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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Chameleon

There are about 160 species of chameleon living in Africa, Madagascar, Spain and Portugal, and across south Asia as far as Sri Lanka.

Some species can change the color of their skins for camouflage, or to signal mood to other chameleons. Their skin is made up of tiny, mirror-like crystals that reflect differing levels of light, allowing it to change color.


A completely blind chameleon will still take on the colors of its environment.

The world's tiniest chameleon has been found on Madagascar. At 2.9 cm, it is one of the world's smallest lizards.

The tail is long and highly prehensile, assisting the animal when climbing. Most chameleons live in trees and move very slowly.

A chameleon's tongue is nearly twice as long as its body.To grab prey the tongue shoots out of its mouth at more than 26 body lengths per second—13.4 miles (21.6 kilometers) an hour.

The tiny Rhampholeon spinosus chameleon’s tongue can accelerate the equivalent of a car going 0 to 60 mph in one-hundredth of a second.

Chameleons have the most distinctive eyes of any reptile. They can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously. This gives them a full 360-degree arc of vision around their bodies and gives them stereoscopic vision for ‘shooting.’

Some species of chameleon, such as the African species C. bitaeniatus give birth to a fully-formed young enclosed in a membrane, which is immediately shed. The  newly hatched chameleon frees itself and climbs away to hunt for itself and hide from predators. The female can have up to 30 live young from one gestation

The actress Sarah Bernhardt was fond of wild animals and had at home six chameleons.

The word is used figuratively to describe a fickle person who shifts according to the opinions of others just as a chameleon can change its color to blend with its background.

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