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Why Is My Chameleon Hanging Upside Down? (6 Common Reasons)

Why Is My Chameleon Hanging Upside Down? (6 Common Reasons)

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.

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Chameleons are becoming more and more popular as pets nowadays. They’re definitely interesting lizards that have captured the imagination of many people.

If you’ve recently started taking care of a chameleon, then you likely already know how cool they are. It does take some time to get used to caring for chameleons, though.

Sometimes you might notice chameleons doing things that you don’t understand, too. For example, you might walk in and see that your chameleon is hanging upside down.

Why would a chameleon do this? Is there a practical reason why a chameleon would want to hang upside down?

Keep reading to learn more about chameleons. You’ll have a better understanding of why they sometimes hang upside down.

1 – Young Chameleons Do This More Often

The first thing to consider is the age of your chameleon. Young chameleons tend to hang upside down more often than older chameleons.

If your chameleon is still a baby, then that would explain why it likes being upside down. Chameleons will keep doing this quite often even when they’re juveniles.

As you continue to watch your chameleon grow, it’ll probably start hanging like this less and less often. It could very well be that this is just a normal case of your chameleon being young.

2 – The Chameleon Could Be Trying to Absorb Light

Another possibility is that the chameleon is simply trying to absorb light. Chameleons simply cannot live if they don’t have a good source of UVB light, and this is why you place lights inside of the habitat with the chameleon.

Sometimes chameleons will try to get close to the light and will hang upside down near it to try to absorb as much UVB as possible. The hanging would just be a natural inclination to absorb light in this instance.

It isn’t unusual for chameleons to do this at all. Hanging upside down would make sense if the chameleon is just trying to absorb light.

If a chameleon doesn’t get enough light, it could wind up becoming deformed due to metabolic bone disease issues. This could even kill the chameleon eventually.

3 – The Chameleon Doesn’t Feel Safe in its Habitat

Have you considered whether the chameleon is feeling unsafe? Chameleons like to hide and the chameleon might not have enough hiding places in the habitat that you’ve set up for it.

When you place a chameleon in a habitat with too much open space, it’s going to make it feel very insecure. Often, chameleons will choose to climb the sides of their enclosures to try to hang upside down when this is the case.

You can make the chameleon feel better if you provide it with things that it needs in the habitat. Give it branches and vines that it can climb so that it can feel as normal as possible.

It’s not good to keep a chameleon in a fairly empty enclosure. This causes the chameleon stress and it’ll simply be happier if you give it things that it can climb.

4 – Males Might Be Looking for a Mate

If your pet chameleon is a male, then it hanging upside down could be a sign that it’s searching for a mate. Have you noticed any signs that the chameleon appears to be restless as of late?

The chameleon might start climbing the sides of the enclosure and looking around to see if it can spot a potential mate. When male chameleons are ready for mating, they’ll start to change colors.

A male will turn to a bright color that is much more brilliant than usual when trying to attract a mate. You’ll want to keep a close eye on the chameleon during this period of time.

Sadly, chameleons have been known to injure themselves by rubbing their bodies on the top of the cage. This is an attempt to escape that will ultimately just injure the chameleon.

5 – A Female Chameleon Could Be Ready to Lay Eggs

If you have a female chameleon, then the act of hanging upside down could be an indication that the chameleon is ready to lay eggs. A gravid chameleon will start to feel restless when it’s time to lay its eggs and it’s stuck inside of an enclosure.

Females don’t need to mate with males to be able to lay eggs. The eggs that the female produces will simply not hatch.

Chameleons that have reached four to six months old might start to exhibit this behavior. You can help to make the chameleon feel more secure by placing an egg-laying bin in the enclosure.

Sometimes the act of laying eggs can take several days. It’s a good idea to have an egg-laying bin in the enclosure if you’re going to care for a female chameleon.

6 – Temperature Issues

Finally, it’s possible that the chameleon could be hanging upside down because of the current temperature. When the temperature in the enclosure isn’t right, chameleons will sometimes start doing this.

The chameleon could be trying to hang as close as possible to a heat source so that it can warm up. When chameleons are feeling too cold, you’ll notice that they will start to change to a darker color.

Changing to a darker color helps them to absorb as much heat as they can for survival purposes. You should try to do a good job of monitoring the temperature by keeping a digital thermometer in the enclosure.

If the chameleon is too hot, then it might start sitting around with its mouth wide open. An overheated chameleon will also become a far lighter color than usual.

Final Thoughts

There are many different reasons why a chameleon might start hanging upside down. If you’re concerned about what’s going on, then you’ll just have to pay attention to the chameleon to determine what’s up.

Now that you know about the reasons why chameleons will behave this way, it should be possible to figure out what’s wrong. You’ll then be able to make adjustments accordingly to make things easier for the chameleon.

Raising chameleons as pets can be fun, but you do need to be prepared to do things right. Chameleons require careful care in order to thrive, and you’ll want to try to pay attention to make sure that nothing is being neglected.