chameleon drinking system

Can Chameleons Drink Tap Water? (Drinking System)

In this post, I’ll let you know if chameleons can drink tap water and inform you of any potential danger in their drinking such water. You will also get to know what makes a good drinking system for chameleons. Hope you enjoy!

Every chameleon owner might have the same question when they first started. Can chameleons drink tap water, is it safe for them? Even I know that is better to use drinking water, I just can’t afford to buy for them all the time. 

So can chameleon drink tap water? I can’t give you a short answer. It really depends on the kind of water supply that the tap offers. I won’t recommend you do it. If you really can’t afford the drinking water, you can buy a simple test kit (there are plenty of suitable ones available), to test if your tap water is safe for your chameleon to drink.

You should look out for the figure of chlorine and the bacteria. Also, the best PH for the chameleon is between 6.5-8.5 (Like drinking water). Also, you can invest in a tap water filter(like Brita On Tap Faucet Water Filter System) that you can use to remove a lot of the chemicals that may harm your pets.

There is more about chameleon’s drinking system, let me share with you in the rest of the post.


Can Chameleons Drink Tap Water?

As I mentioned before, It is difficult to determine which answer is the best for this question.

It depends on the kind of water supply that the tap offers. Some chameleon owners say that it is better to be on the safe side and to feed the chameleons with distilled water, not only because it is the closest kind of water to the natural rainwater that they drink in their natural habitats, but also because tap water has been treated with the kind of chemicals that are known to affect the endocrine systems of animals (particularly reptiles and amphibians) when they drink it.

Some owners, who give their pets tap water, have reported that they noticed signs of edema and swelling, (a sign that it might be affecting the animals’ kidneys or livers). They also reported that the problems often subsided when they switched to spring water. However, some other owners did not notice any changes in their pets when they gave them tap water to drink.


Therefore, it is difficult to decide whether you can feed your chameleons tap water or not. What you can do is to find out what your local municipal council treats your tap water with, because some municipalities actually treat their water with chemicals that have no negative effects on the animals, as opposed to the municipalities who use the carcinogenic chemicals as we discussed before.

If you don’t have access to your local treatment facility, here is something that you can do for yourself. You can buy a simple test kit (there are plenty of suitable ones available), to test if your tap water is safe for your chameleon to drink. There are also several kinds of filters that you can use to remove a lot of the chemicals that may harm your pets. Even there are owners who have given their chameleons, tap water for more than twenty years, yet have not noticed any negative changes, I still don’t recommend you feed your chameleon with tap water without further testing.

Check out the video to see how to do water testing.


How Chameleons Drink Water?

As humans, we need plenty of water to function. Same goes for all kinds of pets, furry and crawly that we may have. This advice is especially useful for people who keep chameleons.

In nature, chameleons will drink water from plant leaves, for example after rain or in the morning when there is dew on the leaves.

Chameleons are reptiles like Lizards, therefore they even need more water than mammals like us do. This is why we must always make sure that they have adequate, clean, drinking, dripping water. Therefore as a pet owner, it is important for you to create and connect a good drinking water system to their enclosures.

In the wild, Chameleons have evolved to be able to get as much water as they need to satisfy their metabolism requirements. However, when they are in captivity, they need their owners to ensure that their leaves are always wet, or else they might become dehydrated and die. Usually, Chameleons drink water dripping from leaves after heavy rainfall or if that is unavailable, they drink dewdrops that fall on leaves.


Can Chameleons Drink Water From Bowls

When talking about how best to get chameleons to drink water, one will find one or two chameleon owners who say that their pets drink water from bowls and get by just fine.

However, it is generally advisable that you do not let your chameleon drink water from a bowl. There are three reasons. 



In fact, a chameleon will generally avoid drinking water from bowls. Keeping in line with their behavior in the wild, if a chameleon does not see water dripping from leaves, it will likely not be interested in drinking it, which may cause it to be fatally dehydrated. If a chameleon is dehydrated, its urate (which is normally white) will turn yellow and its eyes could become sunken. If the signs are not quickly fixed, dehydration may cause irreversible damage to the animal’s internal organs.


