Baby Jackson's Chameleon in fog

How To Give Your Chameleon Water?

How Chameleons get water in the wild

Giving chameleons water is tricky because they live in trees! But you can give them water in a natural way once you know how they live. There are four main ways that chameleons get their water.

  1. Rain is the most obvious method, but it is actually the least reliable because most chameleons come from a location which has both a wet an a dry season. During the wet season there is water falling from the sky most days. Drinking water is all over every leaf! But then there comes a dry season where there is no rain or other water available. So, yes, during the wet season, rain will provide copious amounts of drinking water on the leaves, but during the dry season they need other options. Luckily, chameleons have other options!
  2. Night Fog is the latest hypothesis as to how chameleons can stay hydrated when there is no rain. In the early morning hours the fog rolls in and chameleons will breathe it in. This will decrease, or even stop, the loss of hydration through breathing. In fact, we in the chameleon community are exploring if fogging is actually a way that chameleons hydrate. We are seriously looking at this because it would answer so many questions. True, hydrating via breathing in fog is not intuitive for us humans, but the proposal is sound enough for us to explore and test it.
  3. Morning Dew can be found after the cool night temperatures make the water in the air condense and form droplets on leaves. The chameleon wakes up to these droplets and can drink up on the way to their favorite basking spot.
  4. Insects! Yes, a significant source of hydration is the food they eat. Bugs have varying levels of moisture in them and the chameleon makes the most of this opportunity!

So, knowing these ways that chameleons get water in the wild, you can replicate their natural experience with misters, foggers, drippers, and, of course, insect food!

How to Give Chameleons Water

Hydration Schedule

The above chart shows a hydration schedule that replicates the natural condition that almost all chameleons will do well with. A fogger going off in the early morning between 1:30 and 6 will simulate the fog bank rolling in. A short misting at the end of fogging and right before the lights come on provides the dew on the leaves, Surprisingly, this is often all a chameleon needs to stay hydrated! But, just to make sure, run a dripper in the late afternoon to give the chameleon a chance to hydrate if he needs to.

And if you would like to supplement the chameleon hydration you can always offer worms as food. Silkworms and Tomato Horn Worms (captive raised) are excellent sources of edible moisture.

For more detail, go to the Chameleon Hydration Basics page that will explain all of this with examples. This multi-media page even has  an embedded podcast episode that you can listen to while you are researching! Click the image below to continue the research with all the details for giving your chameleon water to drink.

baby Chameleon on a wet leaf

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