Flap-neck Chameleon Care

Flap-neck Chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis)

Popularity: Make good pets, but do not enjoy being handled often.

Origin: Southern Africa

Native habitat: tropical rainforest, savannah

Size: up to 13 inches

Lifespan: 5-8 years

Appearance: It changes color and pattern to fit its mood and surroundings. Coloring ranges from various shades of green, yellow and brown. There is usually a pale stripe on the lower flanks. There may be one to three pale patches higher on the flanks. Some have white or black spots.

Diet: insects

Activities: arboreal

Defense Mechanisms: changes color to match surroundings

Misc characteristics: must be housed individually



Housing for the Flap-neck should be a minimum of 2 x 2 x 3 inches. The enclosure needs to be well ventilated, yet secure. There must be several climbing areas in the form of branches, logs, and plants. Keep the daytime temperature at a gradient from 78 to 85 degrees F., and nighttime temperature range between 70-75 degrees F. Substrate is not necessary, and in fact dangerous. You can use paper towels as flooring if you like.


Chameleons need 10-12 hours of daily exposure to direct UVB rays for good health. Use UV lamps specially designed for reptiles, and place them 12 inches away from the pet. To give the chameleon a natural day/night cycle, leave lights on for 10-12 hours during the day and turn them off at night.


Chameleons don’t usually respond to standing water, so they need a container above the cage that drips water onto the leaves in the enclosure. You can make one by punching a small hole in the bottom of a clean plastic container. You can also add a waterfall, but it raises the risk of bacteria and contamination from defecation. Misting a few times a day, using a drip system and having live plants are sufficient to provide appropriate humidity and water.


Feed the chameleon a variety that includes earthworms, fruit flies, mealworms, wax worms and crickets. Dust the food with a vitamin and mineral supplement.

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