How Big Do Chameleons Get? Top 10 Species

Chameleons are ever increasingly popular pet reptiles that range in size from the very small to the very large.

Most chameleons are large to medium sized reptiles, however small, micro-sized and even giant, cat-sized chameleons are kept by reptiles lovers everywhere!

Chameleons are so unique with their ability to change color, the independently moving eyes and who could forget that tongue?!

Many different chameleons can be found in the reptile hobby; chameleons of all sizes are available for us to choose from!

So, how big (or small) do chameleons get anyway? Let’s find out..!

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Table of Contents

How Big Are The Top 4 Most Popular Chameleons?

How big do chameleons get?

We look at 10 chameleons, their size and weight and we start off our journey with 4 of the most popular chameleon pets!

how big do chameleons get

As you can see from the pic above, most popular pet chameleons range between 12 and 24 inches; just remember that these are average sizes and even individual chameleons of the same species will exhibit variations in size.  Also, female chameleons are almost universally smaller than males.

The four chameleons shown above are not the only chameleons kept by hobbyists, far from it!

In fact, we’re going to showcase the Top 10 Chameleon species and talk a little bit about their coloration, habitat and size and weight!

We’ll start out with a micro species and work our way up to a true giant!

10 Chameleon Species; Their Size and Weight

The Pygmy Chameleon

Pygmy chameleons are what I call “micro” sized chameleons, they only average 3 inches long!

As if their size wasn’t unusual enough, pygmy chameleons are also primarily a ground dwelling species instead of living a life in the trees as most other chameleons.

These tiny little reptiles make their way about the forest floor using dead leaves, twigs and branches to call home. Their coloration is also perfectly matched for a “micro” life on the ground.

These tiny little chameleons weigh between 12-25 grams, about the same weight as a AAA battery or two!

Pygmy chameleons are what I call “micro” sized chameleons, they only average 3 inches long!

As if their size wasn’t unusual enough, pygmy chameleons are also primarily a ground dwelling species instead of living a life in the trees as most other chameleons.

These tiny little reptiles make their way about the forest floor using dead leaves, twigs and branches to call home. Their coloration is also perfectly matched for a “micro” life on the ground.

These tiny little chameleons weigh between 12-25 grams, about the same weight as a AAA battery or two!

The Senegal Chameleon

Senegal chameleons are a popular species that comes from western countries in Africa like Senegal, Togo, Mali and Liberia. 

Though they are a popular species amongst reptile keepers, captive bred individuals can be hard to find and as such, most of these chameleons that are available are wild caught.

Senegal chameleons do not have as flashy or vibrant coloration as do some other chameleon species, however they are beautiful in their own right exhibiting shades of green and brown with occasional spots or patterns along their body. 

Senegal chameleons average approximately 6 to 8 inches in length with males usually being a little smaller than females and they seldom weigh more than about 30 grams.

The Flap Neck Chameleon

Flap neck chameleons have large, movable flaps that protrude from the sides of their neck that they use in displays and to deter threats from predators.

These flaps, when not in use, lay flat over the chameleon’s casque, a bony protuberance at the back of the head.

Like many of its “cousins” the flap neck chameleon is a popularly kept species which is mostly available as wild caught specimens; they can be found captive bred but expect to have to search a bit to find one and pay a premium. 

Flap neck chameleons average 10 to 12 inches in length and can reach sizes over 100 grams. 

Flap necks come in various shades of brown, yellow and green; most sporting a pale stripe on their lower body and some random patches along their sides.

Flap neck chameleons have large, movable flaps that protrude from the sides of their neck that they use in displays and to deter threats from predators.

These flaps, when not in use, lay flat over the chameleon’s casque, a bony protuberance at the back of the head.

Like many of its “cousins” the flap neck chameleon is a popularly kept species which is mostly available as wild caught specimens; they can be found captive bred but expect to have to search a bit to find one and pay a premium. 

Flap neck chameleons average 10 to 12 inches in length and can reach sizes over 100 grams. 

Flap necks come in various shades of brown, yellow and green; most sporting a pale stripe on their lower body and some random patches along their sides.

The Jackson's Chameleon

Jackson’s chameleons are my personal favorite, their three horns make them look like little triceratops! (dinosaurs) 

Those horns, which are present only on males, make this species an extremely popular pet chameleon. …and they aren’t popular just because of the horns; Jackson’s chameleons are one of the best first chameleons (as well as being great for any experience level)  as they are docile and generally hardy!

Jackson’s chameleons are a smaller species, males average 8 to 14 inches while females are smaller, ranging from 6 to 8 inches.

Jackson chameleons range from 90 to 150 grams depending on age and gender, females are usually smaller.

The Carpet Chameleon

Carpet chameleons may not get very big, averaging 6 to 10 inches in length and weighing approximately +/- 100 grams, however what they lack in size is made up for in beauty!

While males can exhibit beautiful blue and green coloration, it’s the females that really shine!

