25 Cool Chameleon Facts You’ll Want To Know

Posted by , Updated on November 25, 2022

Known for their bizarre appearance and unique abilities, chameleons are undoubtedly one of the most interesting creatures in the animal kingdom. You probably know they can change their skin color but do you know where chameleons live or how many chameleon species there are? If you want to learn more about these amazing animals including some chameleon facts for kids or if you consider getting yourself a chameleon pet, it’s highly recommended to check out this post with 25 Cool Chameleon Facts You’ll Want To Know.


Chameleon habitat ranges greatly from rain forests and mountains to savanna and deserts, but all chameleons live in warm (tropical or subtropical) areas.

ChameleonSource: rozhlas.cz

While chameleons can be found in many parts of the world including southern Europe, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, California, and Florida, almost half of the world's 200 chameleon species live in Madagascar.

chameleonSource: sciencekids.co.nz

Most chameleon species are egg-layers, but some deliver live young in clear, cocoon-like sacs.

baby chameleonSource: nationalgeographic.com

The English word “chameleon” is derived from the Latin word “chamaeleón” which translates as “the lion of the ground.”

chameleonSource: Greek-English Lexicon via Wikipedia, image: https://www.pexels.com (public domain)

With an adult size of up to 70 cm (27 in), the Parson’s chameleon is considered the largest chameleon species in the world.

Parson’s chameleonSource: Britannica.com

The world´s smallest chameleon, the leaf chameleon, measures just about 1.6 cm (0.5 in), and it can sit comfortably on the head of a match. It is also one of the smallest vertebrates ever discovered.

chameleonSource: livescience.com

Boasting the most distinctive eyes of any reptile, chameleons have large eyes with a 360-degree arc of vision and can see two directions at once.

chameleonSource: http://twistedsifter.com, image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

Chameleons also have a very distinctive tongue. Up to 2 times longer than their body, the tongue can be rapidly projected to capture prey.

ChameleonSource: animals-zone.com

Chameleons generally eat insects, but larger species, such as the common chameleon, may also eat other lizards and even birds.

ChameleonSource: usfca.edu via Wikipedia

Chameleons are loners. In fact, most of the time, females don't want males to even come near them. During the rare moments when the female is willing to be touched, the male will approach for mating.

two chameleonsSource: livescience.com, Image: pixabay (public domain)

Chameleons do no parenting, so the young are on their own as soon as they are born or hatched.

ChameleonSource: nationalgeographic.com

Like snakes, chameleons do not have an outer or a middle ear, so there is neither an ear opening nor an eardrum. However, chameleons are not deaf; they can pick up sound frequencies in the range of 200–600 Hz.

chameleonSource: Le Berre and Bartlett via Wikipedia

Contrary to popular belief, when a chameleon changes its skin color, the animal usually is not trying to camouflage itself by blending into the environment. More often, it does that to control its body temperature, to communicate with other chameleons, or to express emotions.

chameleonSource: mentalfloss.com, image: publicdomainpictures.net (public domain)

Scientists have found out that chameleon's saliva is about 400 times thicker than that of humans.

chameleonSource: sciencemag.org

Found in the dry mountainous regions of Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the veiled chameleon has a distinctive growth on its head called a casque. The casque acts like a water collector - droplets of moisture roll down it and right into the chameleon's open mouth.

veiled chameleonSource: animals.sandiegozoo.org

Chameleons can be quite territorial. Therefore, if you consider keeping a chameleon as a pet, get just one.

ChameleonSource: ppcorn.com

The oldest known chameleon is Anqingosaurus Brevicephalus, which used to live in the Middle Paleocene era (about 58.7–61.7 million years ago) in modern China.

chameleonSource: digimorph.org via Wikipedia, image: pexels (public domain)

Chameleons usually live 2 to 3 years in the wild. In captivity, they have been known to live up to 10 years.

ChameleonSource: animals.mom.me

Some chameleons can change completely from one color to another in less than 20 seconds.

Blue-ChameleonSource: todayifoundout.com

Chameleons are able to project their tongue at extremely high performance, reaching their prey in as little as 0.07 seconds; they can launch their tongue at speeds exceeding 41 g (g-force).

ChameleonSource: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov via Wikipedia

Chameleons are known for their unique abilities to hide and camouflage, but unfortunately, that cannot save them from the slash-and-burn agricultural techniques that have been destroying their habitats. Consequently, 9 chameleon species are now critically endangered, 37 are endangered, and 20 are vulnerable.

ChameleonSource: nationalgeographic.com

Unlike many other lizards such as anoles and geckos, chameleons cannot reproduce their tails.

chameleonSource: scientificamerican.com, image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

Chameleons can see in both visible and ultraviolet light. Chameleons exposed to ultraviolet light show increased social behavior and activity levels.

ChameleonSource: web.archive.org via Wikipedia, image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

The incubation period for egg-laying chameleon species is usually several months, but the eggs of the rare Parson's chameleon are believed to take up to 2 years to hatch.

Parson's chameleonSource: animals.sandiegozoo.org

Chameleons are notable for their bizarre walk - they sway back and forth while walking. Some experts guess that the weird behavior might help chameleons imitate swaying tree leaves, thus further camouflaging themselves; however, this theory has not been scientifically proved yet.

ChameleonSource: mentalfloss.com, image: pixabay.com (public domain)

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