22 February, 2011

Chameleons.....The Coloured Lizards

Magical change of colour on a chameleon's skin
Chameleons belong to the family of lizards but they are unique enough because of the dramatic change of their skin colour. Many people believe that the chameleon has the ability to change its colour , whenever he wants, according to its surroundings. It is true that the colour of a chameleon's skin can change, but the fact is this change of colour is not as result of its own efforts or decision.  Its a totally involuntary act which happens automatically and chameleon does not need to play any active role to do so. The colour change is a form of camouflage, a disguise that lets something blend in with its surroundings. It helps the chameleon to avoid its enemies.
Baby chameleons as compared with human fingers

Chameleon's skin has colour-causing 'pigments that change under certain conditions. For instance, on a day when there is no bright sunlight, chameleons appear grey or green. Bright sunlight causes the skin to darken. On cool nights the colour fades to a creamy colour. The skin also changes colour when chameleons are excited, angry, or afraid.
There are many types of chameleon. About half of them are found only on the African island Madagascar. The others are found mostly south of Africa's Sahara desert, with another few in western Asia and southern Europe. The 'false chameleon', known as anole, is often sold in pet stores. This American lizard also changes colour, but not as dramatically as a true chameleon.
A beautiful blue chameleon
Chameleons live in trees and usually eat insects. They catch their prey with the help of their long and slender tongues. They shoot the tongue out, grab the prey on the sticky end, and then draw the it back into their mouth. Large chameleons also use their sticky tongues to catch birds.
Another unusual thing about chameleons is that each of their eyes can move independently of the other, so they can see in different directions at once. This makes it very hard to sneak up on a chameleon.
Some people are of the view  that the chameleon's eyes helped inspire the invention of the military turret. It is a revolving tower which  you can see today on the tops of tanks.

1 comment:

  1. please remove the chameleon photo at the top of this website as it is being used without the copyright holders permission.