Can you identify these chams?


Avid Member
These chameleons are often found in gardens and golf courses in South Africa, particularly in the coastal regions of the Southern Cape.
Can anyone tell me what species they are?

Also, what species are common in the wild in South Africa? (Obviously I can imagine the list would include the Knysna, Zululand, Transkei and Drakensberg dwarf varieties). Are there any bigger species native to South Africa?
(Note: I am particularly interested in South Africa, not the jungles and mountains of Central Africa).



Those are male Cape Dwarf Chameleons, Bradypodion pumilum. There are a number of dwarf species from SA (Bradypodion genus but very different then the Bradypodion from East Africa-there is actually a taxonomical split of the two groups in the works) and in addition to them, Ch. namaquensis and Ch. quilensis live in SA. No South African chameleon species may be exported from SA, however, except under scientific permits so you don't tend to see these species in captivity.

That explains a curious phenomenon I've experienced ever since I got my Veiled: whenever one of my friends or relatives has come over to see my new pet, they all exclaim, "That doesn't look anything like the chameleons I've seen before!"
I'm pretty sure it's because all the chameleons that people come in contact with here in their gardens/golf courses/the bush are Bradypodions. The only ones I've ever seen in the wild looked like these in the photos. That's why I was surprised to see an adult Veiled for the first time too - I'd always assumed chameleons were much smaller because of the ones I'd seen in the wild before.

Since learning more about Veileds, I've also figured out why we always see chameleons on the golf courses. I think it's because golf courses serve the same purpose as the wadis in Yemen do for the Veiled. They're like little oases in the middle of the urban jungle. There are always plenty of sprinklers going to water the fairways, so that would provide enough humidity, and the courses are usually heavily planted with trees. A great habitat for chameleons.

I'm glad South Africa has banned the exportation of their native chameleon species. At least its one step in the right direction. When I was a kid we always used to see chameleons around, but these days it's quite a rare occurrence.
Although I don't think that exportation of the animals for the pet trade is the biggest problem. It has far more to do with us wiping out their natural habitats. The very spot I live now was on the middle of a farm just over 10 years ago, with acres of wetland available. Now for about 10 miles in either direction it's just urban sprawl...

Ok, I'm rambling now. Thanks for your help with the identification.
Are there any species of Bradypodion - those more closely related to the South African ones - that are kept in captivity?
The South African Bradypodion species are extremely different from their East African name-partners, as I mentioned. The East African species are oviparous and often large (although some are quite small) while the South African species are all small and ovoviviparous. The SA Bradypodion are quite beautiful animals and have a number of very interesting morphological features.

Of the South African type Bradypodion, only two species occure outside of South Africa (well, not including Swaziland and Free State)-Bradypodion pumilum and B. setaroi. B. pumilum was introduced to the central coast of Namibia around Alexander Bay and Walvis Bay and B. setaroi is said to probaby extend into the most extreme South of Mozambique by the Swaziland boarder.

A few B. damaranum, B. thamnobates and a couple others occationally show up in European trade circles but parsonii are cheap by comparison in the European market. I've not heard of or seen any SA Bradypodion in the US in a number of years although there was a population of B. thamnobates in a couple collections for a number of years.


PS. Keep the pics coming!
Hey what gold courses do you find chameleons in Ive only found Cape dwarf chams In Hermanus western Cape right on the coast but havent foung any in Joburg do you know were to look in jhb and at what times.
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