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chameleon vs. bearded dragon

Bearded dragons and chameleons are choice pets in several homes. Several new and experienced owners will be pleased to show you how great their reptiles are.

But as a newcomer to reptile pets, you need more than hearsay to make a choice. The main question you’ve got to ask is – which is the best pet between a chameleon vs. bearded dragon?

Several characteristics make chameleons and bearded dragons two different reptiles. You’ll need to consider the price, lifespan, maintenance ease, behaviors, diet, etc. before making your final pick. Picking a chameleon or bearded dragon with more information makes it easier to get more satisfaction from your pet.

Since you now know chameleons and bearded dragons have different characteristics, you can’t stop now. Make the most of what this post provides and get the choice reptile of your dreams. Factors looked at in this article and other essential info helps you make the most of your selection hassle-free!

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Vital Points to Consider Before Choosing Between a Chameleon vs. Bearded Dragon

1. Behavioral Differences

Two factors have to get a close look before you select between a chameleon vs. bearded dragon:

Temperament, interaction with other species and humans

Bearded dragons usually express mixed reactions in one tank. Some bearded dragons could avoid each other, and in some bad situations, cannibalism could happen. But around humans, bearded dragons are largely docile and pose no threat to humans.

Chameleons, however, don’t do well around each other whenever they are in a tank. These reptiles should be in separate tanks as there’s a high chance of conflict when they’re together. Besides that, chameleons are comfortable around humans. But most chameleons prefer being watched than handled.

General behaviors

Chameleons and bearded dragons are diurnal in nature and remain active during the day. Both reptiles can become familiar with the scent of their owners and create a gradual bond.

2. Life Expectancy

The average age disparity between bearded dragons and chameleons is a major differentiator.

Bearded dragons can live for about 15 years when all the conditions in their habitat, diet, and health are spot-on. Chameleons can live for about 10 years if they get extensive care as captive reptiles.

If you don’t plan to mourn your pet anytime soon, consider getting it extra care and attention. Reptiles that have access to the best care usually live longer than pets without adequate attention.

The figures above are mere estimates. With the right environment, your reptiles could live much longer.

3. Cost Differences

When you’re looking at cost differences between catering for a chameleon vs. bearded dragon, two factors need close consideration. Check out details on these factors below:

Purchase cost

Baby chameleons and bearded dragons are relatively cheap pets to purchase. A baby chameleon could go for as little as $30 – $60. Small bearded dragons could sell for around $30 – $50 based on their age and species.

Juvenile and adult chameleons could sell for within $60 to $200. Bearded dragons, however, could cost around $70 to $150 for juveniles or adults. Generally, baby bearded dragons are usually less expensive than chameleons.

Lifetime Maintenance cost

Besides considering purchase costs, you need to look at maintenance expenditure for your chosen reptile. Cost of maintaining your reptile could cost over several hundred bucks every year.

But based on your reptiles’ diet and specific needs, it could cost more per year to cater for your pet. Generally, there’s no definite figure on how much will go into caring for your reptile throughout its lifetime.

Besides looking at purchase and lifetime maintenance costs, you need to consider where to buy your reptile. It is better to buy your reptile from a breeder instead of massive pet stores.

Breeders take more time in caring for your chameleon or bearded dragon and usually have more time to answer questions. Before cashing in on your preferred pet, consider how healthy the reptile is. Also, ask essential questions on the reptile’s diet and any other important information you should know.

4. Diet Differences

Bearded dragons and chameleons are omnivorous reptiles and need their fair share of insects and plant-based foods.

Some chameleons could require more insects and worms than vegetables and fruits, though. In other cases, some species of chameleons could need more veggies and fruits other than insects and worms.

Bearded dragons, however, have a wide range of dietary needs just like chameleons. Bearded dragons across species usually need more insects at their infancy. These reptiles need lesser insects and more fruits and veggies as they grow.

5. Size Differences

When it comes to size, species of bearded dragons and chameleons share close features. Bearded dragons could develop to about 27” long. A full-grown bearded dragon can also weigh within 400gms – 650gms.

Chameleons, however, could reach about 25” length at maturity. These reptiles could also weigh about 550gms as adults.

6. Tank Differences

Since both reptiles (chameleons and bearded dragons) need to stay in replicas of their natural environment, habitat setup is crucial. Without the right environment, your reptiles could grow small and experience several health issues.

Owners of pet reptiles need to set up their reptiles’ habitat with heating aids, water, humidity provisions, etc. Besides getting all these for your reptiles’ tank, several details could make a difference in the final setup.

For instance, bearded dragons could need a different tank size from that of chameleons. Bearded dragons could be fine with a glass tank five times its length and width. Dragons need a lesser vertical dimension than chameleons.

Chameleons, however, love to climb up and around trees in their natural habitat. Since that’s the case, you need to get a chameleon a much-taller tank. Juvenile chameleons may thrive in a 2 – 3ft tank, but adult chameleons could need terrariums that measure over 4.5ft high. Width is another factor to consider, as chameleons require at least 3ft wide tanks to navigate freely.

