Chameleon Facts

The chameleon is member of the lizard family and is best known for its colour changing capabilities. When the temperature increases and decreases the chameleon changes colour. Whenever possible they increase their body temperature by the absorption of the heat from the sun as, if they are unable to do this, the temperature of the chameleon remains the same as the air temperature surrounding it. There are over 130 different species of chameleon.

Food Facts

Chameleons in the wild have a diet which includes locusts, crickets and other insects. They have a long tongue which has a sticky end so that they can make sure that any food caught can’t escape. As the chameleon doesn’t move very quickly, this also assists it to catch the food. Once caught on the tip of the tongue, it quickly retreats it back within its mouth, and the chameleon’s teeth crush the insects or other prey. Chameleons do have taste buds.

Eggs

The chameleon lays its eggs in a hole in the ground. Each species lay a different number of eggs, some lay 2-4 eggs, and others may lay up to 100 eggs! The female buries the eggs and then leaves them. The various species take different lengths of time to hatch. A few species actually give birth to live hatchlings. Eggs can take anything between 6-24 months to hatch.

Skin Shedding

A chameleon sheds its skin over a period of time. The outer layer of skin is called Keratin. While the chameleon grows the skin doesn’t which is why it needs to be shed regularly. The skin doesn’t come away whole as it is shed in several pieces. This is normal and completely different from a snake. Occasionally the chameleon may even eat the discarded skin. The chameleon puffs itself up in order to break the skin. Some skin may just come loose but still remains attached to the chameleon. If that happens, don’t try pulling at the skin – the skin underneath may not be ready to release the whole of the piece, and if pulled can render the chameleon with a sore or irritated patch.

Drinking

Chameleons don’t normally drink water from bowls. In their natural habitat, the raindrops bounce off the leaves of trees and down onto the chameleon which the reptile then takes in. Chameleons being kept as pets won’t normally be able to obtain liquid that way. There are several different ways to ensure that your lizard has enough water. One of the simplest methods is to buy an empty spray container from the supermarket or garden centre, fill it with water and mist the leaves of the plants in the enclosure. In that way the chameleon can take in water and it possibly is the closest method to that adopted by chameleons in their native environment. Do make sure that all plants are safe for chameleons and remember to mist the leaves regularly. In this way the chameleon should have sufficient water to be comfortable.

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