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Do Chameleons Need Light at Night?

Do Chameleons Need Light at Night?

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Chameleons are becoming popular reptilian pets as they are fascinating creatures that change colors and climb branches all day long. You, as a Chameleon owner, will know that these reptiles enjoy a heating light during the day, but do they require one for the night?

Chameleons are not nocturnal animals, meaning they are active during the day and sleep during the night. Chameleons have better eyesight than humans, so any form of light at night can disturb their sleep, and Chameleons need a good amount of sleep to stay healthy. They do not need light at night.

Chameleons need to be kept warm, so how do you do this without a light at night? What temperatures do different Chameleons need their enclosures to be at night? Let us find out!

Do Chameleons Require a Light a Night?

Even though Chameleons are a popular reptilian pet, many chameleon owners do not know what their Chameleon’s night-time schedule should be and what these reptiles require during the night.

Some owners opt to buy their Chameleons night lights or heating lights that also give off light at night. But is this a good idea?

Firstly, Chameleons are not nocturnal animals, so they are active during the day and sleep at night. And Chameleons are unique creatures in that they can see more of the UV and infrared colors than humans can.

This means that Chameleons can still see colors in the dark, including colors that may be produced by a light we are unaware of, so if you place a light in their enclosure at night, this will disturb the reptiles sleep tremendously.

Chameleons prefer darkness at night and will even seek out the darkest location in their enclosure to help them have a better night’s sleep. With Chameleons, even just your normal room light can be enough to disturb them at night.

If you want to keep your Chameleon happy and comfortable and ensure that it gets the rest it needs as night, do not put a night light in their enclosures.

What Temperatures Do Chameleons Prefer at Night?

Chameleons do not require a heating light at night either; in fact, most Chameleons require a drop in temperature at night to help them slow down their metabolisms, which encourages them to sleep and get the rest it needs.

Different species of Chameleons need different temperatures at night to begin slowing the metabolic system and encouraging sleep. Let us look at the temperature requirements depending on some Chameleon species.

Veiled Chameleons are native to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, meaning they are from warmer climates. These Chameleons can handle temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night, but the best temperature is between 55- and 65-degrees Fahrenheit.

Jackson’s Chameleons are native to Kenya, Africa. This species is also known as the Kikuyu three-horned Chameleon. The ideal night temperature for these Chameleons is 60 degrees Fahrenheit. So, for these Chameleons, the drop in temperature as the sun sets is good enough to keep them comfortable while still encouraging them to sleep.

Panther Chameleons originate from Madagascar, and these Chameleons need a higher temperature in their enclosures at night. Their ideal night temperature is between the high sixties to about the mid-seventies. It is best if you keep their night temperature consistent throughout the night.

If you need to warm up your Chameleon’s enclosure at night, do not use a heating lamp that can give off light. We will go through other heating methods further in this article.

Light Schedules for Chameleons

The best way to help keep your Chameleon healthy in captivity is to create a light schedule for your Chameleon. Ensuring your Chameleon has a good day-night cycle is vital as you control your Chameleon’s entire life.

The help your Chameleon with this, you will need to place your lights on a twelve-hour cycle. This will give your Chameleon a good balance between rest time and active hours. You should try and make this twelve-hour cycle mimic the natural sunlight.

Most Chameleon owners will choose 6:30 am as the time the lights turn on for a “sun rise” for the Chameleon, and they will have their lights turn off at 6:30 pm. You can place your Chameleon’s lights on timers to ensure you do not forget.

How to Keep Chameleons Warm at Night

Suppose you notice the temperature in your Chameleon’s enclosure is getting below the acceptable levels for your Chameleon. In that case, you will need to heat its enclosure to make sure your Chameleon survives and stays healthy.

Remember that you should not use light for this and instead use a different method. An easy way to increase the temperature of your Chameleon’s enclosure at night is by using a heat mat.

If you want to place a heating mat in your Chameleon’s enclosure, you need to ensure it goes under the bedding you use. If you do not do this, your Chameleon can get badly burnt by the heating mat.

You will need to monitor the heating mat closely as it can increase the enclosure’s temperature over your Chameleon’s recommended night temperature, disturbing its sleep.

Do Not Heat the Enclosure, Heat the Room

The best way to keep your Chameleon’s enclosure warm and at the right temperature for your Chameleon is to heat the room the enclosure is kept in and not the enclosure itself. This method removes the need for any other heating equipment for your enclosure.

This will eliminate the possibility of disturbing your Chameleon’s sleep by either using a heat lamp or night light. You can use any method you want to increase the temperature in the enclosure’s room. You can use a space heater or an air conditioner; the choice is yours.

Can You Cover Your Chameleon at Night?

Covering your Chameleon’s enclosure at night is a great way to keep the enclosure at the right temperature for your Chameleon, with the added benefit of blocking out any light that may disturb your Chameleon during the night.

You can use a clean piece of fabric that covers the entire enclosure. Make sure you close any gaps in the fabric with a clothes peg or a safety pin to stop any draft or light from entering the enclosure.

Final Thoughts

Chameleons are interesting reptiles that have become popular pets. If you have a Chameleon or are thinking about getting one, ensure you know the species of Chameleon you are getting as they have different night-time requirements that you will need to provide.

But all Chameleons need their enclosures to be dark at night, so there is no need for a night light.

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Monday 28th of February 2022

Hi I just bought my 2nd chameleon and it is very small I'm guessing not very old at all, my male is a full sized adult and of course they have different enclosures my questions are this.... the baby one seems to think its nocturnal and it is very unsteady and also afraid of humans. I hold it as much as possible how can I find a solution?