Chameleons have highly adaptive feet for a variety of situations, which enable them to have a powerful grip, easily gripping tree branches, rough surfaces, twigs, and vines. No other animal has the same feet as a chameleon.
Chameleons have three toes on the outside and two toes on the inside of their hind feet, which is completely reversed in the front. But what about their claws? Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about chameleon claws.
Do Chameleons Have Claws Or Nails?
The chameleon’s feet are split into two groups of fingers, which work together. There is a soft pad between the fingers and each finger is equipped with a claw. It's these claws that enable the chameleon to climb bark, giving them traction when climbing.
Are Chameleon Claws Sharp?
To give them the traction needed when climbing, a chameleon’s claws are very sharp. The claws can shred plants in the habitat and you may find you get scratched when handling a chameleon.
Do I Need To Trim Their Nails?
It is really not necessary for you to trim your chameleon’s claws, they need them to hold onto branches, vines, and twigs.
Even if your pet’s claws grow way too long that climbing becomes problematic, you should never clip the claws yourself, rather take your pet to a specialist reptile vet.
Chameleon claws have a blood supply and if accidentally trimmed too short, it could result in bleeding, which is serious in younger chameleons but can also cause an infection. Not to mention the stress you would put your pet chameleon through.
A healthy and active chameleon should be able to file its claws down by climbing and exploring its habitat.
Do Chameleon Nails Grow Back?
The claws of your chameleon do not grow back, which is why you need to ensure you provide your pet with an optimum habit, reducing the risk of it snagging its nail on something and pulling it out. Remember the claws are essential for your pet to survive, climbing and hanging from branches, vines, and twigs.
Why Do Chameleons Lose Nails?
Foot problems are not uncommon when it comes to pet chameleons, often caused from someone forcibly removing the chameleon from a branch, or it getting its nail stuck in the mesh of its cage.
This can result in the nail being ripped out or incompletely torn out. The seriousness of this situation is that it can become infected.
Infected claws, toes, and feet can cause infection to spread throughout the chameleon’s body. Their claws are attached to bone, therefore an injury of this nature, causes the foot to open and be open to infection.
Seek veterinary advice if you think your pet’s missing claw has become infected.
How To Prevent Losing Nails
There are a few ideas to help prevent your pet chameleon from losing its nails, these include:
Provide Plenty of Climbing Places
Chameleons live in trees. Their feet are equipped with toes and sharp claws to help them climb.
To prevent your pet from losing its nails, you want to provide plenty of climbing places. Add branches, vines, and twigs, so your chameleon can climb and hang from the branches.
This reduces the risk of your pet choosing to climb onto the mesh of its enclosure, which can increase the risk of the claw getting snagged and pulled out.
Use Large Bird Cage
Glass enclosures are not recommended for chameleons, as chameleons need plenty of airflow and climbing space.
For this reason, your pet may keep climbing onto the mesh screen that covers the enclosure, causing its claws to get stuck and pulled out or damaged.
Changing the enclosure to a large bird cage, can reduce the risk of damaging your pet’s claws.
A Wrought Iron Flight Cage is an ideal choice. Its large height provides you with the chance to create plenty of climbing areas for your pet, while the base has a tray, which is easy for cleaning or creating a bioactive setup.
Plastic Garden Fence
Using plastic mesh fence is a great way to cover the inside of the enclosure without causing damage to your pet’s claws. The plastic fence is lightweight, providing a secondary fence, in addition to the wrought iron bars of the cage.
Your pet chameleon’s claws are essential to your pet’s lifestyle and overall health. Chameleons live in trees and can be spotted basking on branches and vines. Protecting their claws ensures your pet continues to live a natural life in its safe enclosure.
Putting protective measures in place, not pulling them off branches, and changing the cage to eliminate a screen mesh top, can all help reduce the risk of your pet losing a claw, which will never regrow, making climbing harder for them.