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Mediterranean Chameleon of Samos – What to do if you meet one

The Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) is a unique animal and it’s considered a symbolic species in most parts of Europe where it is found.

The Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) is a protected species according to Greek and European legislation, as well as international conventions. Samos Island is home to the last population of the Mediterranean chameleon in Greece, and these reptiles play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of the local island ecosystem. One of their primary functions is regulating insect populations, which is essential for the overall health of the environment.

Chameleons are arboreal reptiles, spending most of their lives hidden in the branches of high shrubs or trees. During the breeding season, they may venture to the ground in search of a mate or to create a nest and lay their eggs. It’s important to note that chameleons do not possess poison and are completely harmless to humans.
However, it is crucial not to disturb or take these animals home. Chameleons are strictly protected by Greek and international law. They are highly vulnerable to human presence and nuisance, which can have severe health effects on them. It is best to observe them from a distance and respect their natural habitat.

By understanding the significance of protecting the Mediterranean Chameleon and adhering to conservation regulations, we can ensure the preservation of this unique species and contribute to the overall health of Samos Island’s delicate ecosystem.


The Mediterranean Chameleon in Samos island | Photo: Reeldrone

What to do if you come across a chameleon in Samos:

  • If you find a chameleon in the countryside or in a tree, do not touch it or disturb it!
  • It is possible to observe chameleons crossing the road. If it does not endanger us, pedestrians or other vehicles, we can stop and place the chameleon away from the road to the nearest suitable location (preferably with high vegetation and trees). For transportation, it is best to place it on a newspaper or other surface and avoid contact with bare hands.
  • If it is threatened by a dog or cat, place it on a branch of the nearest shrub or tree, away from the animals.
  • If you find it trapped somewhere, move it to a branch as close to where you found it.
  • If you find an injured chameleon or observe someone illegally selling wild chameleons, contact the Archipelagos Institute directly on 2273061191 (and for emergencies at 6974744949) and with local forestry and guards.

In any other case, do not touch the chameleon! Under no circumstances do you take the animal home with you, chameleons are strictly protected by Greek and international law.
These animals are very vulnerable to human presence and nuisance, which can have serious health effects.

Source: Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation