The Veiled Chameleon, Chamaeleo calyptratus, is a species of chameleon found in the mountainous regions of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It is also called the Yemen Chameleon. These are expert tree climbers and tree dwellers. They have feet specially designed to grasp limbs and branches.
The male veiled chameleon has a green base color and, depending on mood, this green will range from a bright lime green to a dark olive drab. The green base color is marked with stripes and spots of yellow, brown, and blue. Non breeding females and 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.
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 overall length being just under 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.
They have a prehensile tail that 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. 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. Each clutch may contain 20-70 eggs. The eggs usually take 6-9 months to hatch. All the eggs in the same clutch will hatch simultaneously, as long as they are incubated together, the first egg to hatch will release chemical signal that will make the rest of the eggs to hatch. Female veiled chameleons will produce multiple clutches of eggs, with one male encounter.