Yemen chameleon

Yemen chameleon

Chamaeleo calyptratus

Conservation status: IUCN – LC (Least concern), CITES – Appendix II.

Geographic range: They are native of Saudi Arabia, Yemen. Introduced to the USA.

Physical description: All chameleon species have fingers that are combined in groups. The front feet have two outer fingers and three inner fingers, and vice versa on the hind feet. This structure makes their legs look like pincers and lets the chameleon cling on firmly even when hanging on a very thin twig. Their fingers have very sharp nails, allowing them to climb various surfaces. They also have very special eyes as their upper and lower eyelids are connected and they can see only through a small gap between them. They can turn and focus their eyes separately, allowing them to see two objects at the same time and have 360-degree vision. Like all chameleons, Yemen chameleons have long, sticky tongues, which help them catch their prey. Their tongues are also used to smell and taste. 

Biology: These shy lizards move very slowly because they consider every move very carefully. They live a solitary life and can be seen in pairs only during the mating season. When threatened, these chameleons can pretend to be dead by rolling up into a ball, darkening their skin and falling on the ground. They lie like this for a while until they feel safe again. Males can be very aggressive with each other and are often seen fighting. Females usually don’t live as long as males. 

Lifespan: Females up to 4 years, males up to 8 years.

Food habits: Insects, larvae, worms, sometimes plant leaves for hydration.

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