Will Chameleons Drink From A Bowl? {How Chameleons Drink Water}

Are you wondering if you should put out a bowl of water for your chameleon? Should it concern you that your chameleon doesn’t want to drink from a bowl? In this article, we’ll discuss the topic of chameleons drinking from bowls and what they actually prefer instead.

Will Chameleons Drink From A Bowl? It’s very rare to see a chameleon drinking from a bowl. Chameleons need their enclosure to be humid and misty. They will drink, lick and hydrate themselves from droplets on leaves. 

Why Won’t My Chameleon Drink From A Bowl?

Chameleons are difficult to train as a household pet. They will always remain reptiles in captivity, but they can trust and bond with you in their own way. Asking them to drink from a bowl is a tall task.

Chameleons are unable to recognize that a bowl is a source of water. It’s been observed that chameleons who are dehydrated and in need of water will still refrain from drinking from a bowl.

It’s unusual to drink out of bowls and they prefer to receive their water from droplets on leaves instead.

How Do I Get My Chameleon To Drink Water?

Getting a chameleon to drink water revolves around one central task: misting the enclosure. Prepare a spray bottle and set it to a gentle mist.

You can use a misting system to spray the enclosure multiple times a day. Manual misting should be at least 2-3 times a day. Your chameleon will wish to lick to lick the mist off surfaces, preferably as droplet on leaves.

How Do Chameleons Hydrate Themselves?

Chameleons are adapted and capable of absorbing water through their skin. This is useful in humid locations without other available water sources. Drinking water the way most humans and animals do does not compute well with chameleons.

These reptiles would prefer to lick or drink droplets. They need us to mist the tank or enclosure frequently to provide water to them because a bowl of water will most likely be ignored.

Do Chameleons Drink Rain Water?

Chameleons do drink rain and their instinct to hydrate themselves ignites when they are in rainy environments. We can mimic that with mist, drip systems and droplets.

Chameleons do not drink from puddles, but when rain gathers on leaves, they become a perfect water source.

If your chameleon is not drinking, continue misting for 2-5 minutes nonstop. Your chameleon’s instinct to drink may kick in when the mist continues to soak its captive habitat.

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Why Is My Chameleon Not Drinking Water?

Before you raise your concern levels to an uncomfortable degree, keep in mind that your chameleon is also absorbing water through its skin. Your responsibility is to keep the enclosure damp or humid to allow for this to happen.

If you can manage a 50-75% humidity level in the cage and monitor it with a hygrometer, you will be able to ensure that your chameleon is absorbing plenty of water.

Spray the tank with mist at least 2-3 times a day as well. Keep the enclosure away from heating or air conditioning vents as they tend to dry the surrounding space and remove the humidity that your chameleon craves.

How Do I Know If My Chameleon Is Dehydrated?

Dehydrated chameleons will show negative symptoms by way of their appearance or behavior. Some example are as follows:

  • yellow-orange urate
  • sunken eyes
  • dill color
  • lethargic

Please mist the area for 2-5 continuous minutes. Just stand there and keep spraying the mist over and over to ignite your chameleon’s instinct to lick some of the water that is collecting on nearby surfaces. Also add more plants to create more spaces for droplets to gather on leaves.

How Do I Help My Dehydrated Chameleon?

A bowl of water is not going to entice your chameleon to drink. You may have to force the issue if your chameleon is simply not drinking at all. Try the following:

  • Droplets on your chameleon
  • Droplets in front of your chameleon
  • Drop water into its mouth with a dropper. 
  • Drop water into its mouth with a syringe.
  • Mist the area for 2-5 consecutive minutes. 
  • Visit the vet if this continues. 

You can place small droplets of water directly onto your chameleon’s back or limbs. You can also drop water in front of its eyes to encourage it to stick out its tongue for a lick.

A syringe or dropper could be filled with water and dropped into the side of their mouths as well. If this refusal of water continues and you notice sunken eyes, please visit the vet together to find out if something else is wrong.

Can I Teach My Chameleon To Drink From A Bowl?

We tend to agree that every chameleon possesses unique traits and quirky behavior. Some pay more attention to us while others shy away.

If you have built trust and your chameleon routinely makes contact with you or accepts food directly from you, it may also abide and drink from the bowl you are offering in your hand.

Hold the bowl up and do not place it on the substrate. Keep it held in front of your chameleon and be patient for up to 5 minutes. You can use your other hand to mist the area to create a rainfall effect at the same time.

The bowl could also be empty and you can start spraying mist into it while you keep it in front of your chameleon to spark its interest and instinct to drink from it.


Chameleons don’t tend to drink from bowls, but there are exceptional circumstances or examples of people attesting the opposite.

We encourage misting of the enclosure where your chameleon resides to maintains humidity and place many plants inside where droplets of mist can collect on the leaves. Your chameleon will absorb some water through its skin and lick the rest from leaves or other surfaces.


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