

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How Can Humidity Influence Your Chameleon’s Sleep?

Like you and us, chameleons also need the right environment to have a peaceful sleep, and needless to say, humidity is an undeniable part of the environment. The thing is, when the humidity level is too high, respiratory problems become unavoidable for these color shifters.

We guess we don’t need to explain how respiratory problems can drop a solid impact on a chameleon’s health and sleep. So, you’ve got no other choice but to hold the humidity level around 50 percent if you don’t want to mess with your chameleon’s health.

Now the question is, how can you keep it all on point? Well, there are a bunch of ways you can try. The first one you can give a shot at is using a misting system, which we bet you already know about. To be honest, that’s the best way we can think of when it comes to keeping the substrate and air moist.

The next and probably the easiest one is using a humidifier. You’re going to get lots of them online, but we’ll say try something like this one. By the way, who said you shouldn’t use traditional methods like providing a proper ventilation system? Once you ensure proper ventilation in order to prevent any mold buildup and rise in humidity, your reptile will surely have a decent sleeping environment. 

How Long Should A Chameleon Naturally Sleep?

A chameleon’s sleep requirements are similar to those of humans in that it varies with age, diet, season, and the amount of energy it uses during the day.

However, chameleons typically require twelve hours of sleep every day. Whether or not they require that much rest is questionable, but they do fall asleep as soon as the lights go down and are usually in bed at least 30 minutes before lights out.

But it’s written nowhere that you’ll have to stick to the same lighting schedule all the time. To be honest, you can’t even if you want to. The thing is, when it’s winter, whether you like it or not but you’ll have to go for the 10 hours of daylight and 14 hours of darkness schedule. And when it’s the summer, you’re going to get quite the opposite of it.

The most effective method for controlling these irregular sleep habits is to purchase a power strip designed for reptiles. It is necessary to have it in order to control the heat light and UVB lights.

How to Know that Your Chameleon is Sleeping?

On rare occasions, chameleons may sleep with one eye open. In most cases, though, you can tell that they are sleeping because their eye turrets will sink inwards, and the center region of their eye will collapse, giving the appearance of a narrow slit.

This is the most reliable method for determining whether or not a chameleon is currently sleeping. They will also exhibit the most beautiful colors they possess. Some of them will have the appearance of being very close to white. But if you wake them up, they will also exhibit some lovely and vibrant colors. And they do that simply out of anger as you forcefully waking them up pisses them off.

Why is Your Chameleon Sleeping During the Daytime?

A chameleon that sleeps throughout the day is typically an indication that something is wrong. This could be due to a straightforward issue, such as an excess of UVB being supplied. Plus, the fluid from plants can irritate your chameleon’s eyes. Or it could be another early warning sign of dehydration.

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But that’s nothing you can’t fix up by increasing the amount of misting. By the way, it’s normal for chameleons, especially young ones, to close their eyelids for brief periods of time due to stress caused by their surroundings, so you shouldn’t be alarmed if you find your pet doing this occasionally.

It’s normal for chameleons to close their eyes for a few minutes at a time during the day. And stop panicking if you’ve caught your one doing so an hour or so before its lights are supposed to go off. However, if it keeps doing it for more than a few minutes, then you better investigate your chameleon’s enclosure to determine the cause. And if you’re feeling like things are going bad, feel free to give your vet a call.

Is It Better to Keep The Cage Completely Dark When the Chameleon Sleeps?

When it’s time for a chameleon to sleep, the darker the room, the better. Even while they require some degree of darkness in order to sleep well, this does not necessitate shutting them in a separate room or keeping the lights at a specific level so that they don’t feel disturbed.

Now the question is, do they really need heat at night as the lights will deliver heat to a certain extent? Well, to be honest, they don’t need light or heat at night. The thing is, incoming heat and light won’t let the chameleon cool off. So, if you expect it to sleep well with all those lights on, you better forget it.

