Do Chameleons Make Good Pets? What You Need to Know

Do Chameleons Make Good Pets? What You Need to Know

Do Chameleons Make Good Pets?

Some Facts You Should Know

Yes, chameleons make good pets, BUT a word of caution:  Chameleons are difficult  to maintain and inexperienced reptile owners should not start with this animal.

Do Chameleons Make Good Pets? What You Need to Know
IMAGE: Sibylle Stofer, Flickr / Parson’s Chameleon, male

The word, “Chameleon” comes from the Greek words, “chamai” and “leon”, meaning “earth lion”, and they come from the lizard family.  Chameleons come in all shapes and sizes, with great variation.  Their lengths can range from a mere one inch (2.5 cm) to thirty inches (76 cm) long.

Chameleons have become popular as exotic pets because of their characteristic color-changing capability. The purpose of this color change is for communication, and to regulate body temperature.

Some baby chameleons are grey or brown in color. Others, like the most commonly Veiled Chameleon, can be purple at hatching and then quickly turn green.

Chameleons have the ability to change colors the same day they hatch. (They may even be capable to do so while still in the egg.)  The color spectrum ranges with variations of green, black, turquoise and blue green.

Some colors reveal their emotional levels, such as stress, sense of temperature change, excitement and to communicate with other chameleons. Brighter colors exhibit good mood, while darker colors such as black, grey and brown depict stress. Few other colors are seen.

Chameleons have a very long tongue, and can stretch their tongue up to one and a half the length of their body.

They have five toes on each foot, with three of them facing forward, and 2 facing away from mid line, helping them get a firm grip while climbing trees and branches.  In the wild, chameleons spend most of their lives in treetops. Some chameleons have prehensile tails which also help them get a good grip and help with balance.

Chameleons have the ability to rotate their eyes in two different directions, and both eyes are independent of each other. They can rotate their eyes to get a panoramic view.

Chameleons are insectivores. In captivity they eat: crickets, dubias, silkworms, hornworms, flies, and more. A few species also supplement their diet with fruits and leaves, but it is a very small percentage of the diet. In the wild a large chameleon would even eat small birds and other lizards.

Do Chameleons Make Good Pets? What You Need to Know
IMAGE: Tianna Spicer, Flickr / Chameleon

Do Chameleons Make Good Pets?

It’s easy to see why people find chameleons fascinating and want to keep them as pets.  A word of caution though.  Chameleons are very difficult to maintain and inexperienced reptile owners should not start with this reptile.  Having said that, they are also not the most difficult exotic pet to take care of.

Chameleons don’t cuddle.  If you’re looking for cuddly pet or one that likes to be held, then look elsewhere.

Wild reptiles are more than likely to be infected with parasites. If you do insist on getting a chameleon, buy one from a respected breeder. Avoid the big chain stores.

While selecting the pet chameleon, it is important to determine the health of the animal.  The chameleon should be active and look healthy, and their colors should be bright.

The most popular species that are kept as pets are Panther Chameleons, Veiled Chameleons and Jackson’s Chameleons. Chameleons basically are solitary animals and they shouldn’t be kept with other pets.  It is a very bad idea to keep two male chameleons together as they will fight and injure each other. They should be put in a cage with a lot of foliage to climb and to provide privacy.

In a nutshell, chameleons make good pets, but please don’t be in a rush to get one before you have thoroughly research their care requirements.  They come with a price, meaning their initial equipment is pricey, and their ongoing care can be as well. They need housing, lighting, heating, specific water needs, food, vet visits.  Talk to experienced reptile owners before you decide.

Already have a chameleon?  Want to tell us about it, or any other pet you might have?  Let me know and I’ll publish it here.  Go to my Contact Me page and get in touch.

Do Chameleons Make Good Pets?  What You Need to Know

Do Chameleons Make Good Pets? What You Need to Know
IMAGE: Naddel, Flickr / Newborn Chameleon, possibly a few minutes old.



I hope you have enjoyed, “Do Chameleons Make Good Pets?  What You Need to Know

You might also like: Bearded Dragon FAQ : How to Keep Your Pet Lizard Healthy


MY QUESTION FOR YOU TODAY: Are there any animals you know of that you would like to see featured here on my blog? Is there any creature that you would like to learn more about? Or, do you have a story you would like to submit about a pet you have? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below, or please email me directly at


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Jeanne Melanson

Owner at Animal Bliss
Born in Nova Scotia, I moved to the United States 20+ years ago.I am a dedicated lover of animals and fight for their rights and protection.I love people too, of course, and enjoy meeting folks from all walks of life.I enjoy philosophical discussion, laughing, and really odd ball stuff.I hope you enjoy my site.Leave me a comment to let me know you were here!Peace out.
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26 thoughts on “Do Chameleons Make Good Pets? What You Need to Know

  1. I have a veiled I noticed the last time I was in his cage he was squirting clear liquid out of his eyes. I can’t find any about this. Have you seen this behavior before?

    • Dan, I don’t know why your veiled chameleon would be squirting clear liquid out of his eyes. Have you spoken to a vet? You might also want to search for a chameleon group on Facebook. They’re very helpful and have lots of people willing to offer help and advice. Good luck. Let us know what you find out! Take care.

  2. Hey there 🙂
    I’m an inexperienced person, actually I’ve never kept a reptile in my house! I’d like to get one, where do I learn to maintain it?

    • There are many books about how to take care of a reptile, Kareem. Start with your local bookstore or library. Make sure you do all the research first, before committing to getting a reptile though. Good luck.

  3. Thanks for the info about chameleons. I thought they principally change their coloration to become invisible to prey insects or predator snakes and birds? In spite of their amazing coloration, I find chameleons repulsive. How do I get to like them?

  4. I’m really obsessed with making my own custom enclosures and cages for my pet chameleons. I love the idea of making their habitat and designing where they are going to live haha. Great article by the way.

  5. Wow!! How interesting– I had no idea about this little creature– My son has been asking for one for a while– but my answer has always been NO.. After reading this it will be a firm NO I dont believe we are the right type of people for this little animal. They are an awesome animal,but I am afraid we would have one stressed out more than not. Thanks for this review and now I am going to let Dustin read this

    • Dianna, thank you so much for taking my advice seriously. Reptiles and amphibians can be difficult to care for properly. I always tell people to do their own research before getting ‘any’ pet, because there are far to many that are not being given the environment they need and they don’t thrive as a result. I appreciate that you took the time to read my article. Thanks again! “)

    • Hey, thanks for stopping by, Kelly. I’m glad you came by. I’m going to have to swing over to your site now and read what you have to say about how to care for Giant African Land Snails. Wow, how intriguing. I’ve never heard of those, and I’m always, always looking to learn more about our fellow animals. I’ll see you over there! 🙂 Thanks!

    • Thank you, Minette. I appreciate your comment. I understand your preference for furry, snuggly critters. I have a cat and 2 dogs. But I also have a Bearded Dragon lizard, and, although not furry, she is snuggly. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog!

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