Best Pet Chameleon

  • Post category:Blog
  • Post comments:0 Comments

The Chameleons are among the most interesting lizards in the world; to an extent, if you describe some of the species to someone who has never seen them before, they might think you are lying.   The chameleons have some unique features that make them different from other animals; some include the long tongues that are as long as their bodies and eyes that can move 360 degrees. They also have a popular but unique feature, and that is the ability to change their color, but above all these, they make great pets.  The pet chameleons are known to have exciting behaviors, beautiful colors, and are generally amazing. 

All the chameleons hare some unique features like their vivid colors that change with the mood, prehensile tails, and their hunting skills.  Despite having some common behaviors, they are not the same in every aspect, and that is why there are some that are good for a pet while others are not.

Jackson’s Chameleon

The Jackson’s Chameleon is a small species that originates from Kenya and Tanzania in Eastern Africa. These chameleons are popularly known as the three-horned since the males’ species have three large horns at the top of their heads. The reason why they’re preferred by the majority is due to their horns and small size.  Theta is also popular and readily available in many pets stores at an average cost of under 100 dollars which is affordable.

The Jackson’s are basic in color compared to the rest of the species. They have a solid green in most parts of the body with darker brown or green marking rather than a mix of different colors like other chameleons. They are, however, not the best for a beginner who has no idea about taking care of chameleons since they need more care compared to the rest. They are the ideal choice for someone who has experience.

Panther Chameleons

The Panthers are among the most popular pet chameleons in the world. However, they are expensive compared to the rest, with an average cost of between 300 to 500 dollars. The main reason why they are popular and a bit expensive is because of their color, ease of care, and tolerance of handling. These species are valuable, beautiful, and with vivid patterns.  They are categorized as one of the most colorful chameleons, and they contain a stripe along their side and can be just about any color like green, neon, blue, yellow, and many more.

Along each side of the head, the male species have, and they grow bigger than the females in general. They are, however, big lizards of both genders. They just need basic care; that is, they do not need intensive care as some species would require, and this makes them preferable. They are the ideal choice for beginners since they are also tolerant to handling.

Veiled Chameleons

The Veiled chameleons are another popular species, more so among beginners. These pets are mainly found in almost all stores and are affordable, with an average cost of as low as 50 dollars. They are also preferred due to the ease of taking care of them. They need some basic care, and when they are properly taken care of, they will thrive with no difficulty. They, however, do not like being handled. 

These chameleons are also called the Yemen Chameleons since they originated from Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They got their common name from the large casque that is usually at the top of their heads, although this casque is large in males than the females. They are not as vivid as some species, but they are still beautiful. They have a base color which is green, but they often have vertical stripes of yellow, brown, or even pale blue.

Parson’s Chameleon

This is one of the biggest in the chameleon family. The biggest Chameleon of this species can grow bigger than any other type of Chameleon, with a length of up to 70 cm. They may require a large enclosure due to their size. Otherwise, the process of taking care of a parson’s is the same as any other. These species do not have an immediate distinguishable feature, and they have some amazing colors instead.

The species is extremely variable in color and pattern.  They combine, blue. White, green, yellow, and brown. On the sides, these lizards have large dark diagonal stripes, while some individuals have almost solid white with green stripes.  One of the reasons why they are popular and preferred by many people is due to the color, but this comes at a cost.  The average cost of a parson chameleon is 1000 dollars and above. Apart from the color, the other reason why they are popular is that the process of breeding them is not easy because an egg can take up o 18 months before hatching.

Pigmy Chameleon

The Pygmy chameleons have a variety of species. They come from a genus called Rhampholeon, and they are collectively called pygmy or the African Leaf Chameleon. They are not like many chameleons on the list.  One of the distinguishable features of their size since they do not grow much larger than three inches.  Their name is derived from their size, and this makes them one of the most attractive chameleons to keep as pets. Another feature that stands out in this species is the short tail since they are usually normal for other species.  The long tails, among other species, help them in climbing trees.  The average cost of a pygmy is below 200 dollars, and this is the ideal choice for someone looking for a small and unique lizard.

Usambara Pitted Pigmy

This is another small species of Chameleon. This species shares many features with the other members of its genus. They are usually a shade o tan, brown, or gray with patterns that resemble dead leaves.  They also have diagonal stripes of the sides of the body. It also has flattened lips that look like a beak of a bird. These tips, together with longer tails, are important in distinguishing them from other pigmy chameleons.  They are the ideal choice for experienced keepers only.  They have some specific and strict requirements, such as humidity, and this can be challenging to a beginner.  They are very affordable with an average cost of 50 dollars.

Carpet Chameleons

The Carpet chameleon is a bright-colored species of panther chameleon that originates from the Island of Madagascar. They are commonly found living in desert areas, rainforests, and high altitudes. They grow larger than the Pygmy chameleons, but they are small compared to other species. They are somehow small in size, but they make up for t in color. This Chameleon is a combination of orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and red with dark patterns.  On the sides, they have some darker spots. They are not as expensive as some chameleons, but they have an average cost of 200 dollars which might be too high compared to some.

