It’s not the biggest or the most venomous, but it excels in the art of camouflage. You recognized it, it is the chameleon. So, how does he manage to change colors… It’s possible thanks to his skin cells. Some contain pigments, i.e. colored substances, and others, tiny crystals, able to affect its appearance by reflecting light. Moreover, as it has a flattened, mottled and spiny body, it allows it to blend easily into the foliage.
The chameleon and its color changes
The chameleon changed colors depending on its mood! Relaxed, it is rather green (practical for hiding). But if he is angry and wants to scare a rival, or if it is a male courting a female, he can become very showy in a minute in many bright colors and various patterns. He will also change color if it’s colder or scared. A way to show the colors of his mood.
You should know that like all lizards, the chameleon moults two to three times a year. Old skin peels off in shreds, gradually uncovering brand new skin.
The vision of the chameleon
This very special animal has eyes that can move in all independent directions. He is thus able to watch the ground with his right eye while his left eye looks up. The chameleon remains motionless all day, attentive to the slightest movement.
The chameleon and insect hunting
He also has an incredible tongue, so long that it exceeds the length of his entire body, it is about twenty centimeters. At rest, it is folded around a bone. And at the moment of seizing its prey, mainly insects, it projects its tongue soaked in sticky saliva with lightning speed as if it were animated by a spring: Its tongue thus retains its prey after having knocked it down, then returns in his mouth.
Where does the chameleon live
Generally in the trees, the chameleon is equipped for, with legs provided with claws, to cling. He wraps his queue around the branches to perfect his balance, like a real acrobat. On the podium of the most incredible animals, he would have every chance.
To know more
La Grande Imagerie and its booklet on reptiles also explains the life of chameleons, but also of snakes, turtles and even crocodiles.