Kidadl

Chameleon Facts You’ll Never Forget

Contents

Chameleons are popularly known because of their ability to change color according the background. Chameleons are amazing creatures, but they aren’t the best pets for everyone. If handled correctly, they can sustain a household where a heat source is provided to the chameleon. Chameleons are non-venomous and non-dangerous creatures. They aren't a threat to human beings if kept as a pet. Their bite is also non-toxic and also can be pretty much avoidable. If the owners of a chameleon have a hard time handling it, the chameleon will supposedly bite the human. Chameleons are solitary and like to be left alone. If there is an increased human interaction, the chameleon will experience stress or anxiety and will attack the human being.

The bite of chameleon sting is not that painful and not a serious issue. Chameleons use their tail as an extra limb and their eyes can look in two different directions simultaneously up to full 360 degrees, helping them while hunting for food. A particular color pigment known as chromatophores is present under the skin, allowing some chameleon species to change their color to their background.

Chameleon Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a chameleon?

Chameleons are a type of old-world lizards. There are more than nine genera and 200 species of chameleons like the Parson's chameleon, Jackson’s chameleon, veiled chameleons, and more. Reptiles are cold-blooded animals and are typical insectivores. The chameleon eyes are bulgy and can have a panoramic view of their surroundings acorss all genera.

What class of animal does a chameleon belong to?

Chameleons belong to the class of Reptiles. Chameleons are cold-blooded reptiles who are arboreal or terrestrial, depending upon their species. Males are generally heavy-bodied as compared to the female chameleons. Different chameleon species have varying physical appearances, like a curled tail or spikes and horns on the head as ornamentations. The chamelon species can change their color to merge with the background and gain protection from certain predators.

How many chameleons are there in the world?

There is no accurate number to determine how many chameleons there are in the world. Chameleons belong to the class of reptiles and are usually found on the trees or the ground. Their habitat could be anything from the rainforests of Africa to dry and arid deserts. If people want to rear a Chameleon as a pet, they require their own personal space and require a heat source to keep them warm.

Where does a chameleon live?

Chameleons mostly live in the rain forests and the deserts of Africa. Green-colored chameleons can be found mostly on the trees or forests, and brown-color chameleons are found in the deserts. Some chameleons have prehensile tails, while a few have curled tails. Developed males have horns to attract female mates.

What is a chameleon's habitat?

Chameleons can be found in a lot of different habitats, including, plains, arid regions and even mountains. The habitat of the chameleon determines its physical traits like patterns on the skin, and skin pigmentation. The chameleons are found in Asia, Africa, South America, North America, and Australia. Chameleons can also adjust in a household where it only requires a heat source.

Who do chameleons live with?

The chameleon species do not live in groups. Species of chameleon usually prefer to stay alone in the trees and the bushes. Chameleons live an isolated life and like to be left alone. Owners of a chameleon also should handle them in a proper manner or there is a fair chance of the chameleon biting the owner. Chameleons are not lively and they like to lead a solitary life. As they are cold-blooded reptiles, chameleons also need a heat source to warm themselves.

How long does a chameleon live?

The chameleon lifespan is different according to its species. The lifespan of a veiled chameleon is six to eight years, the lifespan of a panther chameleon is two to three years, and Jackson’s chameleon is five to ten years. Though they need mates after reaching maturity and communicate through change in skin color as a signal for attracting potential mates.

How do they reproduce?

After the copulation takes place, they lay eggs in about three to six weeks. The female digs a hole from 10-30 cm and then, depending on the species, deposits her eggs. The eggs will hatch after 4-12 months depending on the type of chameleon, while the eggs of a Parson's Chameleon take 24 months to hatch. The eggs of a chameleon have a flexible shell, and environmental characteristics have a major effect on the eggs laid. After the offspring is born, they can hunt and prey by themselves.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status is not extinct. But some of the rare species of chameleons are on the endangered list. The population of these species must be increased by initiating breeding. The conservation status of chameleons is of the least concern as there are more than 200 species of chameleons found in different locations of the world.

Chameleon Fun Facts

What do chameleons look like?

There are a variety of chameleons that are able to vary in their colors and also patterns of different combinations of pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, and different colors. Some chameleons have a helmet-shaped head, while many species of chameleons have crests or spikes on their body. Chameleons also have a curled or prehensile tail to maintain their balance on the trees. They colors of the skin for different species vary as per the habitat. As a result, you can find chameleons in Madagascar in different colors depending on the fact if it is a male or a female. For instance, a male can be found in colors like bright red, green, blue and yellow.

More than half species of chameleon live in Madagascar.

How cute are they?

