At the moment, there are 193 species of these unusual lizards, for most of them the homeland is the island of Madagascar. The rest of the family lives in Africa, in the far south and the far north of the Arabian Peninsula, on the west coast of India and also on small islands in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. More recently, several new species of chameleons have been discovered that inhabit the steppes of California and Florida, which has led scientists into confusion.
The natural habitat of chameleons are trees, on the branches they live, and sleep, and hunt. Only some species have decided to move to the earth and now live in forests, African savannah, steppes and deserts.
Chameleons are medium sized lizards, their body length ranges from 17 to 30 cm. However, there are exceptions: Madagascar Chamaeleo oustaleti grows to 60 centimeters and more, and representatives of the genus Brucezia are not only the smallest chameleons, but also one of the smallest reptiles On the Earth – only 1,3-4,5 centimeters.
The body of the chameleons is strongly flattened on the sides and in many species resembles an oval in shape. At males on a head there are various educations: horns, crests, boraxes. In females, these “decorations” are either rudimentary in nature, or do not manifest at all. The limbs are long, adapted for climbing trees. The chameleon’s fingers look more like claws – grouped by 2-3 and covered with a single integument over the penultimate phalanx, they are directed in opposite directions. This shape of the fingers is great for climbing tree branches. The tail often performs the function of a fifth limb, lizards can wrap around the branches.