Do Chameleons Like To Be Held? Read This First!

Published Categorized as Chameleons
This article may contain compensated links. Please read the disclaimer for more info

Chameleons are a fun pet to have, and they’re undoubtedly fascinating to watch. However, are they the type you’ll be able to bond and hang out with?

In this article, we’ll answer whether you can hold Chameleons or not, whether you should hold them, and how to hold them properly. We’ll also discuss which Chameleon species might like being handled more than others. 

Finally, we’ll share some tips on handling and holding your Chameleon if you have to. 

Can You Hold Chameleons?

Technically, yes. You can hold Chameleons. However, it’s a matter of whether or not you should hold your Chameleons.

If you have a Chameleon as a pet, then you’re more than likely to want to hold it and pet it. However, can Chameleons be handled?

chameleon being held in hand

Do Chameleons Like To Be Held?

Unfortunately, no. Chameleons don’t like to be held or handled at all. They keep to themselves most of the time and are solitary creatures.

If you have a Chameleon as a pet at home, then they’re best to watch rather than interact with them.

Chameleons are the definition of “look, don’t touch.”

But are there any Chameleons that like to be handled?

Do Panther Chameleons Like To Be Held?

No, Panther Chameleons do not like to be held. They would prefer if you left them alone unless you’re providing them with food.

However, as long as they’re used to you being around and know you’re a safe person, they’ll allow some handling.

For example, if you need to take them to the vet or take them out of their cage to clean it, a Panther Chameleon will tolerate it.

Do Veiled Chameleons Like To Be Held?

Unfortunately, Veiled Chameleons are most likely the hardest to bond with. It’s one thing to handle them too much, but if you try handling a Veiled Chameleon at all, they won’t take too kindly to that.

For instance, your Veiled Chameleon will see you as a threat and won’t want to go near you at all if you try to handle them. Even if they’re used to you and know you to be a safe person, they won’t like it at all.

Veiled Chameleons, in a nutshell, cherish their own space.

Do Jackson Chameleons Like To Be Held?

The truth is, no Chameleons truly likes being held. However, Jackson Chameleons are the most docile of this reptile.

So, if any Chameleon is going to tolerate being held the best, it’ll be the Jackson Chameleon. 

How To Best Handle A Chameleon

First, if you need to take your Chameleon out of their enclosure for any reason, you don’t want to pick them up immediately.

You want your Chameleon to come to you.

Chameleons will climb using all four legs and their tail. So, if you try to pick them up, they’ll only grip onto their tree branch tighter, becoming stressed out.

Instead, place your hand gently near them and allow your Chameleon to scope out the situation. Then, they might climb onto the hand themselves.

On the other hand, you can place extra Chameleon decor inside the room and open their cage. Then, your Chameleon might become curious and climb out of their enclosure on their own.

Then, you can do what you need to inside their cage without handling them at all.

In fact, this is one of the best ways to get your Chameleon in and out of their tank. You can take a stick or something else and place it near them inside their enclosure. Then, your Chameleon can climb on it, and you can handle them that way without touching them.

As your Chameleon gets used to their habitat, your home, and you, then you can try without using a stick and use your hand instead.

Be wary that this is a process. Don’t be offended if your Chameleon walks away from you, hides, or isn’t interested in climbing into your hand. It’s not personal, and your lizard is simply making sure that they’re safe and comfortable. 

When you need to put them back, simply allow them to climb back in themselves or let them climb onto your hand using the method just mentioned.

Remember, only handle your Chameleon if you have to. For example, if you need to bring them to the vet or if you need to clean out their entire enclosure.

What Can You Do To Make Chameleons More Comfortable With Being Held

Chameleons are shy and stress out easily. So, it’s not the best idea to attempt to make your pet Chameleon comfortable with being held.

Otherwise, if they get too stressed, they might end up with an illness, resulting in death.

Rather than trying to get them to be comfortable with being held or petted, you’ll want them to be comfortable with your presence.

For example, when you first bring your Chameleon home from the pet store, they’ll be shy and confused at first. They won’t know whether to trust you until the two of you get into a routine with feeding and the like. 

Overall, you want them to be comfortable with you in general and allow them to thrive in their new home.

Here are some ways you can help your Chameleon feel safer and not believe you to be a threat:

  • Move slowly when you’re around their enclosure
  • Let them associate you with food and the hand that feeds them
  • Make sure your Chameleon can climb high in their cage
  • If you pick them up, don’t do it from above

First, you want to move slowly around your Chameleon. They, too, move slow, but they can certainly keep an eye on you with their protruding, round eyes.

If you move too fast, they won’t realize what you’re doing and believe you to be a threat. Thus, they might change their skin color to hide from you or show aggression.

The slower, the better, so your Chameleon can keep an eye on you and see that you mean them no harm.

With that said, when feeding your Chameleon, you’ll want to move slowly. Otherwise, it might be difficult for your reptile friend to eat. If you open their enclosure to put food in and move too fast, then your Chameleon might get nervous and territorial.

You can hand-feed your lizard once in a while to show them that you care for them and are providing for them. When doing this, remain calm and still so your Chameleon can get used to you.

Also, don’t hand-feed them every time so your Chameleon can have some alone time and “hunt” on their own. 

Learn more about how to feed a Chameleon here.

In addition, you’ll want to make sure that your Chameleon can climb as high as they can in their enclosure. They prefer to be up high, which will allow them to survey the area better.

Finally, if you need to pick up your Chameleon for any reason, do not pick them up from behind or above. If your Chameleon doesn’t see you coming, they won’t know what’s got them. Thus, they could become aggressive or stressed.

Can Chameleons Bond With Their Owners?

Sadly, no. Chameleons don’t typically bond with their owners. But, in some cases, they might come out of hiding when you enter the room, or they learn your routine.

However, it’s not because they’re used to you or want to see it. It’s most likely because they want to keep an eye on you just in case.

If they sit on your shoulder while you’re walking, it’s most likely because they want to get to the other side of the room, and they’re using you as a tree.

Also, if you happen to be holding your Chameleon and they close their eyes or fall asleep, put them back into their cage immediately.

Chameleons sleep well at night and close their eyes when they’re stressed. So, it looks cute on the outside, but you’re making your reptile stressed out. 

Conclusion

Chameleons do make great pets, but they’re not the type of pet you’ll bond and cuddle with. Instead, they’re more fascinating to watch than anything else.

So, when owning a Chameleon, remember only to handle them if you have to.

Learn more about Chameleons here. You can also click here to learn whether Chameleons are hard to care for and here for a complete Baby Chameleon care guide.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

By Jason Williamson

Jason is a huge animal lover with many pets of his own. He loves sharing all his knowledge of all creatures here and learning more whenever he can.