One of the most important factors that get overlooked a lot is the chameleon humidity. Maintaining the correct humidity level is very important to the health of the chameleon. Humidity helps support the eye, skin, respiratory, and immune systems of the chameleon.
If the chameleon is lacking the proper humidity in their enclosure, it can lead to all sorts of health issues. This includes shedding problems, tail rots, chronic dehydration, and a number of other health problems. For this reason, the proper care should be taken to ensure the humidity level is appropriate for your species of chameleon.
How Much Humidity Does a Chameleon Need?
Each species of chameleon is different and varies from 50% to 70%. Chameleons in the desert habitat will require a lower humidity level, while chameleons in tropical habitats will require a higher humidity level. Below are the 3 most popular chameleons and their humidity requirements.
Veiled Chameleon Humidity Level
Chameleons that live in hot and dry climates tend to require a low humidity level. Veiled chameleons live in the forested areas of Yemen. In this area, the rainfall is relatively high, but at the 50% humidity level, it’s perfect for them.
The optimal humidity level for veiled chameleons is 50%.
Veiled chameleons are hardy lizards and can adapt to a different environment with the humidity change. However, it’s not a good idea though to keep them at a higher humidity level of 50%. They can survive for a short period of time but will start having health issues if kept for a longer period of time.
The most common health issue for veiled chameleons is tail rots. When the tail rots, most likely what happens is they will lose half their tail. As you know, chameleons need their tail to balance on the tree. The high humidity level will cause this so it’s important to maintain the humidity level at or around 50%.
In most homes and apartments, 50% is the average humidity level so no other special measures are needed to maintain it. However, the humidity level tends to fluctuate throughout the day. If it’s only a difference of 10% fluctuation, it’s perfectly fine.
Jackson chameleon humidity
Jackson chameleons are from Kenya and Tanzania, where the majority of them are found in the mountain area. These chameleon species are adaptable to a wide range of humidity levels. They can survive at a humidity level as high as 80% and as low as 60%.
The optimal humidity level for Jackson chameleons is 60%.
Due to their hardiness, Jackson chameleons are popular pets because they are less likely to get stressed or sick.
During the summer months, make sure to mist their enclosure often. Three times per day is adequate for Jackson’s chameleons. Mist their enclosure just enough where you see the water start dripping off the leaves.
Panther Chameleon Humidity Level
In their native home of Madagascar, it’s a very hot and humid climate with a lot of rainfall throughout the year. For that reason, Panther chameleons survive in 70% humidity comfortably. However, in captivity, it will be very difficult to achieve the humidity at that level due to heaters and air conditioning units running.
The optimal humidity level for Panther chameleons is 60%.
Luckily, you won’t have to worry about that problem. Panther chameleons are hardy creatures and can actually survive without any health issues at a 50% humidity level. The humidity level in the house will usually fluctuate throughout the day. At times, it may be around 60% humidity in the morning. At noon, it may go up to 70% humidity and then back down to 50% by evening. For a Panther chameleon, that much fluctuation in humidity will have no adverse effect on them.
Why Do Chameleons Need Humidity?
Humidity is very important to the health of the chameleon. Humidity provides supports for the respiratory and immune system, helps keep the skin and eyes in good health, and encourages good hydration.
If there is not enough humidity for the chameleons, a number of health problems can occur. Some of the problems affected by improper humidity levels can be shedding problems, tail rot, and chronic dehydration.
Depending on where they are located, each chameleon species will require different humidity levels. Chameleon species that originate from the desert region will require a low humidity level. On the other hand, chameleon species originating from tropical to subtropical regions will require a high humidity level.
Maintaining Humidity In A Chameleon’s Enclosure
There are many different ways to maintain a stable humidity level in the chameleon’s enclosure. Below are the 4 best and easiest ways to maintain humidity for your chameleon.
Using Dripper To Maintain Chameleon Humidity
This is simply a bottle or container of water placed at the top of the chameleon’s enclosure and set to drip on the plants. The water can be set at frequent intervals depending on the chameleon’s humidity needs.
Most rooms in the house and apartment already have a humidity level of 50%. If the chameleons require a 60% humidity level like for the panther chameleons, you can have it drip more frequently.
On the other hand, a veiled chameleon requires about 50% humidity level, the drip can be less frequent.
Besides keeping the humidity level at a stable level, having a dripper will ensure that the chameleons will have access to water at all times.
Maintain Chameleon Humidity With Fogging
Fogging is similar to misting, instead of a spray of water, it sprays a fine fog. This is usually a small electronic component that sprays water at a set time.
It will usually be hung on the side of the enclosure or sit on top of the enclosure.
This is great for chameleons living in the forested area habitat. In their natural habitat, natural fogs occur every morning. The fog will leave dew drops on the leaves of the plants that the chameleon can drink from.
Most homes and apartments will have an average humidity level of 50%. This will give a little extra boost of humidity for the Jackson and Panther chameleons that need their humidity level at around 60%.
Maintain Chameleon Humidity By Misting
Misting is the most popular way of helping maintain the correct humidity level. Misting can be done manually by hand or with an auto mister. I recommend an auto mister due to the fact that manually misting will get boring fast.
Most people tend to overdo when they are misting the chameleon’s enclosure. Some will actually mist for a couple of minutes or even up to half an hour. Each chameleon is different so it’s hard to say, but the recommended misting time is until the leaves are dripping with water. In addition, you’ll also notice your chameleon will start to open and close their mouths as well.
During the summer months, misting should be done twice per day as the humidity level is hovering around 50% throughout the day.
On the other hand, during the winter months, you’ll need to mist more often as the air will get dried more often due to heating in the house.
Misting manually or with an auto mister will help keep the humidity level in the chameleon’s enclosure at a stable level.
