Having a chameleon can be fun, but often my chameleon looks lonely by himself in his cage. I’ve wondered how chameleons behave together in place. Here’s what I found.
So can you put two chameleons together? In short, no! It is not an advisable thing for pet owners to put two adult chameleons together. Putting two chameleons, even if they are of the same species, into the same terrarium or cage can cause both chameleons to fight fiercely over food, basking space and drinking location, which could lead to injuries or even death.
Can you put two chameleons together?
As I mentioned above, It is not an advisable thing for pet owners to put two adult chameleons together.
In the wild, chameleons tend to be solitary territorial creatures. When they interact it is usually to defend territory, a breeding partner or for mating purposes. They carry this behavior into captivity where each animal marks its territory and defends it fiercely.
Therefore, putting two chameleons, even if they are of the same species, into the same terrarium or cage can cause both chameleons to fight fiercely over food, basking space and drinking location, which could lead to injuries or even death.
Usually in the wild, when two chameleons fight, the chameleon that loses the fight leaves the area. Since that might not be possible in a closed space in captivity, the weaker chameleon continues to suffer the emotional stress of being dominated.
The dominant chameleon also suffers the stress of having to maintain its dominance. Therefore even if it looks like your chameleons are living well together and there are no physical injuries, the chameleons may both be suffering from stress, and this can affect their physical health and habits.
How about baby chameleons?
The only condition in which you can put more than one chameleon in an enclosure is if both chameleons are still hatchlings. Baby chameleons can be housed together without any problems. Even if they are of different species.
Their antisocial personalities have not yet developed, so they have not learned to stake territories or fight yet. So far their enclosures are large enough and they have plenty of space to walk in. By the time a chameleon is 4 months old, it should be moved to its own enclosure. You could check out this post: Best Terrarium size for a Veiled Chameleon.
Sexual maturity occurs in chameleons from 8 months old. At that time they should absolutely never be made to live in the same cage.
Sometimes, chameleon owners go to pet stores and see more than one chameleon in a single cage, this prompts them to believe that they can also keep their pet chameleons in the same space.
However, the practice causes stress for the animals and it is not advisable for a chameleon owner. The reason why pet store owners keep their chameleons together is 1.) Because of a lack of space in the store, and 2.) Because the turnover for chameleons is quite high in pet shops. All in all pet shops are never role models for how you should care for your pet chameleon(s).
Can Panther, Jackson, and Veiled Chameleon Live Together?
As has been discussed, all chameleon species regardless of size and species can be aggressive while defending their territories, but some tend to be more aggressive than others. Jackson chameleons and Panther chameleons are generally friendly, while veiled chameleons are generally the most aggressive.
This is one of the reasons why as a pet owner you should never put both species together. In fact, chameleons are so territorial that a chameleon seeing reflections of other males in glass cages or enclosures may induce stressful behaviors in that chameleon.
However contrary to the habits of the majority of the species, there are a few species which have been known to show some measure of communalism. Stump-tailed Brookesia chameleons and dwarf chameleons have been known to cohabit well together so far they have sufficient cage space.
Even so, it is not advised for inexperienced chameleon owners to keep them together because they could still get stressed. Experienced keepers quickly recognize when the strain of having to constantly defend its territory starts to tell on a chameleon’s health and quickly remove it from that cage. At any rate, housing more than one chameleon in one cage should always be a temporary measure.
Another way by which you can house two or more chameleons of different species in the same enclosure is if you erect a barrier between the two of them so that they never see each other. This way you don’t have to worry about them been stressed.
The other method, which you will find that public chameleon exhibition spaces (like zoos) use is to have an enclosure that is big enough for two chameleons to wander around without necessarily disturbing each other. However, this also means that you have to make two thermal gradients (sources of heat for the chameleons), two feeding stations, two places where the chameleons can bask and two different watering locations.
If the chameleons don’t get in each other’s territory, they will likely not fight nor intimidate each other. It is also worthy of note that the people who keep chameleons in groups in free range and greenhouse type environments do so in order to encourage interaction and natural breeding and not to save on enclosure space.
Can a male and female chameleon live together?
The species of chameleon listed above, the stump-tailed chameleons and dwarf chameleons have shown that a male chameleon can live with two or three females. Generally, though, Male chameleons react to female chameleons the same way they might react to a foreign male. Even female chameleons who are regarded as less aggressive than males also react the same way to female chameleons. Unless that female is a breeding partner.
As mention, chameleons generally become sexually mature at eight to nine months old. During the mating period, the female starts to display some colours that signify that she is ready for breeding. The male chameleon will recognize those colours and respond appropriately.
If she doesn’t display those colours she may aggressively fight whatever male is introduced into her enclosure. During that period, a male chameleon can be introduced into her enclosure. But it should only be for a few days, after which the male must be removed again. During pregnancy, the female chameleon is affected by the stress of carrying her eggs and she could go through personality changes.
Pet owners have reported male chameleons suffering injuries as severe as a chewed-up leg after they have been attacked by a pregnant and stressed female. This is often the case if the female happens to be bigger than the male. Also when a female is pregnant sharing food, watering spots and thermal heat sources means that she might not be getting enough energy and nutrients to sustain herself.
Can Chameleons Live with other Reptiles or Amphibians?
Even though they are reptiles, chameleons cannot live with other reptiles or any other animals at all.
Chameleons are territorial creatures so they will attack any other reptiles that as much as comes close to them. Also, the chameleon does not have much in the way of natural defenses so it is prey for venomous creatures like snakes and some species of lizards.
There is the risk of your chameleon being attacked, killed and eaten by other reptiles, especially snakes. Iguanas, for example, are also much more aggressive than chameleons are, so an iguana will not only kill your chameleon, it will attack you as its owner as well. Even if the foreign animal doesn’t kill the chameleon it might carry bacteria that might harm your chameleon.
There is also the problem of enclosure requirements. Different reptiles survive at different temperatures and thus a temperature that would be ideal for a lizard or a snake or an iguana may negatively affect a chameleon. So if you are planning to keep any other pet(s) it is advised that you keep them as far from your chameleons as possible.
What size of the cage is proper for a Chameleon?
Generally, Baby veiled chameleons younger than 8 months can stay in smaller terrariums measuring about 18 inches long by 18 inches wide by 2 feet tall. The terrarium must also have climbing branches of around 2 feet long by 2 feet wide by 3 feet tall.
However, once they are eight months old and sexually active, they must be moved into the bigger enclosure. The terrarium of an adult male veiled chameleon must be at least 3 feet tall. An adult male requires a space of at least 2 feet wide by 2 feet long, by 4 feet tall. So as long as you have a space that is at least 6 feet wide, 6 feet long and 5 feet tall, you can house two chameleons with ease. An adult female, on the other hand, requires a space of at least 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide by 3 feet tall.
Most chameleon keepers keep these beautiful and exotic animals for the purpose of being able to watch them and be pleased by their aesthetics. While you might feel it is nice to have a jungle of chameleons crawling all around your house/ garden, the cost in vet bills, the price of potentially dead chameleons or the stress of caring for sick chameleons make it not worth the expense.
Make sure you keep your chameleons apart in order to be able to have a much longer and enjoyable experience with your pets.
Hope you find this post interesting and helpful. If you find anything wrong or outdated, please leave your comment below. I’ll update it as soon as possible.
Thanks for reading.