Do Veiled Chameleons Drink Water?

Humans and pets will have idiosyncrasies when it comes to certain habits and more often than not, these habits may include food and water intake.

Because it is virtually impossible to observe a veiled chameleon drinking from a water bowl, the question may arise, ‘Do veiled chameleons even drink water?’ 

The answer is a resounding yes, they do drink water, and water is extremely important to their overall health and well-being.

Veiled chameleons that do not get sufficient water will gradually become dehydrated and die, so this is a serious question with a very serious answer.

Do Veiled Chameleons Drink Water

Naturally, if you’ve never observed your pet veiled chameleon drinking water, you may wonder how does a veiled chameleon drink?

How Does a Veiled Chameleon Drink Water?

Veiled chameleons will drink the water they need by licking droplets off tree leaves and plant foliage. This is exactly how chameleons drink in the wild in their natural habitats.

They generally drink in the early morning hours or the evening when dew is deposited on vegetation from condensation as temperatures dip and rise, or they may drink after rainfall when water droplets remain on foliage.

These reptiles are very much unlike other species. If you give a dog or cat, even a bird a water bowl, they will drink from it as soon as they are thirsty.

Should you position a water bowl inside your chameleon’s enclosure. It would not have any idea what to do with it nor be inspired to drink from it.

Quite on the contrary, if the bowl was large enough, your amphibian might drown in it if it entered as chameleons don’t swim either.

For a veiled chameleon to drink, its natural habitat needs to be replicated as closely as possible. So, your veiled chameleon will need plants in its enclosure and droplets on the plant’s foliage daily. This is the way that a veiled chameleon will drink. 

So, when designing and creating your veiled chameleon’s enclosure plan on putting a lot of plants inside. The more plants inside your veiled chameleon’s cage, the more opportunity your chameleon will have to drink.

How Much Does a Veiled Chameleon Drink?

This may depend a bit on your veiled chameleon, but it probably won’t drink that much because its natural habitat is the desert, so they don’t require a lot for survival.

How Often Does a Veiled Chameleon Drink?

Generally, they may drink twice a day, but it might vary. Much will depend on the environmental temperature where your veiled chameleon is located. Cooler temperatures require less misting. Higher temperatures require more due to evaporation.

Can a Veiled Chameleon Drink City Tap Water?

Yes, a veiled chameleon can drink city tap water. In city water systems, water is usually treated for purity and harmful toxins or substances.

In rural areas, and some suburbs, there may not be water treatment plants, so you’ll need to be careful when using tap water in such a circumstance.

If your water source is an underground well, it may be heavy in mineral content. Some may be ok for your veiled chameleon while others may not be. Typical city water system treatment chemicals like fluorine compounds, chlorine, or trihalomethanes will be fine.

Bad elements found in water will include

      • harmful bacteria
      • pesticides
      • parasites
      • infective elements

if you have doubts, have your water supply tested, because these dangerous contents are not usually visible to the eye.

You can also install a filter to cleanse water before using it. Water with harmful contents can be lethal to your amphibian depending on what it is. 

You can also leave water in an open bowl or container overnight to allow chemicals to evaporate as is often done with water for plants.

Or you can treat water with commercial products like a reptile water conditioner. This type of product removes harmful substances from water. You could also choose to use collected rainwater or distilled water.

Are There Alternative Methods for Giving a Veiled Chameleon a Drink of Water?

While veiled chameleons are intriguing creatures, they are not necessarily that intelligent. They will not adapt readily to a water bowl, so you must imitate their method for drinking as closely as possible.

There are several alternative methods that mimic to some extent how your veiled chameleon drinks in its natural habitat.

1.) Automatic Mister

Automatic Mister for Veiled Chameleon Cage

The automatic mister is the ideal choice. This little machine comes complete with a water reservoir together with a pumping device.

It is normally placed on top of the reptile enclosure or attached to its side. The reservoir should be filled with water. Then you set the mister’s timer and you’re done.

It will spray a fine mist throughout the entire cage. It’s a great option if you are not home most of the day or on the go, although it is the most expensive option.

2.) Bottle for a Hamster

This is an option that you’ll need to verify if your veiled chameleon will use or not. These bottles, designed for the inside of hamster cages work when the hamster licks the tip of the metal straw attached to the bottle.

The bottle drips as it is licked. These bottles should be attached to the side of your reptile’s enclosure. You can place the straw tip directly onto a leaf.

If drops fall onto the leaf, there’s a good chance your chameleon will lick it off. As they, lick other droplets will fall onto leaves.  Some chameleons may not learn to use this method, others may not.

3.) Dripper

This is an easy way to give your veiled chameleon water. Take a bottle or cup and poke a hole the size of a pin in the bottom. Observe how rapidly water drips out. If it seems to be slow, poke another hole.

Make as many holes as you need to get the correct drip. Once you do, attach your container to the top or side of the enclosure in such a way that the water will drip on the plants inside. 

4.) Fogger

Fogger will keep your veiled chameleon well-hydrated

A fogger will keep your veiled chameleon well-hydrated. The purpose of a fogger is to spray a fine mist inside the enclosure at specific times throughout the day.

This can also be done manually. When choosing to use a fogger, you do need to make sure that it will spray for a specific amount of time. 

5.) Hand Misting

You can mist your reptile’s enclosure manually with a spray bottle. This is a terrific option for providing your chameleon with water. It will require a bit of time.

By misting manually, you will have the advantage of being able to mist everything in the enclosure forming droplets everywhere. 

6.) Ice Cube

This isn’t a great way to provide your chameleon with a water source, but in a pinch, it might work. Place an ice cube on top of your chameleon’s cage and as it melts the water will fall onto the plants below. It’s not a method to use daily but it can serve a purpose if you are short on time.

Regardless of your method, the goal is to form water droplets on foliage for your veiled chameleon to drink. Misting will take some time to form droplets.

If your chameleon gets sprayed in the process, don’t worry too much because in their natural habitat they get rained on, so a very mist will not create problems. Do, however, avoid spraying your chameleon with water directly. Mist is one thing, a spray of water is another.

Are There Bad Ways to Give a Veiled Chameleon Water?

There are several ways that a veiled chameleon should not be given water. These include:

1.) Bathing a chameleon

Chameleons do not take baths in the wild. They pass most of their time on trees and on vegetation. If you give your veiled chameleon a bath, you will frighten it and stress it.

2.) Showering a chameleon

A veiled chameleon should only be showered rarely if it is dehydrated, otherwise, you will stress them. When it rains heavily, chameleons will hide underneath vegetation, so they never become soaked by rain

3.) A water bowl

Water dishes will do nothing other than form and host germs. Chameleons do not know how to drink from a water bowl, and if they fall in, they can drown.

How Can I Tell If My Veiled Chameleon Is Drinking Enough Water?

Well, you most likely won’t be able to observe this because they probably will not drink in front of an audience. So, you are correct to wonder how you’ll know.

Veiled chameleons do not urinate like other animals, they produce urates. Urates are urine and waste combined. The white part that is visible in the urate is the urine part.

If urates are clear to white, your pet is well-hydrated. Check this every day when waste is excreted by your veiled chameleon. If they are yellow, your reptile is not drinking enough. Provide more water droplets on foliage.

Chameleon bodies should appear plump, and eyes should bulge. Sunken eyes, wrinkled skin, and yellow urates indicate that more water needs to be ingested.

Is Dehydration a Problem for My Veiled Chameleon?

Dehydration is a serious condition and it can prove to be lethal. In the event of dehydration, try giving your chameleon a shower, otherwise take your pet to a veterinarian that works regularly with reptiles. 

Susan R Elliston
I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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