Chameleon Skin Shedding: Everything you Should Know

Chameleons are fascinating reptiles for the number of traits they possess, starting from a long sticking-out tongue to grab insects to puff up and change colours. All these characteristics make Chameleon very unique among the reptiles. It becomes complicated for their keepers to handle their uniqueness, as their unique traits can sometimes get challenging to comprehend.

Understanding the Basics of Chameleon Shedding Process

Chameleons, when they are young and growing like other reptiles, shed their skin. Adult Chameleons have also been observed to shed their skin for renewing their scales and accommodating changes in their weight. It seems like a disease to the beginners, who have just started with keeping Chameleons as their pets; however, it is entirely normal behaviour.

Skin shedding in Chameleons is a process where this reptile separates its skin surface to take out new skin underneath with the help of a fluid, which after evaporation, leaves the skin dry and crack off. For skin shedding, it is advised not to raise the humidity for the Chameleons, as it helps dry and crack the skin.

Shedding is an entirely regular activity, and a healthy shedding would take a couple of hours to bring out a new skin ultimately. On the other hand, the unhealthy skin shedding of a Chameleon can last for a few days, causing the skin to come off piece by piece.

If you find your reptile rubbing his skin against a twig or a wall, there is no need to panic. This procedure helps the Chameleon in taking off the skin. The Chameleons also attempt to take their skin off with the help of their feet to bring out brightly coloured new skin.

There can be many difficulties and incomprehensible situations that you may face as a Chameleon keeper while preparing to shed their skin. However, watching over a few signs and symptoms in your pet will prevent any mishap, and consequently, your pet will have a healthy and uninterrupted shedding process.

Why do Chameleons Shed their skin

Growth:

The essential explanation for chameleons shedding their skin, especially when they’re youthful, manages development and growth. Infant chameleons develop very rapidly. The top layer of chameleon skin is thin and is genuinely transparent, and assumes a critical part in its colour-changing capacities.

This top layer of skin doesn’t extend when they stretch similarly as our own does; instead, it begins to shed off once the Chameleon has grown too large for the current layer.

Renewing old skin cells:

Shedding for chameleons has the motivation behind rejuvenating old skin cells and keeping themselves clean. Consider your skin and how it has dead skin that gets eliminated at whatever point you clean up. Shedding in chameleons has a similar reason.

You look new and clean after a wash, and the equivalent is valid for chameleons. The Chameleon’s tones and colours only become more splendid at whatever point it completes the process of shedding. When chameleons hit the boundary of adulthood, they shed their skin to oblige changes in weight instead of development.

So any strange changes in weight will see skin shedding to compensate for the increase, or when a chameleon gets thinner, it will shed looser skin to guarantee the new skin is tighter over its body.

Chameleons tend to shed in numerous pieces:

In contrast to snakes, who by and large shed in one long piece, chameleons (being most different reptiles) will come in a general shed in various more modest parts which are smaller, and the process takes place in a couple of hours.

Chameleons shed for multiple reasons:

Shedding is considered the regular substitution of harmed, old, or destroyed scales and skin, and it likewise permits the “space to breathe” fundamental for the reptile to grow. Shedding fills in as a type of “washing” (the cast-off skin essentially tumbles off and takes the soil with it), and it frees the reptile of ectoparasites like parasites or ticks.

Shedding may trigger behavioral changes in your Lizard:

A few reptiles become irritable or apprehensive during the shedding cycle. Shed cycles can likewise adjust how your reptile acts – your pet may require warmth pretty much regularly, drink more water than expected, or decline food until he completes the shedding.

Shedding takes place over time:

Shedding is not a sudden process; it happens as a cycle that starts numerous days before the reptile starts freeing himself from the old skin. It’s hard to distinguish an exact time at which the process begins, yet one of the main things that happen is a layer of liquid develops between the most seasoned layer of skin and the one precisely underneath it.

This is when numerous reptiles’ eyes become blue or dim; however, this is seldom seen in chameleons because of their one-of-a-kind eye life structures.

Shedding occurs most frequently in young Chameleons:

Shedding is linked directly with the growth of juvenile chameleons – who go through the quickest development paces of their lives. Juvenile Chameleons may shed as frequently as at regular intervals of a few weeks. Adult and bigger chameleons shed only a couple of times each year, given that they are not growing a lot.

Shedding as a response to different occurrences:

Regular sheds happen basically because of the reptiles’ growth and the general substitution of destroyed skin cells. Notwithstanding, chameleons may likewise shed because of things like injury or sickness. Shedding is additionally connected with the reproducing cycle in developing people.

How often do Chameleons Shed their skin

When chameleons are young and juvenile, they will shed their skin much of the time to promote that speedy development. Up until they’re around a year and a half old, they will shed their skin once every three weeks to about a month. It’s a fascinating thing to see. Juvenile chameleons will shed all their skin in one go.

