Do Veiled Chameleons Shed Their Skin?

You may have seen a chameleon shed their skin and it does not bring in good visuals. You may feel sorry for these small creatures. If you are an owner, you would definitely be worried.

It is quite vital for any pet owner to understand how the process works and get all their doubts clarified. In this article, we’ll discuss chameleons’ shedding skin.

Do Veiled Chameleons Shed Their Skin

A growing chameleon and shedding process

Chameleons grow like other reptiles. However, they are different from other reptiles in many ways. They have a thin and transparent top layer, and it helps them change colors.

The top layer does not stretch as the chameleon grows. As the body grows big, this skin layer begins to shed away.

Young chameleons grow quickly. Due to the rapid growth, the younger chameleons shed their skin more often. A growing chameleon skin will stretch then flake away every 3 to 4 weeks. 

The shedding process allows the thin skin layer that does not stretch to be replaced with a fresh layer. The new skin is well suited to the chameleon’s current size.

Adult chameleons do not have a fast-growing rate. Their skin sheds to accommodate added weight, rather than to grow.

Another reason for shedding

Your chameleon may shed their top layer of skin to get rid of old skin cells and clean the body. A chameleon shedding process removes dead skin cells and leaves the skin beneath fresh and clean-looking.

It is similar to a human taking a shower to feel fresh and clean. Chameleon’s colors are brighter, and their skin looks renewed after shedding.

Signs that give an idea that shedding is about to start

Most chameleons give you signs of shedding before they actually begin shedding their skin. If you are not aware of the process and details, as a pet lover and owner, you may get worried. This is not something to worry about. 

In this section, we list down all the behavioral changes that may alert you of the shedding process. The process is natural, and your pet will be back to itself once the process is over.

Below are some of the changes to look for below shedding happens:

1.) Loss of appetite: You will notice your chameleon eat less during the days that lead up to their shed. It is one of the most common changes many owners notice, and it should not worry. (Can Veiled Chameleons Eat Grapes?)

However, if the appetite loss continues post the shedding process, you should take your chameleon to the vet for a checkup.

2.) White spots: In terms of visual change, the main indication that leads to the shedding process is white spots on your chameleon skin. The spots may appear concerning if you look at them for the first time.

White spots on your chameleon skin

However, don’t get worried. Your chameleon’s skin prepares itself for what’s to come. The white spots vary in size, and if you observe closely, you will notice, these are thin layers ready to come off.

3.) Restlessness: It is a common trait for chameleons. They become restless at different times. However, during the time leading to the shedding, you will notice it more.

The shedding process is irritating for them, and hence you will see them getting irritable and restless before the process starts.

4.) Branch rubbing: You will notice the chameleon rubbing their body on branches and perches inside its enclosure. You may also see them use their feed to scratch and scrape at their skin.

The scratching and rubbing soothe them and help move towards the process is a bit of comfort.

How often do chameleons shed their skin?

As mentioned above, young chameleons shed skins more often than adult ones. Young chameleons that are up to 18 months old, shed their skin once every three to four weeks. They will shed all their skin in one go.

Adult chameleons will shed their skin every six to eight weeks. The young ones can shed skin in 15 minutes or so but the adults shed their skin in parts and the process takes two to three hours, sometimes longer.

The shedding process length and frequency vary from species to species. Each chameleon will shed in their own way and in their own time.

The most important thing to remember is to not push your chameleon as the act of shedding skin is natural. Your chameleon knows how to do the shedding without having any kind of assistance.

How to ensure chameleons shed their skin effectively?

If you want a good shedding process for your chameleon, you need to ensure you give them adequate supplementation levels like calcium. Feed them well once you start looking at the shedding signs. 

Another important thing to do is keep their humidity levels adequate. Ensure they are well hydrated. If the air around them is dried, the process will become discomforting as their skin can stick to them. 

How long does the process take for a chameleon to shed?

Chameleons shed their skin in their own time, according to their individual needs. Younger chameleons shed their skin more quickly. Sometimes, they can shed their unwanted skin within 15 minutes.

However, as they age, the process of shedding their skin becomes slower. Depending on its species and size, a chameleon may shed in a few hours, a few days, or even a couple of weeks.

Can you tell when a chameleon is going to shed its skin?

Chameleons tend to appear cloudy before they shed their skin. The colors will be muted. Its skin begins to separate from the body at this point. In time, the shedding skin will start breaking and peeling off in places.

While shedding, do chameleons sleep?

During the shedding process, they normally do not sleep. Although they may be shedding, they do not have a tendency to sleep during the day.

Is it dangerous to shed?

As mentioned earlier, shedding is a natural process, and hence it is totally safe and normally takes place without any complications. However, there are certain scenarios wherein the procedure can be hazardous to your pet.

If the chameleon is unable to shed its skin completely, pieces of old skin may remain attached. This can happen in certain areas of the body, like the tip of the tail or toes.

In such a case, blood flow may be restricted. If the blood flow is not proper, there could be loss of toes or tail. In such a situation, you must take your chameleon to a vet.

The presence of old skin near the eyes or mouth can cause concern with your chameleon. If persistent skin is left unattended, blindness and mouth rot can occur, which is quite common.

The gap between the unshed skin and the chameleon’s body can also allow bacteria to breed, leading to infections.

How to help a chameleon shed their skin?

In this case, it’s best to allow them to get on with it as they know what they’re doing, and any interference from you is likely to stress them out and maybe hindrance to the process.

After the shedding is complete, you see some old skin remains. You can help them out – gently remove the old skin with a cotton swab dipped in warm water.

There are times chameleons may need some help even though they are capable of shedding without any help. It is possible to help your chameleon shed with medication if it seems to have difficulty with shedding.

What are the signs of worry during shedding?

You should get worried only when they are constantly shedding. We have mentioned the shedding duration. If your pet is constantly shedding, something could be wrong.

You should first look at the humidity level. If the humidity level is too low or too high, it could be a cause of constant shedding. If they are losing or gaining weight, it is worrisome and you should see a vet.

Conclusion

Shedding is a part of a chameleon’s life. Don’t be stressed when you see them shedding or notice white spots.

They are just going through a natural process, and it will help them get new skin cells. However, keep a watchful eye on them and let the process occur naturally.

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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