Aug 31 2017

August 2017’s Animal Of The Month – Veiled Chameleons

We’re bidding the veiled chameleon a fond farewell now that August is coming to an end. We hope you enjoyed the time we spent together @ExoticPetVets with this colourful creature as our Animal of the Month on Twitter. As always, we are providing a summary of our tweets for you in case you missed any during the month. Did you know?:

        • The veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) is found in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
        • There are feral populations of veiled chameleons in Hawaii and Florida because of the pet trade.
        • Sometimes the veiled chameleon is known as the Yemen chameleon or the cone-head chameleon.
        • The veiled chameleon’s most distinctive physical feature is the large crest on the head. This crest is called a casque.
        • The casques on baby veiled chameleons are just small swellings. On adults, casques can be up to 5 cms (2 inches) tall.
        • The exact purpose of the casque on the veiled chameleon is unclear.
        • It’s believed male veiled chameleons have bigger casques than females so they can threaten other males and attract mates.
        • Veiled chameleons are born pastel green. As they mature they sport brighter colours like green, turquoise, yellow and tan.
        • Adult male veiled chameleons have bright prominent vertical stripes on their bodies and casques.
        • Adult female veiled chameleons have a more muted and mottled appearance.
        • In addition to colour and pattern, there is a size difference between male and female veiled chameleons.
        • Adult male veiled chameleons can grow to a length of about 40–60 cms (16-24 inches), tip to tail.
        • Adult female veiled chameleons are smaller than males, growing to a typical maximum of 33 cms (13 inches).
        • Female veiled chameleons have stockier bodies than their male counterparts.
        • Despite popular belief, veiled chameleons can’t change into any colour to adapt to their environment.
        • Veiled chameleons change their colour to communicate complex messages regarding their emotional and physical states.
        • Research shows that veiled chameleon have 14 distinct areas on their skin which can change colour independently.
        • Male and female veiled chameleons also communicate different messages when they change colour.
        • E.g. female veiled chameleons will change colour to signal if they want (or don’t want) to mate and if they’re pregnant.
        • E.g. Male veiled chameleons will change colour when they’re trying to attract a mate or when they’re being aggressive.
        • Researchers suggest colour change in male veiled chameleons can help predict who will win a fight.
        • Veiled chameleons are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal material.
        • Veiled chameleons mostly eat insects, but to get extra hydration they’ll also eat leaves, blossoms and young shoots.
        • Their habitat is shrinking so wild veiled chameleons have moved into agricultural areas and are eating millet.
        • As they are slow-moving reptiles, the veiled chameleon’s hunting style is to hide and wait for his prey.
        • The veiled chameleon’s eyes can rotate 360 degrees and move independently of each other to help him find prey.
        • Their long tongues shoot out at a fraction of a second, allowing veiled chameleons to remain still while catching prey.
        • With proper care, male veiled chameleons in captivity can live between 6-8 years.
        • Female veiled chameleons have a shorter lifespan than males, living between 4-6 years.
        • Female veiled chameleons live shorter lives because producing eggs depletes their energy which impacts their life span.

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