Distribution

Chameleon Care Guide

Chameleon Care Guide

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Chameleons occur naturally only in the Old World. Africa (including offshore islands) has the highest concentration of species and subspecies, with all 27 members of the genus Bradypodion, all 14 forms in the genus Rhampholeon, and 59 forms in the genus Chamaeleo, totaling 99 species and subspecies. Forty percent of the world's species inhabit Madagascar and offshore islands, including 19 of the 21 members of the genus Furcifer, all 27 forms in the genus Brookesia, and 28 forms in the genus Calumma, for a total of 73 species and subspecies. The eight remaining forms are from Yemen (one),

A veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) catches a cricket. (Photo by Animals Animals ┬ęStephen Dalton. Reproduced by permission.)

loss of their complex environmental niches in the future, whether from deforestation, modification, or climatic change. Some chameleon species have adapted to the degraded vegetation that invariably accompanies the burgeoning human population in underdeveloped countries. Unprotected natural forest is frequently burned or cut for grazing, agriculture, fuel, and housing. Sometimes agriculture, such as fruit or coffee trees, provides alternate habitat for arboreal creatures like chameleons, but such crops as rice do not.

There are chameleon species that utilize vegetation in or near virtually every forest type, including lowland evergreen broadleaf rainforest, semi-evergreen moist broadleaf forest, deciduous or semi-deciduous broadleaf forest, thorn forest, upper and lower montane forest, cloud forest, disturbed natural forest, and exotic or native species plantations. Other species live in grassland, scrub, or semidesert conditions and can be found from sea level all the way up to elevations of nearly 15,000 ft (4,500 m).

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