Also trying to make a chameleon drink from a bowl of water may cause it to fall into the bowl of water and drown. Even though as we have said above, chameleons are reptiles, however, they are not very keen swimmers and may drown if they fall into a large body of water.


Apart from drowning and dehydration, another problem that comes from putting out bowls of water for your chameleon to drink is the problem of bacteria that can be inimical to the health of your pet. Again, unlike other reptiles like turtles, lizards, and crocodiles, chameleons are susceptible to several bacteria that leave in stagnant water. So if you leave out water in a bowl in the pet’s enclosure for too long, it may develop bacteria that may kill the animal.

It is not just bacteria that is the danger in a stagnant pool of water for the chameleon, there is also the problem of an errant moth or cricket falling into the water and polluting it. There is also the problem of the chameleon itself defecating into the water and making it unsafe to drink.

Crested Chameleon (Trioceros cristatus) by berniedup, on Flickr
Crested Chameleon (Trioceros cristatus)” (CC BY-SA 2.0


What Makes a Good Drinking System for Chameleons?

Since we now know how a chameleon drinks water, and how not to give your pet chameleon water, what is the correct method of ensuring that a chameleon gets a plentiful supply of good drinking water and in a manner in which they can drink it? 

It is worthy of note that whichever of the methods that we use we must make sure that the water supply dripping down to the enclosure must last for several minutes because it usually takes chameleons a few minutes to show interest in a water source before it can drink it. And the water supply must still continue to run while it is drinking. Also, the general gauge of how much water to put in a chameleon’s enclosure can be gauged by the length of an average downpour. Because of this, it is also important that the chameleon enclosure is well drained so that the runoff water does not pool and risk being polluted and harming your chameleon

There are several ways to do this. All of these ways are straightforward and easy to do. I shall mention a few of them.


Hand Spray

One of the efficient methods is to hand spray using a can or a bucket to spray water into the cage like you are watering a houseplant. It is a method that is cost effective, but it requires a lot of patience and can be time-consuming. As I have talked about earlier, chameleons will generally take time to notice water when it is dripping down leaves. So it will require the owner to spray the enclosure for several minutes. It also must be done twice daily. Unfortunately, it is not a practical method if you have several chameleons.

Ice Cubes

Another method that people use to ensure a well-watered enclosure for their chameleons is through ice cubes. To do this, place ice cubes in a container with a large enough hole above the cage/enclosure. As the ice melts, the water will trickle through the hole in the container and drip onto the leaves in the enclosure for the chameleon. However, a few people who tried the process have found a number of problems with it. Firstly, the water that comes out of the ice is too cold for the chameleon to drink, and secondly, depending on the pet owner’s location, the ice might melt too quickly for the idea to be worth the effort and the time spent on implementing it.

Automated Watering System

The most foolproof and fail-safe method that you can try in getting enough water to your chameleon(s) is to use an automated watering system.

It supplies the right amount of water needed, when and where it is needed. Unlike the other methods discussed, it doesn’t require a lot of work and a lot of monitoring.  There are several methods of automatic watering pumps available on the market. There are even reports of pet owners who found timed watering pumps that can be time to spray water into the animal’s enclosure. For fifteen minutes three time a day especially during the dry season.

A watering system like this ensures that even if you are at work for the whole day, or you have to travel, it would keep your chameleon cage watered, and your chameleon properly hydrated and in good health.

The automated watering system can come in two forms: One is the regular watering system which sprays water into the chameleon’s cage, the other is called the Mistking method. Mistking creates a mist or an extremely fine spray instead of creating the rainwater effect. Both methods work properly and have no ill effects on the animals, but the mist method is great in particular for baby chameleons.



Chameleons are beautiful creatures, and their ability to change colour makes for extremely fascinating watching and enjoyment. So, ensure that these wonders of nature are well taken care of and in good health. 

Hope you find this post interesting and helpful. If you find anything wrong or outdated, please leave your comment below. I’ll update as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading.