Full name: Chamaeleo chamaeleon (Linnaeus, 1758)

This family include 197 different species most of which occur in Africa and Asia. They are very slow-moving, diurnal lizards which have adapted to arboreal living. They have laterally compressed body, swollen eyes able to operate independently, toes and tail evolutionary adapted for holding small branches and stabilizing the animal on the trees and a unique ability to change the color of their skin for easy cover in surrounding vegetation. In Cyprus only one representative of this family is occurred, the common chameleon.


Medium sized lizard with body length not exiting 30cm. Triangular pyramid shaped head that looks like a helmet. Swollen eyes, fingers like forceps and agile tail capable of winding around branches. The main body color is pale green with darker brown or dark green formations. Due to the presence of specialized chromatophores cells in the upper layer of the skin, it has the ability to change its color for better camouflage in vegetation, attracting mates or for repel enemies and rivals.


Commonly found in dense bushy or maquis vegetation at lowlands, although not absent from crop or gardens with rich vegetation. It occurs from the coast to an altitude of 1.400 meters.


It feeds mainly on insects (flying or terrestrial) that captures through projecting its sticky tongue. It can also consume plant matter if needed (fruits, nuts and leaves).


Lays 5-40 eggs in holes in the ground during autumn. Reproduction takes place during summer while the eggs are hatched in late spring early summer of the next year.

Global distribution: South Spain, north Africa, Malta, Samos, Chios, Cyprus, south Turkey, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula.


Status: Not very common


Special protection:
• Protected by European Directive 92/43/EC (Annex IV)
• Protected by the Cyprus Law 153 (I) 2003 (Annex III)
• Protected by the Bern Convention (Annex II/IIa)

About Us



Herpetological Society of Cyprus (HSC) was established in 1990 with the aim of promoting, studying and conserving Cyprus’ herpetofauna. As part of its work, HSC fulfill presentations, educational seminars, studies and researches, along with other activities that relates with informing and educating the public about reptiles Cyprus.

Contact Details
           Address:   Herpetological Society,
                            P.O box 61435,
                            Paphos, Cyprus
           Tel:          +357 26 967600
           Fax:         +357 26 967007
           Email: HerpetSocietyCy@gmail.com


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