Pied Chameleon

Pied Chameleon: A Comprehensive Guide

Chameleons are some of the most peculiar and interesting animals in the animal kingdom. With their ability to change colors and their unique morphology, they have fascinated humans for centuries. Among the many species of chameleons, the pied chameleon is a particularly captivating one.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the pied chameleon, its characteristics, habitat, behavior, diet, and much more.

Physical Characteristics

The pied chameleon (Furcifer Variegatus) is a species of chameleon native to Madagascar. It is a medium-sized chameleon, with males growing up to 45 cm in length and females up to 30 cm. The males tend to be more brightly colored than females, with brighter blues and greens on the head and neck, and a more prominent dorsal crest. Females, on the other hand, tend to have more muted colors, with shades of brown and grey dominating their coloration.

Like all chameleons, pied chameleons have large eyes that can move independently of each other. They also have prehensile tails, which they use to cling onto branches or other surfaces. The feet of pied chameleons have two toes that point forward, and three toes that point backward, allowing them to grip onto surfaces better.


Pied chameleons are native to Madagascar, where they inhabit the rainforests, the dry forests, and the savannas of the island. They are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time in trees or other elevated positions. They are also heat-loving animals, which means they need a warm, humid environment to thrive.


Like all chameleons, pied chameleons are known for their ability to change color. They do this to communicate with other chameleons, attract mates, or blend in with their surroundings to avoid predators. However, contrary to popular belief, chameleons do not change color to match the color of the surface they are standing on. Rather, they change color in response to their mood, temperature, or light exposure.

Pied chameleons are also known for their ability to move their eyes independently of each other. This helps them scan their surroundings for prey or predators. They are also capable of swiveling their heads 180 degrees, giving them a wide field of vision.


Pied chameleons are insectivorous, meaning they feed primarily on insects. Their prey includes crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches, and moths, among others. They also occasionally consume small vertebrates, such as lizards or baby birds.

Pied chameleons have a unique way of capturing their prey. They extend their tongue, which can be up to twice the length of their body, towards the victim at a high speed. The tongue is coated with a sticky substance that adheres to the prey, allowing the chameleon to pull it back into their mouth.


The breeding season of pied chameleons typically occurs during the rainy season, which varies depending on the region. During this time, males become more brightly colored and aggressive, competing for the attention of females.

After mating, females will lay eggs on the forest floor or in holes in trees. The number of eggs can range from 20 to 80, depending on the age and size of the female. The incubation period for these eggs ranges from 8 to 12 months, after which the hatchlings will emerge.

Conservation Status

The pied chameleon is currently listed as a species of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. However, their populations are declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as overexploitation for the pet trade.

Comparing with Other Chameleons

Pied chameleons are just one of the many species of chameleons. Here’s a look at how they compare to some of the other chameleon species:

Veiled Chameleon: The Veiled chameleon is another species of chameleon that is native to Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They are larger than pied chameleons, with males growing up to 50 cm in length. They are also more brightly colored than pied chameleons, with shades of green, blue, orange, and yellow dominating their coloration.

Panther Chameleon: The Panther chameleon is a species of chameleon native to Madagascar. They are larger than pied chameleons, with males growing up to 45 cm in length. They are also highly variable in their coloration, with males displaying bright blues, greens, reds, and purples on their body.

Jackson’s Chameleon: Jackson’s chameleon is another species of chameleon native to East Africa. They are smaller than pied chameleons, with males growing up to 35 cm in length. They are also known for their prominent three-horned casques on their head, which gives them a distinct appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are pied chameleons good pets?

A: Pied chameleons can make good pets, but they require specialized care and attention. They need a warm and humid environment, with access to plenty of branches and foliage to climb on. They also require a varied diet of insects and occasional vertebrates. If you are considering getting a pied chameleon as a pet, make sure you do your research and have the necessary equipment and knowledge to care for them properly.

Q: Can pied chameleons live together?

A: Pied chameleons are solitary animals, and they do not typically tolerate the presence of other chameleons. If you want to keep multiple chameleons, it is recommended to provide them with their own enclosure.

Q: How long do pied chameleons live?

A: Pied chameleons have a relatively short lifespan, with males living up to 4 years and females up to 2 years in the wild. In captivity, they can live slightly longer, with males living up to 7 years and females up to 5 years.


Pied chameleons are fascinating animals that inhabit the forests and savannas of Madagascar. With their unique morphology, ability to change color and their unique hunting style, they have become a subject of fascination for biologists and animal enthusiasts alike. However, their populations are declining, and as with all species, it is important to protect their habitats and reduce their exploitation for pet trade.