Actually, when the temperature drops at night, it helps chameleons chill down and get into a restful slumber. So a drop in temperature is more than essential, whether you’re keeping the surroundings completely dark or not.

By the way, different species have different requirements when it comes to minimum heat. But generally speaking, 10 degrees is often the sweet spot. The veiled chameleon is extremely resilient and able to withstand even a bit of light frost without any problems.

Some of the veiled chameleon owners have even said that their reptile has shown the ability to stay strong in cold weather, though there were no major heating systems.

How to Ensure Proper Sleep of Your Chameleon?

When was the last time you had an insufficient sleep but spent the day in a good mood without being tired? Well, that’s a rare case for both you and your chameleon. You already know how to take care of your sleeping cycle. But what about your chameleon? If you haven’t figured that out yet, then you better try the following tips.

1. Preparing the Perfect Sleeping Area

What you and we think of as random branches and leaves, chameleons count them as their bed. So, when setting up their cage, ensure you’re putting plenty of them in there.

But what if you’ve got just another land crawler, as not all the species prefer staying on an elevated area? Well, in such cases, you should use the right substrate there, as their care guide suggests.

2. Maintaining Proper Temperature

Like any other ectothermic reptile out there, their body temperature is mostly dependent on the environment. This means, without that appropriate range of temperature, having proper sleep is going to be a tough nut to crack for them.

So, you better make sure that the temperature within the enclosure is sticking to the right range. To be sure about that number, you can check the care sheet according to species. By the way, as chameleons sleep during the night, they’re going to need a little lower temperature at that time. It helps them to cool off and sleep easily.

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3. Maintaining Light Levels

Light interrupts our sleep, and the same goes for chameleons as well. So, before your reptile’s sleep time comes up, make sure that you’re deeming the light enough so that it doesn’t hurt its eyes while sleeping. If you don’t want to keep it totally dark, try using blue or red night light that doesn’t emit any major heat.

4. Keeping It Quiet

Chameleons literally hate noise as it triggers stress in them. So, keep the sound noise-free if you want your reptile to have a decent and uninterrupted nap. The best thing you can do is set up the enclosure in a room with less crowd and sound. 

5. Keep it Safe

Staying alert all the time is kind of a part of the natural behavior of these color shifters. So, the last thing you’ll probably want is to let it sleep with the fear of predators. You need to do nothing much but keep your pets away from your reptile as they count any living entity as a predator that is bigger than them.

Where Does a Chameleons Sleep? 

If you think that chameleons follow the same rules as cats and dogs when it comes to sticking to the same sleeping spot, then sorry to say, but you’re wrong. Once you see start observing the sleeping pattern of a chameleon, we bet you won’t see them sleeping in the same spot for too long.

Yes, it’s true that when it comes to captive chameleons, they do repeat on the same spot as the enclosure you’ll be providing them won’t be as big as the jungle. So, what choice they’ve got left? 

They usually prefer places where they can go to sleep in hanging mode. Yes, we’re talking about the branches, and sometimes they might try sleeping on the leaves as well. We don’t blame them for that actually. They’re designed in a way where they like sleeping in an elevated location where they can easily take a peak at the surroundings.

What we believe is as they’re slow reptiles by nature and can easily be hunted by predators, they prefer sticking to the higher grounds as that keeps them safe. After all, not many hunters know how to climb a tree.

So, if you’re getting a chameleon and setting up an enclosure for it, make sure that you’re getting enough branches and also plants for it. Remember, not having a proper sleeping spot too, can make it feel unsafe and eventually stressed. By the way, not all the chameleons are branch walkers. So, don’t get surprised if you see some of them preferring the ground as their nap spot.

Before We Go…..

After going through this article, you’re probably already thinking about resetting your reptile habitat’s light as per its sleeping needs. But we bet letting those lights go off might make you feel a bit confused, as keeping it too cold can also affect your chameleons negatively.

Well, let us clear up that confusion with our blog on Does Chameleon Need Light At Night? Give it a click to get your answers.

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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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