What Type of Chameleon Is Right For You?

Chameleons make fascinating and exotic pets, but their specific needs must be met in order for them to stay healthy and happy. If you’ve never owned a chameleon before, be sure to research them thoroughly before bringing one into your home.

To help you choose the best chameleon, here’s an overview of some of the most common types of chameleons kept as pets.

Panther chameleon: At more than a foot in length, this type of chameleon is known for stunning colors. They also tend to be friendlier than many other types of chameleons, making them a popular choice for first-time chameleon owners. The panther requires daytime temperatures around 80 degrees F and 70 percent humidity.

An adult male panther chameleon.
Image source: Chameleon Forums

Veiled chameleon: Like panther chameleons, veiled chameleons are good around people and adapt well to captive conditions. Veiled chameleons only live about 6-8 years in captivity, and males are the larger of the two sexes, growing to be about a foot long. They need daytime cage temperatures around 80 degrees F and a relative humidity of 70 percent.

Carpet chameleon: This is a smaller species of chameleon that also makes a good choice for a pet. They have a short lifespan, usually only 2-3 years. Daytime temperatures should be around 75 degrees F, with 65 percent humidity.

Jackson’s chameleon: Popular for their three small horns, these chameleons can live 8-10 years in captivity. Handling and human interaction can be more stressful for this type of chameleon than for the first three on this list. Younger Jackson’s chameleons are less colorful than some other types of chameleons, but their colors brighten as they mature. A daytime temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F and a humidity level around 65 percent is required.

Proper Care Starts With a Good Habitat

When you’ve decided what kind of chameleon to get, make sure you know how to properly create and maintain your pet’s environment. Since they’re solitary creatures, even smaller chameleons require a large amount of personal space. Be prepared to set up a habitat that includes lighting, plants, temperature and humidity control, and plenty of room to climb and explore.

Having done your homework about how to create the perfect habitat, it’s equally important for you to be able to recognize the warning signs of a sick or stressed animal. This will ensure you’ve chosen a healthy chameleon to bring home.

Choosing a Healthy Chameleon

First, make sure you’re purchasing a captive-bred pet chameleon. The capture and shipping process puts an enormous amount of stress on wild-caught chameleons, making them much more susceptible to illness. Ask plenty of questions about the care of the chameleon, and only buy from a reputable source.

As with any type of pet, many factors come into play when evaluating a chameleon’s overall health. Some things to look for when examining a potential chameleon include:

  • Straight limbs (bent legs can be a symptom of malnutrition or metabolic bone disease)
  • Healthy-looking skin (no wounds, scratches or bruising)
  • Ability to strongly grip branches
  • Alert, with bright eyes (chameleons who spend a lot of time with their eyes closed are probably sick)
  • Clear, bright coloration (a brownish color is normal for some chameleons, but dark skin can indicate illness)
  • No signs of swelling, scabs or discharge in or around the mouth

Getting a pet represents a lifestyle change and a commitment to another creature’s health and well-being. With proper care, a chameleon can be an amazing pet who can bring you years of enjoyment.

A Rare Hatching! Canvas Welcomes Baby Jeweled Chameleons

While every successful birth is a wonder to behold, Canvas Chameleons had the opportunity to welcome a fairly rare event at the beginning of the month: the hatching of a few Jeweled Chameleons (Furcifer Campani). This is only our fourth line of unrelated captive births of these wondrous creatures. So, in celebration, we thought it was appropriate to bring additional information to our readers about this unique event.

Getting to Know Furcifer Campani

Furcifer Campani, also known as the Jeweled Chameleon, is a native to the country of Madagascar, living within an approximately 5,600 square mile section from Ankaratra to the Andringitra National Park. Traditionally, these chameleons are fairly small. At birth, they are often a bit less than an inch long and only reach around 5.5 inches in length once full grown. They also feature distinct coloring and markings that make it fairly unique within the chameleon family.

Most Jeweled Chameleons vary in color from a pale green to a dark brown, with three well-defined lighter bands running along the length of the body. Along with the bands, these chameleons feature numerous light-colored spots across the body and, in some cases, a section of red spots on the head.

The successful hatching of Jeweled Chameleons is a rare event in captivity. Part of the reason for the rarity is the fact that the export of these chameleons from Madagascar is no longer permitted, so not many breeders have the opportunity of enjoying the company of a Jeweled Chameleon, let alone the chance to witness a successful birth. Additionally, the incubation period can reach around nine months, which is a long period of time for maintaining the ideal conditions required for the young to be born.

