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Indian Chameleon Lizard belongs to the Chamaeleonidae family. Get information on the Chameleon of India.


There is only one species of chameleons found in the Indian subcontinent, scientifically known as Chamaeleo zeylanicus. The term 'chameleon' is a combination of two Greek words, 'Chamai', meaning 'on the ground/earth' and Leon, meaning 'lion'. Thus, 'chameleon' means 'earth lion'. The foot structure, eyes and tongue of all the chameleons are the same. Read on to get more information on the Indian chameleon:

Physical Traits
The body of the chameleon lizard is covered with granular scales and measures upto 37 cm in length. Its feet are split into two main fingers, each of them attached with sharp claws that help in climbing trees. The upper and lower eyelids of a chameleon are joined and there is a small pinhole through which the pupil can be seen. The chameleon can focus each of the two eyes in different direction and observe two different objects simultaneously.

Indian Chameleon One of the most interesting features of an Indian Chameleon is its extremely long tongue, which at times may exceed its body length also. The tongue is sticky at the end, which helps the reptile in catching prey. The moment the tongue of a chameleon hits a prey, it forms a small suction cup and draws the prey into the mouth. Chameleons do not have ears and vomeronasal organ.

Ability of Changing Color
All the chameleons have the ability to change color whenever they are subject to changes in stimuli, like a change in light, temperature or emotion. For example, when angered, they are likely to become darker in color.

Mating Behavior
The breeding season of the chameleon lizard falls around the month of October. Ten to thirty eggs are laid at a time and the gestation period is 3 to 6 weeks. Before laying eggs, the female chameleon digs a hole in the ground, between 4 to 12 inches deep, and deposits her eggs in that hole. The eggs hatch after a period of 3 months.

Chameleon lizard survives on a diet of locusts, mantids, crickets, and other insects.

Geographical Range
Chameleons are seen inhabiting almost all the parts of south India and west of the Ganges. However, they are rarely seen in areas that receive heavy rainfall. Chameleons are mostly arboreal and are found in trees or on smaller bushes.

Chameleon Facts

Kingdom : Animalia
Scientific Name : Chamaeleo zeylanicus
Class : Reptilia
Order : Squamata
Suborder : Sauria
Family : Chamaeleonidae
Genus : Chamaeleo
Species : Zeylanicus
Mating Period : Around October
Gestation Period : 3 weeks to 6 weeks
Incubation Period : Around 3 months
Clutch Size : 10 to 30 eggs
Average Length : 37 cm