×

Facts About Changing Color in Chameleons

One of the primary reasons people love chameleons is because of their color pattern. It is not true that chameleons change color to match the color of their surroundings. Instead, chameleons change color to blend in with their surroundings.

It is a proven fact that chameleons change color to show their emotions. Chameleons communicate with other chameleons by changing their color.

Why the Color Change?

Color changes in chameleons reflect their mood. When they are happy, their skin changes to a brighter color.  When they are in fear, sadness, or stress, their skin changes to a dark color.

Color change in chameleons can happen because of temperature. When chameleons turn a black color or a dark color, they are cold and need to absorb heat. You will often see chameleons change colors into black in winter to absorb heat rather than because they are stressed.

When chameleons are aggressive, they change their skin to brighter colors, like blue, red,  or yellow. Especially when a male chameleon wants to protect its territory, he alters his skin to bright colors to warn his enemy. When he changes his skin to a dim color, it means that the chameleon accepts defeat.

During mating time, a male chameleon changes its skin to a brighter color to attract the female. The female gives a warning signal when she does not want to mate by changing her skin to dark color with white stripes.

Can a Blind Chameleon Change Color?

Blind chameleons don’t change color to camouflage but to reflect their mood and adapt to environmental temperature. A blind chameleon can change color.

How Do Chameleons Change Color?

Chameleons have guanine crystals under the superficial layer of their skin. This external layer contains pigments. By varying the space between the crystals, chameleons change color.

As the space between the crystals changes, the wavelength of light falling on the crystals also changes.  This creates the chameleon’s color change.

Does a Chameleon Ever Not Change Color?

When chameleons are in a relaxed state or feel safe, they are green or brown.  This is their natural color.

Do Males or Females Have More Color Patterns?

Male chameleons have more color patterns than female or young chameleons.

Like the ones in Madagascar, chameleons from forests have a much broader range of colors than chameleons from the desert.

What Colors Can Chameleons Change Become?

Chameleons change colors in combinations of pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown, light blue, yellow, turquoise, and purple. They can change into any color, even white.

How Long Does It Take for Chameleons to Change Color?

The amount of time required for a chameleon to make a color change differs according to the species. A chameleon changes its color over its entire body within 20 seconds. At night, when chameleons are in a relaxed state, they revert to their natural color or in a lighter color.

Recent researches have proved that under UV light the chameleon’s bones glow which made this species far more interesting.

Why is chameleon turning black?

The chameleons will turn into black for the following reasons,

  • Turning dark or black is also due to stress.
  • When the chameleons are black and are near to the bulb, that means they are trying to absorb the heat to warm up themselves.
  • Sometimes, chameleons turn to black color, curl their tail to play dead to escape from their predators.
    And also there is another reason that they may also in scared. Because they feel they are threatened.

Why does a chameleon turn white in color?

It is common that chameleons to shed their skin. While shedding their old skin they change into white or pale color. Shedding may take place for a few hours or a day. Shedding means, nothing but clean their skin and keep good growth. After shedding they can renew their skin within few days.

Can a chameleon turn watercolor?

The chameleons can change into many colors. But they do not change their color into watercolor. Because their skin pigment ignores the watercolor.

What is the Meaning of Different Chameleon Colors?

  • Black: When chameleons are very stressed or in fear, they turn black.
  • Brown, green, or blue: When chameleons are relaxed, they stay their natural color, which is brown, green, or blue.
  • Grey: When chameleons are ready to shed their skin, they change to grey.
  • Red: When chameleons are aggressive, they change into red.
  • Yellow: When chameleons need more water or when the water content in their body is too low, they change their skin to yellow.
  • Orange: When a chameleon is seriously dehydrated, they change their skin to orange.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is multicolored-chameleon.jpg

Do Chameleons Change Color Even After Death?

Chameleons continue to change color after their death because they lose control over the chromatophores in their skin.

What color do a chameleon changes when it lacks UVB light and calcium?

The chameleons will change to grey and pale color when they are suffering from the lack of UVB light and calcium. Their activity will less when they do not get a proper supply of UVB light calcium.

Why is my chameleon Ashy?

The chameleons will turn into an ashy color because of an imbalance of the vitamins like,

  • Lack of vitamin A in their diet food.
  • More than enough amount of vitamin in their diet food.

Colors based on the signals of their interests at their mating time

Chameleons also change the color of their skin when they seek their mates. During the mating season, they turn into bright colors.

  • The male chameleons will show off an attractive color mix of, green, orange, yellow, red, and white to attract the female chameleons.
  • The female chameleons turn yellow with black and cream stripes if they are interested.
  • If the female chameleons are not interested, they turn into black and grey. This indicates that they are not interested in mating.
  • In case if the male chameleon is trying to attract a pregnant female chameleon, the pregnant female chameleon turns into dark brown or black with orange stripes. This indicates that they are not interested in mating.