Chameleon Facts For Kids
Known as the master of disguise, the chameleon has a very handy trick of blending in with its surroundings.
While this is certainly a neat ability that I’m sure you think is cool, there are other amazing facts about chameleons you could learn.
You may not know there are 160 species of chameleons in the world, so there’s a lot more to know about these interesting lizards.
Read the many facts about chameleons below to brush up on your knowledge of them.
Quick Chameleon Facts
- There are more than 200 species of chameleons, less than 50% of which can be found in Madagascar.
- All chameleons are arboreal, meaning they live in bushes and trees and not on the ground.
- Male chameleons are more colorful than female chameleons.
- They have a weak sense of hearing.
- Most species of chameleons are omnivorous, but there are a few species that eat insects and other small creatures.
- The word chameleon is derived from the Latin and Greek words that translate to “lion on the ground.”
- A chameleon’s spit is 400 times stickier than human spit, allowing them to grasp their food easily.
Where do chameleons live?
Chameleons are generally found where their normal colors match their surroundings well.
For example, a green chameleon will typically be found living among greenery like leaves and bushes, while a brown chameleon may be found on the ground.
As an added bonus, this helps protect chameleons from predators and makes it much easier for them to catch their prey.
What do they eat and drink?
Chameleons eat lots of bugs, which is why their long tongue comes in handy. The tongue acts as a weapon and bug catcher for the chameleon.
The varieties of insects they like to eat include locusts, mantids, grasshoppers, stick bugs, and crickets. It’s good that they get a large variety of insects in their daily diet.
Chameleons don’t need as much water as us humans, and mainly like to drink water droplets that are on other objects, like wet leaves.
What do they look like?
Chameleons are lizards that vary in size, and since there are many species, it is difficult to describe them all as a whole.
Generally, these creatures have unique bulging eyes that can move and focus independently, allowing them to watch for prey and predators at the same exact time.
They also generally have enormous tongues that can quickly dart out like weapons at their prey. Chameleons have some sort of decoration on their heads, which can be horns, crests, or other unique markings.
Chameleons have teeth that are small, triangular and spiky. Their teeth are acrodont which means they have no roots and are fused at their base to the jaw.
The chameleon is very well known for having color changing skin. However, you may be surprised to know that the chameleon doesn’t use this ability to hide or blend in.
If one turns very dark, they are probably angry, frightened, or just plain stressed out about something.
Believe it or not!
Believe it or not, no chameleons are naturally from the United States (or anywhere in North/South America). If you see chameleons out in the wild, they are the offspring of escaped pets from other parts of the world.
The eyes of a chameleon can swivel and have a 360 degree panoramic view of things. As mentioned before, they can move each eye independently, which allows them to watch two different things at the same time.
Their eyes combined with their quick tongue means they have very little trouble finding food for themselves. They are naturally good hunters, simply because they were built to be good providers for themselves.
The tongue of a chameleon can be longer than its own body length! Just imagine that mental image.
One of the largest chameleons out there is the Parson’s chameleon – it can the same size as your typical domestic cat!
Chameleons are not very social creatures whatsoever. They prefer to be alone, and they only hang out with other chameleons during the mating season.
Chameleons are endangered
Unfortunately, some of the 160 species of chameleons are actually endangered because of habitat loss and destruction, and also because people buy them as pets.
When our forests are damaged or destroyed, it seriously affects chameleons and other animals that live in these types of areas. Keeping chameleons as pets can be tricky because it is difficult to provide them with everything they need to survive.