Chamaeleo (Chamaeleo) senegalensis
Scientific name Common name(s) alternate scientific names described by year size brood

Chamaeleo (Chamaeleo) senegalensis

Senegal Chameleon Chamaeleon subcroceus, Chamaeleo gymnocephalus, Chamaeleon galeoratus, Chamaeleon leptopus, Chamaeleon liocephalus, Chamaeleon senegalensis
see a species list of Chamaeleo
Daudin 1802 Medium Eggs

Abundantly distributed throughout equatorial Africa, C. senegalensis inhabits dry savannahs and gallery forests. Along with C. gracilis and dilepis, senegalensis is among the most frequently imported of African chameleons. Females grow to a total length of 12 inches. Males are slightly smaller. Although highly aggressive toward conspecifics, they are shy toward keepers.

Concave casque with a crown-shaped orbital crest. Homogeneous scalation except for small conical scales forming a low dorsal crest. A small gular and ventral crest is composed of white or cream-colored scales. Females are typically a uniform green or brownish green but may exhibit a striking pattern of yellow or orange dots on a black or dark brown background when gravid. Males tend to have more gray and brown, often arranged in 4 roughly triangular blotches, widest toward the dorsum and more pointed toward the ventrum. The interstitial skin of the gular region is often orange. Aside from the subtle color differences mentioned above, males exhibit a broader tail base.

Females lay 2 clutches per year with up to 70 eggs in a single clutch. Sexual maturity is reached in 5-6 months. Although C. senegalensis is among the most frequently imported and least expensive chameleons, they have been extremely difficult to keep in captivity and captive breeding programs have been spectacularly unsuccessful. A primary reason for these difficulties seems to be the heavy parasite loads typically found in wild caught animals. A series of fecal checks is, therefore exceedingly important. It is for these reasons that we suggest that these animals are unsuitable for all but the most experienced keepers.

Contributed by E. Pollak

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