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Panther Chameleon

Panther Chameleon, Furcifer pardalis panther_chameleon

Description: This is a relatively large species of chameleon, reaching a length of up to 50cms including the tail. Females attain only half the size of males. This species is sexually dimorphic, and other than size, the males and females are easily distinguished from one another due to their distinctive individual colouration. The males are elaborately coloured with the brightest colours of almost any species of chameleon and females are usually more uniformly dressed in light shades of peach or pink. Both sexes possess a white lateral stripe along their bodies. These amazing animals are perfectly adapted to their arboreal lifestyle; they possess fused digits of the hands, feet that create the perfect shape for grasping a branch, and they have a prehensile tail. They also have eyes that can move independently, giving them 360 degree vision. Chameleons have an amazing ability to project their tongue up to one and a half times the length of their body in order to catch their prey. It is a myth that chameleons change their colour for camouflage – this is only a basic function of their incredible ability to colour change, which is used primarily for high levels of communication with other chameleons and to help them scare away potential predators.

Reproduction: Females lay up to 30 small eggs that are deposited in a hole dug in the ground. The eggs are covered and have a long incubation period, only hatch after 6-10 months. They tiny young hatch and are independent from this moment, they lack the extreme colour changing ability of adults, this is developed as they grow. They grow extremely fast and reach maturity between 8-12 months of age.

Diet: Invertebrates.

Distribution: Northern and East Madagascar, including some small offshore islands.

Conservation Status: Least concern.


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