Why Is My Chameleon Not Moving? {Look Out For These Signs}

My chameleon doesn’t move much when he is focused. He stares and remains fixed as a defense mechanism or hunting posture. I used to be worried at first. I thought, “Why is my chameleon not moving?”

I created this article to warn, inform, but overall keep you from worrying too much about why a chameleon could be motionless.

There are too many doom and gloom articles. This is not one. Your chameleon needs you to know the information below

Why Is My Chameleon Not Moving?

Chameleons are not meant to be moving when they can camouflage and allow their prey to come to them. They blend in and evade predators this way as well.

An excessively lethargic chameleon could be deficient in calcium or other vitamins and minerals. This chameleon may keep falling as well and suffering from Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

Temperature, diet, and the important adjustment phase to a new habitat takes trial, error, patience, trust and bonding. Find out how you can achieve this and more by following the steps in this article.

Why Is My Chameleon Lethargic?

Before I feared for the worst, I wanted to be reminded by overall searches online relating to common chameleon behavior.

We find out quickly that reptiles are not interested in expelling too much energy in hot climates by moving around too much. They can catch prey and hide from predators in plain sight without hunting or darting in all directions.

Your chameleon may not be moving because they don’t have to. They are resting, comfortable and tranquil. However, if you do a search online you will being to worry about some of these factors below:

Increase to 12 hours UVB exposure, check their body carefully for wounds, splinters and inflammation . Simply observing your reptile companion for longer periods of time gives you more information for what you can do next.

Temperature For Chameleons

Temperature factors could be related to motionless and loss of balance. Let’s be specific as much as possible to appropriate temperatures for a chameleon in enclosures.

Without the right temperature, your cold or warm chameleons may not feel comfortable enough to move or explore their surroundings:

Warms Areas Or Basking Areas

  • Jackson’s chameleon: 80-85°F
  • Veiled Chameleon: 90-100°F

Cool Down Areas

  • Jackson’s chameleon: 70-75°F
  • Veiled chameleon: 72-80°F

If your chameleon feels too much fluctuation or cooler temperatures without being able to warm up, they may not move around at all.

  • Humidity levels for chameleons should also be between 65-80%.

The following are related items needed in a chameleon cage:

  • thermometer
  • hygrometer (a humidity gauge)
  • automatic fogger
  • mister
  • drip system

Whether or not all those times are necessary depends on you as well. We recommended them based on our history with reptile companions and the valued contributions or advice from the chameleon caregivers community.

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When to Worry About Chameleon

I always try to steer clear of doom and gloom articles. I just want information without feeling worried or panicky that my chameleon is sick or dying.

It is time to find out however, what could be the signs to be concerned about when they are coupled with a chameleon who is struggling to move well.

Hopefully you are not seeing these other symptoms below, but if you are, a visit to the vet is recommended:

  • loss of color around toes and fingers
  • mucous expelling from mouth and nose
  • sunken eyes
  • bloodshot eyes
  • droopy lips
  • closed eyes throughout the day

Take a day or two of close observations and even longer if this is the first week with your reptile companions. The more of the symptoms are witnessed, the most important it is to get some medical help. Monitor improvement or make adjustments.

Chameleon On The Ground

Chameleons like to spend most of their time on branches and in higher elevations for safety and access to their prey or other easy meals.

When you notice your chameleons on the substrate or floor without any desire to return to the elevations you have set up in their enclosure or elsewhere, then you can consider some the information below:

  • female chameleon is trying to lay eggs
  • male chameleon is looking for a mate
  • calcium deficiency, weak bones, malnourishment
  • fractured bone
  • uncomfortable branches
  • hunting for insects

Supplements for Chameleons

Supplements for gut loading insects for reptiles gives them an added boost to help them energize and look more alive when we worry that they are not moving enough. Try some of these tips below:

  • Dust calcium and vitamin D3 on their meals once a week.
  • Sprinkle crickets with calcium and multivitamins.
  • Make sure their poop is brown (normal) and white (normal solid pee/urates).
  • Check tight or loose skin as a sign of dehydration.
  • Sprinkle Vitamin A or beta carotene twice a month.
  • Gut-load mealworms, crickets or other insects with vegetables such as:
  • kale
  • mustard greens
  • carrots
  • sweet red pepper
  • sweet potato
  • squash
  • zucchini

When sprinkling or dusting supplements, less is more. Do not ghost your reptile or insects and other food sources with supplements.

A little goes a long way to provide a boost in nutrition to prevent bone diseases and deficiencies leading to lethargy or motionless chameleons.

Final Thoughts

Your chameleon will not move when they feel:

  • Ill
  • Stressed
  • Impacted gut
  • Lack of appetite
  • Cramped
  • Cold
  • Fearful
  • In Heat
  • Perceived Predators Nearby

Scroll up once more to check for items, enclosure needs, temperatures, supplements and how not to worry too much before thinking of the worst.

Your chameleon is going to move and enjoy this space in their own way. Be positive and thank you for steering away from gloomy articles.


Thank you for visiting PocketPetCentral.com for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.