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What & How Do Chameleons Drink

Are you looking into getting a pet chameleon, but you’re still confused about how you’re supposed to give the Chameleon water?

Do you want to better understand how the Chameleon hydrates itself?

Making sure your pet is hydrated as one of the keys to having a healthy pet.

But when you read most chameleon care sites, they don’t talk about what and how do chameleons drink.

Chameleons hydrate themselves with water. As with most reptiles, chameleons can absorb a certain amount of hydration through their skin, but they do drink actual water. In captivity, this is done with a water dripping system and by misting the tank at least twice per day for the Chameleon to drink water droplets off of the plant leaves.

Check out the rest of the article for more about keeping your Chameleon hydrated.

what do chameleons drink

What Does A Chameleon Drink?

In the wild, chameleons will drink after rain.

Because they come from tropical rainforests, they’re used to rain falling often.

Chameleons won’t drink rain from puddles on the ground, but they do drink the raindrops as they gather on the leaves.

Without rain, the chameleon’s drinking instinct won’t kick in.

There could be a dish of water right in front of them, but unless there’s rain, they’ll never drink it.

In captivity, we simulate this in a specific way (read the next section for more details).

The water you provide, as described in the next section, should be tap, de-chlorinated freshwater.

Tap freshwater may be OK, but small particles in the water have a chance of upsetting the chameleon’s stomach.

Distilled water won’t hurt the chameleon, but it lacks some of the minerals your chameleon needs.

How Do Chameleons Drink Water?

Giving chameleon’s water is as simple as misting down the tank.

At least twice a day, you should either use a hand spray bottle or a misting system to spray water in the cage for 2 to 5 minutes.

After two minutes of spraying, the chameleons’ drinking instinct will kick in.

It will then look for water droplets on the leaves in the cage to drink from.

Doing this twice a day should be enough for giving your Chameleon water to drink.

Some of the moisture will also be absorbed through the skin during this process.

To provide water all day, you may wish to include a water dropper such as this one by Choco Nose.

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We recommend this one because it won’t leak a lot, but it will still provide water for the chameleon to drink as if they were drinking off of a leaf.

Install this on the side of your cage.

If your Chameleon is thirsty, it may notice the water and drink off the leaves and dropper.

If anything, this will also help raise the humidity level, another important aspect for Chameleon hydration.


Humidity is extremely important to watch for with chameleons.

Our goal, as owners, is to provide a habitat as close to their natural environment as we can.

Coming from tropical rainforests, we need to make sure the humidity stays up.

A general goal for all chameleons is 50 to 75% relative humidity in the cage.

This is tracked with a good hygrometer.

You may want to check out this dual thermometer/hygrometer on Amazon.

It’s affordable, digital (therefore easy-to-read), and accurate.

Just set it inside the tank and check on the relative humidity regularly.

Depending on the humidity of the room and where you live, you may need to take more steps than we recommend getting the humidity higher.

In most cases, spraying the tank down twice a day and including live plants in the cage will keep the humidity where it needs to be.

If you find the humidity continues to be too low, do some of these alternative options.

First, make sure the cage is nowhere near any heaters or air conditioning units.

You may also want to consider getting a humidifier for the room.

Adding a misting session during the day may also be a good option.

The Repti Zoo 10L misting system does an excellent job of this.

REPTI ZOO 10L Reptile Mister
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Repti Zoo’s system allows for many settings and variables to get it set up exactly as you need.

The large tank also makes it so you don’t have to keep refilling it constantly.

Take care of humidity levels to ensure they don’t rise too high, or you may encourage mold and bacteria growth, which may end up resulting in respiratory infection.

On the other hand, lowering the humidity could also result in an upper respiratory infection.

Aim for somewhere in the middle, and your Chameleon will be just fine.

Why Isn’t My Chameleon Drinking?

If you’re noticing yellow-orange urate and sunken eyes, you may be concerned your pet is getting severely dehydrated.

There are some things to check to help your chameleon drink and a few steps you may want to take if it’s a dire situation.

First, check for these items to help your chameleon drink naturally:

  • Are you misting twice per day?
  • Is each misting session at least 2 minutes long and no longer than 5 minutes?
  • Does the spray contain fine or small droplets?
  • Are there live plants in your tank to collect the droplets?

If all of these items are being done correctly and your pet is still showing signs of dehydration, do these things:

  • Putting drops of water on the chameleon’s back or right in front of him/her
  • Use a syringe (like the ones for babies to take medicine) to put a few drops of water into the edge of their mouths
  • Take the chameleon to an exotic vet

You may also want to check out why your chameleon isn’t eating.


We hope you enjoyed learning about what and how chameleons do drink.

The simple answer of freshwater requires a little creativity in giving it to the reptiles.

But your cham will have its drinking instincts activated when it thinks there is rain.

Do this by spraying down the cage twice per day or by having an automatic mister do the same thing.

The cham will absorb the water through its skin and drink the water droplets on the leaves.

Do this to help your pet live its best life.

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