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Veiled chameleon
Chamaeleo calyptratus

The veiled chameleon is one of the most commonly spotted species of Old World chameleons. As juveniles, they are usually light green, but they acquire bold bands of color as they mature.

Veiled chameleons have a long, sticky tongue that they use to catch insects, the main source of their diet. They are able to catch their prey by standing completely still and following the insect with their eyes, which are able to move independently of one another and even swivel almost 180 degrees.

Living mostly in trees, veiled chameleons have hands, similar to a human hand in an oven mitt—their 'fingers' are all fused together and they have a separate thumb—and a prehensile tail that they use to navigate between branches and leaves.

Females change color within 18 hours of a successful mating, which can occur up to three times a year, and then lay between 35 and 85 eggs that are buried in sand.

Veiled chameleon
© MSA 2005

Range: Yemen, southern Saudi Arabia
Habitat: dry plateaus, mountains, river valleys
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