Charmeleon is a bipedal, reptilian creature. It has crimson scales and a cream underside. There is a horn-like protrusion on the back of its head, and it has narrow green eyes and a long snout. It has relatively long arms with three sharp claws. Its short legs have feet with three claws and cream-colored soles. The tip of its long, powerful tail has a flame burning on it. The temperature rises to unbearable levels if Charmeleon swings its tail.
Charmeleon has a vicious nature and will constantly seek out opponents. Strong opponents excite this Pokémon, causing it to spout bluish-white flames that torch its surroundings. However, it will relax once it has won. It is rare in the wild, but it can be found in mountainous areas.
Charmeleon resembles a small dinosaur with remnants of Charmander's salamander-like appearance. Although its nomenclature suggests commonality with the chameleon, Charmeleon exhibits very few of the major physiologically distinguishing traits of the chameleon. Charmeleon does not have the specialized zygodactylic feet, separately mobile eyes, extrudable tongue, or the ability to change color like some members of the chameleon species. The few characteristics it does share are the snout, a prominent head crest (which resembles a small horn in its Generation I back sprite), and extensive use of its tail. Chameleons have prehensile tails used for climbing and grasping, while Charmeleon utilizes its tail as a weapon.