The Veiled Chameleon is a large species of chameleon found in the mountain regions of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It is also sometimes referred to as the Yemeni Chameleon.
The male veiled chameleon has a green base color and, depending on its mood, this green will range from a bright lime green to a drab, dark olive color. The green base color is marked with stripes and spots of yellow, brown, and blue. Non breeding females as well as juvenile chameleons are generally a uniform green color with some white markings. Breeding and gravid females are a very dark green with blue and yellow spots. The prominence of these markings is dependent on several factors including health, mood, and temperature of the lizard.
This species is sexually dimorphic, meaning it is possible to tell the gender of an individual by looking at physical traits. Aside from the previously mentioned color differences, adult male veiled chameleons are large animals. It is possible for them to reach an over all length of 24 inches. Most specimens usually reach between 14 to 18 inches. Females are smaller with the average over all length, usually just below 12 inches. Males and females both have a decorative growth called a “casque” on their heads. The casque of a male chameleon is much taller than the female’s. Males also have a spur on each hind leg that the females do not have.
Like most chameleons, veiled chameleons are highly specialized tree dwellers. They have a flattened body that mimics a leaf and their feet are specially designed for grasping limbs and branches. Their prehensile tail acts as a fifth appendage and aids in climbing. Their eyes work independently of one another allowing the chameleon to look in front of and behind itself at the same time. They have a long sticky tongue that they use to capture their insect prey. Veiled chameleons are ambush predators and are capable of lying still for very long periods of time waiting for an unsuspecting locust to wander by.
Veiled Chameleons are omnivores and while their main diet consists of insects, they will occasionally consume the leaves and blossoms of various plants. This is especially true in times of drought when water is scarce. Like all chameleons, veiled chameleons prefer to drink water that is in drops. They do not always recognize standing water and may dehydrate if that is their only source.
Female veiled chameleons can produce up to 3 clutches of eggs a year, with each cluth containing 20-70 eggs. The eggs usually take 6-9 months to hatch.