How Long Can Chameleons Go Without Food? And What Can Go Wrong?

Chameleons are very popular pets. These creatures have always caused our awe and admiration. They can change their colors to mask themselves in a certain environment. And they are quite strong animals with a very interesting personality. The reptiles can live long in captivity. They are absolutely friendly with their owners and with other people, but it can depend on a personality of a certain animal.

Chameleons are very tough guys and they can live long even if their owner sometimes forgets about them. But we insist that if you decide to have a chameleon as a pet, you have to take care of this animal as if it’s your child. Be careful with food choice, enclosure, decorations, temperature, and other conditions.

Today, we’ll be speaking about the following:

  1. How long can chameleons live without food?
  2. How long can chameleons stay without water?
  3. What can kill or injure your chameleon?
  4. What are the most common problems with chameleons?

Let’s get started!

How long can chameleons live without food?

You may have heard some myths about chameleons. These guys are really endurable, but when they live in captivity, they get used to a certain lifestyle and will suffer if you suddenly change something.

Please, bear in mind! Don’t ever check how long your animal can go without food. Rely on scientific research and on the experience of other chameleon owners. Never experiment with your pet!

So, now let’s talk about food. Reptiles are different from any other animals and they don’t eat every day. Here are some facts about chameleons’ eating habits:

  1. Chameleons will only need some food every two days. If you give food to your chameleon every day, it will normally start putting on weight. It may look funny, but then your pet may just die, so never overfeed your chameleon.
  2. Also, chameleons don’t eat too much. Usually, they can control how much they eat by themselves. And you will need to take off all the leftovers from the cage or enclosure once the pet is finished. Usually, the meal session takes around 15 minutes.
  3. Feeding your animal once every three days is considered a bad idea by wets because the reptile will start losing weight. And then the animal can also overeat and feel bad because of that.
  4. Hungry chameleons will not show the signs of hunger. They may become more active at first running around their enclosure, but eventually, they will lose their good mood and will gradually become passive to spare their energy.
  5. If your pet doesn’t get any food for one week, the situation becomes dangerous. It will not die immediately, but it will lose a lot of weight and will start starving.
  6. Vets consider that these animals can live for two weeks without food. If your chameleon is thin and active, it will die after two weeks without food. If your pet is a little overweight, it can live up to three weeks without food.

Usually, these pets will stop all their activities once they don’t get food during 3-4 days. After this time, they will start losing weight and their energy will be at zero level to economize their resources. Also, the animal will sleep more time and try to prolong its life by any available methods.

At some point, the chameleon will try to escape from its enclosure to find some food. But it will not lose a lot of energy for this attempt. So, these animals will just slowly starve to death because of their nature. Your responsibility is to prevent such awful things and to feed your animal at least every two days.

How long can a chameleon live without water?

You should know that reptiles are incredibly dependent on water. They should get certain humidity to feel OK. Also, they should get some water to drink daily. If they don’t, they will be ill and feel bad all the time. Chameleons don’t drink a lot of water, but they should always have access to a source of clean drinking water. Otherwise, they will not be comfortable in an enclosure.

Don’t ever give cold water from a fridge to your animal. Also never give sparkling water or sugared water to your reptile. Such beverages can lead to immediate health problems. Even if you see that your animal is thirsty, don’t panic. Just get some tap water or better go and buy a bottle of drinking water for your pet.

Here are some drinking habits for your pet:

  1. Your animal will drink every day if the reptile feels good. Sometimes, chameleons may drink a lot and you should check if everything is OK. Just speak to a vet.
  2. If the animal doesn’t get any drinking water, it will dehydrate. This process depends much on the level of humidity. But anyway, in three days this process will be noticeable.
  3. Usually, after one week without any drinking water, the reptile will dehydrate to a critical level and will start fainting.
  4. Staying without any water for more than a week is dangerous for a chameleon. It will most likely die because of this in 8-10 days.
  5. Also, the animal will be in danger if the drinking water is of bad quality. It should be just clean water without any additional elements in it.

Water and humidity level are two main factors that determine whether your pet lives a happy life or struggles to survive. And the edge between these two conditions is not that obvious. Never forget to add some water to a special bowl in your chameleon’s enclosure.

For humidity control, you may use different kinds of equipment like automatic misting machines, humidity control equipment for enclosures, or just regular misting with any available instruments.

Lack of food and water – how can it hurt your animal?

So, now you know that your chameleon can live around 7 days without water and 14 days without food. These are critical periods and after them, the animal can just die. But it can die even sooner because of other risks. It’s not only about being thirsty or starving, it’s also about the emotional condition and stress level of your pet.

Stress is a big danger for reptiles, and here’s how it works:

  • your chameleon may experience stress once it doesn’t have any food at a certain time when it usually gets some food;
  • after that the reptile will suffer from stress and will try to find something to eat in the enclosure;
  • but every minute it will fail and the stress will keep building up until the animal starts moving much less to spare energy;
  • after that the stress will start influencing the glands and organs of the animal, some hormones will go over the optimal concentration;
  • this can lead to immediate diseases and other problems with health that will show up later or at once.

Actually, the stress can kill your reptile even sooner than starvation or dehydration. These animals react to stress immediately and they can’t control their feelings. It means that the stress will immediately influence the body and organs of the reptile. And it doesn’t matter if this stress is caused by the lack of food, water, or just by some other irritating thing that your reptile has to deal with for a long time.

Also, stress can show its consequences much later. For example, you manage to feed your animal after 5 days of starving it for some reason. The chameleon will survive, but in two or three months it can fall ill and even die because it had big stress recently.

Safe tips for chameleon owners

If you now own or are planning to buy a chameleon, please contact a professional vet first. This person will tell you a lot of important things that you should remember when having a reptile at home as a pet. It’s very important because otherwise, you may just kill the animal with your inappropriate care, insufficient food, bad drinking water, etc.

You shouldn’t experiment with an animal you have taken home. Now you have full responsibility for this creature. It cannot survive even two weeks without your care. And this is one of the most important things you should remember. Learn how you should feed your new pet, how often you should give water to it, and so on.

Final words

We all know that many people love reptiles as their pets. But if you own one, you will have to spend some time taking care of it. Chameleons are very tender animals. They may look very self-sufficient and strong, but they need your care even more than a cat or a dog. These creatures may form a bond with their owners and express their love in a certain way. But for this, you should know how to take care of them. And it’s not that easy.