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What Happens When a Chameleon Bites You?

If you ever wondered what happens when a Chameleon bites, you are in the right place. I wondered how bad this bite can be and what risks it presents to humans. Read this article to discover.

What happens when a Chameleon Bites You? A chameleon bite is really not that bad. It is definitely not toxic or poisonous to humans. However, it will still have some mild pain. It will be more of a psychological shock, more than anything. The chances are it won’t draw blood or break the skin.

Now that you understand how bad a Chameleon bite is, lets understand a Chameleons typical behaviour, warning signs they will bite you, how to avoid getting bitten, and even more.

Are chameleons naturally aggressive?

When it comes to comedians there are many different species to consider, so the behavior can vary from species to species. If we take the veiled Chameleon for example, they are typically quite a calm and docile Chameleon specie.

They are not really aggressive, however if they are stressed or feel that they are under some kind of attack by you, then there is a strong likelihood that they will actually bite you.

This is more of defensive mechanism more than anything. They would much prefer to escape from a situation rather than attack, so for them to bite you they must feel backed into a corner with nowhere to go.

For example, if you continually put your hand into their enclosure and antagonise them, then they may well give you a quick bite. Typically chameleons do not really like to be handled, and for this reason you stand a chance of being bitten.

So what are the signs that a chameleon may actually try and and bite you?

There are two physical indications that are Chameleon is likely to bite you:

  • Aggressive hissing
  • Glaring with their eyes

Agressive Hissing

Hissing is one of the Chameleons defensive mechanisms. This is to tell you to back away. They use this in the wild and also in captivity. This can be due to a few different reasons, not just because they are about to bite.

It can also be due to temperature related issues as well as feeling scared frightened and defensive. However, if you are approaching your Chameleon and it’s hissing at you, it is a warning to back away or you will get bitten!

Glaring With Their Eyes

They may give you an aggressive standing glaring with their eyes. This may sound a bit hard to understand verbally, but if you see it it will be quite obvious.  It’s almost like your Cham is sizing you up before they bite you.

How can you tame an aggressive chameleon?

In this section i’m going to discuss the best ways to tame and aggressive chameleon. Also the best ways to deal with them, so that you do not make them feel frightened or scared.

Generally speaking chameleons really do not like being handled, especially by human beings. This is not anything personal, it is more of a natural defensive mechanism. Largely due to experiences their species have had with humans in the past.

Also remember this, you are a lot bigger than them and they will naturally think that they are your food to you, are you with me?

Time To Settle

For this reason it is a really good idea, especially when you get a new chameleon, to give them some time to settle in before you even think about trying to pick them up. If you have a baby chameleon that has been with you, and grown up with you, it is more likely to be more trusting and may allow you to handle it.

This is because it has grown used to you, but when you first start out with a Chameleon, whether that be a brand new baby or one that you have just purchased from a pet store, you need to give it some time to adjust.

You can expect when you first get a new chameleon from the pet shop that it may not even want to eat for the first few days, while it adjusts to its new environment. This is because they are quite sensitive to their environmental changes.

During the first week, at least, do not attempt to handle them. Give them some time to settle into their new environment or enclosure.

Hand feeding is the answer?

Hand feeding is a good way to introduce your chameleon to you and make them start to feel comfortable with you. The best way to do this is to first wait for the first week for them to get accustomed and comfortable in their new surroundings.

Then just get a piece of food and place it in your hand near them. But do not try to force it towards them! Just make it available to them. If you’re a bit squeamish, and you really did not like the idea of using your naked hand to handle insects, you can also substitute your hand with a metal tongue or another plastic device to feed it to them.

This is so they do not come in contact with your hand. But to be honest, your hand is the ideal method, because it’s personal to you and it will build the connection between you and your Chameleon.

Once the food is available and in your hand, do not try to force it towards them leave it there. Be patient, it might take a while for them to respond. But, in time, they may stop being cautious and attempt to take the food away from you.

Bear in mind this may not happen on the first occasion, it might take a few attempts to do this, for this to work.

The best way to do this, is to attempt this on the first feed of the day. This is because, on the first feed of the day, they are at their most hungriest and more likely to go for it.

After a while, with assistance, they will get used to your hand being there and then gradually start to associate your hand with positive things such as being fed.

Making an Association with coming outside a positive thing question mark

One good technique to make your chameleon feel more comfortable it’s to gradually make them associate leaving their enclosure with positive experiences. This is so that they can get comfortable with leaving their enclosure and also being around you.

There are number ways of doing this, but one suggestion could be allowing them to come out of the tank, and then let them bask in some natural sunlight. Alternatively letting them roam a live plant. It will become something that will look forward to, and let them associate these positive memories with leaving their cage.

Which types of Chameleon are likely to bite?

Depending on the type of specie dictates the likelihood of you getting bitten. For example, with chameleons you can have small species and large species. The veiled Chameleon, for example, as discussed earlier, may attempt to bite you if it is forced into a corner. But essentially it’s not really an aggressive breed.

However for a larger chameleon, for example a Panther (Click to see why Panther Chameleons need such a tall enclosure) or a Malagasy Giant, they are bigger Chameleons and they have the ability to be able to bite and even break your skin.

Related Questions:

Q: How can you avoid biting?

The simplest way to avoid being bitten by your chameleon is to reduce the amount of handling. You have to understand, even if you are tempted to pick them up, because you do genuinely love them, naturally they do not appreciate being handled.

If you continue to try and handle them there is a very good chance that they will bite you.

Q: Why do chameleons change their colour?

Many people believe that chameleons change their colour to match their environment, and they also believe they can do this with a click of their fingers, but in reality this is not the reason why they change colour.

They actually change their colour for a way of thermo regulating their body temperature. Also for interactions with other animals. In some cases they use really bright colours to display a physical threat to any impeding predators.


Hi, this is me with my daughter and my Lizard friend. I hope you enjoy my research. Please feel free to check out my "About Me" page to find out more about me.