e-book Chameleons for Children! - Amazing Animals of the World

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"Most Amazing Animals" Desert Chameleon (TV Episode ) - IMDb

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Chameleons generally eat insects such as locusts, mantids, grasshoppers, stick insects, and crickets. Some larger chameleons also eat small birds and other lizards.

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A few species have been known to eat a bit of plant material. Chameleons don't move around very fast, so they use their incredibly long tongue to catch the insects they eat. They are able to stick the tongue out of their mouth very quickly. The tongue has a sticky tip on the end to snag prey items that they would otherwise never be able to catch. The end of the tongue is a ball of muscle, and as it hits its prey, it rapidly forms a small suction cup.

Once the prey sticks to the tongue, the chameleon draws it back into the mouth, where its strong jaws crush it for swallowing.

Even small chameleons are able to eat large insects. The tongue is kept bunched up at the back of the mouth until it is needed again. It changes under the influence of the lizard's mood, such as fear or anger, the amount of light, and the temperature or humidity. Males that can make themselves brighter are more dominant and attract more females.

A submissive male displays brown or gray. Females use their colors to accept or reject a male; their color display can also signal a pregnancy. Nesting instinct. Most female chameleons lay eggs. The number of eggs laid varies among different species.

Desert Chameleon

When the eggs are ready to be laid, the female climbs down to the ground and digs a hole. She deposits the eggs in the hole, buries them, and leaves the nesting site. During incubation, the eggs absorb water from the earth and can gain up to 0.

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A few days after the young hatch or are born, they begin to hunt insects. They instinctively know how to survive without a parent to teach them. The hatchlings look like miniature adults, except that their coloration and markings are not as bright. They grow quickly, and many species reach sexual maturity before the end of their first year. The Jackson's chameleon is native to the humid, cooler regions of Africa's Kenya and Tanzania.

It is usually found in great numbers in mountainous areas. The horns are used to defend territory. On a narrow tree branch, males may lock horns and try to push the other off. Chameleons can project their tongues up to two body lengths from their mouth. Now this is done at speeds of about 5. Tongue projection in chameleons is similar in a lot of ways to a bow and arrow.

Before the tongue is actually launched, or the arrow, muscle action loads elastic elements.

Desert Chameleon

Tongue launch is initiated by the recoil of those elastic elements that were loaded by the muscle action or the release of the bow in the bow and arrow model. Thirty-six percent of chameleon species are threatened with extinction. There are nine species which are regarded as critically endangered and 37 species that are regarded as endangered. The main threats to chameleons in the wild is actually habitat alteration and deforestation.

Because some chameleons are found only in a specific type of habitat on a single mountain this makes them range restricted. But when that range restriction is combined with other pressures on their habitat, a lot of these species become endangered.