Are There Chameleons In Hawaii?


Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, lush green forests, and unique wildlife. But have you ever wondered if chameleons are among the diverse creatures that call Hawaii home? While chameleons are not native to Hawaii, there have been sightings and rumors of their presence on the islands.

Chameleons are fascinating creatures known for their ability to change color and blend into their surroundings. With their unique physical features and behaviors, chameleons have captured the attention of people around the world. But are there really chameleons in Hawaii? Let’s explore the evidence and find out.

Are There Chameleons in Hawaii?

Are There Chameleons in Hawaii?

Chameleons are fascinating creatures, known for their ability to change color and blend in with their surroundings. While they are often associated with tropical climates, many people wonder whether there are chameleons in Hawaii. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and provide some interesting facts about chameleons.

Introduction to Chameleons

Chameleons are a type of lizard that are found in various parts of the world, particularly in Africa and Madagascar. There are over 160 species of chameleons, each with their unique characteristics. They are best known for their ability to change color, which they use for communication and camouflage. Chameleons are also known for their long tongues, which they use to catch insects and other small prey.

The Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, known for its beautiful beaches, tropical climate, and diverse wildlife. While Hawaii is home to many unique species of animals and plants, chameleons are not one of them. Chameleons are not native to Hawaii, and there are no established populations of chameleons in the state.

Why Chameleons Are Not Found in Hawaii

There are several reasons why chameleons are not found in Hawaii. One reason is that Hawaii is geographically isolated, meaning that it is far away from other land masses. Chameleons are not strong swimmers, so they would have difficulty crossing the vast ocean to reach Hawaii. Additionally, Hawaii has strict quarantine laws that make it difficult for animals to be brought into the state. This helps to prevent the introduction of invasive species, which can have a negative impact on the native ecosystem.

Other Reptiles Found in Hawaii

While chameleons are not found in Hawaii, there are several other types of reptiles that can be found on the islands. One example is the green sea turtle, which is a protected species in Hawaii. Another example is the gecko, which is a type of lizard that is common in many parts of Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands are also home to several species of snakes, although they are not native and were likely introduced by humans.


In conclusion, chameleons are not found in Hawaii. While this may be disappointing for those who are fascinated by these creatures, it is important to remember that Hawaii has a unique and fragile ecosystem that must be protected. By keeping invasive species out of the state, Hawaii can continue to be a haven for native wildlife and a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many people wonder if there are chameleons in Hawaii. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the topic, along with their answers.

Question 1: Can you find chameleons in Hawaii?

Yes, there are chameleons in Hawaii. They were introduced to the islands during the 1970s and have since established themselves in the wild. The most common species found in Hawaii is the Jackson’s chameleon, which is native to East Africa.

The chameleons in Hawaii are mostly found on the Big Island, but they can also be seen on Maui and Oahu. They are active during the day and can often be found in trees and bushes near human settlements.

Question 2: Why were chameleons introduced to Hawaii?

Chameleons were introduced to Hawaii as a form of pest control. They were brought in to help control the population of insects and other small animals that were damaging crops and gardens. However, the chameleons soon became a problem themselves, as they began to prey on native insects and even small birds.

Today, chameleons are considered an invasive species in Hawaii and efforts are being made to control their population and protect the native wildlife.

Question 3: Are chameleons dangerous to humans?

Chameleons are not considered dangerous to humans. They are shy creatures and will usually try to avoid contact with people. However, they do have sharp claws and teeth, and can bite if they feel threatened or cornered.

It is important to remember that chameleons are wild animals and should be treated with respect. If you encounter one, it is best to observe it from a distance and avoid touching or handling it.

Question 4: What do chameleons eat in Hawaii?

Chameleons in Hawaii mainly eat insects, such as crickets, grasshoppers, and moths. They will also eat small lizards, spiders, and even small birds if they can catch them.

Because chameleons are not native to Hawaii, their diet can have an impact on the native wildlife. This is one of the reasons why they are considered an invasive species and efforts are being made to control their population.

Question 5: Can you keep chameleons as pets in Hawaii?

It is legal to keep chameleons as pets in Hawaii, but there are some regulations that need to be followed. For example, you need to have a permit to import or possess chameleons in the state.

If you are considering getting a chameleon as a pet, it is important to do your research and make sure you can provide the proper care for the animal. Chameleons require specific temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions, as well as a varied diet of live insects.

Searching for Jackson’s Chameleons in Maui – February 2022

In conclusion, the question of whether chameleons exist in Hawaii remains a topic of debate. While some claim to have seen chameleons on the islands, there is no concrete evidence to support their existence. It is possible that these sightings are misidentifications of other species or even escaped pets.

Despite the lack of evidence, the possibility of chameleons living in Hawaii is still intriguing. With its unique climate and abundance of plant life, the islands would be a suitable habitat for these fascinating creatures. Perhaps more research and exploration will reveal the truth about chameleons in Hawaii.

Until then, the mystery of whether or not chameleons exist in Hawaii adds to the allure and enchantment of the islands. Visitors and locals alike can continue to keep an eye out for these elusive creatures, adding to the sense of wonder and discovery that makes Hawaii such a special place.

Aubrey Sawyer


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