Chameleon Behavior: Sunken Eyes

Chameleon's eyes are sunken in


Chameleon’s eyes are sunken in


Meaning: Sunken eyes are symptoms of a state of high stress. This can be emotional or physical stress.


  • Chameleon is stressed and in battle mode
  • Chameleon is stressed due to sickness
  • Chameleon is stressed due to physical exhaustion
  • Chameleon is dehydrated


The solution is highly dependent on the reason for the sunken eyes. As sunken eyes are often simply the reflection of the chameleon’s mental state or physical condition, that condition must be determined and the chameleon relieved for the eyes to go back to normal. In all of these cases, sunken eyes are not the only symptom of the condition. So determining the problem uses these other clues.

There are genetic differences that determine how far out the eye goes from the skull. If your chameleon is in top health and still does not have bulbous eyes then it may be just genetics and nothing to worry about.

Listen to a podcast about sunken eyes


On this short podcast episode I talk about sunken eyes and what they mean! Just hit the play button as you look at the pictures.

parsons chameleon eye

Here is an example of a healthy eye. The turret is full and extends out from the head. The eye is alert and scanning the surroundings.

chameleon with washed out colors

A dehydrated chameleon will often show sunken eyes.

chameleon with its nose in the air

This chameleon has a respiratory infection and is feeling very sick. The sunken eyes are part of the advanced stage of this infection

deremensis with sunken eye 121

This chameleon is victim to a fungal infection which can be seen on its skin. The eyes are sunken in due to sickness.

female panther in dystocia distress

This female panther chameleon is in distress due to dystocia – egg binding.

eye sunken in due to egg laying

Sunken eyes can also be a result of physical exhaustion such as this female panther chameleon who has just finished laying eggs.

Sunken eye chameleon

This Parson’s Chameleon is suffering from a fast moving infection and the sunken eyes are part of the emaciated state of the body.

panther chameleon fighting stance

This male panther chameleon felt threatened and pulled his eyes in.