Chameleon Facts

Size 0.9-24 in (2.5-60 cm)
Speed Unknown
Weight 3.5 oz to 4.4 lb (100-2,000 g)
Lifespan 4-8 years
Food Insects
Predators Snakes, birds
Habitat Africa, India, Mediterranean Sea
Class Reptiles
Order Scaled reptiles
Suborder Iguania
Family Chamaeleonidae
Scientific name Chamaeleonidae
Characteristics Grasping tail, long tongue, changes its color

Main Characteristics

I Am a Leaf, I Am a Leaf, I Am ...

If you watch a chameleon, you will notice that it moves forward rather jerkily or in a swaying manner. It wants to imitate a leaf in the wind.

Horror of Horrors!

Chameleons pretend to be dead when in danger. They freeze and simply let themselves fall to the ground when touched by an enemy. They only get moving again when they feel safe.

Chameleon Chameleon - Photo: Cathy Keifer/Shutterstock

How Rude!

Chameleons like to stick out their tongue ... only to catch insects of course. When the chameleon has focused on an insect it lets its tongue shoot out like a rubber band. The insect sticks to it and is being caught like a fish on a fishing line. The tongue of the chameleon can be 1.5 to 2 times as long as its body.

I Spy With My Little Eye ...

Chameleons can move their eyes independently of each other. This enables them to detect enemies much faster and to look out for prey more effectively.

Chameleon Chameleon - Photo: Cathy Keifer/Shutterstock

Color Changes for Camouflage?

Even nowadays people claim that chameleons take on the color of their environment for camouflage. Of course this makes it more difficult for their enemies to detect a green chameleon on a green leaf. But the color entirely depends on their mood. If they are angry, they may change their color to black. Chameleons in love take on the brightest colors to impress the ladies. You can also recognize a sick chameleon – the color of its skin is rather pale.

Chameleon Chameleon - Photo:Photo: MattiaATH/Shutterstock

How Do Chameleons Change Their Colors?

Chameleons have specific cells layers which are located under their transparent outer skin. The upper layers contain the cells for yellow and red. The cells in the lower layers reflect the blue color components in the sunlight.

Chameleon Chameleon - Photo: Dan70/Shutterstock

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