Chameleons are unique lizards that live in a variety of climates and locations. Half of all the species are from Madagascar and the rest can be found in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
Chameleons are arboreal and have adapted to live their lives in trees. They are carnivores that feed primarily on insects, but some will also eat small reptiles and other vertebrates.
Chameleons have some amazing physical features. Most have eyes that move independently and have a very long projectile tongue. Some species can extend their tongue up to twice the length of the body.
They have a prehensile tail that helps them climb and balance on branches. To aid a life in trees, their hands and feet have fused to be pincer-like which helps them grasp branches. These reptiles also have flattened bodies, another adaptation for an arboreal lifestyle.
They are often colorful lizards and can be green, blue, brown, black, orange, yellow, as well as other colors. Some can change their color which can represent emotions like fear or anger, or it is used as a way to regulate heat. A few species color change to blend into their surroundings and hide from predators.
Chameleons vary greatly in size, color, and longevity. The smallest species is less than two inches long and the largest can be up to thirty inches long. They live fairly short lives and depending on the species can live from a few years up to around ten years.
Chameleons as Pets
A chameleon can be an interesting and unique pet, but it may not be for everyone. The reptile will require a fair amount of upkeep and cage space. You will also need to factor in the cost of his habitat, lighting, heating, humidity control, and food.
If this is your first chameleon, a veiled or panther is an excellent choice. They are hardy species, require only moderate humidity, and captive bred specimens are available. Whatever type you get, captive bred are preferred since they are less likely to be unhealthy, heavily stressed, or have parasites.
Where you live should also be a factor on what type you should get. If you live in a hot dry climate, maintaining a habitat for a chameleon that requires high humidity will take some work. Alternatively, if you live in a very humid climate, those requiring moderate humidity may not be the best choice.
Chameleons do best when living alone. Having a solitary pet prevents any chance of injury or accident due to territorial disputes. Females have shorter lifespans than males so males tend to be more popular as pets.
If you are prepared to properly care for a chameleon and set up an ideal habitat, it can be a wonderful pet. These fascinating lizards are amazing to watch and observe.
A list of items you need to care for your reptile.
Food & Diet
The food and supplements required for a healthy diet.
Cage & Habitat
The setup required to provide a suitable habitat.
Health & Illness
Common health problems that may affect your reptile.
Types of Chameleons
Some of the more popular chameleons that are kept as pets.