Chameleons are very unique reptiles belonging to the category of “Chamaeleonidae” with presence in all around the world except Antarctica. They prefer to live in warmer climatic condition ranging from tropical rain forest to desert including parts of Africa, Europe, Asia and US. They are one of the very few species which can change colour. There are around 200 species of chameleons found worldwide with different shapes, sizes and colours. More than 50 percent of the species worldwide live in Madagascar.
Ten Lines on Chameleon
1) Average length of the body of chameleon lies between 35 to 45 cm. They also have very long tongue almost double the length of its own body.
2) Life span of the chameleon lies between 5 to 10 years.
3) Small female chameleon can lay 2 to 4 eggs whereas large chameleon can lay 30-86 eggs at time after two to six weeks of copulation (reproductive process).
4) The gestation period of young born chameleon lies between 4 to 7 weeks.
5) Chameleons have skin with specialized layers containing pigments and Nano crystals helpful in changing the colour pattern of the skin. The space between the crystals is helpful in absorbing and reflecting lights of different wavelength resulting in various patterns.
6) Chameleons are generally omnivorous animals eating all types of insects.
7) Chameleons have long tails which can’t regrow itself unlike other lizards.
8) Chameleons have very typical feet (2 outer and 3 inner toes equipped with sharp nails) which helps them to remain firm on the branches of trees while hunting the prey.
9) Eyes of the chameleons are capable of nearly 360 degree of vision due to the unique ability of its motion in two different directions.
10) The natural predators of chameleon are birds and snakes.
1) Chameleons are not social animal. They prefer to live alone.
2) Chameleons are not famous for being kept as pets among humans because improper handling would result in biting which is quite painful.
3) Male chameleons are more colourful than female chameleons. They are also bigger in size when compared to female one.
4) Chameleons have low hearing capacity and can recognize sound frequencies in the range of (210-600 Hz).
5) As per the fossil records chameleons were evolved 100 million years ago and were more in numbers when compared to present time.
6) Several parasites like thread worm and round worm can enter the body of chameleons through contaminated food or can be transferred through blood via biting insects.
7) Male chameleons would put up a decent fight among themselves in order to choose the female chameleons for copulation.
8) After a fight when male chameleon gets defeated it will become dark brown in colour signalling the state of solitary.
9) Chameleons have the sticky tongue and can catch the insects with immaculate accuracy in fraction of seconds.
10) Chameleons hardly take 15 to 20 seconds in changing the colour. They can change to any colour with the help of their special cells.
As per the latest report from IUCN-International Union for Conservation of nature and natural resources over 35% of the total species of chameleons are facing the extinction due to heightened human activities in their habitat.
Activities like deforestation a major source of ecological and biological exploitation, farming, forest fires have put the Madagascar ( bio-diverse island in housing more than 50% of chameleons) at huge risk of losing one of the most unnerving and beautiful creature of the planet earth. The conservation of forest habitat through parks and reserves is the need of hour for the long term survival of chameleon species.