Jackson Chameleon perched

Triceros Jacksonii or Jacksons Chameleon

Jackson’s chameleon, also known as Triceros jacksonii, is a specie of chameleons most diverse in Madagascar and also found in Europe, Africa, Comoro Islands, India and Sri Lanka (François Le Berre, 2000). They are native to humid and cool regions and inhabit abundantly at elevations above 3000m. However, in 1971, Jackson’s chameleons (Chamaleo (Triceros) jacksonii xantholophus) were inadvertently inhabited on Oahu, Hawaii, and as of today have an established existence throughout the stretch of the Hawaiian Islands.

C Jacksonii species bear easily identifiable features. Typical male Jackson’s chameleon are green and can grow up to a maximum of 10-12 inches in length whereas females are found to be of 7-8 inches on an average (Bartlett, 2001).


Jackson Chameleon
Their body consists of a long, prehensile tail constituting for half its length. Males generally have 3 horns protruding from their forehead while females never have horns. Jackson’s chameleons have a prominent dorsal (under) ridge with a very rugged pattern of saw-tooth shaped scales and they do not have a gular crest (Bartlett, 2001).

Although capable of making noticeable colour changes, all subspecies of the Jackson’s chameleon are found to be in shades of green. A narrow to wide, light dorsolateral line, either entire or broken into dashes is generally present. A bright green colour is displayed when the males are involved in territorial fights. The newborns possess a dark-barred tan or are light grey coloured.

Jackson’s chameleons were unarguably the first chameleons to have been successfully held captive and they make up for good pets with an average life span of above 5 years with a few living up to 10 years. Generally, the males are found to outlive the females slightly. But they need to be well taken care of when bred. They need large areas for breeding when in captivity as they are native to forests. The suitable temperature gradient is from 65-80 F with humidity levels ranging between 60-80 %( Fry, Michael).


1) Bartlett, R. D., and Patricia Bartlett. Jackson’s and Veiled Chameleons. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, 2001. Print.
2) Berre, François Le, R. D. Bartlett, Patricia Bartlett, and François Le Berre. 
The Chameleon Handbook. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s, 2000. Print.
3) Michael Fry. “Caring for your Jackson’s Chameleon.


1) Main image supplied by Chicago John
2) Sub images supplied by Chicago John      


Panther chameleon

Panther Chameleon – Furcifer Pardalis

The Panther Chameleon whose scientific name is Furcifer Pardalis is a large species of chameleon commonly found in Northern and Eastern Madagascar (Tropical Zoology 18 Georges Cuvier) as well as Mauritius and Reunion islands. Panther Chameleons can grow up to 20 inches in length, 17 on average for males but females are smaller about half the size of the males. They are becoming more and more common as pets these days. However, like most chameleons Panther Chameleons have certain requirements (Chameleon Paradise).

Panther ChameleonPanther chameleons are recognisable for their distinctive spotted markings thus the name. Their scientific name however actually means forked (furcifer) and spotted (pardalis). Forked refers to their feet while spotted refers to their markings.

Their actual colorations depend on the area or locales where they’re found (Lizards: A Natural History of Some Uncommon Creatures p.71). They’re mostly red when found in Antsiranana, Sambava, Maroantsetra and Tamatave while they’re mostly blue at Nosy Be, Ankify, and Ambanja (The Panther chameleon: colour variation, natural history, conservation, and captive management).  The Panther Chameleons range of colouring’s is truly amazing and this obviously makes it one of the most popular chameleons on the planet to keep in captivity.



1) Tropical Zoology  
2) Chameleon Paradise 
3) Lizards: A Natural History of Some Uncommon Creatures p.71 ISBN 978-0-7603-2579-7.
4)The Panther chameleon: colour variation, natural history, conservation, and captive management.
Krieger Publishing Company. pp. 54, 62–63. ISBN 978-1-57524-194-4.


1) Main image supplied by Dan (CowYeow)
2) Sub images supplied by Roger Sargent

Namaqua Desert Chameleon

Chamaeleo Namaquensis or Namaqua Desert Chameleon

Chamaeleo Namaquensis or the Namaqua desert chameleon is a special type of chameleon able to live in the inhospitable desert regions of Namibia, South Africa and Angola. It is the only species of chameleon able to live in such a habitat. (Mercury) Unlike most chameleons, it is a terrestrial type meaning it spends much of its time on the ground.

