Guest Author - Christina Borders
Written by previous editor: Christina Borders
Veiled chameleons are known as true chameleons. They are native to Yemen and Saudi Arabia and reside in many different habitat types. All chameleons are arboreal lizards, meaning they are tree dwelling, and veiled chameleons are no exception. Usually the males of the species are more brightly colored, but both genders are quite striking in hue. The tall, protruding helmet like fin on top of a veiled chameleons head is called a casque. It is quite small at the time of hatch but will grow to be up to 2 inches tall.
Since chameleons spend the majority of their lives in trees, they have adapted several behaviors that assist them in hunting, camouflage, and communication. The chameleonís body is rather thin and leaf like and is equipped with fused finger like hands that easily grip limbs and branches. They also possess a prehinsiled tail, which acts something like an extra hand. Chameleons spend a lot of time hidden and still, but when they do move, itís with a swaying motion. This helps to confuse would be predators, giving the impression that the chameleon is nothing more than a stick or leaf blowing in the wind.
While hunting for insects, the main source of their diet, chameleons utilize their extremely long, sticky, and elastic like tongues. A chameleons tongue can measure up to one and a half times the length of its body and is Ďfiredí so quickly insects have no time to flee. In fact, their tongues are so fast that itís hard to catch a glimpse of one in action unless you are watching a slow motion playback.
When most people think of chameleons they think of them changing colors to blend in with their surroundings, which is true, but more often the colors are a way of communicating emotional status. Chameleons are something like lizard mood rings. Colors change with fear, mating interest, territorial aggression, and challenges from other males.
Another distinct feature of chameleons are their independent eyes, which can rotate a full 180 degrees. This enables the chameleon to always be aware and on the look out for potential threats, food, and mates even.
Veiled chameleons as with other chameleons can be stressed very easily and require moderate to difficult care. If you are considering a chameleon for a pet please remember to ONLY buy captive bred animals and research your future pet fully before bringing him home. Below are some related articles and links that may help you in your search for more information.