Chameleons are best known for their ability to change colour, but there are avarious other facts about chameleons that go unnoticed and unknown to most of the population. Chameleon belong to the lizard family and are reptiles. They have characteristic feet and beautiful independent eyes. Their are hundreds of species of these lizards and are mostly found on the island of Madagascar. The chameleon population’s habitat varies from the forest areas of Africa, Europe and even Sri Lanka. They are mostly found in dense forests but are also kept as pet animals by many people around the globe.
When the word Chameleon is seen by our eyes, our mind interprets a lizard having an ability to change colour. Chameleon has the ability to make a transition between thousand of colours of their skin. This happens because of presence of specialised cells, called chromatophores under its transparent outer skin. Each layer has different coloured pigments. The dispersion of these pigments according to the mood of the lizard, allows them to change the intensity of their skin, causing these lizards to change colour. It is mostly believed that the change in skin colour of chameleon is caused so that they can cause a camouflage effect according to their surroundings, but the true reason as to why they change their skin colour is totally different. In fact, there are many reasons that make them alter their skin colous.
1. Chameleons cannot generate their own body heat. S, they change their colour according to the climatic variations, that is they change their skin colour to maintain a body temperature. We all know that dark colour absorbs heat and light colour reflects most of it. Similarly, when a chameleon is feeling cold, they change their skin colour to a darker shade to absorb maximum heat and vice versa when they are feeling hot.
2. Skin Colour Alteration in chameleons is also a medium of communication with other chameleons. It is usually seen in male chameleons that they adapt a dark shade to show dominance and aggression. Females also use change in skin colour to show whether they are willing to mate or not.
3. Chameleons use their skin colour alteration as a mood indicator also. A chameleon owner can judge the mood of their pet by the alteration in their skin tone.
These were the reasons of the colour alteration in chameleons, but there are various other fun facts about a chameleon, which go unnoticed because of this colour variation in them.
Chameleons are equipped with eyes that enable them to have a 360 degree view of the surroundings. They have joint eyelids with a small hole in the middle, which is just enough for the pupil to fit. This enables the chameleon to move both of its eyes independently, which means if one eye is viewing some object in one direction, the other eye can have a view of an object in totally opposite direction. This enables the chameleon to see the whole world at once. The eyesight of chameleons is also appreciable as they can see their prey within a range of 5-10 metres very easily. The chameleons are also equipped with Ultraviolet Vision, that is they can see ultraviolet rays.
Chameleons are not equipped with ears, which leads to a common inference that they don’t have the ability to listen, but chameleons are known to identify sound patterns ranging from 200 – 600 Hertz frequency.
- Tongue and Diet
Chameleons have a long sticky tongue, which is usually known to be double the length of the reptile itself. This long tongue allows them to capture their prey from a ling distance very easily. Chameleons are usually known to consume insects or flies, but their are a few species of chameleons that consume snails or even other lizards.
Chameleons have been living on this Earth since time immemorial. In this time gap, they have well equipped with the nature, and have developed their feet in such a manner that they can easily grab a hold of tree’s bark and hence, can easily climb up these trees. While moving on trees, chameleons use their tails for grabbing the branches and maintaining a balance, just in case they are afraid of falling down.
Chameleons are mysterious animals just like various other species present on our mother Earth. Although these reptiles, like all other reptiles, are not much social, but still, they are kept as a pet by various individuals all around the globe. These reptiles are also used by some of the educational institutions around the world for educational purposes. Chameleons also reserve their special place in zoos all around the world as their colour changing ability amazes anyone and everyone, who get the opportunity to have a good look at these reptiles.Chameleons have various number of species and is a large family, equipped with various other qualities as mentioned above. They greatly resemble iguanas, snakes and other reptiles in uncountable manners. Male chameleons are often more ornamented than female chameleons. Although these reptiles look a little scary, but which reptile does not? Having a scary outlook, these reptiles are not known as a harm to human species.