As many of you may know, I am an avid field herper (herpetology), the last few years my main objective has been to find and photograph Bradypodion across South Africa.

Currently, there are 17 described species in South Africa (with only two species not being endemic to the region)

With the addition of my day job finding the necessary days to travel +2000kms is not that easy, I’d had this trip planned on the cards for a while with two public holidays in close succession I was able to take 6 days away from work to target the Bradypodion taeniabronchum.

Now Bradypodion taeniabronchum has a total habitat range of only 5 850km2 oh which only 400kms2 is thought to have suitable habitat for this chameleon to exist in. In 1996 was listed as endangered and by 1998 this status was elevated as critically endangered in the same year.

Finding a needle in a haystack may actually be easier than finding this single specimen.

The trip plan:

Farmlands near Harding.

Spent a lot of time looking at this view:
Blazing sun:

Flash rain storms:

Some mornings were better than others:

Some were like this:

Others like this:

Based in Grahamstown for a few days and found some Bradypodion the town is rather abundant with Bradypodion ventrale – Eastern Cape Dwarf Chameleon.

Adult female:

Adult Male:


After a successful few days field herping in Grahamstown I set off to Port Elizabeth, in the afternoon so I’d have enough time to survey the habitat during the day, without having to wait all night for it to get dark.

Habitat of Bradypodion taeniabronchum, near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.


We patiently waited for nightfall, not to waste time found one of these

Acontias orientalis – Eastern Cape Legless Skinks

After a few hours of searching in near gale force winds we were ready to call it a night and chalk this Bradypodion search off as a loss and the 2000kms travelled would have been in vain…untill we spotted this:

Bradypodion taeniabronchum

Bradypodion taeniabronchum – Note the rich coloration of the gular creases. –

Bradypodion taeniabronchum
Bradypodion taeniabronchum

For size comparison:

Thanks for looking and I hoped you enjoyed the little insight into this journey of finding Bradypodion taeniabronchum

My current updated Bradypodion list:

More images over at:

If you ever find yourself in Bathhurst go visit the Giant Pineapple.

by Tyrone Ping

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