Ambanja Panther

This is another popular species of the panther chameleon. Just like other panthers, the Ambanja is a big reptile with a long, prehensile tail that it uses to help it navigate the branches of trees. They are NEARLY UNMISTAKABLE.  They are one of the most popular species of chameleons due to their solid blue color. Just like any other panther, caring for this species is very difficult, and it is not recommended for a beginner due to the humidity requirements and the price.

Bearded Pygmy

The bearded pygmy is one of the many species of a pygmy. Just like most of the species, these reptiles are very small, and they do not live in trees. These species are plain, and they can change colors to some extent, but they are typically a muted brown or tan. They are excellent at blending with the environment surrounding them. When viewed from sides, the bearded pygmies have a similar shape and color as a small leaf.

Cuban false

This is not an actual Chameleon but a lizard that belongs to the anole species that belongs to the family of Dactyloidae. Despite belonging to the different family, they are some feature that makes them similar to the chameleons.  It has a casque on the head and has the ability to move its eyes around and be independent of the other.  These chameleons are normally grayish-tan in color. They do not have the many beautiful colors that other chameleons have. Irrespective of their color, they are unique lizards that are cheaper compared to most species of chameleons.

Four-Horned Chameleons

The four-horned chameleons come from the same genus as the Jackson’s. The have some common features. In terms of color, they are the same and have a uniform greenish-yellow with a lighter marking ranging from blue to purple.  These species grow a few inches larger than the Jackson’s. They also have four horns rather than the three in the Jacksons. These species originate from the mountainous rainforests of Cameroon.

The natural environment of these reptiles is very moist and quite cold. The average temperature required is not more than 80 degrees F. These animals are very sensitive to low humidity and high temperatures. They are not the ideal choice for beginners due to the great difficulty of maintenance. They are, however, suitable for an experienced keeper who can offer advanced care.

Ambilobe Panthers

This is one of the many species of the Panther. This is the most common subspecies of panther chameleon. They are also considered to be the most beautiful Chameleon due to their color. They also have all the features of the Panthers that make them popular such as the simple care routine, large size nada use of handling. This species has extremely bright colors with a vivid combination of red, green, blue, yellow, oranges, and even white. The Ambilobe chameleons are one of the most docile species where some males crawl onto the hands of the keepers as the enclosure is being cleaned.  All these interesting features make these chameleons expensive, where an adult cost about 300 dollars depending on size and color.

Dwarf Jacksons Chameleon

The Dwarf Jackson’s Chameleon is a rare subspecies of the three-horned Jackson’s. They require similar care to that of other Jackson’s chameleons. This species is only found in Mt Meru in Tanzania, and that is where the name Merumontanus was derived from. Just as the name suggests, these chameleons do not grow as large as other Jackson’s. Mostly, they are uniform blue-green with some yellow on their heads. The males have three large horns, while the females have one small horn on the head. They are not common in the United States since the government of Tanzania has put strict regulations on the importation of this species.

Flap-necked Chameleon

These chameleons originated from South Africa. They are very popular among beginners, and this is because they have a small size that is manageable, and they do not have complex requirements for taking care of them, such as the temperatures and humidity. Besides the flaps on the necks, they have the typical chameleon look. They have a long tail, a small casque, and they range from green in color, although some species have brown or orange patterns. This is the ideal choice for beginners since they need little knowledge about taking care of this species.

Senegal Chameleons

This species of the Chameleon is very popular due to its shy temperament and small adult size. They are a bit larger than the pigmy’s but smaller than most of the chameleons, such as the Panther. This species is attractive are very attractive, but their color changes depending on the surroundings and mood.  Many are solid, soft green, which sometimes include darker spots. These species do not like being handled despite the fact that they have a calm personalities. They thrive best when they are kept by experienced keepers who are not so much interested in handling them but just to view. The caring of this species can be very difficult, more so to beginners due to high humidity requirements.

Fischer’s Chameleon

The Fischer’s are unique species of Chameleons that originates from the Mountain ranges of Nguu in Tanzania. They have long tails, which have made some species to be called monkey-tailed Chameleons. The males of this species have a pair of longhorns, and this gives them another name; two-horned Chameleon. It has different shades of green, ranging from dark greenish-brown to vivid lime green.

Namaqua Dwarf Chameleon

This species is also known as the Western Dwarf Chameleon. It mainly lives in beach plants, and it originated from West Coat of Namibia and South Africa and later spread to the rest of the world, including the United States. This species can grow up to above six inches in length. These chameleons are a bit thicker and have a shorter tail compared to most species. The coloring of this species is grayish or dull brownish with some mottling. These chameleons have a series of grooves that run along their chins, and they are unique to this species.

Jeweled Chameleons

This species is also known as the Madagascar Forest Chameleon or the Campan’s Chameleon.  It is a fairly small lizard that grows to about five inches. This species originated from the Central Highlands of Madagascar before spreading to the rest of the world, including the United States.  Due to the loss of habitat, the Jeweled Chameleons are considered an endangered species.  It is known for its striking looks; this species is some shades of green with lateral striping and beautiful bright colored spots.

