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Chamaelio calyptratus.jpg
Veiled chameleon, Chamaeleo calyptratus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Lacertilia
Family: Chamaeleonidae
Genus: Chamaeleo
Linnaeus, 1758
Flap-necked Chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis)

Chamaeleo is a genus of chameleons found primarily in the mainland of sub-saharan Africa, but a few species are also present in northern Africa, southern Europe and southern Asia east to India and Sri Lanka. They are slow moving with independently movable eyes, the ability to change skin colouration, long tongue, prehensile tail and special leg adaptations for grasping vegetation. Males are generally larger and more colorful than females. Almost all species have a maximum length between 15 and 40 centimetres (5.9 and 15.7 in).

The vast majority are arboreal and typically found in trees or bushes, but a few species (notably the Namaqua Chameleon) are partially or largely terrestrial. The genus includes only oviparous species. With few exceptions, the chameleons most commonly seen in captivity are all members of Chamaeleo, notably the common, Senegal and veiled chameleons, but even they require special care.


Chamaeleo is the type genus of the family Chamaeleonidae.

All other genera of the subfamily Chamaeleoninae (Bradypodion, Calumma, Furcifer, Kinyongia, Nadzikambia and Trioceros) have at some point been included in the genus Chamaeleo, but are now regarded as separate by virtually all authorities.