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Chameleons: Chamaeleonidae

Common Chameleon (chamaeleo Chamaeleon): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The colors of the common chameleon vary widely; they include green, yellow, gray, and brown, with many stripes and spots.

Geographic range: Common chameleons inhabit Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa.

Habitat: Common chameleons are found in many different areas, among them, semidesert scrubland, coastal scrubland, crop plantations, and forested areas as high as 8,500 feet (2,591 meters).

The colors of the common chameleon vary widely; they include green, yellow, gray, and brown, with many stripes and spots. (J.C. Carton/Carto/Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Common chameleons eat insects, young birds, and small reptiles.

Behavior and reproduction: Common chameleons living in areas with very cold winters will lie dormant, slowing down or entirely stopping most of their activities until the weather warms up. At the onset of warm weather, mating begins. Females carry their young for two months and then produce about sixty eggs. The young hatch in six to eleven months.

Common chameleons and people: Common chameleons do not interact with people in the wild. They are sometimes killed crossing roadways. They are also captured for the illegal pet trade, but few survive. Habitat destruction is another threat.

Conservation status: The IUCN lists the common chameleon as Vulnerable. Only in Greece are they strictly protected. ∎



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Web sites:

Fry, Michael. "Introduction." Chameleon Information Network. http://www.animalarkshelter.org/cin/ (accessed on July 29, 2004).

Heying, Heather. "Family Chamaeleonidae." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chamaeleonidae.html (accessed on July 28, 2004).

Mayell, Hillary. "Evolutionary Oddities: Duck Sex Organs, Lizard Tongue." National Geographic News. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/10/1023_corkscrewduck.html (accessed on July 29, 2004).

Raxworthy, Christopher J. "A Truly Bizarre Lizard." Madagascar—A World Apart. http://www.pbs.org/edens/madagascar/creature3.htm (accessed on July 29, 2004).

"Veiled Chameleon." Reptiles & Amphibians: Smithsonian National Zoological Park. http://national http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Veiledchameleon.cfm (accessed on July 29, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesChameleons: Chamaeleonidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Jackson's Chameleon (chamaeleo Jacksonii): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CHAMELEONS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS