Chamaeleons are truly among the world’s weirdest and most wonderful creatures. Many species can change colour, have turret eyes that move independently, can shoot out their tongues (in some species, for a distance as great as the animal’s body length), and they have modified feet with opposable toes, a prehensile tail and (in some species) elaborate crests, veils and horns!

These bizarre but beautiful reptiles are ambush predators that rely on camouflage to hide themselves. The biggest  species of chamaeleons can exceed 30 cm in length and catch all manner of arthropods, including large locusts, dragonflies and moths. The very smallest chamaeleons measure just 3 cm in length when mature, and catch prey the size of ants. Many chameleons spend their lives in the branches of trees and bushes, while a few small species live exclusively on the ground, hunting amongst the leaf litter. 

Approximately 200 species of chamaeleons have been described to date. Most chamaeleon species occur in Madagascar (approx 120 species), however a few occur widely across Africa, parts of the Middle East, southern Europe and parts of Asia. 

Chamaeleons use their exceptional ability to change colour to blend in with surroundings whilst hunting. Many species also respond with dramatic, colourful displays when rival males meet one another, or when they need to show  aggression, anger, fear or are confronted by a potential predator. If threatened, many chamaeleons can inflate their bodies, puffing themselves up to look as large as possible, and they emit a loud hiss or screech to startle their opponent. 

Watch the video below and take a look at the downloadable caresheet for further details!


Download the Caresheet

The following are strongly recommended as ethical suppliers of livestock based in the UK with fantastic ranges of weird and wonderful pets:


Reptiles Plus


Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm




The British Herpetological Society


Know any other suppliers or societies that we should include here? Please contact the Weird and Wonderful Pets team by emailing 


Download the Caresheet