It does not surprise me that chameleons are illegal in Australia. Many animals are illegal to keep as pets in different parts of the world. I think one of the main reasons is to help preserve local fauna. The introduction of a non local animal to an area can have disastrous effects. If that animal thrives in the area and reproduces, it can threaten the survival of other local animals over time. You would be amazed at how many people let their exotic animals free in their local area when they are tired of caring for them.
To answer your question- Yes, ALL species and subspecies of chameleons are strictly prohibited in Australia. When I was in Cairns, Australia I visited their zoo, which had a pair of Jackson's chameleons. I questioned one of the employee's wether they were illegal, and he replied "We had trouble allowing them to even stay at our zoo!"
Australia seems like a great place to have a cham (Except for the low humidity, perhaps) but the goverment doesn't want anything to do with a couple of chams escaping, breeding, and competing with indigenous wildlife. (Which I find highly unlikely, but hey- That's why I'm not President ) Same thing happened in Australia with Rabbits, the laws have been that way ever since.
It is my understanding that chameleons are available in Australia on the black market, if you know the right people. From what I have heard, a veiled chameleon runs about $950.00 US, and a pair of panther chameleons run about $3500.00 US. What really amazed me was that green iguanas, also illegal, run well over $1500.00.
If I lived in Australia, I think I would stick to bearded dragons.
In most cases I don't think a chameleon would offer much of a threat. A bigger threat would be from an unethical breeder who decides they want to do something else with their time and end up dumping their recent clutch(es) into the nearby woods. Chameleons need specific environments to live and reproduce, so probably not a big threat in many places. I recently saw on a discovery (or similar) special that mentioned some fauna were affected by the introduction of jacksons to Hawaii. I have heard of wild veileds in Hawaii and Florida.
From what I have heard, a veiled chameleon runs about $950.00 US, and a pair of panther chameleons run about $3500.00 US. What really amazed me was that green iguanas, also illegal, run well over $1500.00.
I totally agree with you when you mentioned that a small colony of chams weren't even capable of harming an indegenous population (Let alone surviving) in Australia. I concur with that, but the government insists that there is the possibility of that happening, and chameleon's bringing sickness the native wildlife.
LOL- Yep, I knew that they would be trading chams in the black market. They're still illegal, but I betcha' the government is oblivious to the fact they're all over the black market!
Does anybody know anyone looking for a pair of Panthers in Australia??? If so please contact me imediately..haha. I'm joking....Although someone in the states willing to pay that much is more than welcome to contact me anytime!
I know this is an old thread but let me set everyone straight.
All non-native reptiles are illegal in Australia, they have climates that mimic every part of the word except the poles so at any point any type of reptile could escape/be released and start a breeding population.
They have high humidity in the northern states, especially QLD and NT. Chameleons would have no problems with establishing.
There are pockets of corn snakes established already in Sydney.
Another reason is we have very strict quarantine rules, OPMV was brought into the country through smuggled reptiles.
Adult pair of panthers are around $3500, Veileds are around 2-300 for hatchlings, 500 for yearlings or 2000k for an adult breeding pair. Of course all on the black market from breeding stock that has been around prior to the exotic laws existing.