14 Types of Chameleons to Keep as Pets

Types of Chameleons to Keep as Pets
Photo by Sindy Strife

There are only a few types of chameleons to keep as pets on a consistent basis, even though there are approximately 200 different species of chameleons in the world.

Chameleons make unusual and beautiful pets, but for them to remain happy and healthy, they require specialized care and attention.

Suppose you are looking for types of chameleons to keep as pets. In that case, we strongly recommend that you look for a chameleon that people once bred in captivity rather than one born in the wild.

This is because native populations are declining due to pollution and damage to their natural habitat. Since they can easily reproduce, there is no reason to take one away from its natural environment.

To assist you in becoming familiar with chameleons as pets, we have compiled a list of 14 types of chameleons to keep as pets.

1. Veiled Chameleon

Without a doubt, veiled chameleons are among the most sought-after species in the international reptile trade (and a great pet for beginners).

This is due, in large part, to the fact that they require relatively little maintenance and have stunning coloring.

In most cases, the body has horizontal stripes of yellow, green, and brown. However, much like other chameleon species, veiled chameleons can switch colors on a dime. These lizards are renowned for displaying a stunning array of colors.

The care requirements for Veiled Chameleons are not overly difficult to deal with, which makes them one of the best types of chameleons to keep as pets.

They can withstand a relatively wide temperature range and will automatically adjust their body temperature whenever necessary.

Maintaining consistent levels of humidity is also very important. This species requires constant humidity levels of at least 50 percent at all times. To our relief, reaching that threshold is not difficult at all if we mist the area frequently.

It is a common misconception that Veiled Chameleons enjoy being held; however, this is not the case. When handled an excessive amount, they are prone to becoming stressed out.

This particular species of Chameleon also favors living by itself. These chameleons will be quiet and unmoving if they are in an appropriate setting. But these aggressive tendencies can surface when there are other people around!

2. Meller’s Chameleon

The Meller’s Chameleon is a stunning reptile that is native to the mountainous regions of East Africa. However, it can be somewhat challenging to care for this species.

Most Mellers sold as pets today are captured in the wild and brought into captivity. It may take some time for these lizards to adjust to life in captivity, which can be a challenge for people who are just starting out with their interest in reptiles.

The good news is that Meller’s Chameleons will change their coloration to indicate whether or not they are stressed or uncomfortable.

These lizards take on colors ranging from bright yellow to green when they are content and healthy. However, when it feels threatened or anxious, the lizard’s color will dull or develop black spots on its body.

This particular chameleon species also has a couple of other distinguishing physical characteristics. To begin, they are fairly massive in size.

Adults can grow to be as long as two feet in length. In addition, they have a distinctive scalloped ridge that runs along the length of their back and a single rostral horn that protrudes from the top of their head.

This is the species that we recommend to experienced owners who are looking for something a little different to keep things interesting.

This Chameleon, in contrast to many others, has a distinctive appearance, which makes observing them a lot of fun.

They make not be the ideal types of chameleons to keep as pets for beginners, but as time goes on, you will grow to love these chameleons.

3. Panther Chameleon

Panther Chameleons are vibrantly colored reptiles that can change their appearance to match their surroundings.

These lizards are able to communicate with one another by changing color, and they can also absorb radiant heat. You might see them take on a variety of colors, including shades of green, red, and turquoise.

In most cases, males have more vivid coloring than females do. However, female Panther Chameleons have the ability to change their coloration from a stunning shade of pink to a high-contrast shade of red or black.

When it comes to females, the color change that occurs is almost always determined by how receptive they are to being bred.

In addition, the population has a discernible size gap between males and females. Males have the potential to grow to lengths of up to 20 inches, whereas females typically stop growing at a length of 12 inches.

Panther Chameleons are animals that prefer to live alone. They are prone to becoming aggressive toward other individuals, so it is best for them to live alone.

This particular species of Chameleon does not like being handled very much either. Even though it is not particularly aggressive, excessive handling may lead to stress.

4. Four-Horned Chameleon

The name “Four-Horned Chameleon” may give the impression that this species always has four horns on its skull; however, this is not always the case.

Some even have as many as six horns on their heads! In either case, the most distinguishing characteristic of this species is its horns.

Compared to other popular types of chameleons found in the trade, this variety of chameleons possesses more subdued colors. In most cases, they have redder and yellower tones that are more naturally occurring.

In addition, the pattern of their scales is more diverse. There may be some orange, blue, or purple splashes here and there. However, most of the body appears natural in appearance, making camouflage much simpler.

The Four-Horned Chameleon is among the best types of chameleons to keep as pets, even though it is best suited for avid reptile keepers who have some prior experience. This is due to the stringent requirements imposed by this species.

They require environments that are very similar to their natural habitats in Cameroon, which are very warm and humid.

They are unwilling to put up with a great deal of change, so you must keep a close eye on their living conditions.

5. Oustalet’s Chameleon

The Oustalet’s Chameleon is among the largest of the species that are currently in existence. Males can grow to lengths of about 27 inches at their maximum potential!

