Chameleon Behavior: Light Colors

Chameleon is showing light colors


Chameleon is showing very light or washed out colors


Meaning: Chameleons use their body color for temperature regulation and to show emotion. It can also be a window into their internal state.


  • Chameleon is too hot and is trying to cool of

Temperature Regulation

When temperature gets beyond the chameleon’s comfort level they will try and cool themselves off. They do this by moving lower in the cage towards the shade and moist Earth, they will make their colors as light as possible to reflect sun, and they sit with their mouth open to try and get the hot air out.

This is a warning sign of a harmful and potentially deadly situation. This is a sign of overheating and you need to provide the means for the chameleon to cool off. They will first try to change their position and lighten their body color. Lighter colors reflect more light than darker colors which absorb it. As the ehat stress continues the chameleon will start to gape to cool off from the inside. Eyes closed and body shutting down is the next step so if it is hot and you see gaping act immediately.

Overheating is very common when owners move their indoors screen cage out to give their chameleon some natural sunlight. With no cover and a floor that reflects the sun’s rays, the chameleon can easily overheat even if you are comfortable.

If you see a chameleon overheating get them to a cooler location immediately.

chameleon under heat stress

This  Kinyongia multituberculata is showing washed out colors and is gaping to try and cool down his body. When we restrict our chameleons to a relatively small space we must provide them with the temperature gradients within their comfort range.

This chameleon was brought indoors and cooled down. He was discovered on a regular check of chameleons during a summer heat wave. He cooled down quickly and was able to resume normal chameleon duties soon thereafter.

heat gaping jacksons chameleon

This Jackson’s Chameleon is gaping to cool down. As gaping is another method for cooling the body, gaping and washed out colors are often found together.