Questions and Answers

By Christopher V. Anderson


Anderson, C.V. (2005). Questions and Answers. Chameleons! Online E-Zine, February 2005. (

Q. Chameleons as Gifts

Where can I buy a chameleon? How long do they usually live? I need an answer soon because I wanted to buy one for my friend that was recently diagnosed with cancer.

A. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be the answer you wanted. Chameleons are very delicate animals whose care should not be taken lightly. When one is considering purchasing a chameleon for a friend, they really should be sure this is something their friend is willing to put the effort into and something that both you and your friend are prepared to care for. In this case, with the difficult road your friend will likely face, I don’t think a chameleon will be a wise gift. Chameleons have the ability to be rather long lived when cared for properly but their care can be rather intensive. With as much as your friend has on their plate at the moment, adding a chameleon and all its care is probably not wise. Good luck to you and your friend!

Q. Parthenogenesis in chameleons

Hello, could you tell me if there are parthenogenic chameleons, Brookesia, maybe? I’m very interested, thank you.

A. Parthenogenesis is the ability of an animal to reproduce without having their eggs fertilized by another specimen of the same species. Some reptiles, like some Whiptail Lizards (Cnemidophorus sp.), are known to reproduce in this manner. Studies of Rhampholeon boulengeri have indicated a low occurrence of males within the population. It has been suggested that this species may be capable of parthenogenic reproduction although scientific confirmation of this does not exist (Necas, 2004).

Q. Back Issues!

Could you send me all the back issues please

A. All back issues are available online by clicking “Past Issues” on the toolbar at the top of this page. They can also be searched by common theme by clicking “Article Reference” next to the “Past Issues” tab.

Q. The Chameleon Eye

Hi all, Hey has anyone ever seen a "lazy" eye in a cham? What I mean is that one of his eyes travels to the front towards his nose and stays there like he is crosseyed? - I can gently pull it back and it will stay for a bit - then goes right back? I have put drops in to flush out anything that may be in there - and it doesn’t seem to hurt him????

A. Chameleons are capable of looking in two directions at the same time, their eyes are not designed like ours such that they look at the same place all the time. My first inclination with your question is to make sure you are not observing a normal behavior where the chameleon is looking in two directions. If, however, your chameleon is not doing so in a normal manner, you should consider having it checked by a qualified vet. Diagnosis of the cause of such a problem without consulting a vet would be very difficult as the possible causes for such a disorder could be diverse and include, among other thing, parasitic, trauma or nutritional causes.

Male Calumma p. parsonii looking two directions at once. Photo courtesy of Chris Anderson.

Q. Captive Longevity?

What is the average lifespan of a chameleon in captivity?

A. There is a significant variation between the average lifespan of a chameleon in captivity and the lifespan a chameleon is capable of in captivity. There is also a significant variation of lifespans among different species. Unfortunately, with the number of chameleons that are not properly cared for and that die at a young age, the average life span of any species in captivity is pretty short. Some species of chameleon are only thought to live 3-6 years (ex: Furcifer lateralis) while other species are known to live upwards of 20 years old (ex: Calumma p. parsonii). A male veiled can live between 8-12 years if well cared for although this is not the norm.

Q. C. melleri, AGAIN!?!

Could you provide more articles on Meller's Chameleons & their care?

A. I’m glad you enjoyed the articles on C. melleri that have been done in past issues. I’m sure in the future we will do more articles on this species. We currently are looking to expand our article diversity with information on other species as well but in the mean time, we’ve added a new link to our links section to The Melleri Discovery website. This is a very good new source of information on this amazing species and I’m sure you’ll find it and its accompanying email list enjoyable!


Necas, P. (2004): Chameleons Nature’s Hidden Jewels. Second Edition. Lanesboro, MN (Zoo Book Sales).

Christopher V. Anderson

Chris Anderson is a herpetologist currently working on his Ph.D. at the University of South Florida after receiving his B.S. from Cornell University. He has spent time in the jungles of South East Asia, among other areas, aiding in research for publication. He has previously traveled throughout Madagascar in search of, and conducting personal research on, the chameleons of the region. He has traveled to over 35 countries, including chameleon habitat in 6. Currently, Chris is the Editor and Webmaster of the Chameleons! Online E-Zine and is studying the kinematics and morphological basis of ballistic tongue projection and tongue retraction in chameleons for his dissertation. Chris Can be emailed at or


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