What Are Some Facts About Chameleons?

Chameleons are a type of lizard that live in the rain forests, savannas, semi-deserts and steppes of Africa, Madagascar, Asia, Spain and Portugal. These reptiles are most famous for their long tongues, which they use to catch prey sitting far away, as well as their ability to change color.

Chameleons are able to effectively search for prey (and predators) with two eyes that move separately from each other. Their diet, depending on species, consists of crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, mantids and in some cases even birds and other lizards. Their long tongues compensate for their slow movement. The tips of their tongues function as a sticky suction cup, enabling them to grasp their prey. Many of these creatures also possess prehensile tails for moving around trees and bushes, as well as specially-designed feet for grasping tenaciously onto branches.

Chameleons' ability to change color enables them to communicate with each other, either warning other chameleons to stay away or working to attract mates. Their ordinary colors help them blend into their surroundings, and thus hide from both potential predators and prey.

As of 2015, there are well over 100 species of chameleons in the world, some of which face threats from deforestation and being sold into captivity.