Grown-up chameleons shed their skin somewhat less frequently, around every six weeks to about two months. In contrast to young Chameleons, who can shed in around 15 minutes, grown-ups will shed their skin in parts and over a time of two or three hours or somewhere in the vicinity, or even longer.

The recurrence and period it takes to shed will differ from one species to another. Every individual Chameleon is extraordinary and will shed in their specific manner and time. Try not to be frightened if yours sheds pretty much often than the numbers I’ve given here; there truly is no drawn course of events.

What happens when a Chameleon sheds its skin

When a chameleon is prepared to start shedding, it will exhibit a few signs and changes in conduct. You shouldn’t be worried about these progressions; however, it will assist you with understanding what to pay special attention to your Chameleon when it is beginning its shedding.

Eating less:

This is not the case for every Chameleon, yet some might be a little away from their eating routine a couple of days before a shed. Chameleons can sometimes be off their nourishment for a couple of days, and it’s typically nothing to stress over.

White spots:

These are one of the principle signs that a chameleon is beginning to shed and are likewise the fundamental sign misjudged as something more serious. White spots will start to show up on your Chameleon’s body, and they will shift in size. If you look carefully, it ought to be quite clear that this is skin that is starting to lift off your Chameleon’s body and will begin to drop off.

Skin looks drier:

This is linked with the white spots. Your pet Chameleon’s skin can look drier when it’s going to shed, yet this can also be a case with lower humidity and hydration levels.

Acting Restless:

Chameleons can act fretful for a list of reasons; however, on the off chance that they’re moving around a great deal, it may be a sign they’re going to shed their skin.

Shedding is a significantly disturbing task for a chameleon, and it can show more aggressiveness than expected while shedding. If you find your Chameleon acting restless, watch out for them from a reasonable distance, and you’ll most likely see them shedding soon enough.

Rubs body on branches:

Chameleons will do this to help start with getting the skin off its body. This is why it’s crucial to have smooth branches, as in this case, your Chameleon could harm itself.

Scratching themselves:

Consider your Chameleon having a truly irritating itch, and you’ll perceive why they do this. Shedding should be pretty annoying and itchy for a chameleon, so you will see them use their feet to scratch the skin off the sides of their body and behind its head.

How to ensure that the Chameleons shed their skin effectively

The way into a decent shed is to ensure they have satisfactory supplementation levels, especially calcium, and that they are very much taken care of all in all. Similarly, it is crucial that they are very much hydrated and their humidity levels are satisfactory.

A less hydrated chameleon, provided with dry air, implies that the skin can get stuck to them, causing the Chameleon more distress in shedding or not having portions of the skin shed by any means.

How to help a Chameleon shed its skin

At the point when a chameleon sheds, it’s normally best to leave them to continue ahead with it as they understand what they’re doing, and any obstruction from you, even with simple goals, is probably going to worry and block them.

If you see some remaining parts after their shed, you can attempt and delicately eliminate some unshed skin with cotton soaked in warm water. Tenderly scratch the skin off your Chameleon. If this worries them, move away, and attempt again later. Particularly if the skin is left around the toes, it can cause a serious problem. Unshed skin can obstruct the progression of blood as it shrinks the skin making it tighter.

Similarly, bacteria can also get between the hole of the unshed skin and the Chameleon’s body and breed there, causing diseases. This is nothing to stress about, as most sheds leave something behind, and as long as unshed skin doesn’t pile up, your Chameleon will have no issues.

Try not to pull the skin off with your fingers; this can be difficult for a chameleon and can wound them. You can get items like Repti Shedding Aid which can help sheds and keep your Chameleon’s skin in good condition. Yet every Chameleon is unique, and it could be worth the little venture to have, if necessary.

If you notice a development of unshed skin and your Chameleon’s skin in that space looks hazier, then it’s ideal for taking them to the vet for registration to remove any infection.

Chameleon Constantly Shedding its skin

Seeing your Chameleon shed a great deal could be very alarming if you don’t have the foggiest idea of what’s in store. Seemingly close to consistent shedding in young chameleons is entirely normal because they grow so rapidly.

The recurrence of shedding eases down as a chameleon ages. Yet, it can, in any case, appear as though they’re continually shedding if a portion of skin hasn’t been shed as expected. All chameleons are unique, and some will shed in stages throughout days instead of the speedy single shed juveniles do. This, obviously, can seem like steady shedding when it is just one shed.

An expansion in weight may also give the impression they’re constantly shedding. So be mindful so as not to overfeed them. If you feel there are irregularities in your Chameleon’s skin shedding, you can discuss them in a one-to-one discussion with a completely qualified reptile vet on site.

Does skin shedding hurt a Chameleon?

The shedding process doesn’t hurt a Chameleon; however, it is very irritating and uncomfortable for them, which causes a great deal of itching to bother them. The Chameleons have been observed to show their stress and irritation by hissing and gaping their mouth wider. Furthermore, at times the irritation and stress cause them to try removing skin pieces with their mouth.

Do Chameleons shed their skin when they are stressed?

