Common Chameleon. Photo in Public Domain
One of the most interesting reptiles found in Portugal is the Common Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon).
It is green, yellowish-green or brown and lives mainly in bushes in scrubland. It can be found in the Algarve area in the south of Portugal and also lives in southern Spain, Greece, Malta, Cyprus and Morocco.
In Portugal the Common Chameleon is under threat due mainly to habitat loss from the continuing building projects that serve the tourist trade. It is also caught for the pet trade but sadly captive specimens often do not live long.
The Common Chameleon feeds mainly on insects and spiders but is reported to also turn cannibal and eat smaller individuals of its own species.
Common Chameleons hibernate in the winter months when food is scarce. They dig themselves small burrows in the ground.
Common chameleons are usually solitary animals that establish territories but they come together for mating. The females lay clutches of eggs that they bury in the ground. The eggs can take as much as a year to incubate.