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A chameleon is a very unique lizard that belongs to the Chamaeleonidae family. They inhabit warm locations such as rainforests and deserts. They are known to change colors, rapidly shoot their long tongues outward, and move their eyes independently.
See the fact file below for more information on the chameleon or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Chameleon worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The word chameleon comes from the Latin word chamaeleōn derived from its Greek equivalent that means “on the ground lion.”
- Chameleons can be classified into twelve genera and a little over 200 individual species.
- Chameleons are native to Eurasia and Africa.
- They are also found in India, Spain, Portugal, and US states with warm climates, like Hawaii, Florida, and California.
- Almost half of the chameleon population live in Madagascar in East Africa – around 44%.
- The Calumma, Brookesia, and Furcifer genera can only be found in Madagascar.
- Their eyes move independently and can rotate 360 degrees.
- Their eyes can also see two directions at once.
- They have very sharp vision with excellent depth perception which allows them to easily target prey (insects) even up to 20 feet away.
- They are also able to see ultraviolet light.
- Seeing ultraviolet light allows them to target their prey better.
- It has also been found that they become more sexually active in ultraviolet light.
- Unlike their eyes, their ears are not very sharp at hearing. They can only hear a very limited range of frequencies.
- The tongues of chameleons are two to three times longer than their bodies.
- They are able to shoot their tongues out at high speeds in both high and low temperatures, which other reptiles cannot do.
- Their tongues consist of two kinds of muscles that make it possible for them to do this: the accelerator muscle and the hyoglossus.
- The accelerator muscle is what makes them forcefully eject their tongues speedily.
- The hyoglossus brings the tongue back to its place in the chameleon’s mouth.
- They use both their eyes and tongues to capture their prey: their sharp eyes first spot their target then their long tongues grab the insect.
- Chameleons are able to attach themselves securely on branches of trees and other objects because of their zygodactylous feet.
- Zygodactyl feet have two or three toes pointing forward and the others pointing backward.
- A chameleon’s toes have sharp nails that can stick onto branches.
- The tails of the bigger species of chameleons are prehensile, meaning they’re capable of grasping things, specifically onto tree branches.
- When a chameleon is at rest, their tails are curled tightly into a coil.
- If a chameleon’s tail is cut off, it can’t grow back unlike other reptiles.
- Chameleons are mostly insectivores.
- There are some bigger species that are omnivores and eat small birds and lizards.
- Chameleons don’t disappear; they change colors to blend into their environment.
- Most species change color; some can even change the pattern and mix of colors.
- When a chameleon changes color, it controls the pigments and the amino acid crystals (particularly guanine) ingrained on their skin.
- Chameleons change colors as a defense mechanism from predators, a signal to other chameleons, and as a technique to regulate body temperature.
- Bright colors would signal dominance while toned down colors signal submission.
- Most chameleon species give birth by laying eggs, except for species like the Jackson’s chameleon.
- For live births, the eggs are incubated inside the mother’s body.
- The incubation period of chameleon eggs lasts 4 to 24 months.
- Small chameleons lay only a few eggs, but bigger ones can lay up to 100 eggs.
- Chameleons become mature as adults after one to two years.
- The lifespan of a chameleon varies depending on the species.
- The average lifespan of a chameleon in the wild is two to three years, and three to ten years in captivity.
- The Anqingosaurus brevicephalus is the oldest described chameleon. It was identified in the Middle Paleocene era (which was 60 million years ago) in China.
- Various sources point out that chameleons are much older than 60 million years, with fossils having been found in Africa dating back 100 million years.
- The sizes of chameleons varies greatly. The smallest and biggest chameleons are found in Madagascar.
- The Brookesia micra is the smallest chameleon measuring only up to an inch in length.
- The Oustalet’s chameleon (or Madagascan) and the Parson’s chameleon are both the largest chameleons measuring up to 27 inches long.
- The Parson’s chameleon can weigh up to two pounds.
- The Madagascan chameleon has a lifespan of only three months.
- The pygmy chameleon is as big as a caterpillar.
- The Swift’s dwarf chameleon changes its color according to the predator’s vision capacities.
- The Tarzan chameleon got its name from a village named Tarzanville. It is already an endangered species.
- The Namaqua chameleon changes its color to control body temperature. It changes to black to absorb heat then light gray to release heat.
- The Jackson’s chameleon gives birth to its offsprings live and not in eggs.
- The panther chameleon is known for its bright colors.
- A group of chameleons is called a camp.
- A female common chameleon shows yellow spots when she wants to mate. Otherwise, she’ll show blue and yellow spots against a darkened skin tone.
- The spit of a chameleon is super sticky. Their spit is 400 times more viscous than human’s. This is why they can basically glue insects onto their tongues.
- The walk of chameleons is very distinct. They have a certain “sway” when they walk.
- Chameleons shed their skin too, but gradually, not all in one go like snakes.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about chameleon across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Chameleon worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about a chameleon which is a very unique lizard that belongs to the Chamaeleonidae family. They inhabit warm locations such as rainforests and deserts. They are known to change colors, rapidly shoot their long tongues outward, and move their eyes independently.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Chameleon Facts
- What Is A Chameleon?
- Pair the Parts
- Chameleon Correction
- Chameleon Crossword
- Wanted: Chameleon
- Define The Species
- Color the Chameleon
- Camille the Chameleon
- Capture Caught On Camera
- The Chameleon Poem
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Link will appear as Chameleon Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 7, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.