The Cameroon Stumptail Chameleon

Did you know that dwarf chameleons have a very unique way to deter predators and rival chameleons? They vibrate like a cell phone!

At the Houston Zoo, guests can see a pair of male and female Cameroon stumptail chameleons inside the Reptile and Amphibian House. The pair came to the Zoo under tragic circumstances just one year ago.  In October 2013 the Zoo’s herpetology department received the two chameleons from a United States Fish & Wildlife confiscation.  During the raid, more than 500 of these tiny chameleons were confiscated from someone attempting to illegally import them into the pet trade in the US. These animals came into the United States in despicably poor condition, severely dehydrated and overcrowded.  Of that original 500, only around 50 animals survived to be sent to different AZA accredited facilities.  The pet trade and habitat loss due to illegal logging are the major threats to the survival of this and many other species.

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This is a very small species of chameleon reaching a staggering length of 2-2.5”.  Stumptail chameleons have a very short lifespan of only 1-3 years on average.  They live in evergreen to semi-evergreen wet forests of Western Africa.  Typically, this species will lay 1-2 eggs up to six times a year.  It takes 45-100 days for the hatchlings to emerge.

Once at the Houston Zoo after a brief stay in the Veterinary quarantine holding building they made their way to the Reptile and Amphibian building.  Almost one year to the day of their arrival, our first baby stumptail chameleon was born on exhibit with mom and dad. This little one is only 3/4″ long and a mere 0.4 grams! We hope this is the first of many to come!

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