Using Live Plants To Help Maintain Chameleon Humidity
Using live plants in the chameleon’s enclosure can be useful in many ways. One of the most interesting facts is their use as a dehumidifier. Plants will collect some moisture from the air through their leaves. This is the best natural way to keep the moisture level at a good level.
Not all plants will be able to absorb the moisture effectively. If you pick the wrong plants, the moisture level can’t be maintained at an optimal level for the chameleons. For this reason, you’ll need to watch the humidity level often.
So when it comes to the best plants that absorb humidity from the chameleon’s enclosure, it will be the ones found in their natural habitat. There are many different types of plants available to choose from. However, you’ll want to choose one that benefits the chameleons too.
The peach lily, Boston fern, and Victoria era plants are a good choice for the enclosure. Not only does it helps remove moisture from the enclosure, but it can also be safely eaten by the chameleons as well.
The above are great plants for absorbing humidity, but one particular plant that is excellent for chameleon’s enclosure is the Tillandsia. This plant doesn’t require a traditional pot or soil combinations. It grows by attaching itself to rocks, tree branches, and substrates.
Tillandsia absorbs most of their moisture needs from the air, which makes them great for absorbing humidity. Unlike other plants, Tillandsia roots are used only for anchoring themselves in place.
Chameleon Humidity Requirements
Chameleon Humidity At Night
In their natural habitat, night time provides hydration for the chameleons. At night time, chameleons will find a place to sleep. During the night, as the temperature drops, the humidity level will increase. This increase will cause dew to condense on the plants and leaves. When the chameleons wake up in the morning, they will have water to drink.
Since the humidity level decreases at night, some hydration is formed in the air. As the chameleon sleep, they will breathe in that hydration, which keeps them from becoming dehydrated at night, even in dry climates.
Chameleons are hardy creatures and can tolerate temperature drops. For that reason, you won’t need to do anything to keep the humidity level at the right level.
However, if you want to replicate their natural habitat at night and keep them hydrated throughout the night, use an auto fogger system.
Chameleon Humidity During The Day
During the day, the humidity level will fluctuate a lot throughout the day, especially if you have the air conditioner or heater unit running. If these are running, you’ll need to monitor the humidity level often.
The heat from the heater unit can drop the humidity level quickly. If you have the heater running throughout the day, make sure the humidity is at the correct level. More than likely, you’ll need to mist the enclosure more often to keep the humidity level stable.
On the other hand, the air conditioning unit running will cause the humidity level to go up. The colder the air, the higher the humidity will be in the enclosure. You’ll want to monitor the humidity level closely. Misting will not be needed often, twice a day should be sufficient to keep the chameleon happy.
Measuring The Humidity In The Chameleon’s Enclosure
In order to keep the humidity level at the optimal level, you’ll need to use a measuring instrument. This piece of instrument is called a hygrometer. Its main function is to measure how much humidity or amount of water vapor in the air.
Hygrometer comes as an analog and digital device. I recommend you choose the digital hygrometer as it is more accurate. Analog hygrometer tends to be off the actual humidity level reading. This is important if you live in an area where the humidity fluctuates a lot throughout the day.
Also, when buying a hygrometer, buy one that measures temperature as well. Air temperature makes a difference in the humidity level. The hotter the air temperature, the lower the humidity level. By having both instruments in the cage, you’ll know if the humidity level is at the correct level or not.
I recommend this combination of Digital Thermometer/Hygrometer, which is found at Amazon.
Chameleon Humidity Range
Maintaining the correct humidity in the enclosure is important for the chameleon’s health. Humidity that is too low is bad for the chameleons. Humidity that is too high is also bad.
Humidity Too Low
Humidity that is too low can cause shedding problems for the chameleons. When the skin is too dry, it will be hard for them to shed all of their skin. Some skin left after shedding poses no problem, but it could become infected.
Another concern for low humidity is digestive problems. The digestive tract will usually become blocked, which will be hard for the chameleon to pass stool. When the chameleon can’t poop, they could become ill and may even die from it.
By having the proper humidity level, it will help them digest their food more easily.
Humidity Too High
A high level of moisture in the enclosure can cause respiratory problems for the chameleons. In addition, it will allow the bacteria to breed more easily and enter the chameleon’s body.
Tail rot is another concern for humidity levels too high. The end result will usually end up with the chameleon losing its tail forever. Their tail is very important to their lives being as they need it for balancing on the trees and plants. Their tail provides balance while crawling on the branches and they use their tail to stabilize themselves when hanging from the branches.
Humidity For Chameleon Eggs
Keeping chameleon eggs in your home can be tricky. For chameleon eggs, the humidity to keep the eggs healthy should be 80% to 90%. This humidity would be too high for a chameleon to survive. Instead, after the chameleon has laid her eggs, you should take them and place them in a container with a lid. After all the eggs are in the container, seal the lid completely to retain moisture. If the container is not sealed tight, the eggs will start to dry out and will not survive.
Every couple of days, check on the eggs to see if the shell is moist. If the eggshell seems dry, place a couple of droplets of water into the container and seal the container back. Depending on the chameleon species, with the correct humidity and temperature, it will hatch in 6 to 12 months.
Humidity is very crucial to the health of the chameleons. Depending on the chameleon species, you’ll want to maintain the correct humidity level at all times. By reading through the entire article, hopefully, you’ll understand the importance of humidity for a chameleon. Healthy chameleons are less likely to get ill and most importantly of all, they will live for a long time.
Dan got started with his first reptile, which was a green iguana, at the age of 10. From there, he has raised many different species of reptiles. Besides caring for reptiles, he enjoys woodworking, playing basketball, and spending free time with my 4 wonderful kids.