Interested in learning more about chameleon poop and pee? This guide is for you!
Chameleons have been kept as exotic pets for their unique colors and exciting personalities.
Although many know these reptiles for their ability to change colors, few know about their interesting poop and pee habits.
Like most animals, a chameleon’s poop and pee hold essential information about this reptile. For example, did you know you can tell your chameleon’s state of health by looking into its poop? Although this may sound gross to some people, observing your chameleon’s excrement is often necessary to understand your chameleon pet better.
How Often Do Chameleons Poop?
A chameleon does not have any fixed pooping or peeing schedule, really. It all depends on how much and often this little reptile has been eating.
Its pooping schedule also depends on its health status, whether it is well hydrated, and how much it has been basking.
The conditions in the enclosure also play an essential role in determining how often your chameleon pet passes stool.
For example, suppose the temperature and humidity in the enclosure are proper. In that case, the chameleon will have more or less a predictable pooping and peeing schedule.
The poop and pee will also be regular and free of abnormalities.
Baby chameleons poop and pee more often than adults. This is understandable, considering babies have a bigger appetite and higher metabolic rate than adults.
While an adult poop about two or three times a week, a baby chameleon will likely poop daily. It’s not unheard of for adult chameleons to go for as long as two weeks without pooping.
But, for this to happen, certain conditions must be in place. For example, the weather will be cooler, and the chameleon will eat less than usual.
Otherwise, an adult chameleon doesn’t ordinarily go for more than a week without passing stool or pee.
What Does a Chameleon Poop Look Like?
Generally, a chameleon poop’s look depends on what your little pet has been feeding on.
For example, if this reptile has been feeding on a staple diet of hornworms or silkworms, the poop will be a bit loose or runny.
However, if its staple mainly consists of crickets, veggies, and fruits, the poop will be soft, firm, and solid. In addition, it will have a more regular shape.
A chameleon’s poop is generally divided into two parts. First, the dark brown to the black part of the feces contains the digestive waste of what the animal had eaten.
This is what we refer to as solid poop. Usually, a chameleon’s poop doesn’t smell.
The second part is a white solid and is called the urates. This is your chameleon’s pee.
To understand why your chameleon’s pee is solid, you should know that reptiles are very efficient at using water.
They have been on this planet much longer than mammals like us. As such, they have evolved to use almost every drop of water they consume.
Instead of removing pee in liquid form as we do, they produce solid urea waste, which comes out as part of the poop.
Reptiles, such as chameleons, expel the urea from their bodies as a solid white lump, usually attached to the solid poop from digestive materials.
This way, they retain most of the water they consume for hydrating their bodies.
This makes a lot of sense, considering that some of these reptiles are from hot and dry climates, where water is often scarce.
Why Is Chameleon Pee Solid?
Chameleons pass their pee as solid urates attached to the solid poo from digestive waste.
The solid urates pee indicates your chameleon has retained water in his body, which is good for his overall health.
Your chameleon’s pee is solid as a result of evolutionary default. These reptiles have been around for millennia and have often had to survive in hot and dry climates.
As a result, they have evolved to be efficient water users. For instance, they need just a little water to get by.
This means that the body must use every little drop of water; no waste allowed!
The solid urates are white and soft. If the chameleon is mildly dehydrated, the pee may have a tinge of yellow.
This is not really bad and shouldn’t worry you much. However, if the urates are a deep yellow or orange, your pet needs more water.
You need to correct this immediately by giving your pet more water access.
However, if your pet has gone for some time without pooping, it’s normal for the poop to be a deep yellow or orange.
The explanation is that the poop has been sitting inside the body for longer, and more water has been drawn from it.
At times, you may see a little clear liquid alongside the urates. This indicates that your pet is exceptionally well-hydrated.
Identifying Healthy Chameleon Poop and Pee
The feces are dark brown to black and don’t produce any odor. They are soft but solid and either oval or round in shape.
The size and amount of feces can vary depending on how much your pet has eaten and how long he has stayed without going to the toilet.
The pee or urates are white and attached to the feces. Sometimes, you can spot a tinge of yellow on the urates, indicating that your pet is mildly hydrated.
The urates are usually smaller than the main feces. Therefore, if the chameleon has gone for some time without pooping, it’s normal for the urates to be yellow or orange.
Identifying Unhealthy Chameleon Poop and Pee
One of the things you may notice about unhealthy chameleon feces is that they produce some unpleasant odor.
This indicates that they are infected by parasites, an early warning sign of your pet’s ill health. Smelly feces also point to your chameleon’s digestive problems.
If the feces are not soft but are too dry, your pet has digestive issues. The same is too if the feces are loose or runny.
However, a consistent diet of hornworms and silkworms can make your pet’s feces a bit loose.
Another sign to look out for is blood on the feces. This points to infection and the presence of dangerous organisms in your pet.
In this case, immediate medical intervention is needed to save your pet from further trouble and complications.
The presence of undigested bits of insects and plant matter is another tell-tale sign. This shows digestive issues that require the intervention of your exotic animal vet.
