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Chameleons Types: The 15 Types Of Chameleons You Need To Know

There are more than 200 types of chameleons globally but only a few are known or even kept as pets. Chameleons are beautiful reptiles with natural capabilities to change colors depending on mood, temperature, and environment. If you are interested in chameleons or want to keep one as a pet, here is a review of the 15 most common varieties.

Types of Chameleons

The top 15 popular types of chameleons include:

1. Meller’s

It’s a big type of chameleon that can grow up to 20 inches long. The large lizard is endemic to East African countries of Tanzania and Kenya in addition to Mozambique and Malawi. It’s rated as the largest type of chameleon specious outside Madagascar.

In terms of appearance, it has a small single horn that normally protrudes from the snout. Meller’s is typically known to have dark spots in addition to green and yellow vertical bars. However, this lizard is quite sensitive to stress and husbandry conditions. As a result, it’s not easy to care for it. and it’s mostly preferred by chameleon experts.

2. Veiled Chameleon

It’s one of the most popular types of chameleon species in the reptile trade industry that’s indigenous to Yemen. Veiled chameleon has a beautiful coloration that normally features bands of brown, yellow, and green. It’s flashy and fun to watch since it can just decide to change its color on a dime.

Veiled Chameleon

Veiled chameleon has a varied size range of 10-22 inches. This means that you can find small types as well as larger types. It’s highly adaptable and can tolerate temperatures of 20-27 degrees Celsius. Additionally, it needs an environment with humidity levels of 50% or more.

3. Fischer’s Chameleon

These types of chameleons are very unique in that they are only found in Tanzania’s Nguu mountain ranges Fischer’s chameleon is also known as the two-horned chameleon.

However, Fischer’s isn’t an easy species to identify since it resembles other species of chameleons. So, the scientific community is still learning more about it. However, you can easily identify this rare chameleon by its face and color pattern.

Fischer’s Chameleon
Fischer’s Chameleon

Take note of the vibrant green as well as tall and rounded backs. In addition to that, they have spines that are lined with soft spikes. The vibrant base color of this reptile is usually accompanied by white vertical stripes. Furthermore, you may also find that this chameleon has subtle light blue patches.

If you want to pet Fischer’s, then you should house it individually in a large enclosure. However, male and female reptiles can be kept together, but this kind of setup requires extra planning with several visual barriers. Due to the reptile’s long tail, some of Fischer’s subspecies are known as the monkey-tailed chameleons.

4. Usambara Pitted Pygmy

Just like its name suggests, this is another small species of chameleon. Usambara Pitted Pygmy is quite easy-going and its small size makes it fun to spectate.

Usambara Pitted Pygmy
Usambara Pitted Pygmy

This species shares a wide range of characteristics with the other members of its genus. That’s why you will find it in shades of gray, brown, or tan. Besides that, it normally has patterns that resemble dead leaves, and sometimes you might find it with diagonal stripes covering both sides of its body. However, it needs a specific type of environment to thrive.

For instance, its humidity requirements are quite high. This is also one pigmy species with flattened lips that make them distinct from the other pigmy species.

5. Bearded Pygmy

The Bearded Pygmy belongs to the pygmy chameleon species. Just like most members of this genus, the bearded pygmy doesn’t live in trees, and it’s small in size. It’s a plain species since it lives on relatively flat land. It’s mainly found in the evergreen rainforests in Tanzania.

Physically, it resembles a wilted leaf. What makes it distinct are the two large lobes found in its chin that are responsible for its “bearded” name, since it’s a small species. This chameleon can only grow up to 8 cm.

Its wilted leaf coloration features various shades of green, beige, brown with lichen-like patterns or dark stripes in lateral formation. However, males have more distinct features which include a yellow coloration that’s dominant around the eyes.

If you need a bearded pygmy as a pet, then you need to ensure that you regulate its surrounding environment. Temperatures shouldn’t exceed 25 degrees Celsius. During the day, the temperature range should be range between 22-24 degrees Celsius. At night, thus temperature should be reduced to 16-20 degrees Celsius.

They are charismatic small species that are interesting to watch hence they make great pets. They are also ideal for first-time reptile owners as well as kids.

Note: pygmies such as bearded and Usamabara pitted are easy to pet since they are generally friendly. You can also keep them in groups because they normally tolerate company. However, you need to plan accordingly for this. Males shouldn’t be kept in one enclosure since they are territorial.

6. Flap-Necked Chameleons

The flap-necked chameleon species is the most known popular beginner chameleon. Well, this is because it’s easy to manage with its simple care requirements. Besides that, this species has a manageable physical size which means that you can conveniently handle it.

It does perfectly well in captivity since it can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions. Since it’s native to sub-Saharan Africa, it likes high temperatures and moderate levels of humidity. Ideally, this should be between 25 and 32 degrees Celsius but the reptiles can bask in areas with 35 degrees Celsius.

It’s worth noting that Flap-Neck has many subspecies. Hence, it’s not easy to pin down its coloration. The only thing that seems dominant is the bright green color that appears at the base. Others might have black and white markings while others may feature strong solid colors.

