Can Chameleons Swim?

Some reptiles can swim and some can’t. If you own a chameleon or planning to own one, you may wonder if they can swim.

So can chameleons swim? The simple answer is no, chameleons cannot swim.  They are not built for swimming and it could cause them serious health issues. Therefore, you should never force them into the water to see if they can swim. However, there are some circumstances where they may fall into the water or need to jump into the water to escape danger. If they do, they will puff themselves up and just float.

Why Shouldn’t Chameleons Get Wet?

There are several reasons why your chameleon should not get wet. While it seems safe for them to be in the water, it can put a lot of stress on their body. Below are the reasons why you shouldn’t get your chameleon wet.


These lizards can easily become distressed if they are left in water for extended periods of time. If you decide to keep a chameleon as a pet, be sure that you never leave them in water, or else they may end up suffering from severe health problems.

Chameleons are not used to being in the water for a long period of time. These creatures spend most of the time up in the tree where they don’t usually get wet.

Weakened Immune Systems

Their immune system will start to weaken when every time you put them in water. This can be either in a tub of water or even showering them with water.

Placing them in the water will cause them to become stressed. The stress they endure will start to weaken their immune system.

Your Chameleon Can Develop a Cold or Even Pneumonia

When the chameleon is exposed to the water for a long period of time, they will start to develop a cold or pneumonia.

Chameleons Come From a Dry Climate

Most species of chameleons live in a dry climate where it rains only a few times per year. For the most part of the year, it will be dry and hot.

Their body has adapted to handle only dry conditions. When they are exposed to moisture for a long time, they will start to develop health problems.

Chameleons Are Arboreal

Chameleons are arboreal animals. An arboreal species of animals is a type of wildlife that spends most of its time in trees rather than on the ground. These creatures have adapted to have a strong grip and long toes so they can climb up and around various branches with ease.

Giving Your Chameleon A Bath

Pets that are kept in an enclosure will start to smell over time. Waste from the pet, uneaten foods that drop to the bottom, and poor circulation all contribute to the odor in the cage. All of this will cause your pet to smell.

When it comes to chameleons, they will smell as well. Most people think that giving them a bath once a week is fine. You may want to put them into a bucket of water and give them a bath. This is not recommended and should be avoided.

If you’re planning to give your chameleon a bath, it’s best to shower them with water. Showering them with water mimics the rain in their natural habitat.

Giving them a bath is a bad idea as it will make them stressed. It’s important to not cause any stress on them as it could lead to them becoming sick.

Can Chameleon Get a Cold From A Bath?

A chameleon can’t get a cold from bathing, but it can become dehydrated and consequently more susceptible to illness. Chameleons need to be accustomed to baths slowly, placing them in shallow water for a few minutes and letting them adjust to the new environment before increasing the duration of their baths.

Once they’re adjusted to bathing regularly, chameleons do not need a bath every week. In fact, excessive bathing may cause dryness and dehydration that make your pet susceptible to illness. Bathing once or twice per month is sufficient for chameleons kept indoors with controlled humidity levels.


So, the short answer to this question is no, chameleons cannot swim. This isn’t to say that chameleons can’t get wet or handle a little water. In fact, they have been known to catch insects that live near or in water without any adverse effects from being exposed to the water. However, it is important for their handlers to be careful when taking them out of their enclosure so as not to expose them any longer than necessary.

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