Chameleons do not shed their skin out of stress, it’s just a normal process that helps the Chameleon clean up. The act of shedding itself is very stressful for the Chameleon, yet it’s not a result of stress in Chameleon.

The signs of stress in a Chameleon are changing colour (dark tones), sunk eyes, hissing, listless appearance etc.

Why do Chameleons eat their shed skin?

It seems very peculiar and alarming, yet this is nothing to worry about. The reason why Chameleons eat their shed skin is to increase extra nutrients after shedding. Another reason for eating shredded skin is to keep no sign of the predator behind. If there are signs of shed skin, the predators will automatically trace the presence of the prey and eventually hunt it down.

Bad Sheds

Sadly, shedding doesn’t always end easily for chameleons (or some other reptile). Occasionally, a chameleon may get himself incapable of freeing all pieces of his skin, and pieces, which at times might be a large number of pieces, may stick to the body, which might cause significant issues for your reptile’s health.

For instance, as the skin gets stuck around the toes of the Chameleon, it halts the blood flow and causes stretching of the skin, which eventually may lead to necrosis or toe loss. This is also a cause of great stress to Chameleon, as their feet play a significant role in their everyday activities.

Unshed skin on the tail may also cause several health issues in a Chameleon. Moreover, unshed skin around the eyes might cause blindness to the colour-changing reptile. Large portions of unshed skin may affect the Chameleon’s ability to move around.

Chief causes of problematic shed

There are multiple reasons which cause a problematic shed in your reptile, which you must take care of to avoid health issues in your pet.

Insufficient Humidity:

Dry air can haul an adequate liquid layer from growing between the Chameleon’s skin layers. This, thus, can prompt poor sheds. Furthermore, it can make chameleons become dried out or endure respiratory problems.

Dehydration:

Dehydration in a Chameleon is one of the main reasons for a problematic shed in a Chameleon. A well-hydrated Chameleon, which has been provided water regularly by its keeper, is more likely to have a healthy shedding than a dehydrated one.

Stress:

Stress is the main cause of many problems related to health, within this reptile. An unhealthy or problematic shed might also be a repercussion of stress experienced by the Chameleon. You must maintain a stress-free environment for the reptile to promote a healthy shed.

Illness:

If your Chameleon is shedding skin unhealthily, this might be an indication that your pet reptile is going through some illness. Make sure to have your reptile checked by a vet to ensure the healthy shedding of the skin.

Injuries:

Injuries can cause a problematic shed in Chameleons and result in skin lacerations if not treated properly. This condition will cause your Chameleon to shed skin in even smaller and fewer pieces.

Parasites:

The problematic shed in your Chameleon might be a consequence of mites and parasites. It is important that you get your Chameleon checked for parasites and bugs bites on your pet’s skin.

Tips for problem-free shedding

Purchase and use hygrometer:

It’s sometimes difficult to keep a check on the humidity level in your Chameleon’s cage when poor humidity levels can cause problematic shedding in your pet. It is suggested to use a hygrometer to measure the level of humidity intact to keep your Chameleon healthy.

Proper Ventilation:

It is crucial to maintain proper ventilation for your pet Chameleon, as it becomes very difficult for them to thrive in poorly ventilated areas. However, you must ensure that the ventilation is not creating a hurdle in the humidity level maintenance in the enclosure. You can find the ideal ventilation by experimenting a few times in the pet’s enclosure.

Watch to ensure that Chameleon is drinking properly:

It is very important to keep your Chameleon well hydrated to avoid bad Shedding problems. As Chameleons can only recognize moving water, you must keep your misting system or water provider intact to fulfil the pet’s hydration needs. 

Double-check Enclosure’s temperature:

Maintaining the temperature in your Chameleon’s enclosure is also a key to prevent bad shedding. The excessively high temperature might cause dehydration in your Chameleon and hence would result in bad shedding. To check and maintain the temperature in the enclosure, make sure to use a digital thermometer.

Take steps to prevent parasites from afflicting your pet:

A captive-bred Chameleon bought from a high-quality source will not give you any problem with parasites. However, you must maintain hygiene for the pet to avoid any parasites from afflicting your pet’s health. Parasites can cause a poor shed in the Chameleons and must be taken care of by all means.

Conclusion:

If you go for the tips mentioned above and give appropriate consideration to your pet chameleon, you ought to be well headed to one great shed after another. Remember your particular species’ necessities and attempt to give the ideal living space conditions consistently.

Suppose your reptile keeps on experiencing difficulty shedding appropriately even after the tips referenced above; make certain to contact your veterinarian. It would likewise be smart to have a more experienced chameleon attendant to look at your care routine. The individual might have the option to bring up mistakes that you never realized you were making.

Furthermore, this might be all you need to assist your reptile with getting healthy shedding cycles.

I am the editor-in-chief at MyPetReptiles.com, a site that is devoted to reptiles and the people who love them. I have been keeping and breeding many pet reptiles such as bearded dragons, geckos, chameleons, etc. for over 10 years now.

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