Fauna Details

Common Name Cape Dwarf Chameleon
Family Chamaeleonidae
Date Observed 09-10-2022
Category Reptiles
Catalogue No. Z4008RG
Breeding/ Spawning Time Spring,Summer
When Observed DAYTIME
Locations Observed
Estuary
Koppie Few
Nature Reserve Few
Small Holding Few
Village Few
Greater Rooiels

Bradypodion pumilum

Information

Cape Dwarf Chameleon

The Cape Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion pumilum) is endemic to the southwestern Cape region from Cape Town to De Hoop, where it inhabits the fynbos, clinging to twigs.

Chameleons have feet that are perfectly engineered for climbing stems and branches. Each foot has five toes and at the end of each tow is a tiny claw, which aids grip as he moves along the branches. Chameleons have a prehensile tail, meaning it can be used as a fifth limb, assisting with climbing and balance.

A CHARACTER OF A DIFFERENT COLOUR

Contrary to popular belief, chameleons don’t turn the colour of the object they are sitting on. Ultraviolet light, changes in temperature and mood cause chameleons to change their colour. They regulate their temperature by turning into a darker colour to absorb more heat, or a lighter colour to reflect light. (See photographs.)

THE COLOUR OF LOVE

The Cape Dwarf Chameleon is an emotional character. It can change its colour as it progresses from relaxed to frightened, agitated, or amorous. (Some people do the same.)

FOOD

As insectivores, Cape Dwarf Chameleons play a helpful role in nature by controlling insect populations. They are patient hunters, using their independent eyes to scan for their dinner. Spotting the prey, they would lash out with their tongue, unfurling it to double the size of their bodies. They catch the hapless insect with the sticky end of the tongue.

LIFE CYCLES

Cape Dwarf Chameleons are viviparous. The female keeps the eggs in the maternal reproductive tract until development is complete. She then gives birth to between five and fifteen offspring. She does not suckle them, for they are reptiles, and the newborn babies are self-sufficient. Breeding can occur all year round.

NATURE CAN BE SO CRUEL

Females reach a larger body size on average than males.

PESTS AND PREDATORS

The Cape Dwarf Chameleon has a small home range and moves at a slow pace. They are solitary animals, but sometimes a man has to meet up with some beautiful chameleon lady and he goes walkabout. This is when they are more exposed to snakes, birds, mongoose and domestic cats.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Bradypodion pumilum’s current status is Near Threatened. They have lost some of their habitat to urbanisation and agriculture. Climate change could also play a role as habitat changes.

In the Rooiels Corridor, too frequent fires can reduce population numbers. Sadly, they are also run over by idiots not sticking to the 20 km/hour speed limit in Rooiels.

References:

Animal Talk

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