Animal Fact File Kids Zone

Chameleon

Chameleons are a group of reptile species that is famous for their ability to disguise themselves.

Name: chameleon comes from a Latin and Greek word that means ‘ground lion’, I thought all lions were on the ground! What an odd name.

 

Habitat:

Chameleons live in warm climates from rainforests to deserts. They are mostly found in Africa (including Madagascar), southern Europe, and South Asia. They have also been taken to by humans to Hawaii, Florida, and California where they are invasive species.

Most chameleons like to live in trees and bushes, but some just live on the ground. Those that live on the ground like to hide in long grass or leaf piles.

 

Features:

Chameleons vary vastly in size from under 2cm long to 70cm long.

Their feet are sort of pincer shaped. This is perfect for grabbing onto branches and climbing.

Lots of chameleons have horns and spikes down their spine, making them look very punky!

Chameleons have full 360-degree vision thanks to their wonderful eyes. They move individually and bulge slightly out and can pivot. Not only that but chameleons can see ultraviolet light!

Chameleons do not actually have an outer ear, but they can still hear thanks to their inner ear.

What they are most known for, however, is their camouflage ability. They can do this by moving their 2 outer layers of skin, each with their own pigments. They can control this remarkably well so that they can hide from predators.

 

Food:

Insects make up the majority of a chameleon’s diet. They use their long tongues, a little bit like frogs do, to catch prey up to 2 body lengths away.

 

Human Relations:

Lots of chameleons are kept as pets as they are quite easy to look after. So much so that they have been taken across the world and introduced to places like Florida. America has so many chameleons in the wild that they don’t need to import any from their natural spaces anymore.

There are lots of different species of chameleon, and some are critically endangered. This is due to habitat loss. Other species are able to thrive.