Chameleons are not cute because of the way they look or their colors. They have spikes on their body, and their outer skin seems like usually dry and rough to touch. They are insectivores and have a miniature body which does not seem very pleasing except for the fact that it does camouflage itself according to its needs.

How do they communicate?

The chameleons communicate by changing their body language and colors. To attract prospective sexual partners for copulation, the males change their skin color to vibrant orange and red, which could easily please the female chameleons. The skin pigmentation of the chameleon changes to dull colors like brown or black when they are submissive. Some chameleons also use their body color as a reaction towards weather conditions and when they are stressed or anxious. These are known as chameleon markers.

How big is a chameleon?

Chameleons are usually four inches long when they hatch. Some chameleons are huge and can be 26 in long, while other species of chameleons can fit on a human being’s fingertip. The body structure of chameleons depends on the type of species they belong to.

How fast can a chameleon move?

Chameleons usually move slowly and can be called the slowest reptiles. Chameleons move very slowly as they do not want to gain the attention of their predators towards them. The eyes of the chameleons can move in 360 degrees which gives them a full view of their surroundings and also makes them aware of their predators like snakes, eagles and small mammals. In situations when danger is sensed by a chameleon, they change their skin color and camouflage themselves.

How much does a chameleon weigh?

The weight differs according to the species. The weight of veiled chameleons is 0.18-0.37 lb, Jackson’s chameleon is 0.4-0.33 lb, and panther chameleons weigh from 0.30-0.39 lb. Chameleons like the Brookesia Nana or Brookesia Micra are so small that their weight is almost negligible.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Female chameleons are called elly, and males are called chameleons.

What would you call a baby chameleon?

The baby chameleons are called hatchlings, irrespective of the fact if it is a male or a female. The clutch size in a chameleon differs according to the type of chameleon. The baby chameleons are moved to trees by the mother when they have developed a yolk sac that sticks to the trees’ branches. The chameleons, when fully mature, move on to lead independent lives.

What do they eat?

Chameleons usually eat insects such as locusts, mantids, grasshoppers, worms, snails, and insects. Some of the chameleons that are huge in size also eat small birds and other lizards. Chameleons are insectivores and prey on insects of all kinds. The prey of a chameleon usually depends on its size. The larger is the size of a chameleon determines if it will prey on small mammals like frogs, lizards, or even avians. Their diet is entirely carnivorous and mostly prey on other reptiles and insects for their food. A chameleon's tongue  shoots from the mouth at an incredible speed to snap the prey by forming a kind of a suction cup.

Are they slimy?

Yes, chameleons are slimy. A chameleon's tongue consists of sticky mucus or saliva, which acts as an adhesive to trap the insect on its cup placed at the tip of the tongue. The tongue of a common chameleon weighs more than its total body weight.

Would they make a good pet?

Chameleons are believed to be amazing creatures because of their features, but they are not good pets for everyone. Chameleons need to be handled correctly by its owner as they do not appreciate human interaction. They like to like an independent and solitary life and like to be left alone. If the owners master the art of handling a chameleon, the chameleon can be a good pet. Chameleons are arboreals or terrestrial reptiles, and such environments can be created artificially, to an extent.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Chameleons have eyes on the back of their head. Chameleons are said to come in different sizes and shapes. Chameleons are known to have powerful tongues. Because of this ability, they can see predators coming from behind them.

Chameleons do not have ears, but they learn to quickly recognize people and remember who’s been nice and mean to them. Chameleon's eyes have a 360-degree vision and can see two directions at once. Chameleons can be seen in both visible and ultraviolet light. The horns in a chameleon are flexible in nature, unlike usual horns, which are immovable.

How powerful is a chameleon's tongue?

They can accelerate their tongues towards the prey at up to 264 times with the force of gravity. Tongues in certain species can also go from 0-60 mph. Recent studies show an evident correlation between the size of the chameleon and the velocity of its tongue to catch prey. The study concluded the smaller the chameleon, the faster is its ability to stick an insect to its cup-shaped tongue. Chameleons can extend the length of the tongue to about twice the size of the body. As a matter of fact, the chameleon tongue is the most potent weapon in its arsenal while hunting for food. The prey of the chameleons also differs according to their species.

Do chameleons only change color based on their surroundings?

Chamelion can change the body color based on their surroundings (chameleon camouflage) when they sense danger or experience stress or anxiety. Chameleons also change their pigmentation to bright red or orange to attract mates for copulation. Chameleons also change their skin color according to the climatic conditions as change in temperature, and humidity in their chameleon habitat. Female chameleons also change their skin color as a signal for mating or pregnancy.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Chameleon coloring pages.

Subscribe for virtual tools, STEM-inspired play, creative tips and more

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s and and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.