Yes you read it right, chameleon breeding is becoming a lucrative investment as being showcased by Kirinyaga self-help group, who are breeding chameleons as a way to diversify their portfolio from the usual food crops and animal husbandry. They sell an average of 2000 chameleons a year in the three years they have been doing this and now they plan to go global.
Many people apparently decorate their houses with chameleons though I was very flabbergasted to see my neighbor touching the reptile. Then again, people have pythons for pets, why not a colourful chameleon that may go very well with your drapes. In Kenya, most people who keep the animals for pet are mainly expatriates but the members of the Kirinyaga self-help group say that locals are slowly starting to appreciate the beauty of the chameleons.
The biggest challenge they have in the local market is the myths and speculation about the dangers of the chameleon which in fact is safer than having a cat or a dog due to the diseases and bacteria they carry.
Don’t get it wrong, the chameleons market is a huge market with Madagascar exporting over 66 000 of chameleons to the world. Tanzania is also a big player in this game.
The Jackson’s chameleon breed is the one that thrives well in the central highlands in Kenya.