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The Exotic &

Striking Veiled or

Yemen Chameleon

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The Veiled Chameleon, scientific name Chamaeleo calyptratus,
is the most commonly available species of its genus. It is
now often bred in captivity, especially in the United
States. Veiled Chameleons are often seen in pet shops,
primarily because they are an exotic and striking looking

Unfortunately, pet shop animal purchases are often impulse
buys and the new pets sometimes don't get the care they need
from their new and often inexperienced owners. Although
Chamaeleo calyptratus is a hardy species and can do well in
a normal home environment, it is still very important that
you research their needs just as you should do before taking
on the responsibility for any animal. Although Veiled
Chameleons are fairly easy to care for, they do, like most
animals, have some specialized needs about which you will
want to know.

The Veiled Chameleons, more properly known as Yemen
Chameleons, are large and amazingly colorful, with a
distinctive, tall, hood-like crest that is said to resemble
a "veil" such as is found on some lichens or mushrooms,
hence the common name. The bodies of adults are often
spotted, striped and speckled in any combination of blue,
green, yellow, orange, white and brown with a varying webbed
or spotted pattern of black, and both their top and bottom
lines are ridged with a row of short spines.

Even their large eyes may be dramatically colored, such as
blue with a black starburst pattern. Of course they also
have the chameleon ability to change color to match the
environment when threatened. A chameleon can change color
rapidly due to health issues, violation of its territory, a
perceived threat, season, gender, age, temperature, light,
presence of a mate, or other environmental changes.

The fairly long tail is prehensile, which helps them balance
when climbing, and their eyes rotate independently so they
can look behind and to the right and in front and to the
left of themselves at the same time. The tongue is sticky on
the end and shoots out to catch prey similar to the way
frogs and toads feed.

These lizards are native to Yemen and Saudi Arabia, but even
though those countries are primarily desert, Veiled
Chameleons are found in oases and other small pocket areas
that have higher humidity and more plant life than the
desert proper. The deserts and their oases both, however,
are prone to extreme temperature variations between day and
night. Normal temperatures in the daytime can be much over
one hundred degrees Fahrenheit (thirty-eight Celsius) and
nights may drop below freezing. Such extremes cause dew to
form on the vegetation, and this dew provided the moisture
necessary for life to both the vegetation and the animals
that dwell there.

As pointed out already, because of the harsh climate from
which they come, these lizards, unlike other chameleons, are
tolerant of a fairly wide range of climates, and because of
that they are much easier to keep in captivity than other
chameleon species. So if they strike your fancy, read the
other information on this on this and other websites, make
sure that you can adequately meet the animals needs, and
then find yourself a large, tall cage and a nice captive-
bred Veiled Chameleon and add some conversation-starting
color to your life.

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