Why Does My Chameleon Keep Falling? {Does My Chameleon Have MBD?}

Are you concerned about your chameleon falling or being off balance? Will falling from branches or cage walls cause permanent injury or death? In this article, we’ll discuss the issue of your chameleon falling too often.

Why Does My Chameleon Keep Falling? Chameleons are prone to MBD – metabolic bone disease. It affects coordination and balance in reptiles. This behavior may not improve on its own and needs medical attention. 

What Is Metabolic Bone Disease?

MBD or metabolic bone disease is actually many disorders linked to the skeletal system including:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Hyperparathyroidism (NSHP)
  • Renal Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (RSHP) 

A deficiency in vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus and cooler temperatures may welcome this unwanted disease which causes your chameleon to be off balance or frequently fall.

Some chameleons are more susceptible to MBD including:

  • younger chameleons
  • female chameleons
  • veiled chameleons
  • malnourished chameleons

What Are The Symptoms Of MBD?

If you notice your chameleon falling down often and you fear that it could be MBD, look for the following symptoms that may accompany their overall clumsiness or lack of balance:

  • lethargy
  • muscle spasms
  • swollen limbs
  • bone fractures
  • curved spine
  • drooped lips 
  • loos of appetite
  • sunken eyes
  • foul smell
  • blood shot eyes
  • loss of color on fingers, toes and tails

Your chameleon who shows a combination of these symptoms above is suffering from something much worse than clumsiness.

Dehydration or kidney disease could also become prevalent under such conditions. Seek medical help as soon as possible.

Why Is My Chameleon Falling?

Your chameleon could be having trouble absorbing:

  • calcium
  • phosphorus
  • vitamin D

If the temperature in the enclosure is too cold or cool, the digestive system of your chameleon may slow down. Also add more light sources to increase exposure to vitamin D.

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Does Diet Affect A Chameleon That Is Falling Often?

Absolutely. Your chameleon needs an ideal diet to ensure that its muscular strength and internal organs are functioning properly to maintain balance.

A varied diet of the following foods are recommended:

  • crickets
  • hornworms
  • locusts
  • mantis hatchlings
  • silkworms
  • snails with shells,
  • mealworms
  • superworms
  • butterworms
  • waxworms

Worms are higher in fat and should be offered less frequently. Gut load the insects in the list above with calcium supplements.

You can powder their meals or your chameleon’s diet with multivitamins and calcium one a week or every other week. Offer meals in the morning and allow your chameleon to spend most of its day digesting it.

How Do I Help My Chameleon That Is Falling?

The first thing to do is notice that your chameleon is falling often and not just one random occurrence. They are hardy enough to withstand falls in the wild as they try to break their fall with branches on trees underneath them.

Here are some tips to help your chameleon who is falling often:

  • Visit the vet.
  • Get bone x-rays taken.
  • Test calcium and phosphorus levels.
  • Lower the branches.
  • Add more protein to their diet.
  • Supplement with calcium and multivitamins. 
  • Allow for 12 hours of UVB light.

What Are Signs Of a Chameleon Dying?

It’s truly unfortunate to witness a dying chameleon under your watch and care. Look for the following signs that may indicate the possibility of your chameleon getting very sick or potentially succumbing to it:

  • not climbing
  • lethargy
  • not drinking
  • loss of appetite
  • closed eyes throughout the day
  • sunken or droopy eyes
  • swollen joints or limbs
  • bloody eyes

Seek medical help with a trip to the vet as soon as you can. Your chameleon may recover with your intervention and appropriate medication.

Why Is My Chameleon Off Balance?

Your chameleon could be suffering from metabolic bone disease or MBD. There could be problems with a lack of calcium or the inability to absorb it.

Your chameleon’s vet will be able to check calcium and phosphorus levels to see if this is the case. Your chameleon could be losing bone density or brittleness may lead to it being off balance.

Bone fractures and pain could be also be causing your chameleon to become clumsy or lethargic. Medical help is necessary if this obvious mobility impairment persists.

Do Chameleons Ever Fall?

Chameleons are prone to falling in the wild and have adapted to protect themselves from harm. Their bodies can twist and turn in ways that we can never do.

They can take harder falls with minimal damage. Chameleons can latch onto branches on their way down from higher elevations and taller trees. They can drop to the floor and jump right back into form.

Excessive falling in their enclosure runs greater risks. Captive chameleons could be deficient in calcium and phosphorus which leaves their bones weaker and susceptible to injury.


Chameleon are hardy enough to withstand falls, but constant falling in captivity could be a sign of metabolic bone disease or MBD. Look for other symptoms including lethargy and lack of appetite.

Your chameleon may end up living a shorter and more painful life with MBD. Seek medical treatment before it gets worse. Create a safer enclosure and add plenty of protein rich meals of mostly insects that could be gut loaded with larger amounts of vitamins and calcium.

Ensure that your chameleon is getting plenty of UVB light and notice for any signs of improvement. A trip to the vet for x-rays and tests might be in order if this clumsiness continues.


Thank you for visiting HomePetHelp.com for all your informational needs surrounding chameleons and other reptiles. We invite you to stick around and check out many of our articles concerning any pets that you are interested in. Your chameleon is one of our favorites! See you soon!