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 –
2) ARKive –
3) IUCN Redlist –
4) CITES Appendix II –



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


Posted in Species List.

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