Another very large chameleon of Madagascar, this lizard is slightly smaller than the very similar Oustalet’s chameleon, and differs in having fewer spikes in the crest on its back. It is also found higher up in trees.
Reaching 27 inches in length, this is the biggest species of chameleon. Along with insects, it eats small birds and mammals. Like other chameleons it shoots out its tongue with tremendous force to capture prey. It has a wide range in Madagascar.
While the familiar Green anole, often seen in local gardens, may be called the “American Chameleon”, it is actually related to iguanas and basilisks. True chameleons are an entirely Old World family. Of the 160 or so species, about half are native to Madagascar. While difficult to maintain, with proper care the Panther chameleon, from Madagascar’s tropical forests, does well in captivity. Its especially brilliant and variable colors make it popular with reptile breeders and zoos. Males can grow to 20 inches in length.