The urates will be a deep yellow or orange if your pet is severely hydrated. Again, this calls for your intervention before your pet’s health deteriorates further.
What Causes Unhealthy Chameleon Poop?
The Presence of Parasites
Parasites mess up your chameleon’s nutritional needs. This is because they take up all the nutrients from your chameleon’s food.
Also, they cause infections, making your pet sick and weak. You’ll know your pet has parasites when the feces are urates are runny or loose.
You can also tell by the amount of undigested bits of food material your pet is passing out in the feces. Most of these parasites come from feeders from questionable sources.
When it comes to feeding your chameleon, cheap is often expensive!
To solve the problem of parasites, take some feces samples to your vet for examination and diagnosis. The vet is best placed to advise you on the best action to take.
This is the number one cause of yellow or orange urates. Dehydration also brings about dry feces. It means your pet has not been getting enough water for drinking and misting.
Solve the dehydration problem by increasing the misting frequency. Also, you may give your pet a proper bath to rehydrate him.
Chameleon Sperm Plugs
Some chameleons deposit sperm plugs on the feces and urates when in mating season. This is normal and should not alarm you.
Although not all chameleons do this, the presence of sperm plugs in poop is confirmation that your pet is sexually active – which is a good thing!
What is Chameleon Fecal Float Exam?
This is a test your exotic animals’ vet does on the feces of your chameleon to determine why they look unhealthy.
The chameleon fecal float exam is usually done when you suspect your pet is infected with parasites.
All the same, it is recommended that you should have this exam done on your pet at least once a year.
If your chameleon is new, taking it to your vet for the fecal float exam is a good idea.
This is more so if you have sourced it from a community tank where it extensively interacted with other chameleons or reptiles.
The good news is that this test doesn’t cost much, and setting an annual budget for it should not be a hassle for any responsible chameleon pet parent.
Knowing your pet is free of parasites will give you peace of mind.
How is the Chameleon Fecal Exam Done?
You can do this test yourself if you are well-versed in chameleon husbandry practices. However, not many can manage this, considering it requires some biological knowledge.
It also requires some specialized equipment that you may not have at home.
As such, the best bet is to have a qualified exotic animal specialist do it for you. But, of course, you must first book an appointment with your preferred vet to achieve this.
This is someone you should have vetted before bringing the chameleon to your home. Then, collect your chameleon’s fresh poop sample and deliver it to the vet.
It’s best to collect this poop on the day of the test because dried poop will not be useful.
You don’t have to collect urates as these are not required in the fecal test.
Store the fresh fecal matter in an airtight, cool, dry container.
Suppose the storage temperatures are too hot or cold. In that case, the organisms in the poop sample will be rendered useless for testing.
Once delivered to the vet, they will carefully examine and test the fecal matter for the presence of parasites. You should get your results within a few hours to a few days.
Suppose your chameleon pet is infected with parasites. In that case, the vet will administer the appropriate anti-parasite medication and advise you accordingly.
The vet may also take you through your husbandry practices to find out what could be wrong with your setup and practices.
Be as open and truthful as possible; this will help you get the information you need to prevent a repeat infection.
What Are the Most Common Chameleon Poop Problems?
#1 – Your Chameleon Retains Poop
Being more active and feisty, a baby chameleon should poop at least once daily. On the other hand, adult chameleons should poop about once or twice weekly.
Once in a while, a baby chameleon may fail to poop daily. Also, an adult can sometimes go for up to 8 or 10 days without pooping.
However, these should be taken as exceptions and not the rule.
If your chameleon goes for a week without popping, you should start looking for a possible cause of this situation.
Is it that your little pet is not feeding enough? Or could he be hydrated? Try giving him a variety of feed and misting.
Feed him more silkworms and hornworms to see whether he’ll poop more regularly.
Make sure that he has enough water droplets on the plants for drinking. Then, mist him more frequently and for longer.
Give him a shower to improve his hydration level.
If these measures do not change the situation, it’s time to see your vet. It could be that your little pet is impacted – a grave matter for any reptile.
#2 – Your Chameleon Has Loose Stool
Your chameleon’s stool is supposed to be solid, firm, and soft. If this reptile has loose poop, this indicates digestive problems caused by parasites.
Parasites have made it impossible for your pet to retain nutrients. While the parasites themselves take up most of the nutrients, the rest is lost in the loose stool.
This is dangerous on two fronts. One, your pet is losing too many nutrients and will soon become weak and emaciated.
Two, this reptile is losing too much water, which means he will soon be dehydrated. This tells you to take this animal to the vet immediately.
The sooner the parasites are contained, the better for your pet’s health and your peace of mind.
#3 – Your Chameleon is Constipated
A constipated chameleon hardly eats. Also, it acts lethargic and weak and is often dehydrated. This animal hardly passes any stool; when he does, the feces are hard and dry.
A constipated chameleon also tends to be aggressive or highly irritable.
Constipation can be solved by upping your pet’s food fiber content and feeding him some mealworms, silkworms, and waxworms.
Vegetables will be a welcome addition to his diet. However, if constipation goes on for more than 8 days, don’t hesitate to consult your vet.
Constipation that lasts more than 15 days is likely to turn fatal.
