(Chamaeleo calyptratus)

In addition to the panther chameleon, the colour-rich Yemen chameleon also lives in Aquarium Berlin, and is native to the arid regions of Yemen. Yemen chameleons love the warm-humid to extremely dry climate, therefore they can be found in the wild near the southwestern coast of the Arabian Peninsula between the dry plateaus and the blooming tropical regions.


Yemen, Saudi Arabia

From warm and humid mountain slopes to dry plateaus

Plant food, insects, on rare occasions young rodents too


Approx. 50–60 cm in length

Up to approx. 200 g

Hatching times
Approx. 5 to 9 months after egg deposition

Achievable age
Up to 8 years

What you should know about Yemen chameleons
Yemen chameleons belong to the subfamily of 'true chameleons'. The other family constitute the smaller and mostly ground-dwelling Brookesiinae. Yemen chameleons can be identified by their distinctive 'helmet' and yellow-green markings. In contrast to the females, the males are not only equipped with a more imposing helmet, but also with a small heel spur.

The quick-change artist among the lizards

Probably the best known feature of the chameleon is its ability to change colour. However, many people mistakenly believe that chameleons assume the colour according to their surroundings for camouflage purposes. It is the case, that the colour depends on the mood of the creature. If it is irritated, for example, it may be quite literally 'black with annoyance'. On the other hand, if a chameleon wants to advertise its affection towards a female, it glows in the brightest of colours. If it is ill, it will take on a very pale colouring.

Beware of its whiplash tongue!
Chameleons can make a rather somewhat sluggish impression siting on a branch. However, their prey must be aware of the lightning-fast slingshot tongue, even at what would be an apparently safe distance. The chameleon's tongue, which is unique in its shape, resembles a rubber band and is able to reach one and half times the length of the chameleon's body, enjoying an enormous tensile force – it is often the case that the prey has no chance of escaping.

Is it true that …?
... Chameleons can move their eyes independently of one another? You bet! And even by 360 degrees. This ability is especially useful in detecting an enemy early without having to turn around to look, and conversely, to search the entire area for any approaching prey.

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