The Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) comes from the mountainous desert areas of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It is unique for its beauty and is legendary for its extreme territoriality and aggressive behavior towards its own kind. The high hood (or casque) may range from 3 to 4 inches in height, a very impressive adornment. The female's casque is much lower. The casque has several functions. It increases the size of the lizard, and so makes it less attractive to potential predators. It also functions as a water condensation site. This passive form of water "acquisition" works well in desert areas.
The coloration of the females, which darkens at night, pales to a light green with white or pale yellow spots and vertical streaks. The males also change their coloration. They brighten from their sleeping colors of dull slate or olive yellow to vertical torquoise and bright-yellow bars. The veiled chameleon eats leaves and blossoms in addition to insect diet so typical of the other chameleon species. The species is strictly arboreal.
Thanks to the pet trade, the veiled chameleon has taken a scaly foothold in Hawaii and Florida. In Hawaii, the species flourishes along the dry coastline as well as in deep forest and on mountains. Their ability to breed fast, laying up to 90 eggs in a clutch three times a year, helps them colonize new territories quickly, and they can live up to eight years in the wild.
- Chameleons: Everything about Selection, Care, Nutrition, Diseases, Breeding. Richard D. Bartlett, Patricia Pope Bartlett
- 100 Alien Invaders. Gill Williams