#4 – Your Chameleon’s Poop Is Stuck to Its Butt
Spray warm water on the butt area to help your chameleon pass the stuck stool. Usually, this problem happens if your chameleon is dehydrated or constipated.
#5 – Your Chameleon’s Poop is Orange
Orange or deep yellow poop is a sign that your pet is dehydrated. This could mean you are not frequently misting the enclosure or giving your pet enough fluid-rich foods.
It could also mean that your pet has stayed long without pooping. In this case, the poop that overstayed inside the body was milked of all or most of its water.
By improving misting and feeding your pet more succulent meals, you should be able to solve the problem of orange or yellow poop.
#6 – Your Chameleon Is Impacted
Impaction happens when your pet accidentally swallows a solid non-food item, which gets stuck in the digestive tract.
This means all the food your pet subsequently consumes gets stuck in the system, and this reptile does not pass any poop or pee.
Impaction is a serious condition that should be treated as soon as it comes to light. You can try a warm bath and gently rubbing your pet’s belly to ease the problem.
However, if this does not bear fruit, immediately take this reptile to the vet. Often, the vet solves the problem by giving the animal special syrup.
However, in extreme cases of impaction, a surgical procedure will have to be performed.
Cleaning Up Chameleon Poop
Because chameleon poop is neither smelly nor messy, it is one of the easiest reptiles poops to clean. The best way to handle this poop is to clean it as soon as it is dropped.
But, you don’t have to worry if you don’t see it right away. Instead, you can clean it when it has dried – this will be even easier to do than when it is fresh.
How well you clean fresh chameleon poop depends on the type of substrate you picked for the enclosure.
Usually, you need less high-quality substrate than if you were to use low-quality one. As such, cleaning poop in the high-quality substrate is far more manageable.
This is your cue to pick nothing but the best for your chameleon pet’s enclosure.
To clean the poop, just pick it up with a paper towel off the substrate. Apply the same procedure if the poop is on a branch, twig, or leaf.
However, in some cases, you may have to use a wet wipe to wipe the poop completely clean.
Additionally, you should remember to clean the entire enclosure more thoroughly, at least once a fortnightly.
A clean cage equals a healthy chameleon pet and a happy you!
How Often Should You Clean Chameleon Poop?
It is healthier for everyone involved if you clean your chameleon’s poop at least once daily.
Although getting into your pet’s cage daily may seem intrusive, some husbandry and animal care routines can simply not be avoided.
Your pet chameleon will become stressed when the cage gets untidy and unkempt. To avoid this, keep a close eye on the waste matter that must be regularly removed from the cage.
This includes leftover food materials, dead or dried-up plants, and poop. You may do all the cleaning at night when your chameleon is asleep.
This will prevent unnecessarily disturbing him or intruding on his privacy.
The good news is that cleaning your chameleon’s feces is not stressful as they are neither messy nor smelly.
Experts recommend the application of vinegar to the bottom of the enclosure about once quarterly.
As a responsible pet parent, you have to know everything there is to know about your pet chameleon.
One of the things you should acquaint yourself with is what to expect of your pet’s excrement. Closely observing your chameleon’s feces and urates will tell you a lot about the health and lifestyle of this reptile.
As such, you have every reason to study your chameleon’s bowel movements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Do Chameleons Eat?
Chameleons are basically carnivores that feed on insects (insectivores).
However, because they have often found themselves in habitats without adequate supplies of insects, they have learned to survive on leaves.
This means that chameleon in your home relishes a meal of small insects, but will eat the occasional vegetation if you give him.
Actually, it is recommended that you can include some fruits in your chameleon’s meal to increase variety.
The giant species of chameleons consume small birds, other reptiles, and large insects. For example, the Malagasy giant chameleons are known to relish these meals.
In the wild, chameleons are opportunistic feeders. They eat food whenever they come across it because they are not guaranteed their next meal.
However, captive chameleons can have a more structured feeding program that follows their needs.
Does Chameleon Poop Smell?
Compared to other reptiles, chameleon poop does not smell. Your chameleon could be sick if its poop produces an odor.
Smelly poop is one of the critical signs that your pet is infected with parasites. Take a sample of the poop to your vet for examination and diagnosis.
Do Chameleons Eat Their Stool?
Chameleons may try to eat poop that has undigested insects or bits of food material on it.
They may also use their poop as bait for insects and try to grab them as they circle or crawl around poop.
A more bizarre reason your chameleon may eat its poop is when it is sick. This behavior indicates parasitic infection.
Is Chameleon Poop Dangerous?
There are no recorded cases of chameleon poop harming a human. However, as with all animal poops, chameleon poop carries dangerous pathogens that can compromise your health.
Reptiles carry the salmonella bacteria, naturally present in their digestive tracts. This pathogen can be passed on to humans through animal poop, causing stomach aches, fever, and diarrhea.
Why Should I Keep an Eye on My Chameleon’s Poop?
Closely observing your chameleon’s bowel movements informs you about your pet’s health.
Keep an eye on the color, nature, and amount of stool to understand how your chameleon is doing health-wise.