Chameleon | Exploring the World of Wildlife: facts about the Chameleon

Chameleons are perhaps one of the most bizarre and unusual creatures on our planet. Their amazing abilities amaze people and make scientists break their heads. Representatives of this family are best known for their special color gamut, capable of changing various shades and degrees of brightness. A large number of species of the family show considerable variability in the ability to change coloration. For some, it is more of a change in brightness (shades of brown); for others, you can see many color combinations (reds, yellows, greens, blues).

Fact number one.

Chameleons, unlike other lizards, cannot grow their tails. Most chameleons have long, clingy tails that basically function as a fifth limb. They can support the weight of the animal’s body, allowing it to move easily between branches. However, the chameleon cannot drop its tail when attacked by predators, as many lizards do. And a chameleon’s severed tail does not grow back.

Fact number two.

Chameleons have no ears. Chameleons have an incredible ability to sense sounds. Because they don’t have ears or eardrums, they have to feel vibrations to recognize a threat. They can hear some sounds, but not all — chameleons can only pick up sounds at frequencies of 200-600 Hz. This means that if you wanted to talk to a chameleon, you would have to do so in a certain pitch in order for it to hear you.

Fact number three.

Chameleons have a sticky and very fast tongue. A chameleon’s tongue is about twice as long as its body. When a lizard sees an insect, it unfolds its sticky tongue at such speed that the victim is caught off guard. According to National Geographic, if a chameleon’s tongue were a car, it could accelerate to 97 km/h in just 1/100 of a second.

Fact number four.

Chameleons do not change their color for camouflage. It is a common misconception that chameleons change their color to blend in with their surroundings. A chameleon’s natural coloration already blends well with its natural habitat. Chameleons can use their unusual color-changing abilities to communicate with other individuals, reflect their mood, and even regulate their body temperature. For example, by lightening their skin, chameleons can cool down because lighter colors reflect the sun’s rays better. On the other hand, a darker skin color is a good way to warm up when it gets chilly outside.

Fact number five.

Chameleons can rotate their eyes independently. Chameleons have scaly, cone-shaped eyelids with very small, round pupil openings. They can rotate each eye separately to focus on two different things at the same time. This allows the chameleon to scan its entire surroundings for food without even moving its head.

Fact number six.

Chameleons are almost blind in the dark. Have you ever experienced temporary blindness when you go from a bright room to a dark room? It happens to chameleons every night, except their eyes never get used to the dark. That is, when it’s dark outside, their vision is severely reduced, up to and including blindness.

Fact number seven.

Chameleons’ tongues are 1.5 to 2 chameleon lengths. Chameleons feed by «shooting» their long tongue at their prey from afar. The tongue roll is very fast and reaches its prey in 0.07 seconds with an acceleration of 41G. There is a small ball of muscle at the tip of the chameleon’s tongue, which creates a small suction cup when it comes in contact with prey.

Fact number eight.

Chameleons’ paws are highly adapted to moving through trees. Each paw has 5 separate toes that are grouped in sections of 2-3 toes, making them look like pincers. On the front paws, there are two outer toes grouped together, and three inner toes. On the hind paws, these groupings are inverted. These specialized paws help chameleons strongly grasp broad or rough branches. Each toe also has a sharp claw, which helps to cling when climbing trees.

Fact number nine.

Chameleons can see in both the visible and ultraviolet range. Chameleons under ultraviolet light show increased social behavior and activity, and they also eat and bask more. Under ultraviolet light, it is easier for them to reproduce because it has a beneficial effect on the pineal gland.

Fact number ten.

Almost half of all chameleon species live in Madagascar. Fifty-nine species of chameleon exist on this island alone. In all, there are about 160 species of chameleon in the world. They live in Africa and southern Europe, as well as southern Asia to Sri Lanka. Chameleons have been introduced to the United States in Hawaii, California, and Florida.

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