There are about 150 species of chameleons in the world, and half of them live in Madagascar. But they are hard to see. They do that color-changing thing, and they blend in with the scenery. The camouflage trick is very effective.
Miraculously, the guides and drivers on my trip had no trouble finding them at all. We’d be driving along when the driver would suddenly stop and say something in Malagasy. “Chameleon,” interprets the guide. “Where?” I ask. “There in that tree” she says. We get out of the car. “See, up by that branch that goes off to the left, next to where that dark leaf is.” We get closer. “Um, where exactly?” Half the time guide or the driver would have to poke the little guy with a stick to make it move before I could locate it.
A lot of Malagasy people are afraid of chameleons. Yes, they are perfectly harmless, but that’s how it is. One of my drivers could spot one in a tree at 40 mph but wouldn’t walk within 15 feet of it.
Here are some photos. Some are easy to see, some not so. See if you can find ’em all.
On the other hand, you can’t miss the geckos.