Animal Facts: How Chameleons Change Their Color And Why

Articles Jul 04, 2019 04:26

Animal world has such amazing and diverse range of species that intrigue human being, especially the ability to alter color like chameleons. How cool would it be for human to change to different colors. For chameleons, that ability helps them hiding from predators and catching preys. Here is how this amazing creature can change its color and why it does it.

Why Does a Chameleon Change its Color?

A chameleon changes its color to adjust its body temperature to that of the outside temperature.  A cold chameleon will turn dark to absorb more heat, while a hot chameleon will turn lighter in shade in order to reflect the heat from its body. Also the change in color in a chameleon can indicate its mood. An angry chameleon will have a darker color, whereas a chameleon in a relaxed mood will have a lighter color.

A chameleon, upon seeing a rival, changes its color to darker shades in order to assert its dominance. On the other hand, a lighter color is used to attract potential mates.

Animal Facts: How Chameleons Change Their Color And Why

How Does a Chameleon Change its Color?

Chameleons have a special type of cells called chromatophores. They are able to manipulate these cells in order to change their color. A chameleon has two superimposed layers within its skin, and the upper layer consists of nanocrystals of different sizes. A chameleon changes its color by changing the size and shape of these nanocrystals.

When a chameleon is in a relaxed state, the nanocrystals in the skin are closer to each other and they reflect shorter wavelengths, like blue and green. When a chameleon is excited, the distance between nanocrystals increases and it reflects longer wavelengths, such as red, orange and yellow.

Animal Facts: How Chameleons Change Their Color And Why
Credits:Andrey Lavrov/Shutterstock

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This color-changing ability is not the only unique thing about chameleons. They can also look in two different directions at the same time.

Wow! Isn’t that cool? Don’t you wish that you had these unique features that every chameleon enjoys?

Watch next: Can Turtles Breathe Through Their Butts.


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