Although reptile keeping in general has seen a spike in its popularity recently, there has been one specific reptile that has been rapidly growing in popularity more than all others with that being the chameleon.
The various types of chameleon have seen some solid growth in their popularity due to their quirky personalities and ability to change color helping videos of them go viral on social media helping to get people interested in keeping a chameleon.
As with all pets, taking on a chameleon is a big commitment so never get a pet chameleon on a whim due to these videos. If you have through it through and have chosen to get yourself a chameleon then they can be excellent pets.
Although most people won’t have many issues with their pet chameleon, we have noticed a number of people asking questions about their pet chameleon turning black recently so wanted to publish this article.
Is It Normal For A Chameleon To Turn Black?
Some types of chameleons such as the veiled chameleon will naturally have black coloration on the animal. Other types of chameleons can change their color to black depending on their surroundings too with this being considered normal.
Unfortunately, not all the reasons that cause a chameleon to turn black are considered normal and some can be due to serious issues that will require immediate treatment.
Why Do Chameleons Turn Black?
There are a number of reasons that a chameleon can be turning black with some being more serious than others.
We have a brief look at some of the more common causes of a chameleon turning black below to try and help you narrow down the potential causes of your own chameleon turning black.
As mentioned above, some chameleons such as the veiled chameleon will naturally have black coloration on their bodies. If your chameleon is of this species and has always had black patches on its body then this is considered to be normal and there is no need for you to worry.
One of the more common reasons that chameleons will turn black is due to them being too cold. When chameleons are exposed to colder than usual temperatures, they will often change their color to black as a way of trying to absorb more heat and keep their body temperature up.
If you think that your chameleon has turned black due to being too cold then you should take steps to increase the temperature in their enclosure. We would recommend using a chameleon thermostat to help you maintain the correct temperatures in their enclosure.
Stress and Anxiety
Chameleons can also turn black when they are feeling stressed or threatened. When chameleons feel like they are in danger, their natural instinct is to blend in with their surroundings as much as possible to try and avoid being seen.
One of the most common reasons that chameleons will feel stressed or threatened is due to there being too many people around them or too much movement.
If you have recently added a new pet chameleon to your household or have had a lot of people over to visit then this could be the reason that your chameleon has turned black.
To stop your chameleon feeling stressed, you should give them some time to adjust to their new surroundings.
If you have recently added a new chameleon to your household, make sure that you leave them alone for a few days to let them settle in before you start handling them.
You should also try to keep the noise levels down around their enclosure and limit the amount of people that come over to visit to help your chameleon feel more relaxed.
In some cases, chameleons can turn black due to nerve damage. This is most commonly seen in chameleons that have been handled too much or that have been dropped but other injuries can cause this too.
If you think that your chameleon has turned black due to nerve damage then you should take them to see a vet as soon as possible. Nerve damage can be extremely serious and if not treated quickly, it could lead to your chameleon’s death.
Necrosis Due To Injury
Necrosis is the medical term for tissue death and chameleons can turn black due to necrosis if they have been seriously injured or had a long term issue with their skin.
If you think that your chameleon has turned black due to necrosis then you should take them to see a vet as soon as possible. Necrosis can be extremely serious and if not treated quickly, it could lead to your chameleon’s death.
Chameleons can also turn black when they are feeling a certain way such as when they are angry, happy or sad. While this is not as common as some of the other reasons on this list, it is still something that can happen.
If you think that your chameleon has turned black due to their mood then there is not much that you can do as this is just the way that they are feeling at the time. However, if you chameleon is frequently changing color then it could be a sign of a more serious issue in their vivarium that needs to be corrected.
One of the more unusual reasons that chameleons can turn black is due to them trying to communicate with other chameleons. Chameleons are social creatures and they will often change their color to black when they want to show dominance over another chameleon.
If you think that your chameleon has turned black due to them trying to communicate with another chameleon then you should try to separate the two chameleons. If they are unable to see each other then they will be less likely to feel the need to communicate with each other and the black color should start to fade.
Chameleons can also turn black when they are trying to attract a mate. Male chameleons will often turn black when they are trying to show off to a female chameleon and this is perfectly normal behavior.
Some female chameleons can also turn brown or a shade of black when rejecting the advances of a male chameleon during the breeding season. Not all types of chameleon female do this though so keep that in mind.
Chameleons can also turn black when they are trying to regulate their body temperature. Chameleons are ectothermic creatures which means that they rely on external sources of heat to warm their bodies.
When the ambient temperature around a chameleon starts to drop, the chameleon will often turn black as this helps them to absorb more heat. This is perfectly normal behavior and there is no need to worry unless the chameleon is turning black more frequently than usual.
There are also a number of medical conditions that can cause chameleons to turn black such as respiratory infections, skin infections and even some types of cancer. If you think that your chameleon has turned black due to a medical condition then you should take them to see a vet as soon as possible.
Chameleons can turn black for a number of reasons and most of the time it is nothing to worry about. However, if your chameleon is turning black more frequently than usual or if they are showing other signs of illness then you should take them to see a vet as soon as possible.
One of the most common reasons that chameleons turn black is due to fear. Chameleons are extremely shy creatures and they will often turn black when they are scared or feel threatened.
If you think that your chameleon has turned black due to fear then you should try to make their environment as calm and peaceful as possible. This will help to reduce the chameleon’s stress levels and the black color should start to fade over time.
Why Is My Chameleon Half Black?
A chameleon can turn half black due to nerve damage or other medical issues in its body. This can be more common in older chameleons too and in many cases, is not treatable.
Some types of chameleon can temporarily turn half their body black by choice but this is rarely for longer than a couple of hours. If your chameleon has been half black for more than a day then there is a good chance that it is due to a serious issue.