5 Weird Ways Chameleons Make Noise

Have you ever wondered whether chameleons make noise? I know I did. I guess you have too otherwise why would you be reading this page!?

Well yes, I’m here to tell you that chameleons do indeed make noise but not in ways you might expect. Although I’m not sure how you expect them to make noise?

I know chameleon means land lion in ancient Greek but have you ever heard one roar? I sure haven’t but it would make them a formidable creature if they could roar like a lion!

Imagine that, a color changing chameleon with the roar of a lion that lives in trees!

Anyway, enough of my fantasizing about strange animals that don’t exist. On with my list of the 5 weird ways chameleons actually do make noise.

1. Chameleons make a hissing noise

That’s right, chameleons make a hissing noise when they’re angry, scared, anxious, when you get too close, when you wear brightly colored clothes, when they see another chameleon and, well, for any reason really.

Hissing is a very reptilian thing to do and as chameleons are themselves reptiles it’s little wonder that they hiss.

Chameleons are like a lot of other living creatures in the sense that they have different personalities. Some are more cranky and hiss often and some do it every now and then. Some hiss really viciously whilst others let out something that resembles a sigh.

My chameleon likes to hiss as if he was doing an impression of Darth Vader even though he isn’t a dark overlord. I suspect he thinks he is though.

Read more about why chameleons hiss here.

2. Chameleons make a hooting noise

Now we’ve got the most common way a chameleon makes noise out of the way let’s get on to the weird stuff.

No, you haven’t accidentally stumbled on to a different timeline where you’re reading about owl noises. Chameleons really do make a hooting sound. Well, some species anyway but quite a surprising number.

Scientists recently discovered that some chameleons make a low-level hooting sound in order to communicate with other chameleons.

The sound is made at a level too low for human hearing to detect but it’s thought to be at the same low-level frequency made by other animals.

These types of sounds send vibrations through branches that can warn other chameleons of approaching predators and communicate with potential mates.

The author of the paper found resonator anatomy in the trachea of all chameleons known to omit these sounds.

These species include ones that are commonly kept as pets, such as veiled and panther chameleons.

Interestingly the paper further speculates that the casque found on a chameleon’s head may be for the purpose of amplifying the sound waves further.

So if you have a pet chameleon and you hear a hooting sound coming from their cage it might not be just your imagination.

3. Chameleons make popping and wheezing noises

Thankfully chameleons don’t make these sounds very often because if you hear this sort of sound it means your chameleon is ill with a respiratory infection.

If you hear these sorts of sounds coming from your chameleon check their mouth. If you see excess mucus production it is likely they have this infection and will require a course of antibiotics proscribed by a vet.

Other symptoms include excessive mouth gaping, having no appetite and refusal to bask under their heat lamp.

4. Chameleons make rustling noises

If you have a pet chameleon this will be the most common sound you hear as they move around through all the leaves on the plants inside their cage.

There will also be scraping sounds as they decide to climb up the sides of the mesh if you have a screen cage.

5. General chameleon noises

Pet chameleons will make a sort of sighing sound from time to time and something that sounds like they’re sneezing. These are often related to hissing and are sort of mini hisses.

My chameleon sometimes makes a noise that sounds like he’s grinding is teeth. This is the worse sound he makes. It only happens very rarely and isn’t him actually grinding his teeth. Instead it’s the aftermath of when he’s got angry, gaped his mouth and then closed it again with such force that his teeth crunch together!

It’s his version of clenching his jaw in tension.


So that’s it then just a quick list of the weird ways chameleons make noises. If you get one as a pet you will find them to be generally quiet on the whole.

Do you already have a pet chameleon? Do you recognize any of the noises mentioned here? Maybe they make noises I haven’t mentioned here? Feel free to mention them in the comments below.

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