Jana and I are massive chameleon fans....perhaps obsessively so.
During our first interview with Nomad a good portion of our allotted time was spent in the boss's bushes with a flash light - trying to teach him how to spot these little creatures at night. On the same interview I also got lost in his house trying to find the toilet (guide extraordinaire - without the sense of direction) there were a few baffled silences punctuated by a fair amount of eyebrow raising but he still hired us! A glutton for punishment.
Since October 2013 we have been scouring the Serengeti to find and photograph our favourite lizard for the blog, this week brought with it success!
Here's a few reasons why we love a chameleon......
The feet, five toes on each foot have been joined into two opposing bundles giving them a pincer like grasp that is perfect for climbing trees.
The Eyes have it, perhaps the most distinctive eyes of any reptile. The upper and lower eyelids have joined with only a pinhole for the pupil to see through, each eye can pivot and focus independently of the other giving the Chameleon 360-degrees of vision! Try doing that now..
The species here is a Flap Necked Chameleon - you can see the armour plated neck flap here.
Dragon spikes on the spine, belly and chin serve to make them look less digestible and as an outline breaker for camouflage.
Specialised cells beneath the skin can rapidly intensify and disperse pigment allowing them to change colour at will. Different species do this for a variety of reasons but it is behaviour most commonly employed for courtship, intimidation, temperature control, camouflage and those horrifying moments when you show up to a party wearing the same outfit as someone you don't particularly like!
Let's not forget that a chameleon hunts its insect prey firing a tongue longer than it's body out of it's mouth and onto it's unfortunate quarry. The "ballistically projected" tongue is powered by an elastic mechanism and can hit prey in under 0.07 seconds!
What's not to love?!