The Chameleon (family Chamaeleonidae) is a lizard – and a reptile.
The Chameleon can be a variety of colours, and can change colour to match its environment – this is called camouflage. It is usually green, brown, olive-green, or grey-brown. It is elongated, usually with a raised or slightly-domed back, and a tail that can curl around plants. It often has a crest of spines along its back, and a fleshy lump at the back of its head. It has zygodactylous (fused) feet for climbing trees. It has a long tongue, and independently mobile eyes with stereoscopic vision.
The Chameleon measures, on average, about 30 centimetres (12 inches) long.
The Chameleon is native to Africa, Madagascar, southern Europe, and southern Asia. It prefers to live in warm regions, such as rain forests and deserts.
It is arboreal, living in trees. It sways back and forth in slow motion when walking. It is an ectothermic animal, using less energy in extreme temperatures, which is called thermoregulation.
It is an insectivore, eating insects which it catches on its long, flexible, quick-moving, powerful tongue.
The Chameleon is oviparous, because it lays eggs. The female digs a hole and lays 2-200 eggs, depending upon the species. The eggs hatch after 4-12 months, depending upon the species and size.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM