Flap-necked Chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis)

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Flap-necked Chameleon
Chamaeleo dilepis
Flap-necked Chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis)
Name Flap-necked Chameleon
Name Lat. Chamaeleo dilepis
Family Chameleons
Family lat. Chamaeleonidae
Order Scaled Reptiles
Order lat. Squamata
Origin Africa
Habitat Savanna
Diet Insects
Humidity 50-80 %
Behavior Aggressive
Keeping Individual
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Oviparous
Housing Semi-humid terrarium
Life Span 10 years
Protection CITES Appendix II; EU Annex B
Metric Units
Size 40 cm
Temperature 25-32 °C
Temperature Local 35-40 °C
Housing Size 120 x 80 x 120 cm
US Units
Size 16"
Temperature 77-90 °F
Temperature Local 95-104 °F
Housing Size 45" x 30" x 45"

Distribution and habitat

The diurnal, predominantly bush- and tree-dwelling Lappet Chameleons are widespread in South and East Africa. There they inhabit coastal forests, wet and dry savannahs and grasslands, but they also occur in villages and urban areas.


Minimum dimensions for the terrarium, according to the size and number of animals:

One animal 4KRL x 2,5KRL x 4KRL (L x W x H)

Head-torso length (KRL) is measured on the largest animal. For pair keeping, increase the floor space by 20%. A terrarium of e.g. L 120 x W 80 x H 120 cm is recommended, which should be placed in a quiet and vibration-free place.

You need a well ventilated terrarium structured with branched climbing branches as well as robust (also artificial) plants as a screen, structured back and side walls (e.g. cork covering), a substrate of sand-peat mixture (15 cm deep) and a small water container or a drip trough. A small portion of the substrate should always be kept moist. Once a day, preferably in the evening, the inside of the terrarium should be finely sprayed with water (humidity), a rain or mist system is ideal.

Temp. day: 25-32 °C Temp. night: 18-22 °C Temp. local: up to 40 °C Humidity: 50-80

Lighting duration must be 10-14 hrs depending on the season. They need a high light intensity. Special lamps with high UV-A and UV-B content are ideal, because daily UV irradiation is essential.


The food supply consists of live insects, such as crickets, smaller grasshoppers, crickets and cockroaches. It is often possible to switch to commercially available ready-made food for insectivorous reptiles, which must be offered with tweezers. Wax moths should be fed infrequently and in very small amounts because of their large fat content. Regular addition of minerals and vitamins (dusting the food) is important. Since water is almost only absorbed in drop form from leaves or furnishings, a dropper is recommended, alternatively they can be watered daily from a pipette

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

The male has a much larger helmet and a thicker tail root with a clearly visible hemipenis pouch. The female buries her eggs (up to 50 pieces) in the substrate, which must accordingly consist of a substrate suitable for burrowing. The incubation period is 150-300 days at a temperature of 27-31 °C. Small insects such as fruit flies and micro crickets are suitable as initial food for the young

The life expectancy can be 10 years.

Species protection

The animal population must be reported to the competent authority in writing immediately after the start of keeping. Your pet store will be happy to provide you with further information.

Protection of species: WA Appendix II; EU Appendix B. The proof of purchase is the required proof of origin for the animal. Please keep it safe!


For the development of the eggs, a diapause (a delay in the development in the egg), caused by temperature fluctuation, may be necessary. For the dormancy phase, the lighting duration is reduced by 2-3 hours and the temperature is lowered by 4-6 °C for approx. two months.

With fruit and honey water as food for the feeders, their quality can be upgraded.

The terrarium must have good ventilation without drafts and meet the species specific needs. Measuring devices such as thermometers, hygrometers, etc. are necessary. The lighting has to correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and has to be placed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves. The terrarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Contamination must be removed regularly

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Christian Sänger; Image: petdata

Source: BMELV (1997): Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Reptilien; ENGELMANN (2006): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Reptilien und Amphibien, Harri Deutsch Verlag

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF