Threatened species of Chamaeleontidae

Other Names:
Threatened species of Chameleons
Threatened species of Chamaeleonidae

In 'An account of the empire of Morocco', written in 1814, it was recorded that "various medicinal effects are attributed to the flesh of the camelion; and many whimsical effects are attributed to fumigation with it when dried; debilitated persons have recourse to it, and it is accordingly sold in all the drug shops...".

Wives who fear that their husbands may be straying often resort to the use of concealed chameleon meat or bones in their husband's food in the belief that this will restore his fidelity. In Tunisia, it is also a traditional practice to slaughter a chameleon and bury it in the foundations of new buildings as a protection against the 'evil eye', or bad luck. The chameleon is also believed, in some places, to be a strong foe of snakes, which it attacks and kills in the following manner; the chameleon proceeds along the bough of a tree, beneath which the serpent sleeps. Placing itself immediately above the snake's head, the chameleon discharges a glutinous thread of saliva, which, upon contact with the snake soon kills it.


In northern Africa, a substantial number of chameleons Chamaeleo chamaeleon are collected every year to supply the folklore and traditional medicine markets. It is widely believed that it possesses considerable powers of magic and is also greatly feared. As a result, many people kill chameleons on sight. The diet of chameleons themselves is also widely misunderstood and, as a consequence, few survive in captivity for long.

Broader Problems:
Threatened species of Sauria
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 15: Life on Land
Problem Type:
G: Very specific problems
Date of last update
18.11.2019 – 21:00 CET