Yemen Chameleon

These tree-loving lizards make attractive pets thanks to their ability to flush different colours depending on their mood. The brighter the colours, the happier and warmer your lizard is! With a tendency towards shyness and a preference for their own company, your Yemen Chameleon is unlikely to want to be handled regularly and could get quite grumpy if you try. However, this does depend on the lizard. If you start handling it carefully when it is very young, you can help your chameleon to avoid stress when you need to handle it or move it in the future.

Yemen Chameleon


  • Background temp: 22-25°C
  • Behaviour: Diurnal (active during the day)
  • Diet: Insects
  • Ease of care: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Handling: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Hot spot: 26-29°C
  • Humidity: 30-50% during the day / Up to 100% overnight
  • Life span: Up to 8 years
  • Origin: Yemen and Saudi Arabia
  • Potential adult size: Females can grow to 20cm while males can grow to 30cm
  • Scientific name: Chamaeleo calyptratus
  • Temperament: Can be defensive

Top Tips

  • To keep your Yemen Chameleon hydrated during the night, use a humidifier and turn off all heat and light.
  • Do not spray your chameleon when misting the enclosure.
  • Provide plenty of room for your Yemen Chameleon to climb around.
  • Place protective cages around the heat bulb and UV light.


The set-up and equipment needed for your enclosure will depend on whether you opt for a terrarium or a vivarium. No matter which you choose, you will need to ensure that the enclosure remains toasty because Yemen Chameleons are cold-blooded and need heat to be provided. At the top of the tank, which will be your lizard’s lazy basking spot, this should be 26-29℃. At the bottom of the tank, this should drop to 22-25℃ so that your Yemen Chameleon has somewhere to cool off. At night-time, turn off all light and heat sources and allow the temperature to drop to 13-18℃.

If you’re going to make a snug home for your Yemen Chameleon in a terrarium, you’ll need to use a bright incandescent light or heat bulb to provide light and heat, just like the sun. To fix the bulb, attach it to the mesh of the terrarium with an Arcadia Reflector Clamp Lamp With Ceramic Holder. You’ll then need to fit a HabiStat Dimming Thermostat, which will reduce or increase power to the bulb to achieve the perfect toasty temperature. To measure the temperature safely and accurately, place the temperature probe as close as you can to the basking spot. You may want to have another digital temperature probe at the bottom of the tank to keep an eye on the temperature there.

UV lighting will help to keep your lizard nice and healthy. In a terrarium, it’s a good idea to use a UV light of 12%. This is because the mesh may filter out some of the UV rays.

In a vivarium, you will also need to set up an incandescent light or heat bulb with a dimming thermostat. The bulb can be attached to the roof of the vivarium with a heater guard placed over the top to stop your lizard from being injured. You will then need to fit a 6% UV light, which can be protected by an Arcadia Lamp Guard Pro.

Both types of enclosure need to be kept humid so that your Yemen Chameleon feels right at home and stays hydrated. You can keep the tank nice and moist by spritzing the enclosure with water a few times during the day and then setting up a humidifier for night-time. During the day, your lizard will need humidity of 30-50%, rising to 100% overnight. A hygrometer will help you to measure this.

To make your chameleon feel as though it is in its native habitat, you will need to decorate your enclosure too. Bedding of HabiStat Jungle Bio or Arcadia EarthMix is ideal as they will also help to keep the tank moist. You’ll then need to provide lots of branches, vines and plants for your lizard to climb on, which should criss-cross the tank from the bottom to the top.


Once you have a cosy home set up for your Yemen Chameleon, you will have to keep it clean. Change the water in the dripper (if you have one) every day and remove any collected water. A quick spot clean and daily inspection for damage to plants and branches should also be done daily. Once a week, disinfect the dripper and give the bedding a shake-up. Using a disinfectant that is safe for your lizard, wipe down the glass, mesh and walls too. You’ll then need to replace all the bedding and give the enclosure and its decor a good clean with safe disinfectant every month.

Remember: always wash your hands, equipment and surfaces with plenty of warm water and soap after handling or feeding your lizard, or cleaning its enclosure and equipment.

Your Yemen Chameleon will be able to hydrate from the moist enclosure if you spray it every day. However, you could also install a water dripper, which will drip water for a few hours every day. A humidifier can also help to keep your enclosure nice and damp so that your chameleon doesn’t get thirsty.

Equipment Needed

  • HabiStat Vivarium 24 x 18 x 36” (61 x 46 x 91cm) / HabiStat Terrarium 24 x 18 x 35” (60 x 45 x 90cm) / Zoo Med ReptiBreeze (Mesh) 24 x 24 x 47” (60 x 60 x 120cm)
  • Arcadia EarthMix or HabiStat Jungle Bio
  • Heat bulb
  • Arcadia Pro Ceramic Lamp & Bracket (for vivariums)
  • HabiStat Dimming Thermostat
  • Arcadia Reflector Clamp Lamp (for terrariums)
  • Insect feeder
  • Zoo Med Dripper / HabiStat Humidifier / Komodo Spray Bottle
  • HabiStat Dial Hygrometer
  • Arcadia UV lighting in a T5 set-up (12% for terrariums and 6% for vivariums)
  • Arcadia Lamp Guard Pro (for vivariums)
  • HabiStat Digital probe thermometers
  • HabiStat branches, vines and plants


Yemen Chameleons love to feast on insects! When they are young, your chameleon will need to be fed insects every day for about 5 minutes via an insect feeder. As an adult, your Yemen Chameleon will only need to be fed 2 or 3 times a week with a few insects at a time. Particularly tasty insects include crickets and locusts. Treats could include waxworms and mealworms.

To make sure your Yemen Chameleon stays bright and in good health, you’ll also need to give it some supplements. A calcium, magnesium and multivitamin mix can be sprinkled onto your lizard’s insects to ensure it gets the nutrients it needs.

Additional Information

Did you know that Yemen Chameleons shed their skin? When they are less than 6 months old, they can shed every week! This will slowly reduce as they grow up – an adult will only shed a few times a year. During this time your lizard may get grumpy and go off their food, but this is normal.

If your Yemen Chameleon is a female, she will lay eggs even if there isn’t a male around. This usually starts around the 1 year mark but can happen earlier. Your female lizard will therefore like it if you provide a lay-bin filled with bedding that is several inches deep and at least twice as long as her body. This should be kept nice and damp so that she can dig a little burrow. Once she has laid her eggs, she’ll cover them over and then have a long bask. It’s a good idea to feed her some calcium-dusted food and extra hydration afterwards to help her recover. 


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