Can You Own a Chameleon in Australia? A Comprehensive Guide to Chameleon Ownership Laws in Australia

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In Australia, the ownership of chameleons is regulated by state and territory laws. In some states, chameleons are classified as exotic pets and require a permit to own.

In other states, they are prohibited as pets. It is essential to check with your local government authorities to determine the regulations in your area before considering owning a chameleon.

This is due to strict regulations prohibiting importing and possessing non-native animals.

Australia has some of the strictest biosecurity laws in the world, which are in place to protect the country’s unique ecosystem from invasive species.

As a result, there is a ban on importing and keeping many species of animals, including chameleons.

The Australian government enforces this ban, and those violating it can face fines and even imprisonment.

While it may be disappointing for some reptile enthusiasts, respecting these regulations and avoiding attempting to keep chameleons as pets in Australia is essential.

Instead, many other fascinating native reptile species can be kept legally and responsibly as pets in the country.


Legal Aspects of Owning a Chameleon in Australia

National Legislation


The import and export of live animals in Australia are regulated by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE). The DAWE maintains a list of species permitted to be imported into the country; chameleons are not on that list.

Therefore, it is illegal to import chameleons into Australia.


State Regulations


In addition to national legislation, each state and territory in Australia has regulations regarding keeping exotic animals. In some states, chameleons are classified as exotic animals and require a permit to be kept.

For example, in New South Wales, a person must have a Class 2 Native Animal Keeper Licence to keep a chameleon.

Other states, such as Victoria and Queensland, do not mention chameleons in their regulations, but they have general requirements for keeping exotic animals.

These requirements may include obtaining a permit, meeting specific enclosure and care standards, and keeping records of the animal’s movements and health.

It is important to note that penalties for violating these regulations can be severe, including fines and imprisonment.

Therefore, it is essential to research and comply with all relevant regulations before considering owning a chameleon in Australia.


Chameleon Care in Australia

Habitat Requirements


Chameleons are arboreal creatures, meaning they live in trees. Therefore, providing a suitable habitat for them to climb, bask, and hide in is essential.

In Australia, it is recommended to keep chameleons indoors to protect them from the harsh climate. A terrarium or enclosure should be at least 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide to provide enough space for the chameleon to move around.

The enclosure should have branches, vines, and foliage to simulate a natural environment. It is essential to provide a basking spot with a heat lamp and a UVB light to mimic the sun’s rays.

The temperature should be maintained between 75-85°F during the day and 65-75°F at night. Humidity levels should be kept between 50-70% to prevent dehydration.


Dietary Needs


Chameleons are insectivores, meaning they primarily eat insects. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and waxworms.

It is essential to gut-load the insects with a nutritious diet to ensure the chameleon receives proper nutrition.

Supplementation of calcium and vitamins is also necessary to prevent metabolic bone disease. Dusting the insects with calcium and vitamin powder before feeding is recommended.

Chameleons should be fed every other day and have access to clean water at all times.

In summary, chameleon care in Australia requires a suitable indoor habitat with proper lighting, temperature, and humidity levels.

A varied diet of gut-loaded insects with calcium and vitamin supplementation is necessary for a healthy chameleon.


Pros and Cons of Owning a Chameleon


Chameleons are fascinating creatures that are becoming increasingly popular as pets. However, before deciding to own one, it is essential to consider the pros and cons.


  1. Unique and interesting: Chameleons are visually stunning creatures that can change color and uniquely appear. They are also fascinating to watch as they move around and catch their prey.
  2. Low-maintenance: Chameleons are relatively low-maintenance pets. They do not require daily walks or exercise and can be left alone for extended periods.
  3. Quiet: Chameleons do not make much noise, which is a plus for those who live in apartments or have close neighbors.
  4. Long lifespan: With proper care, chameleons can live up to 10 years.


  1. Expensive setup: Chameleons require a specific type of habitat that can be expensive to set up. This includes a large enclosure with proper lighting, heating, and humidity.
  2. Fragile: Chameleons are delicate creatures that can quickly become stressed or injured. They require careful handling and can be prone to health issues such as metabolic bone disease.
  3. Specific diet: Chameleons require a particular diet that can be difficult to provide. They primarily eat insects, and ensuring they get the proper nutrients can be challenging.
  4. Not social animals: Chameleons are solitary creatures and do not enjoy being handled or interacting with humans. They are not suitable pets for those who desire a companion animal.

Overall, owning a chameleon can be a rewarding experience for those willing to put in the time and effort to provide proper care. However, it is essential to carefully consider the pros and cons before deciding to bring one into your home.


Finding a Chameleon Breeder in Australia


Finding a reputable breeder is essential if you want to own a chameleon in Australia. While chameleons are not native to Australia, some breeders specialize in importing and breeding them.

One way to find a chameleon breeder is to search online—several online directories and forums list chameleon breeders in Australia.

These directories and forums can be an excellent resource for finding reputable breeders and connecting with other chameleon enthusiasts.

Another option is to attend reptile expos and shows. These events often feature vendors who specialize in chameleons and other reptiles.

Attending these events can be a great way to meet breeders, see their chameleons up close, and ask questions about care and maintenance.

Researching and choosing a reputable breeder when purchasing a chameleon is essential. Look for breeders with a good reputation, knowledgeable about chameleon care, and provide proper documentation and support.

In addition, it’s essential to consider the cost of purchasing a chameleon from a breeder. Chameleons can be expensive, and budgeting for the initial purchase, ongoing care, and maintenance is essential.

Overall, finding a reputable chameleon breeder in Australia requires research and careful consideration. By finding a reputable breeder, you can ensure that you’re getting a healthy and well-cared-for chameleon.




In conclusion, owning a chameleon in Australia is not illegal but heavily regulated. Prospective owners must obtain the necessary permits and licenses before purchasing a chameleon. The regulations are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of the chameleon and the environment.

Chameleons are fascinating creatures that require specific care and attention. They can make great pets for those willing to provide for their needs. However, owning a chameleon is not for everyone. It requires a significant investment of time, money, and effort.

Prospective owners should consider their ability to provide for a chameleon’s needs before bringing one into their home. They should also research the specific species they are interested in and ensure they can provide the appropriate living conditions.

Overall, owning a chameleon in Australia is possible, but it requires significant responsibility and dedication. Those willing to put in the effort can enjoy the unique and rewarding experience of caring for these fascinating creatures.

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