Today we are going to share incredible chameleon facts for kids including chameleon diet, habitat, reproduction, and its behavior. Chameleons belong to the family of Chamaeleonidae and are highly focused clade of lizards. With their unmistakable physical features, chameleons can be easily recognized such as their stereotypic eyes, lengthy personalized tongue, and zygodactylous feet. One of the amazing chameleon facts for kids is that these reptiles are capable to change their color with respect to their surroundings. This helps them in camouflaging from potential predators. These animals inhabit all throughout South Asia, Africa, Spain, Portugal, California, and Florida. Chameleons have been introduced in Sri Lanka and are mainly found in the moderate climatic ranges including rainforests and deserts. Although occasionally they are also kept as household pets.
Interesting Chameleon Facts For Kids
- The length of the chameleon measures at 15 mm (0.6 inches) in males however certain males are 68.5 cm (30 inches) long which makes them the smallest reptiles on the planet earth.
- Chameleon has a large crest on top of their heads.
- Male chameleons are believed to be much more adorned as compared to the females.
- The average lifespan of these reptiles is about 3 – 5 years.
- The oldest known chameleon was Anqingosaurus brevicephalus which lived some 58.7 to 61.7 million years ago.
- The chameleon’s feet are highly tailored to the arboreal locomotion. They can seize twigs and branches as their feet are so designed.
- They have the most unique types of eyes that operate independently from each other. The upper eyelid and lower ones are connected with a pinhole. Because of their distinctive functioning of eyes, chameleons can visualize two different things or objects at the same time.
- They are adept enough to see their prey at a good 5 to 10 meter distance.
- They do not have ears like snakes but that doesn’t mean they are deaf; they can identify sound frequencies within the range of about 200 – 600 Hz.
- Chameleons are capable to see things even in Ultraviolet light.
With help of their lighting-fast tongues, chameleons successfully catch their prey at some distance.
The chameleon’s tongue is almost 2 times the length of its body (not including tail). It’s also believed that smaller chameleons are can project their tongues at larger distances in comparison to the bigger chameleons. The tongue is made of collagenous elements. The speed of a tongue is 0.07 seconds consequently giving no time to their prey to escape.
Where Do Chameleons Live
These reptiles are predominantly found in the sub-Sahara Africa as well as on the Madagascar, with certain species reside in the southern Europe, northern Europe, southern India, Sri Lanka, and Middle East. Some population also lives in the islands of western Indian Ocean. In some parts chameleons have also been introduced especially Jackson’s and veiled chameleons; these types are introduced in Hawaii from Florida and California. They are known to survive in all types of tropical and mountain rainforests and for a while deserts and steppes. On the negative side, the chameleon’s population is facing sudden decline due to the excessive pollution and deforestation.
- The majority of these reptiles are considered to be oviparous while some are ovoviviparous. For the same reason they tend to lay eggs 3 to 6 weeks after copulation.
- The female chameleon is thought to come down to the ground and start digging a 10 – 30 cm (4 – 12 inches) hole, depending entirely on species.
- The clutch size differs as we move from one species to another. There may be 2 to 4 eggs in a clutch but larger veiled chameleons are believed to lay 80 – 100 eggs.
- The period hatching lasts for about 4 – 12 months, again depending upon the species. Some may take 2 years to hatch.
- The period of gestation lasts for 5 – 7 months.
- The young chameleons have gluey transparent membrane of its yolk sac.
What Do Chameleons Eat
Chameleons are generally regarded as insectivores as they mainly feed on insects. However, larger chameleons are thought to prey on young birds and lizards.
Veiled chameleons mainly feed on leaves and plants matter when there is not enough food. They also eat crickets. One report say that they are capable to eat 15 – 50 large crickets each day.
Jackson’s chameleons prey on broad variety of small insects and animals such as lizards, snails, caterpillars, butterflies, geckos, other chameleons, amphibians, plants matter including leaves, berries, and tender shoots. They can have a mixed diet of bananas, lettuce, apples, tomatoes, crickets, waxworms, and dandelion.
How much the food should be eaten, depends on the temperature.
The common chameleons that belong to the North Africa, Near East, and Europe, primarily feed on arthropods, mantises, and wasps. According to the conservationists, chameleons should not be fed with crickets only rather the diet must be supplemented with earthworms, flies, grasshoppers, waxworms, green leaves, oats, and fruits.
Chameleons are highly proficient to change their skin colors; the colors ranging from pink, black, green, brown, yellow, blue, purple, red, orange, black, and turquoise. The major purpose of their color changing is not for camouflaging rather it meant for social signals. The secondary purpose is, however, to camouflage against potential predators.
Types | Chameleon Facts For Kids
- Jackson’s Chameleon (Trioceros Jacksonii)
- Panther Chameleon ( Furcifer pardalis)
- Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus)
- Spectral Pygmy Chameleon (Rhampholeon spectrum)
- Pygmy Chameleon (Rhampholeon temporalis)
Chameleon Facts For Kids | Video