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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chameleon

One of the more amazing creatures found in Tanzania are chameleons. Traditionally they are feared here because of their appearance and associations with witchcraft. 

In Northern Tanzania the chameleons are Jackson's chameleons. They are green in colour, although they do change to black when they are angry/upset.

As I was reading about chameleons today I discovered that there are chameleons farms in Tanzania (about 40) and Kenya. There is a demand for these reptiles around to world - exotic pets - and it is quite a lucrative business.

 Oliver and Kara holding a female Jackson's chameleon - the males have 3 horns on their heads

Jackson's chameleons are native to the humid, cooler regions of Kenya and Tanzania, East Africa, and found in great numbers at altitudes over 3,000 m. The subspecies T. j. merumontanus can only be found on Mount Meru and the Arusha Region of Tanzania.Most chameleons are oviparous, but Jackson's chameleon gives birth to live offspring; eight to 30 live young are born after a five- to six-month gestation. The subspecies T. j. merumontanus gives birth to five to ten live young.They are sometimes called three-horned chameleons because males possess three brown horns: one on the nose (the rostral horn) and one above each superior orbital ridge above the eyes (preocular horns), somewhat reminiscent of the ceratopsid dinosaur genusTriceratops. The females generally have no horns, or traces of the rostral horn (in the subspecies T. j. jacksonii and T. j. merumontanus). The coloring is usually bright green, with some individual animals having traces of blue and yellow, but like all chameleons, they change color quickly depending on mood, health, and temperature.Jackson's chameleons live primarily on a diet of small insects. They are less territorial than most species of chameleons. Males will generally assert dominance over each other through color displays and posturing in an attempt to secure mating rights, but usually not to the point of physical fights. WIKIPEDIA

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