There are two types of prolapse: Intestinal/cloacal prolapse occurs when rectal tissue (part of the large intestine) “falls out” of the vent and does not retract. Hemipenal prolapse occurs when one or both hemipenes get stuck outside of the body.


  • Pink, red, or purplish tissue openly exposed in the vent area without retraction.


  • Dehydration
  • Defecation
  • Parasites
  • Impaction
  • Stress


If your Jackson’s chameleon has prolapsed, smear petroleum jelly on the exposed tissue. If it does not retract within the hour, take it immediately to an emergency reptile veterinarian for treatment. Failure to treat a prolapse can be fatal. After an intestinal prolapse, feed your chameleon a liquid diet (Carnivore Care or Repashy Grub Pie) until it is fully healed. This places less stress on your chameleon’s internal organs and helps prevent the injury from reoccurring. Some chameleons may prolapse repeatedly for no apparent reason. In these cases, surgery is the only way to prevent further prolapse.

Read more at Much Ado About Chameleons.

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