Chameleon Not Eating or Moving? (Checked out)

Chameleons do not display weaknesses such as illness, which puts them at a higher risk of consumption by their predators. These instincts will remain even in captivity and understanding them is important to handle your pet better. Whether your chameleon is not eating or moving due to illness or any other problem, we understand it is a concern that requires your attention.

So, why is my chameleon not eating or moving? Your chameleon will not eat or move due to illness or stress. The conditions you have put it under may also contribute to its immobility and inappetence. However, it is challenging to notice the lack of appetite in chameleons than other animals since they do not eat as often. Therefore, if you notice your pet is not eating the food you place on its enclosure, or you cannot lure it to get out of its enclosure using food, you should take it to the vet for a checkup.

If you want to know why your chameleon is not eating or moving, this is the ultimate guide for you. We will help you know how long an adult and baby chameleon can go without feeding and why they are refusing to eat or drink. Read through the rest of the sections to find out all the answers you need.

Just like any other animal, it is normal for your chameleon to refuse to eat because it does not feel like it or due to a temporary reason. Thus, you should not worry as long as there are no observable signs of ill health. However, how long can it go without feeding?

An adult chameleon can go for a couple of days (2-5 days) without eating. However, during this period, you should provide water to prevent dehydration. You could add calcium and vitamin supplements to its water for good health. If your pet prolongs this duration, you should start to get worried, as this signifies a serious underlying problem that you should address.

Upon identifying what is disrupting your pet’s appetite, address the cause immediately to restore your pet’s appetite before it is too late. You should also ensure your pet’s enclosure has the right temperature to prevent freezing or dehydration.

Also, try coaxing your pet into eating by providing its favorite prey. Chameleons love crickets, caterpillars, and butterflies. If your pet eats these insects, you will know it is just picky, and there is no reason to worry.

How Long Can a Baby Chameleon Go Without Eating?

Most pet owners buy chameleons when they are about three months old. At this age, baby chameleons have a ferocious appetite and will eat more often due to their fast metabolism and growth rate.

Due to their high food requirements, you should not leave your baby chameleon for more than a day without food. Baby chameleons are fragile and require large amounts of food, which is impossible to meet even if you feed them enough before leaving.

However, if you have a juvenile chameleon between six and ten months, you can leave it for a couple of days, as most of its growth is done by this age; hence, requiring less food than the baby chameleons.

If you plan to go for more than a day away from your pet, you should get someone to care for it. You can leave your neighbor to feed it, but you should teach them beforehand how to go about the process.

Why My Chameleon Won’t Eat and Refuses Food

Since chameleons can stay for some days without food, you need not worry when this happens. Several reasons explain this lack of appetite, and you should only get concerned if it is a serious issue.

Your chameleon will not eat or refuse food due to both harmless and serious reasons. The harmless reasons include skin shedding, egg-laying in females, lack of variety, stress, and heat. On the other hand, you should be concerned if your chameleon refuses to eat due to excessive stress, blocked gut, pain in its body, a problem with its tongue, mouth, tongue, jaw infection, and gout.

While the lack of appetite is normal in chameleons, you should not ignore signs such as sunken eyes during this time, as they indicate sickness. If you inspect your pet’s mouth and find pus blockages, stuck food, or infections, you should take it to your vet for immediate attention.

Why My Baby Chameleon Won’t Eat and Refuses Food

Baby chameleons have a bigger appetite than adult chameleons and will eat more often. They also require variety in their diet depending on the species in order to grow strong and healthy.

Despite their big appetite, your baby chameleon may refuse to eat due to stress and health conditions. A new environment will stress your pet as they try to adjust, resulting in low appetite. Your baby chameleon may also refuse food if its enclosure lacks ideal temperatures. Also, given the differences in diet between adult and baby chameleons, boredom will result faster in baby chameleons if you do not provide variety.

Young chameleons also shed their skin. During this period, they have minimal activity and metabolism. This affects their appetite, and most will refuse food. Other factors that may make your baby chameleon refuse food include health factors such as a blocked gut and mouth infections.

