Veiled Chameleon

Chamaeleo calyptratus

Image of a veiled chameleon

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Why is it important to report chameleon sightings?

The veiled chameleon is not native to Australia and if given the opportunity could populate a wide range of landscapes across Australia. Their ability to establish in new areas is demonstrated in Hawaii where feral populations impact on native species and have the potential to introduce new animal diseases.

Veiled Chameleons in Victoria

Veiled chameleons are classified as a Controlled Pest Animal under the Victorian Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. The importation, keeping, breeding and trading of this species, without appropriate permits, is illegal and penalties apply.

Close up image of two green chameleons on a branch.

Reporting a veiled chameleon sighting

Reports of veiled chameleons are critical to Agriculture Victoria’s efforts to protect Victoria from the impacts of the species. If you think you have found a veiled chameleon, report it immediately. Please provide clear photos and descriptions of where and when the animal was sighted. Do not attempt to approach or handle the animal. All reports are responded to as a priority and may result in trapping, surveillance and the removal of confirmed animals.

How to identify a Veiled Chameleon

Close up image of a green chameleon on a branch.


Male veiled chameleons grow to be approximately 60 centimeters long from the snout to the tip of the tail. Females are generally shorter, reaching around 35 centimeters in length, but tend to have thicker bodies.


Newly hatched offspring are born pastel green in colour and develop stripes and different colours as they mature. Adult females are green with white, orange, yellow, or tan mottling. Adult males are brighter with more defined bands of yellow or blue and some mottling.

Distinctive Features

Veiled chameleons are able to change their colour in response to their environment, mood, and temperature. They turn black/grey when they are upset. Veiled chameleons camouflage in order to avoid predators and hunt prey more effectively. Veiled chameleons also have a prehensile tail which allows them to grip onto branches and other surfaces.


The veiled chameleon is an arboreal (tree-dwelling) species. It is native to the south-western Arabian Peninsula where it lives in a number of habitat types, including plateaus, mountains, and valleys. It prefers warmer temperature, generally between 24 to 35 °C.


The veiled chameleon feeds primarily on insects, however, it is one of several chameleon species also known to consume plant matter. They can breed multiple times in a year, Veiled chameleons use colour signalling to communicate, typically brightening their colouring before approaching a rival as a signal of aggression.

The Exotic Pet Trade

Veiled chameleons have the potential to fall victim to the illegal pet trade in Victoria where they are selectively bred and traded on the black market. The illegally keeping of veiled chameleons poses one of the greatest risks of the species establishing in Victoria. The illegal exotic pet trade can be cruel with animals suffering from starvation, dehydration, and injury during transit. Animals can be concealed in luggage where they are often bound, bagged, and gagged to prevent unwanted detection during transit. Illegal buying a veiled chameleon only encourages this illegal pet trade. Like many exotic species, veiled chameleons make poor pets. They do not enjoy being handled and have complex keeping requirements. They can also harbour parasites which can put domestic pets and people at risk.


This publication may be of assistance to you, but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss. or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication.

More information

For more information visit the Agriculture Victoria website or call the customer service centre on 136 186.

Authorised and published by Department of Energy, Environment & Climate Action, 8 Nicholson Street, East Melbourne. September 2023.

If you would like to receive this publication in an accessible format, such as large print, audio or in another language, please call DEECA on 136 186, email customer.service@agriculture.vic. or visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Page last updated: 15 Nov 2023