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Are Chameleons Poisonous?

rudis chameleon hanging on a branch

There isn’t a pet much more unique than a chameleon. Still, with its bright colors and distinct features, it’s hard to know if this reptile is poisonous to humans. Before you purchase an exotic pet, take some time to determine how dangerous the pet is and if that danger level is something that you’re comfortable having around your children or other pets.

Chameleons are not poisonous to humans or other animals. However, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t sometimes aggressive.

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Are Chameleons Poisonous?

Chameleons are not poisonous or venomous to humans or animals. Whether you touched one or your cat accidentally hunted one outside, you don’t have to worry about any poison. Chameleons are far more likely to hide and change the colors of their bodies to camouflage themselves than to injure someone.

The most danger that these small reptiles pose is if they feel threatened enough to attack. Still, biting or attacking is often their last resort for defending themselves. If you see that they are running away or trying to hide, it is best to back off and let them calm down until they feel safer.

chameleon trying to hide behind the leaves
Image Credit: Harald Matern, Pixabay

Are Chameleons Poisonous to Eat?

As we mentioned before, chameleons are not poisonous, even if another pet or reptile accidentally eats them. Because they are endangered, they are illegal to kill. Besides, you should never eat a chameleon to begin with because they could contain salmonella. If your pet has eaten one, then err on the side of caution and take them to the vet just to be safe. It’s always best to keep an eye on your pets after eating a mysterious food, regardless of what that food was.

Are Chameleons Dangerous?

In general, these reptiles are relatively low-risk pets. The worst injury that ever occurs is from a bite and is usually nothing to worry about. If they feel threatened and do bite you, make sure to clean the area to prevent any infections in an open wound. If you prefer to prevent his, handle them as little as possible and give them a safe and healthy environment to thrive in.

close up of chameleon with mouth open
Image Credit: André Pretorius, Pixabay

Signs of Aggressive Chameleons

It’s not a smart idea to taunt an already aggressive chameleon. If your reptile is hissing, staring, or changing colors, then these are clear signs of agitation and a warning to back off. It is when handlers do not give them the space and the solitude they need to relax that people get bitten.

To avoid getting bit, be careful whenever handling chameleons. Only hold them when absolutely necessary. These animals prefer to be alone and aren’t typically keen on being held. When you do hold them be firm yet gentle and move slowly so that you don’t startle them. Other ways to keep them from being aggressive are to keep their habitat under ideal conditions and make sure they aren’t hungry.

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Final Thoughts

Overall, chameleons are not dangerous to humans or any other animals. They are not poisonous, toxic, or transmit any diseases. However, those bred in captivity have a higher risk of disease than wild chameleons. Chameleons are typically docile, low-risk pets that are easy to care for.


Featured Image Credit: FrankWinkler, Pixabay

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