Chameleons – colorful lizards
Chameleons are lizards, well- known for being able to change the color of their skin. The word chameleon in Greek means “earth lion”.
There are over 80 different kinds of chameleon. They live in Africa, western Asia and southern Europe. Different species of chameleon are of different sizes – from about 4 centimeters to 60 centimeters long. The Parson’s chameleon, from Madagascar, is one of the largest of its family.
Chameleons live in trees, where they usually eat insects. They catch their prey with the help of their long and slender tongue. Very large chameleons may even catch birds.
Most chameleons are green, yellow, or brown colored. However, these animals are famous for their ability to rapidly change the color. Many people believe that chameleons can make their color change to match their surroundings. The color change is a form of camouflage.
Their skin contains color-causing pigments that change under certain conditions. Color changes depend on such factors as temperature, light, and emotions such as fear and anger. Chameleons also use color changes to communicate with each other. Color change can happen in just 20 seconds.
Each eye can move independently of the other, so they can see in different directions at once.
In some African countries, people are afraid of chameleons because they think they will bring bad luck. Many people in Madagascar believe that anything you do to a chameleon will one day happen to you.
The “false chameleon,” or anole, is often sold in pet stores. However, chameleons are rather finicky creatures, and they usually do not survive very long in captivity.
Chameleons can remain completely motionless for several hours.