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What Is The Smallest Chameleon

Are you curious about these interesting lizards?

Do you want to know about the different species and sizes?

Researching and learning about these color-changing critters is a lot of fun, and you may find yourself asking all kinds of questions such as:

What is the smallest chameleon?

The smallest chameleon is brookesia micra. This chameleon comes from the islet of Nosy Hara in Madagascar. Adult brookesia micra grow to be 1.1″ inches in length.

Read on for more details about this chameleon.

what is the smallest chameleon

Brookesia Micra

This species is considered to be the smallest of the chameleons, and it’s also one of the smallest reptiles.

At its peak, the brookesia micra grows to 1.1″ inches or 29mm in length.

It was discovered by Frank Glaw and his team of researchers from the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology.

This group had been conducting expeditions to study the wildlife of the forest of Madagascar for eight years before they even discovered this little guy.

The name Brookesia relates to the area in which the chameleon was found and was chosen in honor of Jah Brookes, a British naturalist.

The micra part of the name indicates its overall size, which is small or micro.

The other small chameleon close to its size is the Brookesia minima.

Found in a similar area, the minima have a longer tail, although a smaller head.

The micra has orange tails compare to the camouflaged brown of the minima.

Scientists speculate its small size is linked to insular dwarfism caused by the limited habitat.

Brookesia micra lives in leaf litter during the daytime, and then they climb up low tree branches to sleep safely at night.

In these litters, they eat small insects.

One major concern for this species is its location in keylogging areas.

It’s thought this species is endangered, although the exact status of its population is largely unknown.

Due to its small size and insular lifestyle, it’s almost guaranteed to go extinct if its natural habitat were destroyed.

This chameleon species could not be transferred to other environments easily.

It’s highly unlikely such a transfer is even possible.

Where Does Brookesia Micra Live?

Madagascar is an island and collection of islands off the southeast coast of the main continent of Africa.

North of Madagascar is a small archipelago called Nosy Hara.

On a small island in this archipelago, the brookesia micra lives.

The climate of this island is hot and humid with rain and plant life aplenty.

The carefully balanced ecosystem on this island is thought to be extremely sensitive to any changes.

On many of these islands are unique species of plants and animals which are not found anywhere else in the world.

This island is uninhabited by humans, although some are expressing an interest in the rich woodland resources of the island.

Three other species of rare chameleons are found in this region as well.

There are 30 different Brookesia species in total, which were discovered between 2003 and 2007.

Are There Chameleons That Stay Small?

It all depends on the species of chameleon.

Typically, all chameleons start small as infants, but then they rapidly grow as they age.

By the age of 12 months, expect the chameleons to reach its general adult size.

They will continue to grow after this point but at a much slower rate.

A few chameleons have such a limited growth overall, though; their growth rate doesn’t appear significant to our senses.

These chameleons still grow, but it’s harder for us to tell.

The well-known examples of this are:

  • Brookesia micra
  • Brookesia minima
  • Bearded Pygmy Chameleon
  • Spectral Pygmy Chameleon
  • Usambara Pitted Pygmy Chameleon

Check out the list of 30 brookesia species, which are considered all very small chameleons.

Sizes And Characteristics Of Different Chameleon Species

While there are over 200 species of chameleons at last count, it may be helpful for you to have the size of the micra in comparison with the six common chameleon species.

This chart will show the length at adulthood of the male and female genders of each species and the average life span.

Species Average Male Size In Inches (centimeters) Average Female Size In Inches (centimeters) Average Life Span Range
Veiled Chameleon 13.7-23.6″ in (35-60 cm) 9.8-13″ in (25-33 cm) 5 years
Jackson’s Chameleon 9.1-13″ in (23-33 cm) 9.8-13″ in (25-33 cm) 5-10 years
Panther Chameleon 15-20.9″ in (38-53 cm) 9.8-13″ in (25-33 cm) 5 years
Bearded Pygmy Chameleon 2-3.1″ in (5-8 cm) 2-3.1″ in (5-8 cm) 3-5 years
Spectral Pygmy Chameleon 3.1-3.9″ in (8-10 cm) 2-3.9″ in (5-10 cm) 3-5 years
Usambara Pitted Pygmy Chameleon 2-3.9″ in (6-10 cm) 2-3.5″ in (5-9 cm) 5-11 years

Is The Brookesia Micra For Sale?

As we discussed above, the brookesia micra is specific to its region.

The chameleon is largely terrestrial, which means it spends most of its time on the ground.

Due to its island isolation and almost complete lack of exposure to human contact and complete lack of exposure to any other type of climate or environment, this reptile would not survive outside its home.

For this reason, this specific chameleon species isn’t for sale anywhere.

If you do manage to find one for sale, one of two things are happening:

  • The seller is lying and selling you a small pygmy chameleon (which is still a fun pet)
  • The seller is a poacher of some variety and conducting illegal activity


We hope you enjoyed learning more about the smallest chameleon is.

The Brookesia Micra is the smallest at 1.1″ inches when fully grown, and it’s also one of the smallest reptiles in the world.

While this chameleon is interesting to think about and see in pictures and videos, it’s not available as a pet. Nor should it be.

This chameleon’s sheltered nature puts it at high risk of extinction should its natural habitat be altered or destroyed.

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