Dwarf Chameleon, also known as Brookesia Minima, is the smallest specie among chameleons of the stump tailed diminutive chameleons (The Reptile Database, 2008). Native to the rain forests of Nosy Be Island, an island northwest off the coast of Madagascar, Brookesia Minima is also rarely found in the Manongarvio Reserve to the northwest of Madagascar. This chameleon is comfortable dwelling in leaf litter of rain forests, especially where there is a layer of dead leaves up to 10 centimeters deep. The minute leaf chameleon is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(CITES) which essentially means that trade of this particular species must be controlled carefully such that it’s compatible with the species’ survival (CITES, 2007). The cylindrical body of the world’s smallest chameleon is camouflaged in various shades of grey, brown or green with a flattened head and has large scales forming triangular plates above its eyes with a visibly striped pattern prevailing throughout the body. Two series of granular protrusions can be seen on the back of this chameleon. Brookesia Minima are the smallest species of chameleons with a maximum length of only 3.4 centimetres.
The females are generally larger and can grow up to 3.4 centimetres. It has been noted that the males have a longer tail compared to their body and can grow only 2.8 centimeters in body length (Nečas, 2004). As this specie is not clearly noticeable by naked eyes, only the locals of Madagascar islands are able to identify the Brookesia Minima easily. These territorial chameleons can be made to adapt to a different environment by creating artificial conditions in captivity.
They should be kept in a substrate of littered leaves or soil so that they can be comfortable and feel like their natural habitat. Even though this Chameleon makes a very good pet, only a few of them have been kept in captivity as they are difficult to capture and transport to other parts of the world from their natural rain forest habitat.
1) Nečas, P. and Schmidt, W. (2004) Stump-
2) The Reptile Database (February, 2008)
3) CITES (July, 2007)