Panther chameleon

Furcifer pardalis

The reptile kingdom boasts many weird and wonderful creatures of all different shapes and colours. One of the most intriguing has to be the chameleon.

Chameleons not only change colour as a means of camouflage

They also use their extraordinary talent as a way to communicate emotions. If you are familiar with the chameleon colour code, you will be able to tell from a distance if it is feeling scared, relaxed or angry, for example. Skin colour is also influenced by light levels, temperature and humidity. Chameleons appear in a range of hues and patterns that combine green, brown, blue, white, black, yellow and orange. When the Yemen chameleons in Aquarium Berlin go green, we know they’re relaxed. If only we humans could know each other’s mood in advance – that would surely enhance our social interaction!


  • Origin

    Madagascar and offshore islands

  • Habitat

    Light forest and scrub areas near the coast

  • Diet

    Invertebrates and smaller reptiles

  • Status

    least concern

  • Size

    Male: up to 17cm
    Female: up to 25cm

  • Weight

    50 to 75g

  • Gestation period

    30 to 45 days

  • Erreichbares Alter

    2-3 years

Threat Categories of IUCN

Eyes in the back of their head

Chameleons have a 360-degree arc of vision and can rotate and focus each eye independently. Their big, bulgy eyes are almost entirely covered in eyelid, with just a pinhole large enough for the pupil to see through.

Gaining a foothold

Chameleons’ feet are perfectly adapted to life in the trees. Each foot has five toes, with two pointing one way and three pointing the other. The toes form tight bundles within their group, allowing the chameleons to grip firmly to any kind of branch.

Fast food

A chameleon’s tongue can extend twice the length of its body. At the end of the tongue is a kind of muscular suction cup that can quickly envelop larger insects. The tongue shoots out at a speed that would put any racing car to shame – from zero to 100 in a hundredth of a second. It takes a chameleon just 0.07 seconds to capture its prey. And, as is the case with the changing of skin colour, the smaller the chameleon, the quicker it happens.

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Today, 20. June
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