Chameleon Facts



  • Chameleons are 85 species of lizard, most of which live on the island of Madagascar and in mainland Africa.
  • The smallest chameleon, the dwarf Brookesia, could balance on your little finger. The biggest, Oustalet’s chameleon, is the size of a small cat.
  • A chameleon can look forwards and backwards at the same time, as each of its amazing eyes can swivel in all directions independently of the other.
  • Chameleons feed on insects and spiders, hunting them in trees by day.
  • A chameleon’s tongue is almost as long as its body, but is normally squashed up inside its mouth.
  • The chameleon’s tongue is fired out from a special launching bone that is located on its lower jaw.
  • The chameleon can shoot out its tongue to a great length.
  • Most of a chameleon’s bulging eyes are protected by skin.
  • A chameleon shoots out its tongue in a fraction of a second to trap its victim on a sticky pad at the tip.
  • Most lizards can change color, but chameleons are experts, changing quickly to all sorts of colors.
  • Chameleons change color when they are angry or frightened, too cold or too hot, or sick — but they change color less often to match their surroundings.
  • The color of the skin is controlled by pigment cells called melanophores, which change color as they change size.