Chameleons are fascinating and amazing creatures, always popular with anyone who sees them. They belong to the lizard family and the word 'Chameleon' means 'Earth Lion'.
I just love Chameleons and there was a time when I used to have them in my garden regularly - no more. I haven't seen a Chameleon for... years. Yes, years... I know they might have difficulty getting into the property because of the high walls, but I at least used to see them on my walks. The over-population in rural areas is really having an effect on these wonderful little creatures...
The main distribution of Chameleons is Africa and Madagascar, and half of the world's chameleon population lives on the island of Madagascar. They are famous for their ability to change colour. This serves as a form of communication, a response to temperature, light, and mood, as well as a defense against predators. Their eyes can rotate and swivel independently, enabling them to see almost a complete 360-degrees or observe two things simultaneously. Their tongues can be as long as their bodies. Chameleons can balance on a branch by gripping it with their claws and wrapping their tail around the branch to hold on. Chameleons can even sleep upside down!
There are thought to be more than 160 different species of chameleon that range from just an inch to more than a couple of feet in size. The tiny pygmy leaf chameleon, found in the jungles of Madagascar, is the smallest species of chameleon with some males measuring less than 3 cm long with the largest growing to almost 70cm long.