7. Ambilobe Panther

It’s another subspecies of the panther chameleon. Ambilobe is found mainly in the northern and eastern parts of Madagascar since it thrives in tropical forests with high levels of humidity. Besides that, this subspecies has also been introduced in Mauritius and Reunion.

It’s rated as one of the most beautifully colored chameleons thanks to its outstanding colors that are available in a wide array. You can find the Ambilobe panther chameleon in either green with a blue bar, red with a blue bar, and blue with a red bar. Besides that, they also have shades of whites and yellows.

Ambilobe Panther
Ambilobe Panther

They are gorgeous and will easily catch your attention from far. These chameleons are fairly docile., therefore, have a friendly nature. Even though they love warm and humid places, they have high adaptability to changes in humidity and temperature than most chameleons. However, if you want to buy one. understand that the high number of positives make them expensive.

8. Ambanja Panther

Ambanja is a district in Madagascar that’s renowned for taking wild chameleons into captivity. This species comes in blue-purple or blurple color that’s highly intense. Well, they are normally referred to as blurples due to their intense blue/purple distinct coloration.

Physically, this type of chameleon is big. It has a long and prehensile tail that it normally uses to navigate tree branches. Due to its chromatic color, it’s not easy to mistake an Ambanja panther.

But despite its popular bright purple/electric blue color, you can still find an Ambanja panther with mixed colors including greens, reds, and solid blues. However, the solid blue color is what makes them one of the most popular chameleons to pet.

Ambanja Panther
Ambanja Panther

Out of the chameleons in this genus, the panther is the easiest to handle and the most gorgeous. Generally, they are docile but the males are considered to be even more friendly.

Caring for panthers isn’t difficult since they are naturally friendly. That’s why they are recommended for beginners who are interested in keeping chameleons as pets. However, they have high humidity requirements.

9. Parson’s

This large chameleon species is endemic to the isolated humid pockets of primary forests found in northern and eastern Madagascar. As one of the biggest and most impressive reptiles found in Madagascar, you can expect this reptile to tip the scales up to 750g. Well, this weight is quite massive among chameleons.

But one thing about Parson’s is that it’s always unexcited even though it’s known to be relaxed and have a friendly character. They can grow up to 70 cm long and due to their size they usually need larger enclosures.

You will find Parson’s in a wide range of patterns and colors. Most commonly, you will find them in blue, green, brown, yellow, and white colors. Additionally, they also have large and dark diagonal stripes located on both sides of their bodies. But it’s not unusual to find the same species of chameleons in solid white stripes.

They normally thrive in hot and moist environmental conditions but they can still tolerate cooler temperatures. Parson’s chameleons exist in two subspecies. One can either be Calumma parsonii cristifer with extensive blue hues on its body and a dorsal crest. However, its usually shorter, and its length can reach up to 47 cm.

On the other hand, Calumma parsonii parsonii is the longest can reach up to 68 cm in terms of length. However, its colors are usually less noticeable.

10. Outstalet’s Chameleon

It’s one of the largest types of chameleons available. Its also known as the Malagasy giant chameleon and it mostly lives a sedentary life. Well, could this be the reason why it grows big? A male Outstalet’s chameleon can reach a maximum length of 27 inches! Meanwhile, females can only get up to half of this length at most.

It’s a slow mover, according to the speed standards of most chameleons. It moves slowly or simply stays stationary for long periods. This characteristic normally helps it to conserve energy while also staying out of view of possible predators.

Its other physical traits include a crest featuring small triangular spikes that run down the length of its back. It also has an extremely long and prehensile tail that it uses for counterbalance. Outstalet’s is a solitary creature that gets quite aggressive in the presence of other chameleons. It was also recently discovered to be omnivorous that feeds on native shrubs, unlike other chameleons that are exclusively carnivorous.

Since its native to Madagascar, it requires moderately warm temperature with high levels of humidity i.e. 70% or higher.

11. Jackson’s Chameleon

These types of chameleons are also known as Jackson’s horned chameleons. Kikuyu three-horned chameleon, or simply the three-horned chameleon. This chameleon species is native to East Africa in regions such as Kenya. However, it has also been introduced to America in places such as California, Florida, and Hawaii.

Jackson's Chameleon
Jackson’s Chameleon

Young Jackson’s usually have a brownish color. But as they develop, this coloration will turn green once they hit 4 or 5 months. Generally, male Jackson’s are more brightly colored with yellow or blue markings.

Jackson’s chameleons are quite long and they can grow up to 9-13 inches in length. Males are usually bigger than females. Generally, this type of reptile is territorial hence it should be housed individually. But if you want to pet Jackson’s chameleon, then should understand that they come with lots of stress. They are better suited for watching rather than being handled.

Since they are endemic to East Africa, Jackson’s chameleons thrive in the daytime temperature ranges of 21 -26.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, they can also bask in temperatures of up to 29 degrees Celsius.

12. Senegal Chameleon

Senegal, just like its name suggests, is native to the West Africa region, specifically Senegal. This isn’t a chameleon species that you will find in lush vegetations or rainforests since it’s a reptile that’s endemic in dryer savannas. So, it’s more used to a grassy and sunny environment.

