Skip to Content

How To Calm An Angry Chameleon And Stop Chameleon Bites!

Keeping chameleons as pets has been steadily increasing over the last two decades with more and more people choosing to add a pet chameleon to their family each year.

As you would expect, this has resulted in a direct increase in the number of questions that we see from people new to keeping chameleons asking about how they are able to offer their new pets the best possible care.

We do see a wide range of questions specific to keeping chameleons but some of the more commonly asked questions include dealing with angry chameleons and stoping a chamelon that bites.

Due to both of these questions being so closely related to each other as well as so many people reaching out about these problems, we have chosen to make this the subject for this article.

Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers calm their chameleons when they are angry as well as train their chameleons to stop biting them.

As we see a range of questions regarding chameleons being angry and biting their owners, we have added our table of contents to our article below.

This should be able to let you quickly and easily skip directly to the specific section of the article that you want information for helping to save you time.

Do Chameleons Bite?

Chameleons can bite on a surprisingly regular basis, especially if you are trying to handle them when they don’t want to be handled. Most chameleons will hiss at you prior to biteing you but some chameleons will just bite you without warning.

Although the bite of some chameleons can be painful, it is more of a hard nip than an actual bite and shouldn’t cause any damage to a human.

Some chameleons can carry salmonella that may present a risk to you if the bacteria does end up getting in any grazes that result from the bite. This can also present an issue if your chameleon bits you near and open wound that you have on your body from other activities too.

The symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps with the symptoms usually showing up within hours of the bacteria taking hold so seek medical advice if you do notice any of these.

Although some people do think that chameleons are poisonous or venomous, this is not accurate so there is no risk to you from any poison or venom if your pet chameleon bites you.

Chameleons do have a supringly high bite grip strength and although this is not high enough to cause you any real harm, it is high enough for the chameleon to lock its jaw onto you and make it difficult to get off.

What Happens When A Chameleon Bites You?

The majority of chamleons will usually hiss at your before they bite you giving you a warning but a small number of chameleons will just bite you right away.

If your chameleon changes it color to red with black or brown stripes then this could also be another warning sign that it is about to bite you.

Once the chameleon has decided to bite you, it may just give you a nip and then release you or it may try to lock its jaws in place.

If it does lock its jaws then it can be a difficult to get a biting chameleon off you with its grip strength usually being string enough to support its own body weight if you it bites your finger and you lift it up.

We would not recommend that you actually life the chameleon off the ground in this way if it does bite you though.

Your pet chameleon may release you from its bite without warning causing it to fall back to the ground and potentially result in injury or harm to your chameleon that could have otherwise been avoided.

Why Is My Chameleon Trying To Bite Me?

Most chameleons don’t like to be handled and will often bite their owners in response to being handled when they simply want to be left along.

Chameleons may also bite you if you are teasing them with food by offering them a snack and then pulling it away at the last second.

Although very rare, some male chameleons will start biting their owners during the breeding season due to their hormones causing a small number of male chameleons to become aggressive and dominant.

This does not occur in most male chameleons though so this is usually not something that you have to worry about when owning a pet chameleon.

If your chamleon is kepts in a tank that is too small then they can become stressed and anxious drastically increasing the chances of them biting you too.

You will want a 24 x 18 x 36 inch vivarium at the minimum for most types of chameleons but you should be trying to get the largest possible vivarium that you can to help reduce anxiety and stress in your chamelon to discourage biting.

Can Chameleons Be Aggressive?

Most people think chameleons are cute and passive but chameleons can be aggressive, especially male chameleons.

Not only will they hiss at you and flare their color to red with black or brown stripes but they can try to bite you. In some situations, female chameleons can also be aggressive towards you and bite you too.

If your chameleon is being aggressive then we would recommend that you just leave it to do its thing. Chameleons will usually calm down in quickly and then go about their business unless they are acting aggressively due to their vivarium being too small as we touched one earlier.

Keeping more than one chameleon in the same vivarium can also increase the aggression in both male and female chameleons with the aggression turning into fights in males.

Some chameleons can become aggressive if the temperature in their vivarium is not correct too but this does tend to be rare and often won’t result in biting.

They usually just hiss at you to lt you know that they are angry and will usually calm down once you have adjusted the temperature as required.

How Do You Know When A Chameleon Is Angry?

Most chameleons will hiss at you when they are angry with many of them flushing their color to a dark red with black or brown stripes.

In rare situations, chamelons will “charge” you meaning they will walk over you and just bite you with little to no other warning when angry too.

Please keep in mind that the dark red color with black or brown strieps can also indicate depression in your pet chameleon or brumation too.

This can present an issue with some chameleons as some owners may mistake this for anger when the chameleon is just depressed or ready for brumation.

The longer you have your pet chameleon the more you will get to know its personality though. This will allow you to better judge its colors and behavior and know what it wants.

Try not to let your guard down though, even if you are used to handling your chameleon and think that you know its personality, it may still randomly bite you due to being angry, stressed or anxious.

Why Is My Chameleon So Angry?

The most common reasons that your pet chameleon is angry include being in a tank that is too small for it, handling the chameleon when it doesn’t want to be handled, having more than one chameleon in the same tank, and the temperature in the vivarium being too high or too low.

There are less common issues that may cause your chameleon to be angry such as being in ill health but these not ass common as the main four.

Thankfully, these tend to be very easy to fix but may require you to spend some money to fix the problem.

For example, if your chameleon is angry due to being in a vivarium that is too small then you will have to purchase a new vivarium that is at least 24 x 18 x 36 inches.

If your chameleon is angry due to having other chameleons in its tank then you will usually have to folk out on a new vivarium for the other chameleon too.

If your chameleon is angry due to a temperature issue in its vivarium then you can usually just correct the issue and be done with it.

If you realize that your chameleon is angry when you handle it then you probably have a chameleon that does not like to be handled and this is very common.

Simple handle your chameleon less and the problem should go away while also reducing the number chameleon bites that you receive too.


That brings our article going over how to stop chameleon bites as well as how to deal with an angry chameleon to an end. Thankfully, provided the chameleon is in a vivarium that is large enough for it while also being at a suitable temperature, they do tend to be happy and not have any problems. Keeping your chameleon well fed can also help to minimise the amount of anger in your chameleon too but we would like to think that our readers do their best to keep their pets well fed anyway.