Terminator: Rise of the Indian Chameleons

Wilpattu National Park

Fun Facts

Likened to the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the Old World lizards, nothing escapes the Indian chameleon’s peripheral view. Each eye has the incredible range of motion of 90 degrees vertically and 180 degrees horizontally, and can also move in opposite directions, allowing the chameleon to scan most of the surrounding area for its target without even moving its head! If one wandering eye should spy a tasty insect, the other one will move to lock on the target, giving the lizard some depth perception before the target is terminated!

Did you know?

After a chameleon gets both eyes locked onto its prey, a high-speed weapon is deployed: the reptile’s ultra-sticky tongue, which can be 2.5 times as long as its body! Recent studies show how smaller species have the ability to fire their tongues more rapidly and more powerfully than their bigger cousins! We asked a Parson’s chameleon (27 inches) if it’s a better terminator than the Leaf chameleon (0.5 inches) and it said, “Unlikely. I’m an obsolete design. The smaller models are faster, more powerful and probably more intelligent. It’s a far more effective killing machine”.


Chameleons live in a variety of habitats throughout Sri Lanka, from rainforests and lowlands to scrub savannahs, and even mountains. Many inhabit trees, but some live in grass or on small bushes, fallen leaves, or dry branches.



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December 2019

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