Chamaeleo calyptratus — Veiled Chameleon
Of all the exotic lizards in Florida, and there are a lot of them, these chameleons are probably both the most exciting to find and the craziest-looking. I would rather see an animal in its original habitat, but the likelihood of me getting to Yemen or Saudi Arabia to search for Chamaeleo calyptratus seems quite low, so I was very happy to find this one near Everglades National Park. Thanks to Jake Scott for showing me where to look.
These chameleons have been introduced in multiple spots in South Florida, apparently by reptile dealers who find it easier to collect from wild-living colonies than to house, feed, and care for the animals directly.
- Martin, J., Wolfe, A. 1992. Masters of Disguise: A Natural History of Chameleons
- Necas, P. 1999. Chameleons: Nature's Hidden Jewels