Neonate Chameleon

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Photographed in situ [1]

An incredibly tiny mtoto side-striped chameleon (Trioceros bitaeniatus) clutches the surrounding grasses to rest at night. At just 5cm long including the tail, this little chameleon has a long way to go before it can hold its own against predators. Even at this size, if I moved my hand too quickly the chameleon would expand its throat and gape to reveal a black color on the interior of the mouth. During my time with this chameleon, I offered a fly to see if I could witness what chameleons are most famous for. Its two turret eyes locked on the target as it staggered within range. Instantaneously the chameleon’s long sticky tongue shot out and connected with its prey, slingshotting back into its mouth. The speed of the tongue was so rapid that my naked eye could not perceive any motion at all during its four centimeters of travel. Only during the retraction could I see its dark green tongue, quickly disappearing as the chameleon munched away contently.

Photo for scale
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Wide-angle shot, photographed after capture [5]
An adult chameleon I found nearby on the same night, photographed after slight disturbance [2]

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