You are here

Mount Gorongosa Pygmy Chameleon

Chameleons are common animals in Gorongosa and across Africa, but Mount Gorongosa Pygmy Chameleon (Rhampholeon gorongosae) can be found nowhere else. This remarkable lizard was discovered only in 1971 by botanists studying plants of the rainforest on the mountain. The female is only about as long as a person’s pinky finger, and the male is even smaller. Pygmy chameleons spend their days hunting termites and other small insects on the forest floor, and are so perfectly camouflaged that few visitors to the mountain are aware of their presence. Like all chameleons, this species uses its long, sticky tongue to capture their prey. Unlike the larger Flap-necked chameleons that are common in the lowland areas of Gorongosa, Pygmy chameleons can’t use their tail to hold branches, so they are not as good at climbing trees.