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What Is The Lifespan Of A Chameleon

Are you curious how long your chameleon will live?

Do you wonder if the lifespan of your pet chameleon is different from chameleons in the wild?

If you are thinking about buying a chameleon, one of your first questions might be:

What is the lifespan of a chameleon?

The lifespan of a chameleon will vary depending on the species, but in most cases, the lifespan of a chameleon in captivity is anywhere from three to 10 years. Along with species, the gender of the chameleon is a factor in how long it lives.

For more information on the lifespan of chameleons, keep reading this article.

what is the lifespan of a chameleon

Average Lifespan Of A Chameleon

There are plenty of reptiles who will live exceedingly long lives, but unfortunately, the chameleon is not one of them.

Chameleons have relatively short lifespans, even if they are well cared for as pets.

In captivity, chameleons will have a longer lifespan than wild chameleons, doubling or even tripling their length of life.

On average, a pet chameleon will live between three and ten years, but this will vary due to a few factors we discuss later in this article.

In the wild, chameleons’ lifespans are considerably shorter, lasting only about two to three years.

This is because there is a greater chance for disease or parasites, and wild chameleons also have to deal with predators looking for their next meal.

While a chameleon kept as a pet can develop diseases or parasites, they will have the chance to receive medication and treatments to heal them.

They also do not have to worry about being hunted to serve as food for another animal.

What Can Influence The Length Of A Chameleon’s Life?

When it comes to understanding how long your chameleon has the potential to live, there are a few factors to take into consideration.

In this section, we break down those factors to give you a better understanding of what can affect the lifespan of your chameleon and what to do to help increase it.


If you provide your chameleon with a quality habitat, a varied diet with proper nutrition and a safe environment with reduced stress, you will have a good chance at prolonging your pet’s life.

The habitat should be a large space with proper lighting and plenty of foliage for hiding and branches for climbing.

Giving them a good home without predators or another animal to compete with will help them remain healthy by reducing stress.

Provide your pet with fresh water and a variety of insects to eat, dusted with supplements to ensure they are hydrated and well-fed.

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles will also help maintain the health of your animal.

Neglected animals with poor living conditions will have their lifespan reduced, while chameleons who are well cared for will have a better chance at a longer life.


Gender is a major factor when it comes to the lifespan of your chameleon.

Female chameleons tend to have a shorter lifespan than the males of their species.

Male veiled chameleons in captivity can live as long as eight years, but females are only averaging five years.

Researchers believe this is due to reproduction and the energy expended by females during the process.

Females are at their weakest around the time they lay their eggs and are at greater risk for contracting a disease.

If you have a female chameleon, make sure she is getting vitamins and other nutrients she might be needing.

Dehydration is a problem during this time as well, so make sure your female is getting plenty of water.


There are over 160 species of chameleons in the world identified by researchers so far.

Of this number, there is only a handful kept as pets, due to specialized habitat needs, as well as the temperament of the animal.

Between species, the lifespan will vary greatly.

Panther chameleons, which are commonly kept as pets, are expected to live between seven and eight years when well cared for.

A veiled chameleon in captivity averages five to eight years.

Some chameleon species have a lifespan of only a year or two.

Labord’s chameleons have the shortest lifespan living only four or five months.

They are the shortest-lived land vertebrate in the world.

The species of your chameleon will be a big factor in understanding their potential lifespan.

Common Causes Of Premature Death In Pet Chameleons

Just because the average lifespan of a chameleon might be up to 10 years, there are some instances where a chameleon might die prematurely.

Some common causes of premature death in pet chameleons are related to poor nutrition and poor habitat.

Without proper lighting, chameleons do not get an adequate level of UVB rays.

They need UVB rays to absorb vitamin D and convert it into calcium.

Poor care is a major cause of premature death in pet chameleons, but with more information and better access to products, owners are greatly improving.

Besides poor husbandry, premature death in chameleons can occur when the animal is stressed.

While all chameleons are easily stressed, the ones who are caught and removed from the wild and placed in captivity are highly susceptible to dying of stress.

Besides being taken from their home, they are then sent on a lengthy journey to be sold.

When you purchase a captive bred chameleon, you will be able to get around all of those issues, as well as reducing the chance of the animal coming to you already with a disease or parasites.


If you are thinking of bringing a chameleon into your home, it is always good to research thoroughly before doing so.

The lifespan of a chameleon kept in captivity averages between three and ten years, depending on gender, species, and how they are cared for.

We hope this article has answered your questions regarding the lifespan of a chameleon.

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