Jan 10, 2008

Chameleons

Chameleons are really cool lizards! They belong to one of the best-known lizard families. The name "chameleon" means "Earth Lion" and is derived from the Greek words chamai (on the ground, on the earth) and leon (lion).

Chameleons are zygodactylic; on each foot the five toes are fused into a group of two and a group of three, giving the foot a tongs-like appearance. These specialized feet allow chameleons to grip tightly to narrow branches. Each toe is equipped with a sharp claw to gain traction on surfaces such as bark when climbing. The claws make it easy to see how many toes are fused into each part of the foot: two toes on the outside of each front foot and three on the inside, and the reverse pattern on each hind foot.

Their eyes are the most distinctive among the reptiles. The upper and lower eyelids are joined, with only a pinhole large enough for the pupil to see through. They can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously. It in effect gives them a full 360-degree arc of vision around their body. When prey is located, both eyes can be focused in the same direction, giving sharp stereoscopic vision and depth perception.

Chameleons have very long tongues which they are capable of rapidly extending out of the mouth. The tongue extends out faster than human eyes can follow, at around 26 body lengths per second. The tongue has a sticky tip on the end, which serves to catch prey items. The tongue's tip is a bulbous ball of muscle, and as it hits its prey, it rapidly forms a small suction cup. Once the tongue sticks to a prey item, it is drawn quickly back into the mouth, where the chameleon's strong jaws crush it and it is consumed.

Some (not all) chameleon species are able to change their skin colour. Changing of colour is an expression of the physical and physiological condition of the lizard. Despite popular belief, chameleons cannot change colour to their surroundings. Chameleons are naturally coloured for their surroundings as a camouflage.

Alright...here's the fun part. Pictures of chameleons!

Pictures are from www.flchams.com

4 comments:

  1. bwahahahaha... awww. thanks for the education, bro.

    i always thought it was an iguana maybe cos a friend in sec school kept one and told me so. lol.

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  2. Damn colourful man! Some of them looks like they have a dye job.

    I'm naming the first one Godzilla!

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  3. to shyanne: hehe...that's what big brothers are for! chameleons are cool huh?

    to lounge lizard: i love the last one. anything that's orange goes down well with me.

    but seriously dude, you could be a little more original with the name! Godzilla??

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