Originally from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the veiled chameleon reaches 60cm in length and lives mostly on farmland, in large bushes and trees. It is a popular species in the pet trade because of its spectacular colours and size and because it is easy to breed. Newly hatched young are pastel green and develop stripes as they grow. Adult females are green with white, orange, yellow, or tan mottling. Adult males are brighter with bands of yellow or blue.
The velied chameleon is on the list of exotic species that could become invasive in the Canary Islands as it has already colonised parts of Hawaii and Florida with similar climates. It is banned in the Canary Islands as a pet.
The discovery of several adults by local people in the Arucas area suggests that the species is already breeding in the wild in Gran Canaria. The first was found in 2017 and twelve more have turned up since.
The island's authorities are trying to erradicate the wild population as it is vital to stop them spreading as soon as possible: Each female lays up to 85 eggs at least once per year and lives for five years.