Even though females only grow to be almost half that size, they can still be difficult for owners without much experience to control.

In addition to their size, the environmental requirements of Oustalet’s Chameleons can be challenging to overcome. They require large enclosures and a significant amount of humidity in the air.

This particular chameleon species prefers it when the relative humidity is at least 70 percent. They are native to the wet forests of Madagascar, so it is not surprising that they have this preference.

A significant number of keepers give their chameleons a weekly bath of one-hour duration consisting of warm water.

This may assist in maintaining the lizard’s level of hydration. Despite this, it won’t be enough to compensate for the lack of humidity in their enclosure.

These lizards require a habitat that is densely planted and has a lot of substrates that are good at absorbing moisture. In addition to this, there must be consistent misting and temperatures that are relatively warm.

6. Carpet Chameleon

Another notable mention on our list of types of chameleons to keep as pets is the Carpet chameleon. The color markings found all over the body of the Carpet Chameleon are where the name “Carpet Chameleon” originates.

Spots, stripes, and circles are all possible patterns on any specimen. However, pregnant females’ already stunning markings become even more pronounced. Some females can have such intricate detailing on their bodies that they look like an oriental carpet.

Females are uncommon to be more elaborately decorated than males in the animal kingdom. As a consequence of this, numerous owners choose to keep females rather than males as their pets.

In most cases, males will exhibit green, white, and yellow hues in their coloring. There is also a possibility that you will see some black markings in various places.

This particular species of Chameleon is a more diminutive one. The majority will reach adult lengths ranging from six to ten inches when they mature. Because of their small size, Carpet Chameleons do not require a particularly large enclosure.

Having said that, they still require a substantial amount of decorations. This species originates from the island of Madagascar.

In most cases, you can find them in verdant rainforests packed with vegetation. Most captive Carpet Chameleons favor a setting similar to a forest, although they have also been spotting them in mountainous and desert environments.

This pet chameleon has a very textured appearance, which you can only fully appreciate if you see it in person.

7. Senegal Chameleon

No rainforests in West Africa are home to the Senegal Chameleon’s natural habitat, so you won’t find this species there.

These lizards are native to drier, more arid savannas. They are accustomed to spending more time in the sun and living in environments with more grass.

When kept in captivity, the enclosure needs to have a similar level of decoration. These lizards require a substantial amount of vertical climbing space, adequate air circulation, and a healthy dose of humidity in their environment.

The Senegal Chameleon maintains its hydration by drawing moisture from the air and drinking water from leaves recently rained on. Therefore, a reliable misting method or an automatic drip irrigation system is essential.

The Senegal Chameleon is one of the more diminutive species, which puts them on the list of types of chameleons to keep as pets. They can grow up to a length of about eight inches at their longest.

Senegals, in contrast to members of some other species, do not typically possess horns. They do not appear to be sporting a particularly large crown either.

However, they also have characteristics that are similar to other types of chameleons. These characteristics include a long tongue, conical eyes, and joined toes.

The coloration of Senegal Chameleons can range quite a bit from individual to individual. The majority are various shades of green and have faint banding and spots. There is a possibility that some will acquire a bluish or grayish hue.

8. Jackson’s Chameleon

Another well-known species that stands out due to its appearance is Jackson’s Chameleon. The horns are the most distinctive aspect of its appearance.

The face of the male specimens is adorned with three horns—a more prominent horn on the nose and two smaller ones below the eyes. These chameleons have thick, spiny ridges that run the length of their backs.

These lizards are born with a brown hue due to their immature state. After some months, however, they rapidly acquire their characteristic green color.

The males have more vibrant colors than the females. The dominant color is green, but there are also hints of blue and yellow scattered throughout the design.

Jackson’s Chameleon is very possessive of its territory. They must be kept in solitary confinement to avoid potentially aggressive behavior or fighting. These lizards dislike handling for the same reason.

After you have prepared their new home, you should only handle them again when you clean the enclosure. Even so, you still need to be careful while moving quickly to prevent undue stress.

9. Fischer’s Chameleon

There is a species of Chameleon called Fischer’s Chameleon, and the scientific community is still trying to learn more about it.

There are many chameleons currently for sale in the pet trade that people have been incorrectly identifying as either Fischer’s or Fischer’s subspecies. True Fischer’s Chameleons, on the other hand, are extremely uncommon.

Examining the species’ characteristic color pattern and facial features is the most reliable method for determining its identity.

The color of these lizards changes to a brilliant green. They have tall, rounded backs with a spine lined with soft spikes.

There is also a possibility that you will notice some hints of pale blue alongside some White stripes in a vertical orientation.

A distinct horn protrudes from the front of the head of Fischer’s Chameleons. Because of its consistency, a lot of people prefer to call the horn a tubercle instead. The horn has scales that have a bumpy texture. They have a striking feel similar to the texture of tree bark.

As one of the more diminutive chameleon species, Fischer’s Chameleon can only grow to a maximum length of about 11 inches.

