What Is a Chameleon’s Life Cycle?

The female chameleon buries its eggs in a hole where they absorb water and grow heavier. Only a few days after they hatch, the baby chameleons are ready to hunt insects and survive. The exact age of sexual maturity varies by species, but most are sexually mature within a year.

The Labord’s Chameleon, located in Madagascar, has one of the shortest life spans among chameleons. Living for only one year, it spends seven to eight months inside an egg. Researchers have hypothesized that the Labord’s Chameleon’s extremely short lifespan has evolved as a response to the extreme seasonality of the region.

Not all chameleons lay eggs. The Jackson’s Chameleon, sometimes referred to as the three-horned chameleon, has a gestation period of five to six months before giving birth to anywhere between eight to 30 live young.

Chameleons live in trees and bushes. Every species has five toes modified in a way that allows them to grip tree branches securely. Most chameleons have a prehensile tail that wraps around tree branches for additional security and stability. Chameleons primarily eat insects, although larger species can eat birds and other lizards. They move very slowly but have fast tongues equipped with a sticky tip that allows them to catch their prey.