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Taming a Chameleon

Chameleon Angry

Calming down your chameleon is not an easy task. It takes time for your pet chameleon to believe you are its friend. Until then, your chameleon won’t trust you.

It takes time to tame

When you buy a chameleon as a pet, you can’t expect it to always be cool and easy to look after your pet. Taking care of a chameleon is not an easy job. Give them time to get used to the environment and to you. Don’t handle them because they are already stressed by looking at their new home and big, giant you.

The chameleon won’t eat for a few weeks and probably won’t be active. Most of the time, they will be hiding behind the bushes. After a few weeks, they will start to explore the cage and get used to the surroundings—and to you.

After few days, they will recognize you as a big animal who brings delicious food for them. Open the cage, but don’t force them to come out of the cage or to explore your house. Let them do it on their own. Only then they will allow you to handle them.

Hand-feeding your chameleon

Newly bought chameleons sometimes won’t eat for few weeks, and in that case, you have to hand feed them. When you bring food to them, chameleons feel less threatened, but feeding is not as easy as it sounds. You can’t force-feed them, which means you may have to hold the insect for hours near your chameleon. When they trust you, they will eat food from you.

When they are hungry, they will take the insect from you, but don’t take the insect too close to them. Keep your hand at a considerable distance so that they won’t become nervous.

When your chameleon doesn’t eat anything, change which food you are offering and hold the food for a few minutes. If they seem uninterested, then try to feed them again the next day. You have to be very patient, just like your pet, who is still getting to know you.

Outside the cage

Chameleons are not easy pets to take care of because they get stressed easily and may start to act aggressively. You have to act on their terms and not on yours. Give them time to explore outside the cage. Open the cage and go to the other room, but check on them often.

Make a path from the cage to the floor by using the branches. When they come out of the cage, the branches will give them some hope and curiosity, and they are less likely to be stressed. During the first time, it may take hours for the chameleon to come out of the cage and wander outside.

Chameleon Bonding

Next time, it will be easier and they will become comfortable. If you have another pet like a dog, a cat, or a different pet other than a chameleon, it will be better to keep them away from your chameleon for a while, or else it may be dangerous.

Chameleons identify their owners within a few days. Patiently waiting is the only thing that helps you to gain your chameleon’s trust. 

Handling Chameleons

Since you have somewhat gained your chameleon’s trust, you can now try to hold them. Try to make the first time a completely positive experience. If it is not, your chameleon might be aggressive whenever you try to hold them.

Don’t hold them rigidly, and don’t try to grab them from above because you will seem like a predator to them. Even though they are pets and don’t have any forest exposure, their basic instincts, which have been followed for decades, never go away. Also, don’t grab them when they are on a branch because it may injure them.

Chameleon Biting

Take them to your garden to bask in the natural sunlight, but keep a close watch, since birds may be a threat to your pet. If you do this, your chameleon will be happier and will come out of the cage without hesitation. Also, keep in mind that you should not handle your chameleon too often because it will be stressful for them.

Why do chameleons hiss during handling?

Chameleons famously express their emotions by changing their colors. Another way they show their emotion is by making weird sounds like hissing.

When they are hissing, try not to handle them because they are either angry or stressed, and there is a chance that your chameleon may bite you.

Hissing is a way of expressing their mood. Below are the few reasons why chameleons hiss:

  • Stress
  • Feels threatened
  • Illness
  • They see other chameleons

Things to consider when buying a baby chameleon

Buy your baby chameleon from a well-known breeder or get help from a veteran chameleon owner. This is important to ensure you are receiving a healthy reptile.

For beginners, we recommend you buy a veiled, panther, or Jackson Chameleon, since they are the easiest to care for.

Baby chameleons are not easy for beginners to care for. However, they won’t die any earlier than mature chameleons if you know how to provide proper food and maintain their temperature. 

Happy Chameleon Blue Color

Baby chameleons get stressed quickly; you will notice they are stressed because their skin will become darker in color.  To avoid this, place the cage in a quiet place and keep baby chameleons away from children, other pets, and other chameleons.

If you don’t want your chameleon to bite you, don’t handle them frequently and remember to give them space. This is the only thing you can do to prevent a chameleon bite.

How to handle an aggressive chameleon

When you handle an aggressive chameleon, you should hold the chameleon’s head around its neck so that it won’t bite you easily.

Why do chameleons bite?

Chameleons rarely bite, but they might because of the following reasons. You should understand that they generally bite because they feel unsafe or threatened.

  • Stress
  • Continuous handling
  • Hand feeding
  • Illness
  • Housing chameleons together

How to train your chameleon not to hiss

When chameleons are happy and healthy, they don’t hiss. When they see strangers near the cage, they will become aggressive and starts hissing, so don’t let any of your friends handle your chameleon.

When you handle them too many times a week, they become stressed and will start to hiss.

Happy Chameleon

Maintain the cage temperature and humidity levels because this is the most important thing for the chameleon to stay healthy and to maintain its appetite. If it is not supported, they will hiss even at night.

Clean their cage daily and deep clean it once a month to avoid any kind of infection. Keep as many plants as you can in the cage! This helps your chameleon to feel safe.

Signs of Aggression

If you see any of the below-mentioned behavior in your chameleon, your pet is probably aggressive, and you have to give them some space and time.

Hissing

When chameleon feels threatened, they hiss; when they hiss, just back off and leave them alone.

Staring

Chameleon usually doesn’t stare; they frequently rotate their eyes in every possible direction. If they stare at you, then it is a sign of aggression, and they are ready to attack you.

Changing color

Changing color is a normal phenomenon in chameleons, but when they change into dark color when you are near them, don’t try to handle them. They may bite you.

What to do if you are bitten

A chameleon bite is not toxic, but it will hurt a lot when an adult chameleon bites you. When a chameleon bites, don’t move or shake your hand because it can be dangerous to your pet and you.

They will not hold on for long when they bite; it is just a fraction of a second. Let them hold on to the bite as long as you can because when you try to remove them, the chameleon may either bite harder or hurt itself.

This is something to beware of if you have children interacting with the chameleon, as it can be hard to teach them that this is the way to go.

You should confirm whether the chameleon has dislocated its jaw after biting. If the chameleon has a wound in its jaw, the bacteria which live in its mouth may infect the wound and make your chameleon ill.

Chameleons are great pets when you take care of them and give them the space they need.

Final thoughts

Chameleons are not aggressive pets, but when you buy a chameleon, they often feel threatened and become aggressive due to the change in environment. Because of this reason, they may bite. So work hard to tame your chameleon from the moment you buy them!