7. Temperature Differences

Temperature requirements are quite different between chameleons and bearded dragons. Chameleons prefer daytime temperatures between 75°F (24°C) and 85°F (29°C). Bearded dragons, however, may need ambient temperatures to remain within 73°F (23°C) to 87°F (30°C).

There’s a notable difference in the nighttime temperatures chameleons and bearded dragons need too. Chameleons need their temperatures to remain around 65°F (18°C) and 75°F (24°C) at night. Bearded dragons, however, need their temperatures within 70°F (21°C) and 75°F (24°C).

When it comes to basking, bearded dragons and chameleons need similar ambient temperatures. Your reptiles’ basking spot should be within 85°F (29°C) and 102°F (39°C).

Why You Should Get a Chameleon


If you need a reptile that behaves like a hermit, there’s no chance of finding a better pick than the chameleon. The chameleon’s reclusive nature is one of many reasons why it’s so adorable.

Hue changing

Several people (including yours truly) find the color-changing feature of chameleons truly fascinating. If you need a reptile to feast your eyes on when you’re less busy, this feature is an excellent add-on. And just so you know, bearded dragons cannot change their hues, so this is a massive bonus.

Easy maintenance

Keeping your chameleon’s habitat clean is usually a walk in the park. Most chameleons tend to litter or mess up their habitat lesser than other reptiles. If you don’t have time to ensure thorough environmental maintenance for your chameleon, it should be your top choice.

Why You Shouldn’t Get a Chameleon

Lower life expectancy

With the highest level of care and attention, some chameleons may not live longer than ten years. Chameleons usually have a much lower life expectancy than bearded dragons. But if you can live with losing a pet within ten years or less, it could be a great choice.

Aggressive stance

Despite being largely docile in nature around humans sometimes, chameleons can be pretty aggressive. These reptiles can become hostile in defense of their food, territory, heat, etc. Most wild chameleons may take longer to adjust to life in captivity than those born into captive breeding.

Why You Should Get a Bearded Dragon


Even if it may take time to warm up to you, bearded dragons are friendlier creatures when compared to chameleons. Bearded dragons will recognize their owner’s voice, get used to handler’s scent, and much more. Chameleons also capture scents and recognize their owner’s but don’t cozy up as much.

If you need a pal to take out on walks, bearded dragons are on the money. Chameleons are great too, if you’re fine with letting them have their free time alone.

Longer lifespan

Bearded dragons can live for about five years or more than bearded dragons. These dragons usually have a lifespan that could stretch for about fifteen years. Pet owners that need a pal reptile will fancy the longer lifespan of bearded dragons over chameleons.

Wide-ranging diet

Unlike some reptiles, like geckos for example, bearded dragons can consume insects, fruits, and veggies. These reptiles need a massive dose of nutrients through different stages of their life. Younger bearded dragons need more proteins from insects as they grow. However, full-grown dragons usually require lesser insect proteins and more fruits and veggies.

The massive diet range makes it easier to cater for your bearded dragon with relative ease.

Why You Shouldn’t Get a Bearded Dragon


Bearded dragons are notorious bullies, especially to smaller species. These dragons can go the distance and make a snack out of smaller reptiles. If you’re planning to buy a small and large bearded dragon, now’s the time to reconsider.

Digestive issues

Mammals like cows and sheep have an advanced digestive system that can break down several foods and absorb nutrients. Bearded dragons, on the other hand, find it difficult to eat some veggies.

For instance, wild grass or even some herbage in your lawn could cause a digestive firestorm for your bearded dragon. Such digestive issues could lead to impaction, loss of appetite, and sometimes prove fatal.


What is a better pet a chameleon or a bearded dragon?

Chameleons are less sociable than bearded dragons, even if beardy reptiles are docile too. Bearded dragons may be more outgoing while chameleons will love to hide away at every opportunity. Generally, your choice for a pet among chameleons or bearded dragons is based on preference.

Would a bearded dragon fight a chameleon?

If bearded dragons and chameleons are in a tank and have to compete for heat and food, fights could happen. Chameleons are more docile than bearded dragons overall, but won’t back down in defense of territory. On this note, it’s strongly advised to keep your chameleon and bearded dragon away from each other.

Do bearded dragons eat chameleons?

Yes, there is a chance that a bearded dragon would eat a chameleon. However, more than likely, the bearded dragon will simply kill the chameleon and leave its body. Hence, you should never allow your bearded dragon to interact with your chameleon.

Is a bearded dragon bigger than a chameleon?

Adult bearded dragons are actually smaller than chameleons of the same age range. Bearded dragons can grow to about 28 inches in length, but chameleons can approach upwards of 35 inches as adults. Generally, size differences among bearded dragons and chameleons depend on their sex.

Final Thoughts: Chameleon vs. Bearded Dragon: Which is The Best Pet for You?

Selecting between a chameleon vs. bearded dragon doesn’t have to be a challenging experience. With a close look at the factors that make a difference between these reptiles, you can make a suitable choice.

Make sure your preferred reptile has the features, temperament, and other choice features you need. When you select the right reptile between a chameleon vs. bearded dragon, you’ll be happier with your pick.

Generally, price shouldn’t be the reason why you pick one pet over another. You don’t want to have a cheap or overpriced pet in your tank that doesn’t identify with your needs.

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