Famous for their swaying gait, zygodactylous feet and crests on their brow, chameleons are some of the most remarkable reptiles on the land. Most, especially the larger species have a strong prehensile tail that helps them maintain balance and sway through tree branches.
With an extensive assortment of about 200 diverse species, chameleons differ in sizes and colors. Almost 50% of all chameleon species originate from Madagascar.
Not only are these species unique and the world’s biggest, but also most diversified. In fact, around 59 different species come from the area.
Even if these colorful reptiles enchant most admirers, very few make ideal pets. This is because some species have to live in certain habitats or are too intimidating to keep in a home environment. Below is a comprehensive chameleon size and weight chart on selected species.
Chameleon Size & Weight Chart
|Chameleon Species||Size (in)||Weight (oz)|
How Fast do Chameleons Grow?
At birth, baby chameleons are usually very tiny and fragile. Surprisingly, after a few minutes, they attempt to walk and climb around. Chameleons do not take care of their young ones. For that reason, a hatchling would attempt to munch on small crickets and flies soon after birth.
In this stage, baby chameleons have an enormous appetite. This behavior continues until they reach one year, and then it declines. If fed well, a healthy chameleon grows really fast. In one week you can notice a tremendous difference both in weight and length.
Even if you may have to put several hatchlings in one terrarium, separate them as they grow up. Most important, avoid placing males in one enclosure to prevent territorial clashes.
Depending on the environment, a pet chameleon can live up to 20 years. Since they are hardy creatures and rarely fall sick, the only thing they require is a clean environment, quality food and supplements.
How Big are Baby Chameleons?
Either by live birth or hatching, baby chameleons are up and about immediately they hit the ground. With live births, chameleons drop the baby on a leaf.
Then, the little babies waggle and release themselves from the amniotic sac. For the laying eggs species, they position them in a 6 to 12 inches hole and walk away.
Usually, chameleon baby instincts prompt them to move before predators attack. In a homestead with prey animals like dogs, chameleon hatchlings may become an instant snack. With no one to take care of them, instant mobility acts more than a survival mechanism.
It is important to keep your baby chameleons in a safe enclosure to keep away predators and cannibalistic adult chameleons. Either way, baby chameleons are impressively daring and independent.
At birth, they measure about four inches and weigh estimated 1 gram. During the first few weeks, you may not notice a major difference in size between males and females.
When do Chameleons Reach Full Size?
Progressing from tiny delicate creatures to sturdy adult chameleons happens in a blink of an eye. Mainly, the duration depends on the species. While some species like Veiled and Meller chameleons gain more body mass, tiny Senegal and Pygmy take a slower pace.
Still, the amount of food you feed your pets plays a major role. Most species are insectivores, although some would not mind small rodents, veggies and fruits. You can also supplement their meals to enable them to grow quickly and more healthy.
Another important trick is gut loading the insects before feeding them to your pets. Under normal circumstances, it takes roughly a year for chameleons to mature. Keep in mind that it might take at least another six months for your pet to become sexually active.
Male vs Female Chameleon – Which is Bigger?
It is almost impossible to identify the sex of a chameleon at birth. This is because they do not develop the traits until several months later.
Few weeks after birth, male species become harder and slightly bigger than females. Although not common, some species like Senegal have slightly bigger females.
There is a common misconception about Jackson’s male chameleons growing horns around the mouth and eyes. In reality, some females bear this characteristic which can be very confusing to a novice pet owner.
In such a scenario, you can check at the area under the tail. If there is a small protruding bulge, then you have a male. It is worth noting that this sex-defining development becomes visible a couple of months after birth.
Another distinction between the sexes is coloration. In most species, males have bright and striking colors. When on heat and carrying eggs, females exhibit enthralling skin colors and patterns.
How Much Space Does a Chameleon Need?
Some reptile experts recommend one to invest in different sized cages to alternate their chameleons in all stages of life. While this idea sounds logical, it can be an expensive affair for most people. In addition, if you live in a small apartment, this may not appear practical.
The most prudent idea is to house your pets in a sizable enclosure that fits all chameleon species. A 24 x 24 x 48 inches terrarium would make a perfect home to your little friend. Apart from separating males, cluttering your home with diverse cages is uncalled for.
If you yearn for a cuddly companion, a pet chameleon will not give you that. Nevertheless, they are fascinating and interesting to the eye. In their multi-colored skin and delicate nature, chameleons are comforting and a pretty sight.
Before taking one home, talk to a reliable animal expert on the do and don’ts around this fascinating creature. Altogether, chameleons are not the easiest pets to keep, but it is a worthy investment.