Common Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon)

The common chameleon, scientifically known as Chamaeleo chamaeleon, is a fascinating creature that has captivated the minds of many with its unique characteristics and adaptations.

Appearance and Physical Characteristics

The common chameleon is a slow-moving lizard, with a length ranging from 20 to 40 cm. It possesses independently movable eyes, a long tongue, usually a prehensile tail, and special leg adaptations for grasping vegetation. The color of the common chameleon is variable, between yellow/brown through green to a dark brown. It has a small beard of scales and some small hard scales on the top of its back. Females of this species are often substantially larger than males.

Habitat and Distribution

Common chameleons are found in southwestern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. They inhabit pine forests, shrubland, plantations, and rural gardens. And are usually solitary, maintaining a territory and only tolerating members of the opposite sex during the mating season. Chameleons are arboreal, spending their time scrambling about in trees and bushes.

©by Lies Van Rompaey

Behavior and Lifestyle

These creatures are known for their leisurely movement, often with a slight swaying motion to avoid detection by predators. They can move more rapidly when involved in a territorial dispute. They hunt by day, capturing insects by stealth and the rapid extension of their long tongue which has a terminal pad that grasps and adheres to the prey.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the common chameleon is its ability to change color. This is a response to light and temperature stimuli and as an expression of their emotions. Their colors are also important for communication between each other, especially during the mating season.

On the farm

Chameleons, with their insectivorous diet, can significantly contribute to a farm’s ecosystem by acting as a natural form of pest control. They feed on a variety of insects, many of which are considered pests in agricultural settings. By keeping the insect population in check, chameleons can help build a healthier and more sustainable farming environment. Additionally, their presence can serve as an indicator of a healthy ecosystem, as chameleons often thrive in areas with a rich diversity of plant and animal life. Therefore, the presence of chameleons on a farm can be a positive sign of a balanced and thriving ecosystem.

Chameleon spottet at Mavronero Farm


The common chameleon is a remarkable creature with a host of unique adaptations that make it a master of survival in its natural habitat. Its ability to change color, its independent eye movement, and its specialized hunting techniques are just a few of the reasons why this creature continues to captivate and intrigue.



National Geographic

10 Facts About Chameleons – ThoughtCo

National Geographic Kids