10. Flap-Necked Chameleon

The Flap-necked Chameleon is a very popular reptile in the pet world and one of the best types of chameleons to keep as pets.

This particular species of Chameleon does exceptionally well when kept in captivity. The Flap-Neck Chameleon is adaptable and can survive in a variety of environments.

They feel most comfortable in temperatures in the upper 70s and humidity levels that are relatively moderate.

These lizards won’t have any problems maintaining good health as long as their environments are within acceptable ranges.

There are a few different Flap-Neck subspecies currently in existence. However, the majority of them will not grow to be longer than one foot in length. As a consequence of this, the amount of space required to house them is very manageable.

This species of Chameleon, like the majority of other chameleons, prefers to have a considerable amount of vertical climbing space. Additionally, they favor substrates that contain a lot of moisture and have a lot of vegetation.

The tropical regions of South Africa are the birthplace of this particular species of Chameleon. The coloration can differ quite a bit from one subspecies to another.

On the other hand, the majority will have a vivid green serving as the primary color. Some subspecies will be solid colors, while others will have distinct markings of white and black.

11. Pygmy Chameleon

The Pygmy Chameleon is one of the most distinctive species of its kind. You can probably tell just by looking at them that these lizards are on the diminutive side.

Most adults will not exceed a length of more than 3.5 inches at most. They are so small that you can hold them in the palm of your hand!

In terms of coloration, this species is not particularly vibrant. Pygmies can blend in better with the ground because their coloring is more muted than other species’ bright greens and yellows. Brown is the typical color, although more brilliant hues might show during the courtship process.

The fact that Pygmy Chameleons can thrive in groups is one of the reasons they are on this list of types of chameleons to keep as pets.

They will put up with a certain amount of company. But it would be best if you made preparations accordingly.

You must never house more than one male animal in a single enclosure. Otherwise, we can expect to see some territorial behavior.

12. Ambilobe Panther

There are various subspecies of the Panther, one of which is the Ambilobe Panther. The Panther Chameleon of this subspecies is the most common and widespread.

It is common knowledge that they have the most stunning appearance of any chameleon color. In addition, they exhibit all of the qualities that contribute to the Panther’s widespread acclaim, including an easy maintenance regimen, a sizable body, and a manageable weight.

The species of Ambilobe have highly vivid coloration. These lizards are typically brightly colored and can be any combination of red, blue, green, yellow, orange, or white.

Ambilobes, in contrast to many other Chameleon species, are among the most domesticated species and the ideal types of chameleons to keep as pets.

During the process of cleaning their enclosure, the males may sometimes climb onto their keepers’ hands.

Because of all of these advantages, the Ambilobe is a somewhat pricey pet. Adults cost at least $300, although the exact amount can vary according to their size and color.

13. Parson’s Chameleon

The Parson’s Chameleon, also known as Caumma parsoni, is one of the largest species of Chameleon in the world.

The largest of these species can grow to be 70 centimeters in length, which is larger than any other form of Chameleon.

A big reptile enclosure may be necessary for specific individuals due to their enormous size. Aside from those differences, the care of Parson’s Chameleons is relatively similar to that of other species.

The Parson does not have any instantly recognizable distinguishing features. Instead, the colors on these pet lizards are quite stunning.

This species exhibits an extensive range of color and pattern variation. They are different permutations of the colors green, blue, white, yellow, and brown.

They also feature huge, dark stripes running diagonally along their flanks. Some individuals are practically entirely white with green streaks! Unfortunately, the vibrant colors that make this species so desirable to retain also come at a higher price.

Some Parson cost more than $1,000. It isn’t easy to breed these lizards, partly because of their coloration and because breeding them takes a long time. The vast majority of eggs do not hatch for around 18 months after laying.

14. Usambara Pitted Pygmy

Like others in their genus, these chameleons have a lot in common with one another regarding traits. The most common color for them is a shade of tan, brown, or gray, and they have patterns that frequently seem like dead leaves.

The Usambara Pitted Pygmy is identifiable by the presence of diagonal stripes along the sides of its body. This species also has lips that are flattened, much like a bird’s beak. In addition to having longer tails, these lips serve to differentiate them from other pygmy species.

Only those with prior knowledge in the care of reptiles should consider keeping Usambara Pitted Pygmies. They have extremely particular demands for high humidity, which might be challenging to provide for keepers just starting.


We hope you found our rundown of the best types of chameleons to keep as pets to be interesting and helpful. Putting it all together was a lot of fun for us!

There’s a good explanation for why these lizards are in such high demand. Because of its one-of-a-kind appearance, calm demeanor, and (for the most part) simple maintenance requirements, owning one is a no-brainer for both inexperienced and seasoned pet owners.

Chameleons are stunning animals with various characteristics that set them apart and make them fascinating.

Depending on the species you want to maintain, they can be a significant duty to care for and are a considerable commitment; therefore, you will need to ensure that you have the necessary time and finances before moving.

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