Chamaeleo Laevigatus or Smooth Chameleon

Chamaeleo Laevigatus or Smooth Chameleon derives its name from the absence of flaps, nose lumps and horns which are present in other chameleons. This species can grow from 15 to 22 centimeters in length to a maximum size of 22 cm. (Kenya Reptiles). This chameleon is often bluish green with small scales. It has a very slender body and looks similar to the Senegal Chameleon (Chamaeleo Senegalensis) (Encyclopedia of Life).

Chamaeleo Laevigatus can be found in sub-Saharan Africa in the countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zambia and the Central African Republic (Encyclopedia of Life). It is a relatively common species that lives in trees and bushes but surprisingly there is little recorded trade according to CITES and IUCN (IUCN Redlist).

Caring for Chamaeleo Laevigatus is similar to the care given to veiled chameleons (That Reptile Blog).



1) Kenya Reptiles –
2) Encyclopedia of Life –
3) IUCN Redlist –
4) Reptile Database –
5) That Reptile Blog –
6) CITES – Species Index –

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


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 –
2) IUCN Redlist –
3) CITES –
4) Jabberwock Reptiles –
5) Encyclopedia of Life –


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 –
2) ARKive –
3) Reptilecity –
4) TheRadZoo –
5) CITES Appendix II –


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