Do Chameleons Bite? FAQs and Tips

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Chameleons are beautiful animals to behold, but there has been a lot of controversy about the topic “Do Chameleons Bite?” This article will give a detailed answer to the question. You don’t have to form your point of view on this topic or believe in unapproved heresy about chameleons.

Can Chameleons Bite You?

The answer is yes, but this answer depends on many factors, which include the sex, species, experience, and situation of your pet. Chameleons are reptiles that bite when they have to. Chameleons will bite only under stress, under threat, fear, or in a fit of rage. In this circumstance, they tend to hiss, open their mouths, and change color frequently before biting, which is their last resort.

Chameleons are normally not aggressive animals. You can avoid the bite and handle your reptile pet cautiously by reading the signs they give. However, male chameleons are more likely to bite than female chameleons, and this still happens in rare situations.

This is a simple answer to your question. However, there is still more to the question, which will be discussed below for clarification.

Why Do Chameleons Bite?

Chameleons bite to defend themselves when they feel threatened in an environment. When it is threatened, it tends to move back, spit, hiss, and change color. This occurs when the chameleon does not like your hand in its environment or for many other reasons. However, noting the sign will save you from getting bitten.

There are reasons why your chameleon bites you:

  • To mark their territory.
  • Less tolerant of close relationships with you.
  • More anxious and reactive.

These points are not easy, but there are things you can do to build a relationship with your reptile and make them comfortable with you. Following these points will help you detect and read your pet’s emotions.

– Fear

Chameleons are most likely to react to fear in danger, so they must have a hiding place in their bodies when faced with fear. However, not having a hiding place could make your chameleon react aggressively. Picking your chameleon from a high distance will make it fight aggressively as it would against a predator.

As a tree-dwelling species, they feel safe when they are on high ground. The best way to pick up your chameleon is when they crawl on your hand willingly. That way, they don’t go through unnecessary stress, which is in turn bad for their health.

– Stress

Chameleons are territorial animals. They will get stressed if they are housed with other chameleons, and the stress will make them aggressive and reactive. Female chameleons are more likely to be on edge during their reproductive days. They tend to get defensive during this period.

– Handling

Chameleons are not affectionate animals. Some chameleons are toxic to handle, while some can still adapt. Your chameleon may take a while to adjust to handling if it is new.

Are Chameleon Bites Painful?

The Chameleon bite comes more like a surprise. They are not quick to attack humans because they are afraid, but it is a sign of protection on their side. The biting pain depends on the size of the chameleon. Most chameleons are small and their bite does not hurt, while the big ones have sharper teeth and strong jaws that can hurt, break the skin, and draw blood.

A bite will likely not hurt except if the handler puts the entire finger in the chameleon’s mouth.

However, in some situations, the bite hurts and sometimes brings blood, and you might get bruised on your skin. Do not panic. Chameleon bites are not poisonous. However, if there’s blood, it is best to see your doctor, or you can treat it with methylated spirit or disinfectant. Forcing your hand and jerking during a bite could injure your chameleon’s jaw.

How Can I Prevent Getting Bitten By a Chameleon?

Chameleons take a long time to react. They will warn you with glaring signs that state you should avoid them. The best way to prevent a chameleon bite is to read the sign. Stop trying to reach out to a chameleon who is cornered or does not have hiding places. It feels fragile and reacts aggressively as a way to protect itself. Stop handling a chameleon that shows signs of spitting, hissing, and shows signs of fear.

Signs to look out for when a chameleon wants to bite you

  • Glaring eyes: if you see your chameleon glaring, it is a non-verbal way of communication and an obvious sign to leave them.
  • Color changes: They change their colors from resting colors to bright colors.
  • Hissing: They make threatening sounds to forewarn you.
  • Threaten: Chameleons threaten you by slowly trying to bite so you can move away.
  • Gaping mouth: Chameleons also give out signs when they open their mouths wide.

How to avoid being bitten naturally is handling, do not handle chameleons every time. If your chameleon is a new one, let it get used to its environment before you start handling them and moving them around, or wear rubber gloves during handling.

What To Do If You Get Bitten By a Chameleon?

In case you got bitten by a chameleon; relax, disinfect the bitten area, cover the affected area to prevent infection, and use antibiotics. Chameleons do not have any diseases that can be passed through a bite.

Is the Chameleon Bite Venomous or Poisonous?

Chameleons are not poisonous or venomous to humans and animals.

What Are The Chameleons That Are Not Likely To Bite?

If you are looking for less aggressive chameleons as pets, some chameleons can’t bite, and they could be good for pets.

  • Four-Horned Chameleon(Trioceros quadricornis)
  • Senegal Chameleon(Trioceros quadricornis)
  • Rudis Chameleon(Trioceros rudis)

What Are The Chameleons That Are Most Likely To Bite?

  • Veiled Chameleon: This specie is said to have the strongest bite out of all the species, and they are short-tempered and temperamental.
  • Meller’s chameleon is not recommended for beginners as their bite is more serious and aggressive.

Can Chameleon Bite Your Fingers Off?

No, A chameleon bite is not powerful to bite your fingers off. The worst bite you could get is the one that needs to be stitched up.

Do Chameleons Have Teeth?

Yes, they do. They use their teeth for chewing insects, and their teeth might seem invisible because they are tiny and don’t have teeth.

Why Is My Chameleon Hissing?

Hissing is a way of waving off stress for chameleons. Chameleons hiss because of stress, aggression, environment, temperature, handling, and other reasons. There are things to do to stop your chameleon pet from hissing which are;

  • Provide a comfortable environment
  • Keep the cage at a comfortable temperature(75 in the day and 65 at night).
  • Provide water droplets
  • Access to sunlight
  • Minimize handling
  • Injury and discomfort



Chameleons are sweet animals and only bite as a demand to protect themselves. Chameleons that have lived in the wild will be more aggressive and might not like handling well. Handling should be minimized for chameleons as they are not like dogs that want to be cozy.

Written by Sarah Rivera

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