How Fast Do Chameleons Grow? [Must Read]

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Chameleons are fascinating creatures, and they can be big or small, depending on the species. They typically grow quickly, too, but just how fast do they grow? In this article, we’ll begin with a quick overview of what a Chameleon is. Then, we’ll discuss how fast Chameleons can grow and answer the overall question, “how big is a Chameleon?”

How Fast Do Chameleons Grow
Pygmy stump-tailed chameleon only 2 inches long

Finally, we’ll share some information about their habitat and how to help your Chameleon grow well. In addition, we’ll touch upon their average lifespan. 

What Is A Chameleon?

Chameleons are a lizard within the reptile family. There are about 160 species, such as the Veiled Chameleon, Panther Chameleon, Pygmy Chameleon, and more. They have scales that can come in a few different colors: brown, yellow, red, black, tan, or green. Their coloring allows them to camouflage in the wild to hide from predators and prey to catch them easily.

In addition, Chameleons have an average lifespan of about four to eight years. So, with proper care, you’ll have this reptile friend for quite a while. In the wild, their lifespan might be a little less.

Chameleons prefer tropical forests and deserts in the wild, so it’s important to mimic their habitat as much as possible to one of those biomes.

Also, Chameleons can eat a varied diet, depending on their species, but mostly all eat insects. Some are carnivores, while others are omnivores. In addition, some Chameleons are known to be insectivores because insects are the majority of their diet.

Depending on the species, Chameleons can be big or small. For example, they can grow from 1.1 to 27 inches long and weigh between .02 and 4.4 pounds. So, just how big do Chameleons get?

How Big Are Chameleons?

The length of a Chameleon depends on its species. For instance, there are 160 known Chameleon species, and each one is a different size. 

How Big Does A Jackson Chameleon Get?

The Jackson Chameleon can grow to be a moderate length. For example, they’re typically around 6-15 inches tall when they’re a year old. As with most Chameleons, females will be on the shorter side while males tend to be bigger.

How Big Does A Panther Chameleon Get?

With a name like “panther,” you’d think that Panther Chameleons can grow to be quite large. However, it’s the opposite. The Panther Chameleon size is pretty small. They’ll grow to be only about six to seven inches long. Females are typically smaller than males.

How Big Do Veiled Chameleons Get?

Veiled Chameleons are the largest Chameleons species. This lizard can grow between 18 and 20 inches long, with females being smaller than males. However, there have been times when a male Veiled Chameleon has grown to be about 24 inches long.

You can learn more about the Veiled Chameleon’s growth rate here.

How Big Do Pygmy Chameleons Gets?

Pygmy Chameleons are best for experienced owners. However, they’re so tiny and adorable. This particular Chameleon is one of the smallest of these lizards. For instance, Pygmy Chameleons will only be about two to three inches in length by the time they’re fully grown.

When Do Chameleons Hit Their Adult Size?

So, how big do pet Chameleons get? No matter the species, Chameleons will grow the most within their first year. In most cases, the Chameleon will reach their full adult size by the time they are a year old. However, some species can still grow between 12 months and 18 months old.

Watch this video: How Fast Do Chameleons Grow

Once your Chameleon becomes a year old, you’ll notice that they don’t grow much anymore. However, they continue to grow even after turning a year old.

Chameleons will continue to gain weight but won’t grow in length anymore.

Take a look at the Chameleon size chart below to see the size differences of the different species. It answers how long do chameleons grow.

Species Of ChameleonBody Length In Inches
Jackson Chameleon6 to 15 inches
Panther Chameleon10 to 18 inches
Pygmy Chamelone2 to 3 inches
Veiled Chameleon18 to 24 inches

How Fast Do Chameleons Grow?

Chameleons grow quickly, especially during the first year of their life. In fact, they’re usually fully grown by the time they turn one year old.

For instance, hatchlings and baby Chameleons eat a lot, helping them grow rapidly within the first six months of their life.

At six months, Chameleons are known to be juveniles. So, they’ll still grow fast but not as quickly as they did before.

Once they reach full maturity, then your Chameleon will still grow. They constantly grow but in weight rather than length.

How To Help Your Chameleon Grow Well

The best way to help your Chameleon grow well is to know their diet and provide them with the nutrients they need.

Some Chameleons are insectivores, while others are herbivores. So, depending on the species you have as a pet, you’ll want to research their dietary needs.

For example, Chameleons need protein from live food such as insects. They may eat larger animals such as small birds in the wild, but insects are the best option. For instance, crickets and dubia roaches are great options.

In addition, they need plenty of calcium and vitamin D to help them grow and thrive.

Another way to help them grow well is to provide them with excellent housing. Chameleons need a temperature of 72 to 80 degrees F every day. In addition, they need a basking spot of at least 95 degrees F.

In addition, they’re used to the open space of the wild. Chameleons need lots of breathing room and plenty of ventilation. So if you find a Chameleon tank that’s plastic or glass, do not buy it.

The best cage type for a Chameleon has screen sides around for proper ventilation.

Not to mention that you’ll want to mist their cage a few times per day to help them stay hydrated. The screened sides will help the cage air out, so they get their water, but also, the tank won’t begin to smell.

You can learn more about drip systems for Chameleons here.

Also, you want to mimic their wild habitat as best as possible. For instance, Chameleons are arboreals, which means they spend most of their time climbing trees and plants.

In other words, you want to have a tall cage with plenty of trees, vine, and plant decor that allows them to climb as high as they want.

What Chameleon Cage Size Do You Need?

So, if you need a tall enclosure, how big should it be?

The general rule of thumb is to have a cage no less than 24x24x48 inches. At the minimum, the cage should be no less than 40 inches tall, but the taller, the better.

Even if you have a Chameleon that’s smaller in size, you still want to have enough room for them to explore, roam, and climb. So, regardless of their size, the enclosure should be at least 40 inches tall.

When you bring home a Chameleon, and they’re a baby, you can start them off with a smaller enclosure that’s at least 30 inches tall. However, before they reach their full size, you’ll want to gift them a taller cage for their first birthday. 

How Long Do Chameleons Live?

The average lifespan of a Chameleon will depend on the species you have. In some cases, such as the Veiled Chameleon, the lifespan can also differ between the genders.

For example, a male Veiled Chameleon has an average lifespan of about six to eight years, while the female typically lives for about five to six years. In some cases, they can live to be seven.

On the other hand, Panther Chameleons can live to be about five to seven years old. Whereas Jackson Chameleons can live anywhere between five and ten years old. 


So, how big do Chameleons grow? Overall, the size of the Chameleon depends on their species. However, most of them are fully grown by one year old. 

No matter the species, they all grow fast within that first year. So, care through proper housing and dieting during that first year is essential. 

Find all our Chameleon guides here. You can also click here to learn whether Chameleons smell and here to learn how long they live. You can also learn everything they need to survive here.

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Frank Kane

By Frank Kane

Frank 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 possible.