Wild Fact #58 – Chased Away – Flap Necked Chameleon

Flap Necked Chamleon


Cool Facts About The Flap Necked Chameleon

  • A large member of the Chameleon family, Flap Necked Chameleons can grow to lengths of 40cm (1.3 feet)
  • The large, moveable flaps that stick out from the upper sides of the neck (and from which the species derives its name) usually lay flat but can spring up at a 90 degree angle when deterring predators or rivals
  • The Flap Neck Chameleon can also change color based on its mood and surroundings.   Light green, yellow, or brown are the most common colors for a resting Chameleon and are typically accompanied by a white stripe running down the length of the body. They develop dark spots throughout their bodies when excited.
  • Located on cone-shaped turrets, the eyes of the Flap Necked Chameleon can move independently from one another, enabling the chameleons to be looking in multiple places at a time

Tossed Aside

Flap Necked Chameleons have a short mating season, which is the only time that the females allow the males to be near them.  After mating, the males are driven away.  During the one month gestation period, females will dig a hole into the ground where she will bury her eggs, which number between 20 and 30.  Eggs will not hatch for six to nine months.  Juveniles reach sexual maturity rather quickly after around nine to twelve months. Flap Necked Chameleon

I wasn’t kidding when I said the females will drive their male counterparts away. The females of this species are by far the dominant sex.  They are larger, stronger, and more territorial than the males, and, as a result, live in the best locations.  If a male tries to encroach on their domain outside of mating season, they will turn black in color and use their heads to ram the male away. So basically, once the female gets what she wants, she tosses her man aside. The poor guys must feel pretty used.

The Fastest Tongue in the West

When not being tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage the males will be on the hunt for food (I guess the females will be as well). Flap Neck Chameleons eat a variety of insects, including grasshoppers, flies, and beetles.  To hunt, they rely on their astonishing tongue.  When prey is spotted, their tongue is propelled outward, snagging the insect.  The tongue is able to hold onto prey either by creating a vacuum using the muscles at the tip of the tongue or by utilizing the sticky mucus that covers the entire length of the tongue.  The speed at which the tongue can move is tremendous–mere thousandths of a second. Now that is crazy fast!

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