Last Updated on April 23, 2024 by themubbi63

Belonging to the genus Rhampholeon, pygmy chameleons are small chameleons that are mostly found in East and Central Africa. They’re also known as African leaf chameleons although true leaf chameleons (genus Brookesia) are only found on Madagascar. Pygmy-chameleons live in woodlands, forests, savannahs and thickets and are usually a dull brown, grey or green in color. Let’s take a look at the sizes of some pygmy chameleons.

Nguru Pygmy Chameleon Size

Nguru Pygmy Chameleon Size
Big World, Tiny Pygmy Chameleon: Meet Africa's Mini Marvels 2024

The Nguru pygmy chameleon (Rhampholeon acuminatus) is a species of chameleon that is endemic to Tanzania and is found in the Nguru Mountains and forest. Thus, it’s common name. 

It’s only found at an elevation of 1500 – 1600 m and is now a critically threatened species. The fact that it’s a popular aquirement for the pet trade doesn’t help. The Latin name means ‘to sharpen’ which is a reference to the sharp spines found on its head and body.

The Nguru pygmy chameleon is just about 47 – 57 mm (4.7 – 5.7 cm or 1.85 – 2.24 inches) in length from snout to the end of the tail.

Animal LengthInchesCentimeters
Nguru Pygmy Chameleon1.85 – 2.244.7 – 5.7

Moyer’s Pygmy Chameleon Size

The Moyer’s pygmy-chameleon (Rhampholeon moyeri) is also known as the Udzungwa pygmy chameleon since it is endemic to the Udzungwa Mountains in Tanzania. Its common name and scientific name, on the other hand, comes from David Moyer, who collected the first known specimen.

A pale green chameleon with a slightly humped back and a stubby tail, the Moyer’s pygmy-chameleon is capable of changing color. It is a vulnerable species for now. The maximum total length for a male is 51 mm (5.1 cm or 2 inches) and 64 mm (6.4 cm or 2.5 inches) for a female.

Animal LengthInchesCentimeters
Nguru Pygmy Chameleon2 – 2.55.1 – 6.4

Beraducci’s Pygmy Chameleon Size

Beraducci’s chameleon (Rhampholeon beraduccii) is also sometimes known as the Mahenge pygmy chameleon. Endemic to the Mahenge Mountains in Tanzania, this chameleon prefers living in forests at altitudes of 1200 – 1500 m. 

Related Article: Brookesia Micra: The Incredible Tale of the World’s Tiniest Chameleon 2024

The Beraducci’s pygmy chameleon is named after the Italian herpetologist Joe Beraducci and is one of the smallest of the chameleons. The maximum recorded snout to vent length is 28 mm (2.8 cm or 1.1 inch). The tail is very short, about one-fourth of the snout to vent length, which would put the maximum total length of this lizard at 35 mm (3.5 cm or 1.37 inches). 

Animal LengthInchesCentimeters
Nguru Pygmy-Chameleon1.373.5

Mount Inago Pygmy Chameleon Size

Found in Mozambique, the Mount Inago pygmy-chameleon (Rhampholeon bruessoworum) is native to just a few patches of forest at the base of Mount Inago. They like wet forests and live at altitudes of around 1400 m. 

The Mount Inago pygmy-chameleon is a critically threatened species due to loss of habitat from agriculture and logging. These chameleons were first described in 2014 and males tend to be slightly smaller than females. 

The males are 56 mm (5.6 cm or 2.2 inches) in length from snout to tail while the females are 62 mm (6.2 cm or 2.44 inches) in total length.

Animal LengthInchesCentimeters
Nguru Pygmy Chameleon2.2 – 2.445.6 – 6.2

Spectral Pygmy Chameleon Size

One of the more widespread pygmy chameleons in Africa, the spectral chameleon (Rhampholeon spectrum) is found in Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and might even be found in Nigeria, Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo. 

They’re short chameleons with short tails that are prehensile in nature (can grab things) and tend to live on forest floors and in shrubberies. They can change colors but only come in dull shades of grey and tan and brown.

Males and females are around the same size, although males have wider tail bases and can be differentiated in that way. They max out at 10 cm (3.93 inches). This makes them bigger than most other pygmy-chameleons.

Animal LengthInchesCentimeters
Nguru Pygmy-Chameleon3.93 10 cm

Marshall’s Pygmy Chameleon Size

Marshall’s pygmy-chameleon (Rhampholeon marshalli), which has several other common names including Marshall’s stumptail chameleon, is found in the forests of Zimbabwe and Mozambique in Africa. Its mode of disguise is to look like a leaf on a branch when it is standing still.

Named after the British entomologist Guy Anstruther Knox Marshall who collected the holotype, it is the smallest chameleon found in its range. It can vary in size between 35 mm to 75 mm (3.5 – 7.5 cm or 1.4 – 3 inches). Males are slightly smaller than females.

Animal LengthInchesCentimeters
Nguru Pygmy Chameleon1.4 – 3 inches3.5 – 7.5

Mount Mabu Pygmy Chameleon Size

The Mount Mabu pygmy chameleon (Rhampholeon maspictus) is so named because it is endemic to the tropical rainforests found on Mount Mabu in Zambezia, Mozambique. The Latin name, on the other hand, means ‘painted male’ which refers to the unusually bright color of most of the males. 

This is unusual because pygmy-chameleons are generally a drab-colored group. But the male Mount Maby pygmy chameleons often hold their color during long periods of time even while sleeping.

They’re usually found at an altitude of 900 – 1400 m and reach sizes of 6 cm (2.4 inches) in length from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail.

Animal LengthInchesCentimeters
Nguru Pygmy Chameleon2.46

Chapman’s Pygmy-Chameleon Size

Native to Malawi, Chapman’s pygmy chameleon (Rhampholeon chapmanorum) is a terrestrial species of chameleon that is usually found on forest floors. They’re found on the Natundu Hills of Malawi and were first discovered in the Matandwe Forest Reserve in 1992.

Named in honor of the husband-wife duo of African naturalists, James D. ‘Jim’ Chapman and Elisabeth G. ‘Betty’ Chapman, they’re a critically endangered species (just like most other pygmy-chameleons). They grow to a maximum total length of 62 mm (6.2 cm or 2.44 inches).

Animal LengthInchesCentimeters
Nguru Pygmy Chameleon2.446.2

Conclusion

The world of pygmy chameleons is a fascinating one, filled with incredible diversity in size and special adaptations! From the critically endangered Mount Inago pygmy-chameleon to the larger spectral pygmy chameleon, each species plays a unique role in its ecosystem. Let’s continue to learn about these tiny titans and protect their precious habitats!

FAQs

How do pygmy chameleons camouflage themselves?

Many pygmy-chameleons blend in with leaves using their brown, grey, or green colors. They may even stay still and flatten their bodies to appear like a leaf on a branch! Some species can even change color slightly.

Can I keep a pygmy chameleon as a pet?

While captivating, pygmy-chameleons have specific needs. Research their care requirements carefully. They thrive in controlled environments, making them challenging pets. Consider admiring them in zoos or protected areas!

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