Namaqua Chameleon

Namaqua Chameleon

The Namaqua Chameleon (Chamaeleo namaquensis) is a ground living lizard found in the Namib Desert of Namibia and southern Angola. Unlike the arboreal chameleons of the genus Chamaeleo, its tail is not prehensile, but otherwise it still hunts in the same way, slowly stalking its prey and catching it with its long tongue. Namaqua Chameleons feed on insects (particularly beetles), crickets, lizards, including young chameleons of their own species, small snakes, and even scorpions, hunting them in both sandy dunes and rocky areas. They are in turn preyed upon by jackals, hawks and eagles. The larger female (160 mm) lays around 20 eggs which take about 100 days to hatch. Several adaptations have evolved to cope with desert conditions, they excrete salt from nasal glands to conserve water, and dig holes to aid in thermoregulation. They also use their ability to change colour to aid in controlling temperature, becoming black in the cooler morning to absorb heat more efficiently, then a lighter grey colour to reflect light during the heat of the day - or showing both colours at the same time, neatly separated left from right by the spine. Namaqua Chameleons are listed as CITES II.

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