Chameleons are able to be held but generally dislike it.
Chameleons will not become aggressive when being held as they are generally calm, however, they do not like it.
They have very sensitive skin and bodies and therefore any amount of touching may cause discomfort to your chameleon.
Although this is the case, some chameleons may build up a tolerance to human contact, especially if they are bought at a very young age (1-5 days).
Getting them used to be held/petted will sometimes help them become ok with it.
Nevertheless, it is important to know that they are not like hamsters, they are very independent and prefer to be alone rather than held.
Is it bad to hold a chameleon?
It is not bad to hold a chameleon.
There is no scientific reason why you should not hold a chameleon, but doing this often and excessively may create stress between them and their owner.
Not much will happen when holding them, they commonly stand still and look around rapidly in an attempt to adapt to their surroundings.
In some cases, they will become very active by walking around, climbing, and trying to explore.
Oftentimes a chameleon will become stressed either moderately or extremely.
This will go away after a few minutes of being alone or in a familiar surrounding.
However, this happening frequently may cause your chameleon to have long term stress and eventually lead to illness and potentially death.
It is important if you want to hold your chameleon to do it in moderation in order to keep your friend happy and healthy.
Do chameleons bond with their owners?
Reptiles, including chameleons do not have the ability to bond with their owners.
Reptiles do not have emotional receptors in their brains as mammals like dogs do.
This being the case, chameleons do not have the ability to bond to have any emotional attraction to their owners.
Although They have no emotional responses, they can associate people/animals with a threat or no threat reaction.
This means that they may see a person and have a response of positivity, knowing they are with someone safe.
When they have a negative response to someone who is potentially a new owner or someone unfamiliar, this causes them to feel stressed and uncomfortable with the potential of becoming aggressive.
Do chameleons like to cuddle?
No, chameleons do not like to cuddle.
They can be quite small, ranging in size from about 2-25 inches. Due to their small size, it makes it difficult to cuddle with them.
Besides this, they do not like it because this high level of attention and close quarters of physical touch can make them feel stressed or uncomfortable.
This may cause them to feel a negative attachment to their owners and create a big distance which could lead to overall long-term stress.
Although chameleons do not like to be held, they often take mid-day naps to catch up on sleep.
They prefer to do this alone and not with another person.
How to get your chameleon out of its cage
When getting your chameleon comfortable with being outside of their cage and being held, it is important to know the steps involved to create a smooth and stress-free transition from cage to hand.
Chameleons are solitary creatures and are not very social with people, however, they are not commonly aggressive.
If you go to take your friend out of their cage, be sure to be gentle and do not squeeze their body.
Start by slowly putting your hand near them allowing them to see that you are friendly.
If your chameleon starts to fold itself to one side, this is a strong indicator that they are stressed and not ready to leave the cage.
However, if they seem laid back and ready to go on your hand you can put your finger in front of their feet and allow them to slowly walk onto your hand and you slowly take your hand away from the cage.
Introduce yourself as a friend and not a predator, creating a safe environment for your chameleon.
Tips for getting your chameleon used to being held
When looking to hold your chameleon, it is important to be comfortable with the basics and know the information that will help make them comfortable and feel safe within your grasp.
Here are some tips when getting a chameleon used to being held:
- Don’t hold them often, allow them to have some space alone in their cage/habitat.
- Allow them to crawl around and explore in safe parts of your house(with supervision).
- Start by holding them for short amounts of times and work your way up to get them comfortable.
- Give them space so they can explore their habitats and become at ease, with your watch.
- Don’t smother them by being too touchy, let them crawl around your hand/fingers.
If you believe your chameleon is ill or has any abnormal symptoms, it is important to take them to a veterinarian right away to reduce the risk of extreme illness and even death.
This information is not a substitute for medical attention and should not be treated as such.