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How Does A Chameleon Change Its Color + More Facts

Before we feature this video, let me share with you something about this entertaining lizard ever created on Earth – the karma karma chameleon 😀 . Nope, it’s chameleon. 

As of June 2015, 202 species were described about this Old World lizard known as chameleon, famous for its ability to change colors or camouflage as its defense mechanism against any other intruding predators or attackers.

  • Chameleons have zygodactylous feet, which means they have  two toes facing forward and two toes facing backward. Most larger species in particular has prehensile tail which could grasp into branches. They prefer stereoscopic vision and coordination when hunting a prey, or visual hunting.
  • Chameleons live in warm habitats ranging from rain forest to desert conditions. They are often found in Africa, Madagascar, across southern Asia as far as Sri Lanka, or even in southern Europe. They have also been introduced to California, Hawaii, and Florida, and often keep as pets.
  • Chameleons have the most unique eyes of any reptiles. Why? It’s because their upper rand lower eyelids are joined, with just a pinhole large enough for the pupil to see through. Both eyes can pivot and focus independently, allowing them to observe two different objects simultaneously. Thus, giving them a full 360 – degree arc of vision around their bodies.
  • Chameleons don’t have outer ear or middle ear, neither an ear opening nor an eardrum. Yet, they’re not deaf. They can even detect sound frequencies ranging from 200-600 Hertz.
  • Chameleons can see both visible and ultraviolet light, except infra-red, where goldfishes can do both.
  • Their tongues are 1.5 – 2 times the length of their bodies, excluding the tail. When they fed on insects as their primary food, they ballistically stick it out to capture the prey located some distance away. Wondering why insects easily got stuck when they used their tongue? The main reason is that they have collagenous elements in their tongue muscles with highly modified hyoid bones, that serves as an anchoring structure.
  • And for the last fun fact about chameleons. Have you ever wondered how do chameleons change colors as they camouflaged as their unique defense mechanism? Well, here’s the explanation for this.
  • Some chameleon species are able to change colors. Some are able to vary their coloration and pattern through combinations of pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown, light blue, yellow, turquoise, and purple.
  • Chameleons have two superimposed layers within their skin that control color and thermoregulation. Its top layer contains a lattice of guanine nanocrystals, and when this lattice excites, the spacing between these nanocrystals can be manipulated, affecting which wavelengths of light are reflected and which are absorbed. When the lattice excites, it increases the distance between the nanocrystals, thus the skin reflects longer wavelengths of light. Say for example, when chameleons are in relaxed state, the crystals reflect blue and green, but when they get adrenaline rush or when they get excite, the longer wavelengths such as yellow, orange, green , and red are reflected.
  • Color changing ability of chameleon is not just for defense mechanism.They use it for social signalling and in reactions to temperature and other conditions. They also use this ability during fighting with other chameleons. The brighter colors they show, the braver they are, and darker colors when they concede.

Check this Youtube video uploaded 8 years ago by Super Chameleon with more than 10 million views, and you’ll see how a chameleon does it.

Enjoy!

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