Graceful Chameleon

The graceful Chameleons originated from Central Africa before spreading to the rest of the world. They range from green, to yellow and to brown in color. They can grow up to a maximum of 15 inches in length, and they have a green stripe running the length of their bodies. Both the male and females are territorial, and they usually display some dramatic color changes when they feel threatened.  Whenever the females are seeking males, they will show yellow or orange color spots.

Elephant-Eared Chameleons

They are popularly known as the Short-horned Chameleon. It consists of large occipital lobes that look like oversized ears. The male chameleons of this species show a short, bony appendage that extends from their nose area. Their coloring ranges from a dull gray to a striking shade of blue and green. The Elephant eared chameleons found in different locations vary in some aspects, such as sizes which have made some researchers believe that this species is made up of closely related but different species.

Johnston’s Chameleons

The Johnston’s Chameleon is another three-horned chameleon that is also known as the Ruwenzori Chameleon. Before spreading to the rest of the world, this species originated from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These pets are not as commons as the rest of the species, but they are also kept as pets.

High Casqued Chameleon

This species is commonly known as the helmeted Chameleon or the Von Hoehnel’s Chameleon. They originated from the wild of Eastern Africa before spreading to the rest of the world.  They are small-medium in size, getting to a maximum length of 10 inches during maturity.  These species have a wide range of color variations. They have one horn, serrated crest, and spiny throat crest.

Rhinoceros Chameleon

This species is commonly known for its horn-like nose, which is mostly male; this species grows to a maximum length of 11 inches. It has a small crest on its head, as well as a crest that runs partway down its back. The coloring of this Chameleon is generally dull, mostly gray or light brown, with a blue-tinted snout and a white line that runs down the sides of its body.  These chameleons originated from Madagascar before spreading to the rest of the world, including the United States.  They prefer living in dry forests. The natural habitat of this species being forest areas; it is so endangered due to the continued deforestation. It can, however, make a good pet for a home.

Armored Leaf Chameleon

This Chameleon is the largest genus Brookesia with a maximum length of up to 11 cm. They’re brown and spiny, and they easily blend with the eaves.  They originated from Northeastern Madagascar before spreading to the rest of the world.

Dead Leaf Chameleon

The dead leaf chameleon is also known as the Brown leaf chameleon.  The name is derived from the appearance of the reptile. The color of his species is brown, green, dark red, or a combination. They have a high flat body that resembles a dead leaf. They originated from Madagascar before spreading to other parts of the world.  These chameleons have some interesting horns and spiny scales. They are very beautiful, and this makes them ideal for a pet.

Malthe Chameleon

The Malthe Chameleon originated from Madagascar before spreading to other parts of the world. They are characterized by a large occipital and nose-like appendage that is found in the male species. The females display markings surrounding the occipital lobes and covering eyelids during the mating season. This species can be used as pets too.

Choosing a Healthy Chameleon

Whenever you are choosing a chameleon for a pet, it is important to make a well-informed decision to be able to get the best quality of pet health-wise. The general appearance of a chameleon can give a clue about its health.  Below are some of the things to look for when examining a potential pet chameleon;

  • The ability to get a good grip on branches.
  • No sighs of mouth rot that is characterized by green or cheesy-looking patches in the mouth.
  • The eyes should not be sunken.
  • The limps should be straight; otherwise, it may be a sign of metabolic bone disease.
  • It should have a clear, bright coloration.
  • It should be clean overall with healthy-looking skin that has no wounds, scratches, or bruises.

Is it Okay to Handle Chameleons?

The answer is Yes and No. Generally, the Chameleons do not like being handled. Although some may tolerate being handled, they do not enjoy it. This is because they are not used to even interacting with even other chameleons in their natural habitat. Some species, such as the Rudi’s and Jackson’s, do not react after being handled, although some are very territorial, and they will react whenever someone tries to handle them.

However, even if they do not react to being handled, they become aggressive when they are handled in excess.  They will attempt to bite you or go in a state of extreme stress. The skin color changes to brown, and they may stop eating.  It is therefore advisable to handle the in rare cases, and you should not play with them. They are ideal pets for just watching.


The chameleons are iconic and very beautiful creatures that are worth keeping a pet for those reptile lovers. They, however, have some specific care routines that need to be followed strictly if you want to raise a healthy pet.  This can be so challenging to some people.  It is therefore advisable to keep them if you are an active and attentive keeper who is ready to sacrifice their all to take care of the pet. Also, the ideal keepers of the chameleons should be those that want to keep a pet for display and not handling. If you follow all the guidelines in raising your chameleon pet, you will surely have a healthy and jovial pet.


What is the best Chameleon for a beginner?

The Veiled and Panther chameleons are ranked as the best species for a beginner since they do not need a lot of care, and they are so sensitive to humidity and temperatures.  They are also more readily available to almost all pet stores, and this means they are easy to access. The other species that can work for a beginner is the Oustlet’s Chameleon, although they need a bigger enclosure.

Leave a Reply