Fun Lesser Chameleon Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Lesser Chameleon Facts For Kids

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Are you fascinated by chameleons? Here are some interesting facts about the lesser chameleon. The lesser chameleon (Furcifer minor) or otherwise known as minor's chameleon is a chameleon species that is endemic to Madagascar. It stays in the cool regions of the central highlands of the country. The population of these lizards is threatened due to the loss of habitat by human activities. Today, lesser chameleons are deemed Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This chameleon's most unique feature is that females of the species are more vibrant than males. They have incredibly long tongues. This tongue helps them catch prey at an extremely fast pace. They also have prehensile tails that help them hang onto tree branches. A female lesser chameleon lays about 12-16 eggs per clutch on average. She lays a maximum of three clutches per year.

Read on to know more about the lesser chameleon morphology, and characteristics. If you like this article, then also check out Cape dwarf chameleon facts and jeweled chameleon facts.

Fun Lesser Chameleon Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Cockroaches, beetles, flies, crickets

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

12-16 eggs

How much do they weigh?

3.5-4.2 oz (100-120 gm)

How long are they?

6-9 in (15.2-23 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Males - brown, gold, orange-reddish, grayish-beige with dark spots Females - emerald green with red, blue, and purple spots

Skin Type

Bumpy, textured skin

What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Grasslands, Primary Dry Forests, Coffee And Cocoa Plantations











Lesser Chameleon Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lesser chameleon?

Lesser chameleons are one of the most beautifully colored species of chameleons.

What class of animal does a lesser chameleon belong to?

The lesser chameleon belongs to the class Reptilia of animals.

How many lesser chameleons are there in the world?

The population of the lesser chameleons in exact numbers is not known. However, they are known to be abundant in their habitat range in Madagascar, whether it is a protected area or a disturbed one. Even though they have the ability to adapt to the changes in their surroundings, their numbers are decreasing. Their habitat range is fragmented and spread across many areas throughout Madagascar, making it harder to keep a track of their population.

Where does a lesser chameleon live?

These reptiles are indigenous to Madagascar. They usually inhabit the central highlands of the country. About 143 mi (230 km) south of Antananarivo, these lizards live from Itremo and Ivato to Ambositra. However, the records of these lizards living in Ambositra and Betafo are old and they can't be found any more.

What is a lesser chameleon's habitat?

Lesser chameleons occupy the cooler regions in the central highlands of Madagascar. They mainly live in dry habitats, like primary dry forests, grasslands, vegetations, coffee plantations, and pasturelands. They are found within the elevation range between 0.7-1 mi (1100-1690 m). Their habitat range is heavily fragmented due to savannah lands in the middle.

Who do lesser chameleons live with?

The lesser chameleon is a solitary species. At times it even shows aggressive behavior towards lizards of its own species. These chameleons only come together during the breeding season.

How long does a lesser chameleon live?

The exact lifespan of this lizard species is not known. However, chameleons, in general, live for only about two to three years in the wild. However, they might live longer in captivity if they're cared for adequately.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the lesser chameleons occurs sometime around January-February. The males and females mature sexually at the age of five to nine months. Not much is known about the courtship behavior between the male and female. After copulation, the gestation period is about two to five weeks. At the end of it, the female lays about 12-16 eggs per clutch on average. The females lay a maximum of three clutches in a year. The incubation period of the eggs is about eight to nine months. The egg takes about 73.4 F (23 C) temperature on average during this period of time. Not much is known about the parental care done by this species.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the lesser chameleon species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is listed as Endangered. The species is threatened due to loss of habitat because of logging, mining, and agricultural activities. Although this species can adapt to the changes in its surroundings, a sudden loss of habitat affects their numbers negatively. Some preservation actions are being taken, like declaring some parts of their habitats as protected areas. However, more stringent conservatory actions are needed.

Lesser Chameleon Fun Facts

What do lesser chameleons look like?

Lesser chameleons are small to medium-sized chameleons. They are beautifully colored and unlike other species, females of this species are more vibrant than males. The males have brown, gold, or grayish-beige-colored skin with darker colored bands. During courtship, they can even show bright colors, like yellow, orange, and black. The females, on the other hand, have emerald green-colored skin with purple, red, and blue spots or patterns on the sides of the body, and bright red spots on the head. The female shows more vibrant colors when she's rather unreceptive of the approaching male. Other than their colors, the one thing that sets them apart is the two nose horns of the males that stay side-by-side, while the females only have small nubs.

Furcifer pardalis

How cute are they?

Considering their beautiful colors, they can be considered pretty cute. Many people choose to keep them as pets and the popularity is increasing as well. They are not aggressive towards humans either which adds to their charm.

How do they communicate?

A chameleon's ability to change body color helps them communicate with their own species and others. The other way the world's chameleons communicate is by their body language.

How big is a lesser chameleon?

An adult lesser chameleon is about 6-9 in (15.2-23 cm) in length. These chameleons are about two to three times shorter than veiled chameleons. The veiled chameleon is about 10-24 in (25-67 cm) in length.

How fast can a lesser chameleon move?

The exact speed at which a lesser chameleon can move is not known. Typically, they move at moderate speeds. However, when it comes to body color, they can change it to camouflage in their surroundings very fast. Also, they can catch insects extremely fast with the help of their tongues.

How much does a lesser chameleon weigh?

The exact weight of the lesser is not known. However, chameleons, in general, weigh only about 3.5-4.2 oz (100-120 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male or the female of the species don't have any specific names.

What would you call a baby lesser chameleon?

A baby lesser chameleon is known as a hatchling.

What do they eat?

Lesser chameleons are insectivorous lizards. The ones living in the wild feed crickets, flies, beetles, cockroaches, like the oriental cockroach, and more.

Are they poisonous?

These chameleons are not known to be poisonous at all. Earlier, they were quite popular in the pet market.

Would they make a good pet?

Chameleons generally make quite good pets. But you must keep a few things in mind if you want to keep them as pets. You can keep them in glass terrariums. That way, you can check up on them in a better way. It is wise to keep a single chameleon in one terrarium since they are known to show aggression towards their own species. You can keep soil and plants according to their natural habitat. Use a reptile hygrometer in order to keep an eye on the humidity in the terrarium. Lesser chameleons stay in warm and humid climates in their wild habitat and imitating that environment and temperature is necessary. These chameleons like basking in the sun and warm spots. You can keep a UV light, so they can bask in that light and its warmth. Try feeding them small insects many times a day rather than large ones few times a day. You can leave crickets open in the terrarium for your chameleon to hunt them to eat. Apart from this, you can feed them small beetles, like burying beetles, or cockroaches, and fruit flies.

Did you know...

The lesser chameleons are pretty famous as pets in the United States, but they vanished from the pet trade market when Madagascar stopped its export to preserve the animals. However, some European breeders captive-bred them and now, people can get a hold of them if they wish to take these lizards home.

What makes chameleons different from other animals?

There are many characteristics to the morphology of lesser chameleon and chameleon, in general, that set them apart from other animals. Such as, their ability to change their skin color at a fast rate. They have a prehensile tail that they can roll and which helps them grab onto tree branches. They have a long tongue. They can move this tongue at an incredibly fast pace to catch prey. They have such eyes which can move independently from each other. This allows them to look in different directions at the same time.

Why are chameleons going extinct?

About 36% of the world's chameleon population is threatened with extinction. The lesser chameleon among them has been deemed as an endangered species. Due to one of the major threats, habitat loss, their population is decreasing more.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our sand lizard facts and Gila monster facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable chameleon outline coloring pages.


Main image by Marius CONJEAUD.

Second image by Bernard DUPONT .

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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