Have you noticed your chameleon isn’t eating?
Are you worried your chameleon might be sick?
Learning about why a chameleon may not be eating is an important part of responsible chameleon ownership.
Why is my chameleon not eating?
Chameleons may not eat for a variety of healthy, normal reasons, or they may not be eating because of illness, stress, or other more serious issues.
Read on to learn more about the many reasons why a chameleon may not be eating.
A chameleon not eating for a day or two, or even up to a week, is still considered to have a normal appetite.
Chameleons do not need to eat every day to be healthy; they only need to drink water daily.
If you notice your chameleon does not eat for a couple of days, there is no reason to be alarmed.
There are a wide variety of normal factors that may cause your chameleon not to eat.
Here are some of the most common reasons why a healthy chameleon may not be eating.
#1 Not Enough Variety
Sometimes a chameleon will simply become fed up with a single food source.
If you have been feeding your chameleon a lot of crickets, and you notice the chameleon is not eating, try switching to caterpillars or something else to see if it will entice your pet into eating.
Regularly rotating the types of foods you give your chameleon helps keep their appetites healthy and strong.
#2 Harmless Stress
Just like human beings, change can cause stress for chameleons.
If you recently got your chameleon, it may simply be stressed out by the change in scenery and location.
Sometimes, even changes to the inside of a terrarium, which seem small, can cause a little bit of harmless stress for a chameleon.
If you notice a loss in appetite for a couple of days in your chameleon after making a change to its environment, don’t worry too much and simply keep your eye on its eating habits.
If you have a young or baby chameleon, you may find their appetite to be more finicky.
This is because baby chameleons of different species require different foods and environments to grow healthy and strong.
This is the reason baby chameleon ownership is not recommended for first-time chameleon owners.
If you notice your baby chameleon is not eating, research the chameleon’s species to learn about the ideal temperatures, physical environments, and diets for young chameleons.
You may find the recommended diet for the adult of a chameleon species is different than the recommended diet for a baby.
#4 Gender & Mating
The gender or the mating cycle of your chameleon may also impact your chameleon’s appetite.
Female chameleons about to lay eggs will often have less of an appetite, as they are burning fewer calories in movement each day.
Most types of female chameleons will lay eggs every three to six months once they reach sexual maturity, regardless of whether or not they have mated.
If you noticed around these times your chameleon isn’t eating, it probably is just a normal side effect of the mating cycle.
Both male and female chameleons may also show a decrease in appetite if they are in heat or preparing to mate.
#5 Skin Shedding
Chameleons will shed their skin often, more when they are young and less as they grow, and will often have a decreased appetite around this time.
This is a normal part of the skin shedding process, and you should not be worried if your chameleon doesn’t eat for a few days leading up to shedding its skin.
When Should You Be Worried
One or two days without eating is not necessarily a sign of serious problems in a chameleon, and some chameleons will even stop eating for a week for normal, healthy reasons.
However, longer periods might be indicative of a problem.
Read on to learn when you should worry about your chameleon’s decreased appetite.
#1 Length of Time
If you notice it has been more than a few days since your chameleon has had food, you should start paying more attention to see if there is an issue.
A chameleon can live for several weeks without food, but if you notice your chameleon is going longer than a week without eating, you should start to take the problem more seriously.
#2 Mouth or Tongue Issues
Inspecting your chameleon’s mouth and tongue is important if you notice your chameleon is not eating.
Many issues can arise, including infections, pus blockages, tongue issues, and even food getting stuck.
If you inspect your chameleon’s mouth and find any sign of these issues, bring them to the veterinarian immediately.
Weighing your chameleon is helpful when deciding if you should be worried about your chameleon’s decreased appetite.
If you notice your chameleon is maintaining the same weight while not eating, you likely don’t need to worry just yet.
However, if you notice a drop in a chameleon’s weight greater than 5%, you should take your chameleon to the veterinarian, as there may be internal issues like stomach blockages or infections.
If you notice your chameleon has sunken eyes, or it is closing its eyes frequently during the day, your chameleon is likely sick.
During the day, chameleons should be awake and alert, not closing their eyes.
If you examine your chameleon’s eyes after days of not eating and notice they are sunken or frequently closed, get your chameleon to a veterinarian.
There are many reasons a chameleon might not eat, and some of them are normal and healthy.
Chameleons also might not eat when they are sick or experiencing some kind of infection, so it is important to know what is normal and what is not.
Understanding why your chameleon isn’t eating is an important part of responsible pet ownership.
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