Status of Jeweled Chameleons in the Wild

At this time, the Jeweled Chameleon is considered vulnerable as a species based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is partially due to the fragmented nature of the population as well as the decline in the quality of their habitat. Much of the area where these chameleons are found naturally is subject to slash-and-burn agriculture, causing some habitat to be lost to the associated damage while the rest is lost to development.

Additionally, the population is still considered to be decreasing. This means it risk level could change in the future should the number of Jeweled Chameleons in the wild continue to decline.

With that in mind, we are honored to be able to bring information about this magnificent species to our visitors and hope you get a chance to appreciate one of the newest additions as shown in the video here.






Here Today, Gone Tomorrow | The Endangered Belalanda Chameleon

Native to the south-western portion of Madagascar, the Belalanda Chameleon, or Furcifer belalandaensis, is considered to be a critically endangered species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) includes the Belalanda Chameleon on their Red List, which contains a variety of species that are thought to be on the edge of extinction.

What Does Critically Endangered Mean?

The IUCN develops criteria to help classify the health of animal species across the world. If classified as critically endangered, it is believed that the species faces an extremely high risk of becoming extinct in the wild. The Belalanda Chameleon is considered critically endangered due to the limited size of its known natural habitat, as well as the assumed size of the population.

A Tiny Natural Habitat

The Belalanda Chameleon is named after the town of Belalanda, where this particular species can be found. While many chameleons inhabit Madagascar, the Belalanda is thought to only live in an area of about 1.5 square miles. Much of the gallery forest that was known to be home to this particular chameleon has been cleared away, but reforestation efforts, combined with education of the local population, aim to help bring this species back from the brink.

A Mysterious Creature

One of the only descriptions that is fairly easy to find is that the Belalanda Chameleon is green in color. Due to the falling population, not much else is known about the Belalanda Chameleon. This makes conservation efforts particularly challenging, as it is difficult to determine what kind of environment would help the population reestablish itself in its home area. With that in mind, funding had been provided to help the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology in the United Kingdom, and Madagaskiara Voakajy of Madagascar to study the species and its habitat to help draw plans for further protection.

Protection Efforts

In order to support protection efforts, the Belalanda Chameleon cannot be collected, transported, or traded away from the local area. As part of the conservation efforts, the species will be evaluated to determine if it is suitable for captive breeding, which may help increase the wild population while also allowing some to be housed in appropriate facilities.

So far, the Belalanda has only been found in three towns in Madagascar, and the true number that exist in the wild is still unknown.














A Dwarf and a Giant: Chameleons’ Extreme Size Diversity

Chameleons come in a rainbow of colors with a variety of features and in a variety of sizes; however the size difference between the largest and smallest chameleon is extreme — one is the size of a small house cat and the other fits comfortably on the tip of your thumb. The extreme variation in size is a wonderful example of how diverse chameleons can be.

Smallest chameleon: Brookesia micra

Courtesy of Frank Glaw, Jörn Köhler, Ted M. Townsend, Miguel Vences - Glaw F, Köhler J, Townsend TM, Vences M (2012) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031314
Courtesy of Frank Glaw, Jörn Köhler, Ted M. Townsend, Miguel Vences – Glaw F, Köhler J, Townsend TM, Vences M (2012) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031314

Brookesia micra is the world’s smallest chameleon; it is also the tiniest lizard that has been discovered thus far. It was discovered on Nosy Hara, a tiny island off Madagascar, in 2012. Adults grow only about 1.1 inches in length (small enough to rest on the head of a matchstick). These chameleons may be effected by “island dwarfism,” a phenomenon in which a species adapts over time to its restricted habitat by becoming smaller. Dwarf chameleons originally evolved on Madagascar, thus Brookesia micra chameleons may be exhibiting an extreme case of island dwarfism considering their close proximity to Madagascar. Brookesia micra chameleons typically live in leaf litter during the day as they forage for food, but they climb out onto limbs at night for protection and do not move once they find their spot.

Brookesia micra chameleons are light gray on the head, back, and tail with the tail becoming an orange and then a yellow color near its tip. The sides of the chameleons are brown.

Largest: Parson’s chameleon

Parson’s chameleons are thought to be the largest chameleons in the world; they live in the central eastern forest regions of Madagascar. These chameleons can grow up to 27 or 28 inches in length throughout their lifetime and weigh one to two pounds. Yes, you read that Parsoni Male 1 - Canvas Chameleons Small (1)correctly – “throughout their lifetime.” Unlike most other animals, chameleons never stop growing throughout their lifetime; they simply shed their skin when they outgrow it. Parson’s chameleons have a lifespan of more than 6 years. A parson’s chameleon’s tongue can be as much as twice the length of its body.