This is a popular reptile species that has a small size and shy temperament. As a result, it’s ideal for beginners. You will also find that such types of chameleons are attractive with soft solid green colors but sometimes come with darker spots.

While Senegal chameleons are found on the smaller side of reptiles, they can reach a maximum length of 8 inches. They also have distinct iconic traits associated with chameleons such as long tongues, conical eyes, and jointed toes.

13. Carpet Chameleon

It’s native to the lush rainforests of Madagascar. However, you can also find this species in desert and mountainous regions with the captive ones preferring a forest-like habitat.

The carpet chameleon is known for its varying array of vivid coloration, especially the females which have a distinct appearance in the chameleon world. Just like its name indicates, the first thing you will notice about the carpet chameleon is the color markings found all over its body.

Carpet Chameleon
Carpet Chameleon

It’s interesting that the colors are usually in the form of stripes, spots, and circles and they tend to get intense in gravid females. If you are keen enough, you might establish that the females sometimes have intricate patterns and color details that resemble the oriental carpet.

What’s surprising about carpet chameleons is that the females are more ornate, something that’s definitely unusual in the setting of the animal world, but they both exist in color combinations of black and yellow, red, orange, purple, green, or blue. Lengthwise, they can reach up to 8 inches long. They thrive in ambient temperatures ranging between 21 and 27 degrees Celsius.

14. Four-Horned Chameleon

Its also known as the Eisentraut’s chameleon. The four-horned chameleon is native to southeastern Nigeria and western parts of Cameroon. Based on its name, this reptile has 4 horns on its skill but this doesn’t eliminate the fact that some may have only one horn while others may have up to six horns!

The four-horned chameleon is quite unique unlike the other popular types of chameleons. This is because it has a more muted color that’s usually in natural tones of yellow and red. Its scale pattern is also more varied and in some instances, you can find it with accents of blue, purple, or orange. It thrives in a humid environment and generally warm temperatures that resemble its native habitats.

15. Dwarf Jackson’s

It’s a subspecies of Jackson’s chameleon but it’s quite small. Dwarf Jackson’s is endemic to Moot Meru, Tanzania. So, this is the only place in the world where they are naturally found.

In terms of appearance, it has a uniform green-blue color but with some shades of yellow on the head. The males are just like Jackson’s chameleon since they also have three large horns while females have one small horn. Apart from these few distinct features. Dwarf Jackson’s behavior and characteristics are almost the same as those of Jackson’s Chameleon.

Dwarf Jackson's
Dwarf Jackson’s

What is the smallest chameleon for a pet?

Chameleons are very interesting creatures. Their bodies which switch to different colors are such a wonder to see. Chameleons are lizards and can grow as much as 15 to 20 inches when it reaches maturity. However, if you have limited space and want to start small, you might be asking the question: What is the smallest chameleon for a pet?

Considering size here are some suggestions:

Rudis Chameleon: In full it is only 5-6 inches. They are manageable and very active.

Pygmy Chameleon: An adult would be 3-3.5 inches long. They are friendly with their owners.

Carpet Chameleon: In maturity, it is 9 inches long. They are sweet and shy but do not respond well to petting.

Jackson Chameleon: It grows to 9-13 inches in length. They are timid with humans and sensitive to handling.

Some small chameleons breeds can tolerate touch. But it is still stressful for them. Please be careful not to overdo it.

Are Chameleons Harmful To Humans?

Chameleons are part of the reptile world. They are small lizards with long prehensile tails and zygodactylous feet.

Chameleons are mostly known for their ability to change colors, and for their eyes that can move independently of each other giving them the ability to look in two different directions at once.

Chameleons aren’t known to be a harm to humans, they rarely attack or bite unless put in certain circumstances. When they start hissing or changing colors, it most likely means that the animal is stressed or frightened. When this happens, it’s best to give the Chameleon space to avoid getting bitten.

Although the good news is that Chameleons are small species which makes it hard for them to bite hard enough to actually do us damage. But it’s important to check on the area where you are bitten just in case.

Are Chameleons Harmful To Humans
Quean cham on a human hand

Even though Chameleons aren’t as dangerous compared to other reptiles, it is still necessary for you to handle them gently to avoid getting bitten. Then again, it is highly unlikely for Chameleon’s to bite us, so you don’t have much to worry about.

What’s the Friendliest Type of Chameleon?

There are many types of chameleons that are tolerable and friendly including Bearded and Usamabara pitted pygmies. However, Ambanja Panther is the friendliest with a high level of tolerance.

What’s the Most Beautiful Chameleon?

Ambilobe Panther is the most beautiful colored chameleon. It has a wide array of natural coloration in solid colors of either green with a blue bar, red with a blue bar, and blue with a red bar.


The above-reviewed reptiles are the most popular. They have good temperaments, beautiful looks, and are generally easy to care for. So, we hope you enjoyed and learned something new from this list.

The above-reviewed chameleons are the most common and they have different sets of features. If you are keen to learn more about chameleons or want to get one as a pet but have some doubts or questions, don’t hesitate to comment below. We will gladly give you the right feedback on time.

About Rencel Leyran