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How far can a Chameleon safely fall?

Chameleon Fall

Chameleons don’t easily fall from branches because they have special grip pads on their toes.  But they do still fall occasionally.  There is a limit to the height from which they can fall without sustaining injury or death.

Do chameleons get hurt when they fall?

Chameleons can fall from a height of four to five feet onto the floor without getting hurt.  Occasionally, they will sustain minor trauma or be sore for a period of time, but they should ultimately be fine.

If a chameleon falls from a higher distance, it can end up with broken limbs, which may or may not lead to death. However, depending on how hard they fall, it can lead to sudden death.

Why do chameleons fall?

Chameleons fall for the following reasons:

  • Suppose they have gout or a leg infection leading to swollen legs.  If this is the case, your chameleon needs to be seen by a vet.
  • If your pet chameleon has MBD (metabolic bone disease), this is a common reason they fall.  MBD is a common issue in reptiles and can also cause other symptoms.  They need to be seen by a vet immediately for an x-ray and blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and properly treat your chameleon.
  • They are jumping out of your hands.
  • They can fall because their hands are too large for the screen around their cage.  In this case, they will not be able to grip the screen.
  • They can fall while fighting each other.
  • Chameleons cannot grip plastic plants in their cage.
  • Some plants have branches too large for chameleons to grip onto.
  • Small cage mesh can tear off a chameleon’s toenails.  If your pet’s nails are broken, they cannot climb or hold onto branches, causing them to fall.
Chameleon Branch

How to determine if your chameleon is injured after a fall

Even healthy chameleons fall sometimes.  If your chameleon starts to walk or climb immediately after a fall, it is a sign that they are unharmed. However, if they struggle to wake up or stand up after a fall, they are injured.  If you are unsure or have concerns that your chameleon has sustained an injury, contact your vet.

What does a chameleon do while they are falling?

Most chameleon falls are an accident, but they do have some tricks they perform naturally to reduce the amount of pain from a fall.  Even if they are unconscious, chameleons will puff up during a fall.  They exhale upon impact to reduce the effects.  A chameleon’s ribcage is specially made to handle extra force while they are falling.

Do chameleons always land on their feet when they fall?

It depends on the angle from which the chameleon falls.  A chameleon may or may not land on their feet, but it can kill them if they land on their head.  Falling on corners or sharp objects is also fatal.

Take extra care of your pet chameleon to avoid falling onto hard surfaces.  When they fall in the wild, it’s often onto grass, which is not the case inside your home.

Chameleon Falling

How often do chameleons fall?

Chameleons can fall very little, or they can fall once a week or more because falling is common for them.

Do chameleons fall when they are escaping from predators?

Chameleons may or may not fall when escaping from predators.  Usually, they jump branch to branch when they feel threatened by a predator.

Can chameleons handle falls?

Yes!  Chameleons can handle falls from a certain distance.  Because their ribcage is specially designed to handle the force that occurs when they fall, they pick themselves up and move on.

Final thoughts

When a chameleon falls, it is not dangerous, although it depends on the distance of the fall and the type of object they fall onto.  Sometimes they fall because of medical issues.  You should have your chameleon seen by a vet if you suspect medical issues or injuries from a fall.