How Do Chameleons Change Color?
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How Do Chameleons Change Color?

A closer inspection of the chameleon conjures up visions of a Jurassic animal. Its head bears a semblance to that of a dinosaur, a primordial appearance matched by its swaying trait. The lizard’s feet are similar to a parrot’s with two toes extending forward and three set backward. Facial or head adornments further make this reptile seem a living remnant of the Jurassic period. Some chameleon species sport horn-like head protrusions, making them look like tiny replicas of triceratops. Other chameleon species also sport conspicuous spikes on their bodies as an added deterrent to their predators.

Chameleon Color Change

Many believe that a chameleon changes its coloration for defensive purposes. This is only part of the story, however. This chameleon lizard’s color, to start with, is already adapted to the reptile’s environment. The green, red, yellow, brown colors to which they can adapt in an instant are same hues that can be found in their habitat.

It takes only about twenty seconds for this lizard to change its body color. The chameleon does this through special pigment cells called chromatopores in its body which receive brain signals to trigger a certain color change. These signals, however, are not triggered by the presence of predators. They occur as the chameleon’s response to light and temperature. The color change is also an indicator of the reptile’s mood or disposition.

Studies show, for instance, that chameleons adapting darker colors are aggressive. A shift to green by a brown chameleon may be telling the pet’s owner that it is cold. Males sporting flashy colors are likely to be communicating that they’re looking for a mate. Understanding chameleon color change signals would help pet owners in providing the necessary care for these unique reptiles.

Other Striking Features of Chameleon

Such oddities as a chameleon color change whet the interest of most hobbyists and pet owners. This type of lizard counts among the disguise artists of the animal world. For this very reason, the chameleon is a popular choice among lovers of exotic animals.

In addition to their ability to change the hues of their skin in an instant, this lizard has many other distinctive traits that shape them up as interesting pets to keep. Its eyes provide another distinct characteristic. The socket of their eyes can be rotated three hundred sixty degrees. This characteristic is a natural adaptation that allows this arboreal reptile to closely monitor its monitor its environment for predator or prey. The left eye, for instance, can be focused at the back, while the right is trained in front of the lizard. Its field of vision can therefore be greatly enhanced, moving instantly in different directions.

The chameleon’s tongue is another source of fascination. Compared to other creatures of the wild, this reptile’s tongue is incredibly long, and measures equivalent to about one and half the length of its body. This too is an adaptation to enable the lizard to catch its prey, mostly elusive, flying insects that abound in the chameleon’s forest-canopy habitat.

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