Chamaeleo Namaquensis is usually grey or brown. It has dark triangles beneath the dorsal crest and red or yellow stripes on the throat. It has a large head and unlike arboreal type chameleons has a short tail (
ARKive). Its body is adapted to handle the desert heat. It is able to dig in the sand or use the burrows of other animals to cool itself. It can also straighten its legs to lift its body from the hot sand like other desert lizards.
namaqua chameleon 1


Namaqua Chameleon










This species has a wide distribution and abundant population in the deserts and semi-deserts of Namibia, Angola and South Africa. It has a status of Least Concern in the IUCN Redlist. There are currently no major threats except for its capture for the pet trade. Trade however is regulated because Chamaeleo Namaquensis is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Appendix (CITES Appendix II). They are able to reproduce quickly as they mate three times a year. The females can lay up to 22 eggs per clutch which hatch after 100 days. They can reach sexual maturity in five to seven months.



1) Mercury NIE – www.mercurynie.com.au/documents/ChameleoncopyrightMercurynewspaperHobart.pdf
2) ARKive – www.arkive.org/namaqua-chameleon/chamaeleo-namaquensis/
3) IUCN Redlist – www.iucnredlist.org/details/176311/0
4) CITES Appendix II – cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php



1) Main image supplied by Caroline Granycome
2) Sub images supplied by CowYeow


Flapneck Chameleon

Chamaeleo Dilepis – Flap-necked Chameleon

Chamaeleo Dilepis otherwise known as the Common African Flap-necked Chameleon or simply Flap-necked Chameleon is as the name implies, one of the more common chameleon species. It has a very wide distribution within Central and South Africa and widely exported as pets.

Chamaeleo Dilepis’ name comes from the large, movable flaps on its neck over the bony protrusion at the back of its head called the casque. When threatened, these flaps are raised the same way as frilled lizards. They can grow up to 38 centimeters and are often light-green, yellow or brown with a dark stripe on the sides of the body. They also have two crests on the upper and lower surfaces of the body. Consistent with the sexual dimorphism of chameleons, males are smaller, have larger flaps, taller casques and small spurs on their hind legs (ARKive).

Chamaeleo Dilepis has a Least Concern status in the IUCN Redlist because of its abundant population and wide range and distribution. The can be found in Central and South Africa from Cameroon to Somalia down to South Africa (IUCN Redlist). Though the population is abundant, trade of this species is regulated as it is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II).

flapneck chameleon Chameleons are very territorial and live solitary lives except when mating. This species is no different. When kept as pets, they should have a well-ventilated, well humidified enclosure with a minimum dimension of 2 x 2 x 3 feet (Jabberwock Reptiles). The enclosure should have climbing areas in the form of branches, logs and plants and the temperature should not exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Regular misting should be performed as a source of water. This species can last up to four years in captivity when well taken care of (Encyclopedia of LIfe).


1) ARKive – http://www.arkive.org/flap-necked-chameleon/chamaeleo-dilepis/
2) IUCN Redlist – http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/176308/0
3) CITES – http://cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php
4) Jabberwock Reptiles – http://jabberwockreptiles.com/about-the-animals/care-sheets/flap-neck-chameleon-care
5) Encyclopedia of Life – http://eol.org/pages/791821/details


1) Main image supplied by CowYeow
2) Sub images supplied by CowYeow

Graceful Chameleon

Chamaeleo Gracilis – Graceful Chameleon

Graceful ChameleonThe Graceful Chameleon or chamaeleo gracilis is one of several popular pet chameleon species. It can grow up to 15 inches but is 12 inches on average. It is a sturdy species that can last eight to ten years with proper care (Reptilecity/TheRadZoo). Its size, longevity and population makes it a popular pet.

The graceful chameleon is often green, yellow and brown in colour with a green band on the side of its body and several spots. Its head has a small bony prominence at the back of the head or casque. The males of the species have bright yellow-orange skin on the throat (ARKive).

