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Chameleons: Colourful Lizards

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Have you ever seen a chameleon in real life? How many species of chameleon are there in the world? How small is the smallest and how big is the biggest chameleon? Keep reading to find out more about these colourful lizards.

Chameleons: Kaleidoscopes of Colour

Chameleons are highly specialised old world lizards. There are 202 recorded species of chameleons. They come in a variety of colours including various shades of brown, green, yellow, orange, blue, white, grey, pink and red. Chameleons also have the ability to change colour. This happens when they are under stress and need to camouflage themselves and also when they want to look more impressive for the ladies! 

Look at the different colours of this Eastern Cape dwarf chameleon in the day and night. Photographs thanks to Kariega field guide Wayne Howarth.

Kariega Cape Dwarf Chameleon Wayne Howarth

Top 5 Fascinating Chameleon Facts

  1. There are 19 species of chameleons in South Africa.
  2. Both the smallest and largest chameleons are found in Madagascar. The smallest is only 29 mm (1.1 inch) long and the largest is a whopping 68 cm (27 inches) long.
  3. Not all chameleons eat insects. Some eat plants, other reptiles, birds, eggs, earthworms and frogs.
  4. Chameleons have eyes that move independently. This gives them a 360 degree view to locate prey and scan for predators.
  5. Chameleons are great climbers and are fitted with all the right equipment for this job. Their feet are adapted to hold onto branches of various sizes and the nails on the toes also help with grip. Their front feet have five toes, two on the outside and three on the inside of each foot. Their back feet are the other way around. Their tails have adapted to act as an extra appendage.

Kariega Cape Dwarf Chameleon Night Wayne Howarth

Kariega Game Reserve is located in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. In our region the most common chameleon is the Eastern Cape dwarf chameleon.

Were you lucky enough to see a chameleon or other reptiles including snakes, tortoises or lizards during your safari at Kariega Game Reserve? Please share photos, videos or comments with us via our Kariega Facebook page, on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Connect with us to keep up to date with what is happening at Kariega Game Reserve.