Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Birth of the veiled Chameleons

A fews week ago, a pair of veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) which have been part of the NAUSICAA (the French National Sea Centre) exhibition since early in 2016, gave birth to some thirty very healthy little chameleons. The babies were put in tanks in the reserve so that the handlers could feed them and monitor their development.

Chameleons can change colour. However, contrary to popular belief, these variations in colour are not camouflage. They depend on other factors such as the animal's emotional state or changes in temperature.

The veiled chameleon is one of the few chameleons to demand plants in its diet! It enjoys dandelions, not to mention the plants used to decorate its terrarium.

Chameleons' eyes are unusual. They can each move independently, in all directions (up, down, forward and back). The chameleon has a long sticky tongue which it can use to catch prey that is as much as 30cm (that’s one foot in English) away from it. It also has a long tail, which it can roll-up to gain better grip on tree branches.

This is an endemic animal classified in the Least Concern category by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

The exhibition is particularly colourful because of the variations in the colours of the animals in it. Like coral reefs, tropical forests are a symbol of biodiversity. They provide a habitat for more than half of the Earth's animal species and plant varieties, all of them dependent on each other for survival. Of all the species found in the tropical forest, NAUSICAA has decided to display frogs, lizards, snakes and chameleons.

Frogs are the most common amphibian in rain forests. Unlike frogs that live in temperate zones, tropical frogs live in trees, thanks to the ambient humidity of the forest. The ecosystem is also home to many constrictor snakes, snakes with very little venom and lizards.

The tropical forest exhibit fills a long corridor that opens out onto a fabulous display of crocodiles and freshwater fish.....the Submerged Forest.

For more visit the website here.

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