IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Biology

Usually found amongst the branches of trees and bushes, the flap-necked chameleon will occasionally descend to the ground in order to seek out new feeding grounds or a mate (6) (7). Like other chameleon species, the flap-necked chameleon has a number of special adaptations for hunting. Its eyes are located on cone-shaped turrets, which can move independently, allowing it to look in two different directions simultaneously, while searching for its insect prey. Once spotted, prey is caught by means of the flap-necked chameleon's remarkable, extensile tongue. The contraction of special muscles within the tongue rapidly propels it towards the prey, which is snared by a combination of the tongue's sticky mucous coating and a vacuum created by muscles in the tip (8). When threatened, the flap-necked chameleon presents a dramatic display, rocking from side-to-side, while raising its neck flaps, expanding its throat pouch and gaping its mouth (3) (4). Female flap-necked chameleons are larger than the males and outcompete them for the most favourable areas within their habitat, where prey is most abundant (7). The short mating season is the only time when females will allow males to approach them without conflict. After mating, the female once again becomes aggressive to males, turning black and butting heads with any that approach (6). After a gestation period of around one month (6), the female digs a hole in which the eggs are buried (2). While clutch sizes of up to 60 eggs have been recorded in captivity, in the wild, clutch size may be significantly smaller (2). Hatching takes place around 9 months later (4), with the young reaching sexual maturity after 9 to 12 months (2).

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Source: ARKive

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