Amazing facts about a chameleon's body appearance

Picture of a green chameleon.

The chameleon is a member of the lizard family.

Although certain American lizards, named “anoles,” are popularly called “chameleons,” true members of the chameleon family live mainly in Africa and Madagascar.

Some species of the family may also be found in Europe and Asia.

Chameleons range greatly in size.

Some of them are as small as 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) long, while others grow to a length of some two feet (.6 meter).

Body appearance

Picture of a brown chameleon.

It's body gives the appearance of being rather compressed and tapers into a pointed ridge along my back.

What about it's head?

Well, it rests on a short neck so it is unable to turn.

To compensate for this, it's eyes are able to move independently of each other.

It can look straight ahead with one eye, while the other can observe what is happening behind.

Many people who see this for the first time find this feature rather disconcerting.

It's eyeballs are large, but it's eyelids are fused so that there is only a small opening through which it looks for it's prey, mainly insects.

It's eyelids are so constructed so as to shield the glint of its eyes from my prey.

Otherwise many of it's prey would soon become aware of it and move out of reach.

Chameleon have a variety of “headdresses,” varying from one species to another.

Some chameleons possess helmet-like crests or movable scaly flaps, while others have bony horns or wart-like growths on our snouts.

Many people like to believe that chameleons use these in fighting, but there is no evidence of that.

It is true, though, that male chameleons like to establish territories and frighten off rival males.


By inflating their bodies with air and puffing out their throats while opening their mouths.

Such a male turns broadside to the rival, who thus gets an exaggerated idea of his opponent’s size and may move away.

Chameleons have the ability to change color in response to emotions such as anger or alarm, or to various stimuli, including heat and light.

They may change color from gray to green and brown, and sometimes even yellow.

This is an aid to it in camouflaging.

Life Nature Library—The Reptiles  explains:

“Most chameleons are able to assume colors and patterns that blend into their surroundings.”