The Cape Dwarf Chameleon, Bradypodion pumilum, (Afrikaans name, Verkleurmannetjie) is only found in the Western Cape and mostly in Cape Town.

They are quite prolific in some areas and have readily taken to urban gardens. They give birth to live young and only drink water that is collected on the leaves of the plants.

They are such beautiful creatures, with amazing colours, they remind me very much of miniature dinosaurs with their beards and scaly backbones. We have had some in our garden which have given live birth to about eight young. The birds were swooping down trying to catch and eat them and we had to shoo them away in order that the young had time to get into the thick shrubs.

The Cape Dwarf Chameleon is not considered to be an endangered species, but the domestic cats seem to do a good job of eliminating them. The Afrikaans name for Chameleon is Verkleurmannetjie. They are such a pleasure to watch and hopefully we will always have them living in our garden.


  1. Carolyn McDonald
    3 April 2015

    Thank you so much for these amazing pictures. This small creature is shown at its best! We currently live in Howick KZN but have bought a house in Sunningdale which I am busy landscaping. We had a KZN Dwarf Bradypodion melancephlum in our Pietermaritzburg garden which always crossed our garden gate at a certain time of year and we had 2 cats who never interfered with it despite seeing it cross…interesting. Now we have seen the Natal Midlands Dwarf B.thamnobates with the distinctive white gular pouch which came to our back door. New garden 7 years old never any poisons…but sadly Southern Boubou Shrikes are around and we have not seen it again.
    Again thank you for these lovely pictures….its encouraging to know that you could end up with one or two n the area. Regards
    Carolyn McDonald

  2. Abigail Reynolds
    31 August 2015

    I havent seen a chameleon in Cape Town for so many years, so I was so happy and surprised to see a Cape Dwarf Chameleon in the Tokai Forest-right on the pine covered floor where many people walk with their dogs. I was so unsure whether to leave it in the pine forest as I dont know if that is a habitat it can survive in…
    I used to live in Zimbabwe and see many chameleons-so it was a treat to see this one.

  3. Sonja
    3 November 2015

    We have a couple of these chameleons in our garden in Tableview. The larger one has just finished shedding and has the usual green and markings. The other is smaller but has no green at all. It is grey and the marking are a very pale pink. When this chameleon in in the sun it turns a very dark grey. Is this common? I can supply a picture if you want

    • admin
      3 November 2015

      Hi Sonja Thank you for visiting. The Cape Dwarf Chameleon can change any colour from dark brown to bright green and red. It is not unusual to see them in brown and grey colouring. I saw one sitting on a branch once and the side facing the sun was dark brown and on the other side he was bright green!

  4. Y onne
    17 January 2016

    I found a chameleon in my gardenin tableview this afternoon but the strange thing was that half of his tail was. Black can anyone help and tell me why this is

  5. Anonymous
    30 May 2016

    Hello ,I live in the western cape and have not seen a chameleon in ages ! I would really love to ,does anyone know where they are commonly found and what type of plants they are generally in ,thank you x

  6. Mo
    2 June 2016

    Hi I would like to introduce some cape dwarf chameleons to the garden any knowledge on how I can go about doing that?

  7. Jeffrey
    15 July 2016

    I live in Richwood, Cape Town. we have about 7-10 of these beautiful little creatures in our garden, of which one is pregnant.

    • Gerhard
      25 February 2017

      we found one on a building site and wNt to put it safely with others do u know where?

    • Victor
      17 May 2018

      hello good people, I would love someone to give me cape dwarf chameleons. I want to breed them.I am situatef in pretoria

      • admin
        24 May 2018

        Good day to you

        We do not know where you can get them but there will be licences you would have to apply for, contact the agricultural authorities for assistance


  8. Alta
    1 February 2017

    We live in Parow. I had 13 chameleons in my garden and the butcher bird carried them away one by one. My cats does not come near them. I now have one female left that had 15 babies and only 7 is left. I was thinking of putting a portion of my garden under shade cloth to protect them otherwise my grandchildren will never know what a chameleon looks like. I love these little creatures in my garden and can watch them for ages.

  9. Thea
    8 September 2020

    Hi there, does anyone know where in Cape Town I can find a Cape Dwarf Chameleon. They used to be plentiful in the fynbos vegetation on Houtbay beach but due to the shifting sands their habitat was completely cover up. Iā€™m hoping now that the have implemented the dunes rehabilitation program the Cape Dwarfs will once again return

  10. Bennie
    26 November 2020

    Stunning creature, looking after itself, and such a rare specie, your photos helped me to identify our new pet,
    It is loving the herbs in the windowsill.


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