Chamaeleo Gracilis is native to sub-Saharan Africa. They range from countries like Senegal up to Sudan and Ethiopia down to Angola and West Tanzania (ARKive). They occupy diverse habitats from dry and humid forests, savannah, bushes as well as the edges of plantations. Due to its large range and population, it is not listed in the IUCN Redlist of endangered species but is listed in CITES Appendix II (ARKive). It is highly exported as pets and as ingredients of traditional medicine but with a minimum annual quota.

Like most chameleons, Chamaeleo Gracilis is very territorial and lives life in solitary except during mating season. They are best kept alone in large enclosures. For this fairly large species, a high enclosure equal to a 70 gallon tank is best (Animal World) and should be equipped with plants, natural or artificial for it to climb on. Also, like most chameleons, hydration consists of regular spraying of its surroundings as well as high humidity of its environment.











1) Animal World – animal-world.com/encyclo/reptiles/lizards_chameleons/GracefulChameleon.php
2) ARKive – www.arkive.org/graceful-chameleon/chamaeleo-gracilis/
3) Reptilecity – www.reptilecity.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=G3&Category_Code=Chameleon
4) TheRadZoo – www.theradzoo.com/meet-the-animals/lizards/graceful-chameleon/
5) CITES Appendix II – cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php


1) Main image supplied by Martin D.Parr
2) Sub images supplied by Martin D.Parr

yeman or veiled chameleon

Chamaeleo Chamaeleo calyptratus OR Veiled or Yemen Chameleon

The Yemen Chameleon otherwise known as the Veiled Chameleon or chamaeleo calyptratus is what can be considered a beginner’s species. They are known for being easier to care for due to the ruggedness of their native habitat. However, the term beginner should never be taken lightly when it comes to caring for chameleons. They are just easier to care for than other species.

This species of chameleon is found in the mountains of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen (Biotropics) which explains their more sturdy nature, less susceptible to slight temperature and humidity variations unlike their more tropical counterparts. They have a wide range and distribution and a sizeable population (due to a shorter reproductive cycle), but they are currently listed in CITES Appendix II which regulates the importation for this species but most trade comes from specimens bred in captivity.

The Yemen Chameleon is a large species, making it a sought after pet amongst lizard enthusiasts. Male chameleons can grow to as much as 24 inches from head to tail but average growth is up to 18 inches with the females being generally smaller. Their distinguishing feature is a large casque or a helmet-like ridge on their heads. The males are often bright pastel green colour with black and yellow stripes while female colours are not as vibrant. Male chameleons also have spurs on their hind legs not present in females. Yemen chameleons also last longer up to eight years for males (Smithsonian National Zoological Park).

yeman chameleon 1



1) Boitropics – Chamaeleo calyptratus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1851
CITES Appendix II 
3) Smithsonian National Zoological Park


1) Main image supplied by Andrew Dunbar
2) Sub images supplied by Andrew Dunbar   

Parsons Chameleon

Calumma Parsonii – Parsons Chameleon

The Parson’s Chameleon, scientific name Calumma Parsonii is a very large species of chameleon first described by English physicist James Parsons in 1768. They can grow up to 27 inches in length, from head to tail, the size of a regular house cat (Arkive.org). They have a large triangular head, orange eyes and two warty protrusions near the tip of their mouth and mostly green in appearance.

Calumma Parsonii is a species of chameleon endemic to the forests of Eastern and Northern Madagascar. Their habitat ranges from the Eastern coast up to the elevated primary rain forests of the island 7000 feet up (ADCHAM). They thrive in humid environments with plenty of water and can live in temperatures ranging from 40 degrees up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Parsons Chameleon


There are two species of Parsons Chameleon. The larger Calumma parsonii parsonii that can grow up to 27 inches and the smaller Calumma parsonii cristifer which can reach up to 18.5 inches and has a characteristic dorsal crest. These chameleons have a life expectancy of up to twenty years.