Reasons Why My Chameleon Is Not Eating or Drinking

As a chameleon owner, you will want your pet to grow healthy, and this is possible if it is a good feeder. Appetite variations are common in chameleons and understanding why your pet will not eat or drink is important.

Your chameleon will refuse to eat or drink due to illness or unfavorable tank conditions. Temperature is usually the main factor that could affect your pet’s appetite. If you put your chameleon in an uncomfortable tank, it will be difficult to get it to eat its food. Also, providing water in drinking bowls rather than mimicking natural water supply will make your chameleon fail to drink water.

Chameleons love variety and providing a single food source will make them fed up. Thus, if you’ve been feeding your pet on caterpillars and it suddenly refuses to eat, you should switch to crickets or another insect variety and see whether this will entice your pet to eat. Rotating these food options will maintain a healthy appetite for your pet.

Your chameleon could also have both harmless and harmful stress affecting its appetite. A chameleon adapting to a new environment will be stressed by the change in location and scenery, causing it not to eat. However, once your pet adapts, it will resume normal feeding.

Minor changes in your pet’s tank may also result in harmless stress. If your pet prolongs stress such that it starts to lose weight, there is a need to be concerned as there could be an underlying problem. You should take your pet to the vet if you notice significant weight loss as there could be an internal problem such as an infection or stomach blockage.

The mating cycle in chameleons also impacts their appetite. Females during their egg-laying period will have a lower appetite due to reduced activity. Both male and female chameleons will also have decreased appetite when on heat around breeding season. When your pet is shedding its skin, it will have a lower appetite for a few days before the shedding.

Reasons Why My Baby Chameleon Is Not Eating Or Drinking

Baby chameleons require more attention when it comes to feeding than adult chameleons. This includes offering a variety in terms of food. However, your baby chameleon may still refuse to eat or drink due to various reasons.

If your baby chameleon is not eating or drinking, it could indicate poor health or uncomfortable conditions in their tank. The tank temperatures should be specifically correct lest you have trouble getting your chameleon to eat. During the day, the basking area should have temperatures varying between 90 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit and mid-70s during the night.

Food presentation will also affect your baby chameleon’s feeding patterns. You should provide live, gut-loaded insects to your pet to allow it to hunt by itself. Also, as a thumb rule, the insects’ length should not be bigger than the width of your pet’s head. You should also establish a feeding routine for your pet, preferably in the morning and evening.

In the wild, chameleons will drink water from natural sources. To encourage them to drink water in captivity, you should avoid still sources such as drinking bowls and instead use droppers or spray the leaves in their enclosure to allow them to lick the drips.


Chameleons can go for several days without eating or drinking, depending on their age. This could be due to illness or poor tank conditions. They could also lack appetite as a result of biological processes such as shedding and mating. If your pet fails to eat due to ill health, you should check in with a vet for treatment.

Finally, you should ensure the right temperatures and tank conditions for your chameleon to eat and drink. To provide water for your chameleons in the tank, try as much to mimic the wild using drippers or sprinkle some water on the plants in the tank for your chameleon to drink. With proper eating and drinking, your chameleon will grow strong and healthy.

Chameleons can play dead if threatened and adopt their dead appearance and color. Thus, before disposal, you should try keeping it warm and see whether it will open its eyes or move. Naturally, a chameleon will die due to ill health, parasites, stress, or dehydration.

To prevent death from these causes, you should keenly observe your pet’s mood and behavior before it is too late, as chameleons will hide their weaknesses in most cases. Your chameleon can also die due to old age; you can opt to euthanize it than let it go through pain from body weakness and ill health.

Regardless of the cause of death, you should not leave your chameleon to suffer. Instead, try comforting or saving it through rehydration or giving supplements. If your pet dies after putting in efforts to revive it, dispose of it by burying it or wrap it well and place it in the trash bag for garbage collection.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

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