Color Changing Lizards

A Chameleon

Image credit: Flickr user uniteddiversity, via CC

They belong to the family of lizards, but  they are not always boring shades of brown. These creatures are quite fashionable. They like to dazzle in different colors. And so, they change their skin color  based on their surroundings and their moods.

Also, unlike their cousins, they don’t like to crawl the walls of your house or get sluggish in winters.

Wait a minute! Who am I talking about? I’m talking about CHAMELEONS!!

Chameleon with colors

Image credit: Flickr user wwarby, via CC

Chameleons are similar yet so different from lizards. To begin with, they have a special ability to change colors. How? They have special cells called chromatophores. Chameleons have a transparent outer skin but have three layers of chromatophores arranged under their skin. The first layer contains yellow and red pigment. The second layer contains blue and white pigment. The deepest layer, contains melanin, which controls how much light is reflected. When a chameleon feels the need to change color, a message from its brain sends signals to chromatophores in all three layers to mix and merge to form a particular color. How long would you take to make that perfect green from red and blue in your color palette? Chameleons can create that perfect color in seconds!! Can you beat that?

Chameleons also have prehensile tails. This means that there coiled tails have the ability to hold and grasp objects. Another difference from their cousins – home lizards.

Prehensile tail

Image credit: Flickr user imke.stahlmann, via CC

Chameleons can extend their tongue to twice or thrice their body length to catch a prey.

And there is more about their oddities. Their upper and lower eyelids are joined, with just a pinhole size gap to see through. Still they have a great eyesight! Chameleons can move their eyes to observe two different objects!! Both their eyes move independently of each other! They have no ears but they can very well hear!

Whoa! Those are some spooky qualities !! Imagine if you could change color, hold things with your legs, could look in different directions at the same time with your eyes and hear without ears. You would not be you. You would be a wizard! Or a genius…or may be a trickster or just a mother!! Ha!!

 

 

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