The chameleon is one of earth’s amazing creatures. They are totally different from other animals, and there are a lot of interesting facts about them.
Evolution of chameleons
Chameleons evolved 65 million years ago in the Paleocene era, which means after the dinosaurs went extinct. Some scientists say the chameleons might have existed as far back as the Cretaceous period, which means 100 million years ago! Chameleons originated in Madagascar. They evolved from iguanas and dragon lizards.
Species of chameleons
There are more than 200 types of chameleons found on the earth. Among them, 9 species are noted as critically endangered, 20 species are noted as vulnerably endangered, 37 species are noted as endangered, and only certain species can be kept as pets.
Some of the prominent chameleon species are:
- Panther chameleon
- Jackson’s chameleon
- Veiled chameleon
Reproduction of the chameleon
Jackson’s chameleons are different than most, and females give live birth. Most female chameleons reproduce by laying eggs. They keep on laying eggs every three to six months, even without mating. However, the eggs that are unfertilized will not produce baby chameleons.
Size of chameleons
The smallest chameleon is named “Brookesia Micra” and is about the size of a match stick. The largest chameleon is called “Parsons chameleon” and it is as large as a small domestic cat. Both types of chameleons have the same basic anatomy.
Life span of chameleons
The chameleon called “Labrod’s chameleon” has the shortest life span. They live for around four to five months. “Parson chameleon” usually has the highest life span, and they live for about ten to twelve years.
Chameleons change their color
The chameleons do not change their skin color only because of their background, but also because of their mood.
They can change their skin color within twenty seconds. Sometimes the chameleons change their colors even faster, depending on the situation and their species.
The males change color faster than females in all species. Panther chameleons are the most colorful chameleons. Chameleons can also glow under UV light!
Chameleons are capable of grasping branches with their tails when climbing. The tail will curl around the branch several times in order to balance itself, to appear smaller, and also to express the mood. The tail of the chameleon is the most attractive part of its body when it is curled up.
The length of a chameleon’s tail is twice as long as its body!
Read Also : Facts of chameleon’s tail
The chameleon has a tongue twice as long as its body. The tongue is really sticky so that they can catch insects easily. The tongue’s movement goes from 0 to 60 miles per second in 1/100th of a second, which means faster than a high-end sports car!
The speed of the smallest species of chameleons is 200 times the gravitational force. Some of the largest chameleon’s tongues can stretch up to four feet!
The chameleon’s teeth are designed for crunching insects. They have tiny teeth that are difficult to see with our naked eyes. Though they are tiny, the teeth are very sharp. Their bite sometimes may scratch your skin and cause it to bleed a little.
The nose usually carries our sense of smell, but the chameleon’s sense of smell is not very developed. They have a poor sense of smell and they rely on their other senses to survive.
Chameleons are the only creatures on earth that have a 360-degree rotating eye. They can have a view of ten meters away. Their eyes can transmit from monocular to binocular and vice versa. They are also capable of seeing UVB light rays, which are invisible to humans.
The chameleon’s eyes do not have upper or lower eyelids. They have one round shaped eyelid. The eyelids of the chameleons do not permit them to close their eyes completely. Even if they tried to close their eyes, you would see a small open slit.
Chameleons can look at two different things at the same time because their eyes point out in opposite directions!
Read Also : Facts of chameleon’s eyes
Chameleons do not have ears! But this does not mean they are deaf. They can still detect sound frequencies ranging from 200 to 600Hz.
Chameleons are not social animals
When you put two or more chameleons in a single cage, they may get angry or stressed. They don’t even like to stay with their partners. Adult female chameleons don’t like to stay with their babies. Chameleons can actually get angry when they look into the mirror because they think another chameleon is living in its habitat. Chameleons also do not like to be held and cuddled. They love to be alone.
Do chameleons sweat?
No! They do not sweat. Instead, they produce a white crust around their nose where they excrete excess salt. They sneeze forcefully expel the salt secretions so that they do not build up any large crystals of salt.
Communication of chameleons
Chameleons can have conversations through their body language. They also communicate basic things with their enemies by sending,
- Territorial messages
- Receptive messages
- Nonreceptive messages
They send these messages by changing their body color and body language.
Home of the chameleons
In the wild, chameleons love to live in:
- Tall grass formations
- Piles of leaves and branches
- Sand dunes
If the chameleons are pet, they stay in varieties of cages.
Read Also : Types of terrarium
Do chameleons hide?
Yes! The chameleons hide in between plants and change their color to match the background color in order to protect themselves from predators.
The growing population of chameleons
We can see a growing population of chameleons in the African country of Tanzania. Most of the chameleon species are present there and their numbers are increasing.
License to have a chameleon as a pet
You need a license to keep a chameleon as a pet. In many countries, it is illegal. In other countries, it is legal, but you need to have permission from the government. If you have a chameleon with you but do not have a license, it is illegal. Even if you bring a chameleon back from the wild on your own, it is still illegal.
Read Also : Permission to buy chameleons