Carpet chameleons are also known as jeweled chameleons and for good reason, females can be combinations of green (dark green to lime green), with white, yellow and orange banding along their bodies. 

Some have compared carpet chameleon coloration and patterning with that of the finest Oriental carpets. These little chameleons are definitely jewels of the reptile kingdom!

Carpet chameleons may not get very big, averaging 6 to 10 inches in length and weighing approximately +/- 100 grams, however what they lack in size is made up for in beauty!

While males can exhibit beautiful blue and green coloration, it’s the females that really shine!

Carpet chameleons are also known as jeweled chameleons and for good reason, females can be combinations of green (dark green to lime green), with white, yellow and orange banding along their bodies. 

Some have compared carpet chameleon coloration and patterning with that of the finest Oriental carpets. These little chameleons are definitely jewels of the reptile kingdom!

The Fischer's Chameleon

Fischer’s chameleons reach lengths of 9 ½ inches in males and 7 ½  inches in females. These chameleons have unusually long tails which account for half of their length. 

Males have distinctive rostral processes which are two projections that resemble horns that taper from a wide base to a rounded end. They also have a single row of conical scales that line their back. 

These small, active chameleons are native to the mountains of Tanzania where they live in the rainforest.

These chameleons have a green base color with white, yellow and maroon patches along their body; males sport a much larger array of colors than females. 

“Fischer’s” chameleons found in the reptile hobby are actually misnamed species as true Fischer’s chameleons are quite rare. However, these chameleons are all quite similar.

The Veiled Chameleon

Veiled chameleons are the most popular pet chameleon and captive bred specimens are readily available. 

These medium-large sized chameleons can reach lengths up to 24 inches, females maxing out around 18 inches. Some large veiled chameleons can weigh in excess of 220 grams!

Most notable is the veiled chameleon’s large, bony casque on top of its head which is found on both males and females. This casque helps to direct water droplets down their head and towards its mouth to drink.  

Veiled chameleons are striking lizards with bodies that are banded with shades of green , yellow and brown.

Veiled chameleons are the most popular pet chameleon and captive bred specimens are readily available. 

These medium-large sized chameleons can reach lengths up to 24 inches, females maxing out around 18 inches. Some large veiled chameleons can weigh in excess of 220 grams!

Most notable is the veiled chameleon’s large, bony casque on top of its head which is found on both males and females. This casque helps to direct water droplets down their head and towards its mouth to drink.  

Veiled chameleons are striking lizards with bodies that are banded with shades of green , yellow and brown.

The Panther Chameleon

Panther chameleons are an extremely colorful species of chameleon that come from Madagascar and are very popular in the reptile industry!

Male panther chameleons average between 15 and 20 inches with females tending to be quite a bit smaller, between 8 and 10 inches in length. Large male panther chameleons can reach 200 grams while females are often half that weight. 

Male panthers have intense coloration that ranges from blues to reds with various shades of yellow, orange, blue, green and gray markings, banding and stripes. 

Like most chameleons the males are the more intensely colored, females tend to have more muted coloration that lacks the intense patterns of the males.

The Meller's Chameleon

Meller’s chameleons are very large chameleons that come from mainland Africa. Meller’s chameleons are known for their large size as well as their intense yellow and green coloration!

Meller’s chameleons can grow to over 2 feet long! These large chameleons can approach 500 grams in weight which is approximately 1 pound!

Meller’s chameleons are also known as the “giant one-horned chameleon” because of their large, single rostral projection.

Meller’s chameleons are very large chameleons that come from mainland Africa. Meller’s chameleons are known for their large size as well as their intense yellow and green coloration!

Meller’s chameleons can grow to over 2 feet long! These large chameleons can approach 500 grams in weight which is approximately 1 pound!

Meller’s chameleons are also known as the “giant one-horned chameleon” because of their large, single rostral projection.

The Parson's Chameleon

The Parson’s chameleon comes from the island of Madagascar and is the largest species of chameleon.

These gentle giants grow more than 2 feet in length and can weigh over 700 grams! 

That is about as big as a pet cat! Truly a giant chameleon!

Parson’s chameleons come in an array of colors from green to turquoise and yellow.

There are four color variants; the orange eyes, the yellow giants, green giants and the yellow lips!

Because of the Parson’s giant size they are not the easiest chameleon for the average hobbyist to keep, they require immense custom enclosures to satisfy this gentle giant’s requirements!

Conclusion; How Big Do Chameleons Get?

Chameleons can be found in a wide variety of sizes!

From the micro-sized pygmy chameleon to the cat-sized, giant Parson’s chameleon, there is a chameleon in every size category!

Chameleons are incredible animals and can be equally impressive pets as long as we make a commitment to proper care and husbandry!

If a chameleon is a little more responsibility than you can accept right now, perhaps a crested gecko would be better suited to your current situation. 

Check out our crested gecko guide here..!