Pet Care Guides Reptile

Pygmy Leaf Chameleons


Central & South America


Tropical forest areas

Average Size

1 - 3 inches

Life Span

Up to 10 years

General Information

All pygmy leaf chameleons, Rhampholeon sp., are very similar in their characteristics and care. Pygmy leaf chameleons originate from cool lowland forests in Africa. All species share the same physical characteristics of a small, stout body with small limbs and a very large head. The average pygmy leaf chameleon reaches 2 to 3 inches in length. All species generally have a uniform dark brown to light tan color with some sort of diamond or striped pattern along their sides.

Proper Caging and Environment Size

A pair of pygmy leaf chameleons can be kept comfortably in a 10 gallon tank, although a larger tank can be used.

Heat and Lighting

All species should be kept between 65 and 75 degrees. These chameleons do not require a very high UV output in order to thrive as they come from the forest floor where little light penetrates. A fluorescent bulb should still be used to provide a photoperiod as well as to provide light for any live plants in the tank. If you have live plants in the terrarium, then you may need a bulb that puts out brighter light depending on the species of plants.


These chameleons should be kept on coconut bedding. The substrate should be about 2-4 inches in depth so as any live plants have room to grow. If plants are going to be in the terrarium, a drainage layer made up of small pea sized gravel should be added below the coconut bedding layer.


Water should be provided through daily mistings. Misting once or twice a day should be sufficient. In order to provide adequate humidity in the tank, a glass canopy should be used. Another thing to consider with a humid tank is air flow. A small computer fan can be used to help keep the air in the tank from becoming stagnant.


The diet of these chameleons consists of just about any insect small enough that they can fit into their mouths. This includes 1/8" crickets and fruit flies among other small insects. It is best to offer your chameleon as varied a diet as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pygmy leaf chameleon, please call to speak with one of our reptile room employees at 717-299-5691 ext.1240.