How to Tell if a Chameleon is Dying, Learn if Your Chameleon Sick

How to tell if a chameleon is dying

There can be a variety of reasons as to why a chameleon might die, be it from a parasite, a medical condition or sheer starvation. The mere sight of a dying chameleon can be immensely horrifying for a chameleon owner.

Chameleons are one of the world’s unique creatures in the sense of what they can do, from adjusting their skin color according to temperature, or their tongues which lash out at a speed that is almost on par with a fast car.

This article will be dealing with how to tell if a chameleon is dying, for an owner, this can be helpful if they want to know a way to save their dying chameleon.

How to tell if a chameleon is dying

How to tell if a chameleon is dying? If the need of caring for your potentially dying chameleon ever arises, then you can look for the following symptoms to know whether your chameleon is dying:


Dehydration is one of the main causes of death for chameleons, if a chameleon doesn’t receive enough misting, especially in the summers, then they may show the following signs such as sunken eyes, lethargy and loss of appetite along with the urates (white part of the stool) being either yellow or orange, both indicating either the need of an intake of water or a serious need of water respectively.

Check this article to know How Long Can Chameleons Go Without Water

What can I do if my chameleon is dehydrated?

To deal with dehydration in chameleons, the first and foremost thing that should be done is to give your chameleon a nice and quick ‘shower’. One can do this by placing a fake or a real plant while in the shower in such a way that the showerhead hits the wall, releasing some mist from which the chameleon is able to absorb water from through their skin.

You may also try misting them with a good misting device, but if your chameleon is already stressed, then this may serve to make them even more stressed, which will affect their health negatively.


While all chameleons may have some form of parasites in their bodies, a few of the parasites may possibly affect them negatively, especially if some of the chameleons used to live in the wild. In which case, the sudden captivity of a chameleon may make them more susceptible to parasitic infestation due to the different environment they would be in.

Unsanitary conditions or certain foods (mealworms, earthworms etc…) can also cause parasites to invade a chameleon’s body and cause trouble for them, some signs of parasitic infestation may include: Diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite and constant hiding from the owner.

How can I deal with parasites in my chameleon?

In this case, taking your chameleon to an animal vet may be the best idea as some parasites may be serious enough for such. Keeping your chameleon in a clean environment, making sure that the worms they feed on are relatively clean and free of parasites along with disinfecting and cleaning the cage of the captive chameleon will also reduce the likely chances of parasites multiplying in a chameleon.


Stress is something that affects all living creatures on this planet, but too much of stress for a chameleon might just be fatal for them. Signs of stress can include: Aggressive behavior, watery feces, moving around all the time along with a loss of appetite and keeping eyes closed at nearly all times.

How to deal with stress in my chameleon?

In most cases, try to look for environmental signs as a chameleon might just be feeling threatened by something or someone, you may also check up the UVB lighting or heating as they might have some fault in them.

Otherwise, if you have are keeping another chameleon in the cage with your chameleon, then it might be wise to try and move them out separately.

If you are not sure about what is causing your chameleon stress, then it may be best to get them checked up by a vet.

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

Metabolic Bone Disease is a condition that commonly occurs in chameleons due to lack of calcium, which results in a distortion or deformation of bones. Signs for such may include: inability to hold up on a platform, being unable to move jaw properly, curved spine and more.

How to deal with metabolic bone disease in my chameleon?

A proper intake of calcium is one of the most important factors for keeping a chameleon free from this condition. Making sure that your chameleon eats worms such as earthworms or mealworms once a week or even twice along with calcium rich intake will make sure to keep their bones working and fine.

Calcium injections are necessary if your chameleon already has metabolic bone disease along with supplements necessary for calcium along with keeping them under a moderate temperature in a clean cage.

How to tell if a chameleon is dying? Besides these, old age may also play a role in a chameleon eventually dying as they live for an average of 2-7 years.

How can I help my sick chameleon?

Normally, a chameleon can have variety of problems arising from several factors such as a lack of calcium, unhygienic environment or stress. Normally, keeping your chameleon in a clean environment with a regularly disinfected cage and regular diet will ensure that they remain hale and hearty in the long run.

It is also important to make sure that the UVB lighting or heating you are using for your chameleon is set up properly and is supplying your chameleon with a sufficient source of vitamin D, which is important for bone growth and its normal function.

And the last but not least, the diet of your chameleon should include insects that are either captured and cleaned, or bought from pet shops or bait shops that are well known.

Does your Chameleon is not eating? check this article to learn Why Won’t My Chameleon Eat – 5 Reasons You Should Need to Know 

How do chameleons usually die?

How to tell if a chameleon is dying and how do they usually die? A chameleon at the time of their impending death may start sleeping more frequently, their skin will also darker than normal and they may start hiding more than usual along with an aggressive behavior.

If nothing is done, they will eventually turn dull colored pure black upon their death.

Chameleons usually die of severe stress, parasitic infection, old age or Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), besides old age, a chameleon should get checked up for other conditions by an animal vet for treatment as soon as possible.

Do chameleons die fast?

Do chameleons die fast? Unless the chameleon is not being served water, then a week or less will be an average time for their death, otherwise, a parasitic infection, MBD or old age along with stress may normally take at least take a good week or more for them to eventually die depending on the severity of the condition they are facing and whether they are getting a treatment at all for such.

As chameleons normally live for an average of 2-7 years, they can be rather tough for their short stature in the face of stressful environmental factors, especially captivity.

Check this article to learn How to Tell if a Chameleon is Dying, Learn if Your Chameleon Sick 

What color does a chameleon turn when it dies?

How to tell if my chameleon is dying and what color does a chameleon turn when it dies? A chameleon will turn dark or dull colored after death, this is most prominent in chameleons who are either stressed or angry prior to their deaths.

The loss of color normally happens due to the halt in control of chromatophores which are responsible for the colors of a chameleon.

Does your Chameleon is turning brown? Learn Why is My Chameleon Brown 5 Important Facts.


The death of a chameleon can be a tragic experience for an owner, but a sick chameleon can still be saved if an owner acts in time, especially by looking at the symptoms of a sick chameleon and making sure they get the treatment in time by taking them to a vet along with making sure to keep their cage and environment clean and hygienic.

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