Their size, longevity and unique appearance makes them highly sought after as pets and as many as 10,000 specimens were taken from the island to the USA between 1988 and 1994 (USFWS Lemmis Database/Skypoint.com) with a very high mortality rate due to negligence during transport and later because of lack of information for proper care.  Calumma Parsonii are now listed as NT (Near threatened) status by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES Appendix II) making importation of the animals illegal since 1994.

Captive Parsonii

Calumma Parsonii otherwise known as the Parsons Chameleon are highly sought after pets by lizard lovers. They are arguably the largest species of chameleon in the world growing up to 68 cm from head to tail in close contention with the Malagasy Giant Chameleon.

Most specimens age greenish in colour with a triangular head, orange eyes, pale lips and two protrusions near the mouth. (Arkive.org)

However, they are currently listed (CITES Appendix II) as near threatened due to excessive importation and smuggling outside their native Madagascar thus importation into the United States has become illegal since 1994. Over 10000 chameleons were imported to the US between 1988 and 1994 but resulted in a high mortality rate.

For those who wish to own Calumma Parsonii, they can still be acquired from lizard enthusiasts who successfully bred the surviving lizards before the importation ban or through illegal imports. Breeders carefully choose their customers due to the extreme care required in keeping the animals. Calumma Parsonii require a large open space with high humidity, a diet of insects and sometimes other small animals. They cost from 2,000 USD and higher (Backwaterreptiles.com) and may require a nearby veterinarian specializing in herpetology. Properly cared for, they have a life expectancy of up to 20 years and a reproductive cycle of two years.


1)Parson’s chameleon fact file Arkive.org
3)Chameleon Import Data USFWS Lemmis Database
4)Parson’s Giant chameleon CITES Appendix II



1) Main image supplied by Roger Sargent
2) Sub image supplied by Roger Sargent

Brookesia Perarmata or Antsingy Leaf Chameleon

Brookesia Perarmata – Antsingy Leaf or Armoured Chameleon

Brookesia Perarmata or the Antsingy Leaf Chameleon is the largest of the Brookesia genus of chameleons which can grow up to eleven centimeters. It is also one of the most endangered species of chameleons because of its very limited range. It is endemic to Madagascar and can only be found in the northern part of the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park in Madagascar’s Melaky Region (ARKive).

Brookesia Perarmata is one of the more exotic looking chameleons. It is mostly dark brown with a limited ability to change color. It appears similar to an armored dragon with thorny spines all over its body. The head has a lighter shade of brown with two rounded crests behind the eyes. As a ground dwelling species, its tail is shorter and stumped (Encyclopedia of Life).


Brookesia Perarmata 3

This chameleon dwells on the forest floor among the dead leaves which it uses for camouflage and climbs up low plant branches when it’s time to sleep.

Because of its very limited range, it is listed in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Appendix I (CITES Appendix I) and the IUCN Redlist as endangered meaning that exportation and trade of this species is illegal. If possible, it can be acquired from captive bred specimens of other lizard enthusiasts.


Brookesia Perarmata

“These tiny armoured chameleons hold great beauty, like delicate dragons. A challenge and a feast to get up close with my macro lens. Although it was a grey, cloudy day with lots of rain – we were soaking wet – I managed to take some really great photos of this chameleon”.

Read more about these brilliant animals on the amazing Schaapmans’ Wildlife Spotting website. Antsingy Leaf Chameleon




1) ARKive – www.arkive.org/antsingy-leaf-chameleon/brookesia-perarmata/
2) Encyclopedia of Life – eol.org/pages/1057223/details
3) CITES – www.cites.org/eng/gallery/species/reptile/antsingy_leaf_chameleon.html
4) IUCN Redlist – www.iucnredlist.org/details/3083/0



1) Main image supplied by Schaapmans
2) Sub images supplied by Schaapmans

Brookesia Minima or Pygmy Leaf Chameleon

Brookesia Minima or Pygmy Leaf Chameleon

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.   
Brookesia Minima or Pygmy Leaf Chameleon

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-tailed chameleons. Miniature Dragons of the Rainforest. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt.
2) The Reptile Database (February, 2008)
3) CITES (July, 2007)


1) Main image supplied by Loïc de Collasson
2) Sub images supplied by Loïc de Collasson