Tuesday, 05 May 2020 10:25

Gran Canaria Invaded By Exotic Chameleons From Yemen

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Several veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) have been found close to Arucas, raising fears that the species has gone wild in Gran Canaria Several veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) have been found close to Arucas, raising fears that the species has gone wild in Gran Canaria Wikipedia

Several adult veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) have been found close to Arucas, raising fears that the potentially invasive species has gone wild in Gran Canaria. 

Originally from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the veiled chameleon reaches 60cm in length and lives mostly on farmland, in large bushes and trees. It is a popular species in the pet trade because of its spectacular colours and size and because it is easy to breed. Newly hatched young are pastel green and develop stripes as they grow. Adult females are green with white, orange, yellow, or tan mottling. Adult males are brighter with bands of yellow or blue.

The velied chameleon is on the list of exotic species that could become invasive in the Canary Islands as it has already colonised parts of Hawaii and Florida with similar climates. It is banned in the Canary Islands as a pet.

The discovery of several adults by local people in the Arucas area suggests that the species is already breeding in the wild in Gran Canaria. The first was found in 2017 and twelve more have turned up since. 

The island's authorities are trying to erradicate the wild population as it is vital to stop them spreading as soon as possible: Each female lays up to 85 eggs at least once per year and lives for five years.

If you find a veiled chameleon in Gran Canaria, or a California king snake (another invasive but harmless species) please call 646 601 457 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for instructions about what to do.

Read 1176 times Last modified on Tuesday, 05 May 2020 10:44
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