Parson’s chameleons have ridges that run from above their eyes to their nose, forming two warty horns. They can vary in color from green to turquoise to yellow; the Calumma parsonii cristifer subspecies is typically bluer and smaller than the Calumma parsonii parsonii subspecies.
These chameleons represent just one example of the stunning diversity of chameleons. What are some of your favorite examples of chameleon diversity?

Male #2 Calumma Parsoni Cristifer - Canvas Chameleons (4)

Two New Discoveries Expand the Chameleon Family

Chameleons belong to a diverse family. The longest chameleon can grow to approximately two feet in length while the smallestwelcome to canvas chameleons chameleon can fit on the tip of your thumb. Chameleons range in color from brown and green hues to white and bright blues, greens, yellows, and reds.  Two recent discoveries have expanded the family’s diversity.

Oldest chameleon?

100 million years ago, a small lizard creature was crawling through the tropics of present-day Myanmar when it had the misfortune of getting trapped in the resin of a coniferous tree. This resin, which fossilized into amber, preserved the dime-sized specimen along with 10 other specimens of lizards. That means these specimens became fossilized during the Dinosaur Age.

These specimens were made available for study by a private collector at the American Museum of Natural History. A team led by Edward Stanley, a University of Florida postdoctoral student in herpetology at the Florida Museum of Natural history, used 3D scanning techniques to examine the specimens. One specimen had chameleon-like characteristics that lead researchers to believe it is a chameleon; for example, the specimen has the chameleon’s projectile tongue but had not yet developed the body shape and toes we currently associate with chameleons.

These specimens will be studied more closely and will be named in the future. If this specimen is a chameleon, it will be approximately 78 million years older than the previously thought oldest chameleon making it the oldest chameleon on records.

Stay tuned for more developments on this!

New species 

In the same year scientists discovered what is possibly the oldest species of chameleon, they also discovered a new species of chameleon in Tanzania. The new species is named Kinyongia msuyae, in honor of Tanzania herpetology pioneer Charles A. Msuyae. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, “The brown and green chameleon with scattered blue spots was found in four montane forest patches in the Udzungwa Mountains and Southern Highlands.”

While discovering new species is always exciting, this discovery also provides insight into the biodiversity of the Makambako Gao, which is a disputed “zoological barrier” between regions of the Southern Highlands and Eastern Arc Mountains. The presence of this chameleon lends credence to the argument that this barrier does not exist and that there is a close relationship between the biodiversity of the neighboring regions.

What are your thoughts on these discoveries?




Rhampholeon acuminatus – Nguru Pygmy Chameleon

I think this series of pictures is by far one of my all time favorites! Baby #3 was being extremely shy and didn’t want to come out in full view of the camera. She was perfectly fine with hiding behind my finger as much as possible.

Please help us spread these photographs by sharing them on your page. The more attention and awareness we can bring to these incredible R. acuminatus pygmy chameleons the better!

Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (14) Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (13) Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (12)

Rhampholeon acuminatus – Nguru Pygmy Chameleon

Round two of these amazing and so tiny R. acuminatus baby chameleons. This little guy is sporting an extra large rostral right out of the egg. I’m not positive but I would be willing to bet this guy is a male because of that.

A little information for those who are not familiar with this species, Rhampholeon Acuminatus are endemic to the Nguru Mountains in Tanzania. This is how they received their common name of the Nguru pygmy chameleon.

Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (9) Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (8) Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (7) Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (6) Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (5)Roblox Robux Hack 2017

Rhampholeon acuminatus – Nguru Pygmy Chameleon

Great things always come in small packages! We just had our last clutch of eggs hatch from our Rhampholeon acuminatus group. It is bitter sweet as these little gems will most likely be the last of the acuminatus that we will have here at Canvas. So, we decided that we will post pictures of the babies over the next few days in hope that everyone can enjoy for as long as possible!

For those of you who are not aware, as of last year R. acuminatus have been reevaluated and are now listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. This is only one step up from Extinct in the wild! Because of this, we feel it is best to no longer work with this species in captivity as wild caught animals would be necessary for future breeding. Although there are currently no regulation to protect the export of R. acuminatus at this time, we hope that in the near future there will be new quotas adopted that help protect these amazing animals in the wild.
Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (4) Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (3) Rhampholeon Acuminatus - Captive Born Baby - Canvas Chameleons (2)