Knysna Dwarf Chameleon Facts
- The Knysna Dwarf Chameleon remains one of the smallest known chameleon species. Many consider it to be one of the most colorful of all its related species, though all its relatives rank as distant.
- The diminutive lizard appears to be an entirely separate basal offshoot of the common ancestors of all members of the Bradypodion genus.
- Its numbers also appear to be relatively stable within its habitat range. However, that area remains, sadly, also highly restricted. For that reason, this animal lists as Endangered.
- Not surprisingly, the greatest threats to its continued existence appear to be climate change and habitat loss.
Knysna Dwarf Chameleon Physical Description
As the name implies, the Knysna Dwarf Chameleon constitutes a tiny species, with its overall length only averaging 5 in (12.5 cm), including the tail.
Relative to body length, it also has the longest tail of any member of its genus. Its tongue can also extend twice the length of its body.
The species displays sexual dimorphism in the form of color variations between the genders. The females typically appear either gray or brown in color. The males generally present a bright green with streaks of pink, red, or yellow.
Like all chameleons, it possesses the rather amazing ability to change its colors at will. Yet unlike others of its kind, individuals give birth to live young, instead of laying eggs.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Chamaeleonidae
- Genus: Bradypodion
- Species: B. damaranum
Knysna Dwarf Chameleon Habitat and Ecology
Within that zone, it inhabits the Afromontane forests of the region. However, given human encroachment on its habitat, it often adapts to living in gardens.
The species has an insectivorous diet that consists of various local invertebrates. In its native habitat, the principal predators include snakes and birds. When individuals inhabit gardens they face the threats of pesticides and human activities.
Fortunately, the 42 acre (17 hectares) Steenbok Nature Reserve lies within its endemic territory. This provides them with at least a small measure of protection.