Can Chameleons Swim?

The Chameleon is a fascinating creature in the wild. It lives the majority of its life on land; being able to adapt to nearly any environment it’s placed in. However, the chameleon’s body is not suited for aquatic environments, and through this guide, we’ll explain why. By the end, you’ll have enough information to keep your chameleon safe and comfortable in their natural environment. 

Can Chameleons Swim?

Despite having the ability to blend in their environments, chameleons are unable to swim. Their bodies aren’t designed for large bodies of water but are more suited for trees, swamps, etc. 

Do Chameleons Like Water?

Like all animals, chameleons need water to survive. However, chameleons do not like water! They are more suited for land, especially with their large tongues. If a chameleon lived underwater, its ability to capture prey with its tongue decreases. 

In addition, their skin is not made for underwater living. While on land, chameleons have multiple different textures to change and adapt to. Underwater is more of an open space of water, and since chameleons can’t swim, it would be hard for them to move around freely in underwater environments. 

Can Chameleons Drown?

Yes, its possible for chameleons to drown. In addition, shallow areas of water can pose a threat to chameleons. In fact, chameleons don’t want to drink their water from a bowl, but we’ll explain this further in this article. 

But if, for some reason, you have to provide a better water bowl in their enclosure, don’t make it too deep. Chameleons are not clever and might get stuck in the bowl. So always make sure their habitat has a sufficient amount of water, just not enough to drown them. 

Can Chameleons Breathe Underwater?

Surprisingly enough, chameleons cannot breathe underwater. Plus, no known amphibian or reptile can remain underwater for extended periods of time. Fish have gills to help them breathe underwater. However, reptiles don’t have this trait. So it’s physically impossible for them to do this. 

Some people make a mistake and think that a crocodile can breathe underwater. However, that is a common misconception. Most of their time is spent in water, but they do not spend time underwater. They submerge their bodies underwater and keep their eyes and nostrils above water level. This is so they can continue breathing, see their prey, and spend time in the water. 

Do Chameleons Like Being Sprayed With Water?

No, chameleons don’t like being sprayed directly. However, you can spray their enclosure to help add moisture to their habitat. This spraying method is called “misting.” It gives lizard owners the ability to simulate a rainy natural environment. Usually, rain in the wild causes trees to become wet, making them a great source of food. 

Chameleons tend to drink water from the trees, branches, or plants that have been left by the rain. Fortunately, rainwater is a constant and reliable water flow. So, if you have a terrarium, it’s okay to spray the environment as long as you don’t spray the chameleon directly!


Remember always to keep your chameleon on land! While you can give them small droplets of water for hydration, they still like the ability to free roam in a plant-like environment. Doing so will ensure that your chameleon enjoys the benefits of water while still having a balanced diet. 


Do Chameleons Like Baths?

Based on their skin, chameleons are not a fan of baths. Since chameleons live in trees, they don’t need water unless it’s for consumption. They rarely go to the ground, much less drinking and bathing in the water.

They are not evolutionary or biologically adapted for this. Your chameleon won’t receive hydration when bathing and will start to feel stressed out. 

How Do I Provide Water For My Chameleon?

In nature, chameleons take water from plant leaves. For instance, rain in the morning adds dew to the leaves, which the chameleon will eat within seconds. The best thing you can do for your domestic chameleon is to replicate this feeling. 

Chameleons tend to refuse to drink from a bowl of water. Bowls of water can be dangerous for chameleons because they can accidentally drown, and it contains bacteria. On average, feed you chameleon water two times a day. 

If you don’t have enough time to give your chameleon water, you can use a dripper. A dripper is a water container that has a small valve on it. You can determine how far you want the valve to open and how much water drops out of it within a certain time period. You can allow the water drops to fall on the leaves inside the terrarium. Ensure there is no puddle on top of the dipper, so let the soil or sponge absorb the surface.

Do Chameleons get Dehydrated?

Dehydration occurs in all animals, but it’s very severe for chameleons. If they become too dehydrated, it becomes next to impossible to nurse them back to good health. This is why you need to have a good watering schedule to keep your chameleon healthy and happy. 

Only use showers in the event your chameleon is dehydrated. Alternatively, you can take them to the vet that specializes in caring for reptiles. They will be able to provide moisturization meds and are able to help further. 

Do Chameleons Like Warm Water?

Use warm water to add “mist” to a chameleon’s habitat. By giving them warm water, you reduce the chances of the water accidentally freezing their skin. 

Check your chameleon’s urates to measure the quality of water they’re consuming. If their stools are white, then your chameleon might need it. However, don’t freak out if their poop doesn’t come out in yellow. 

If you notice yellow urates, chances are it’s a sign that you have to increase the frequency and amount of water you’re providing. 

Alongside white urates, your chameleon will have a few wrinkles, a healthier skin, and their eyes will appear bulgy and round, not directly into their skulls. It’s when you see sunken eyes, frequent yellow urates, and misshapen casques are when you should start being concerned with your chameleon. 


Leave a Comment