How Long Do Chameleons Live (And Why)?

How Long Do Chameleons Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 to 3 Years

There are millions of species when living beings get considered. That includes all animals, humans, terrestrial and non-terrestrial beings, plants, and also insects. Each species has its life span for which they live and complete their life cycle. Some species might outlive others. Some species are naturally born in a way so that their life span is short. On the other hand, some might live for years and years.

Considering the reptile species, they are known to live for even as long as 100 years. But, not all reptiles have the ability to live that much. Some live for short spans also. One such reptile is the Chameleon.

How Long Do Chameleons Live

How Long Do Chameleons Live?

Chameleons are one species that has left us all in wonder, the way it changes its color to camouflage in its surrounding. For the Chameleon, it is to steer clear of predators, and for us, it is a source of amazement. This ability to change its color makes the Chameleon different from all the other reptiles out there.

How long a living being lives solely depends on the species it is. The reptile species has different reptiles that can be alive even till a century. However, that is not the case for Chameleons. Chameleons are known to live for somewhere around 2 to 3 years in the natural surrounding. The natural habitat for the Chameleon is in the forest or mountains. But that does not mean that you will not be able to spot one in your backyard.

Biologically the way a Chameleon is, it will only be alive for a maximum of 3 or maybe four years if it is in the wild. But the life span can increase if we consider the Chameleons that get held in captivity. Chameleons that get captivated in secure cages have the chance to live more, as they do not have to face challenges. Challenges that a Chameleon in the wild does.

Hence, there is a difference in the life span of the wild Chameleon and the captivated one. Wild Chameleons have to endure many risks while trying to survive.

Type of ConditionsLife Span
In its natural surrounding2 to 3 years
In Captivity3 to 10 years

Why Do Chameleons Live That Long?

It depends on the biological aspect of a species as to how long it will live. Chameleons, unlike some other reptile species, can live only for a short duration. They can change the color that helps them to live a little longer. However, they go on to live only for a couple of years unless they get held in captivity. They are kept in cages either as a pet or in a science lab for research purposes.

The reasons as to why a Chameleon only live so long is as below:

  • When a Chameleon is in the wild, it has to face a lot of challenges. It has to find its food while trying to be safe from predators. It is not easy even for a color-changing reptile, as many predators can also be looking for food. Even after being careful, chances are it will fall prey to some other reptile or animal. Hence the life span of a Chameleon in the wild has a short span of life.
  • Other than the predators, another challenge that Chameleon face is weather changes. Their lives can be shorter due to the extreme weather too. In low temperatures, they get frozen alive, and in extreme heat, they may even die.
  • The Chameleons that are in captivity are kept in ideal conditions and given proper food and care. Also, they do not have to worry about being someone else’s food as they are safe in their cages. Hence, they are known to live as long as ten years.


How long some living beings live completely depends on their surrounding. In a safe environment, even the Chameleons can live for a very long time. 

Chameleon and other reptiles, when held in captivity, will surely outlive their counterparts who are out in the wild on their own. Nonetheless, the Chameleon is a species of wonder. It is quite an experience watching these Chameleons change their color as per the background.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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