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What Is a Flap-Neck Chameleon?

Marjorie McAtee
By Marjorie McAtee
Updated Mar 05, 2024
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The flap-neck chameleon is a type of chameleon native to Africa. They are generally green or yellowish-green in color, though, like other chameleons, they are capable of changing their color. The flap-neck chameleon probably gets its name from the flaps of loose skin that hang from its neck. They generally prefer climates where temperatures range between 78 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 to 29.4 C) in the day, though they can usually withstand much colder and somewhat warmer temperatures.

When kept as a pet, the average flap-neck chameleon should be provided with a UVA/UVB basking lamp. Access to the lamp should be available for 12 to 14 hours each day. These lizards prefer a somewhat humid environment, so the vivarium should be misted about every three days, and a source of running water should usually be included therein. At night, their habitat's temperature should typically be lowered to about 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit(21.1 to 23.8 C). These lizards usually reach a length of 11 to 13 inches (27.9 to 33.02 centimeters), and therefore generally require a minimum vivarium size of 2 feet, by 2 fee, by 3 feet (60, by 60, by 91.4 centimeters).

These lizards typically eat insects, generally beetles, flies, and grasshoppers in the wild. In captivity, the flap-neck chameleon can be fed on worms and crickets, though they generally require a nutritional supplement of calcium. In their natural environment, these lizards normally live in trees. A pet flap-neck chameleon may therefore be offered twigs, plants, or other paraphernalia to satisfy its climbing instincts. These lizards usually have five long toes per foot, and a long, curling tail, which they often use for climbing.

The flap-neck chameleon will usually mate in late spring or early summer. Males typically change their skin color as part of the courtship ritual. The female will usually carry her eggs inside her body for three or four months, during which time her skin is typically quite dark in color. The female flap-neck chameleon is considered capable of laying up to 60 eggs per mating season, which she usually buries in moist earth. The eggs will normally hatch nine months to one year later.

These lizards are known for their ability to change their skin color, which usually occurs when they feel threatened or agitated. These lizards can also make themselves darker or lighter as a means of regulating their internal temperature. When too cold, the flap-necked chameleon will make itself darker in order to absorb more heat from the sun; when too warm, it will make itself lighter in order to reflect more heat and cool off.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a flap-neck chameleon?

A flap-neck chameleon is a species of chameleon found in sub-Saharan Africa known for the flaps of skin on its neck, which can be extended when the chameleon is threatened. They are arboreal reptiles, adept at climbing and have a prehensile tail, independently mobile eyes, and a tongue that can shoot out to capture prey at high speeds.

How does the flap-neck chameleon change color?

The flap-neck chameleon changes color through specialized cells called chromatophores, which contain different pigments. By expanding or contracting these cells, the chameleon can alter its skin color. This ability is used for communication, temperature regulation, and camouflage from predators or while hunting, according to research on chameleon physiology.

What do flap-neck chameleons eat?

Flap-neck chameleons are insectivorous, primarily feeding on a variety of insects such as crickets, locusts, and beetles. They use their long, sticky tongues to catch prey from a distance. Occasionally, they may also consume smaller lizards and other invertebrates, depending on their habitat and availability of food sources.

How do flap-neck chameleons reproduce?

Flap-neck chameleons are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. The female will bury her eggs in a hole she digs in the ground. Clutch sizes vary but can contain 10-40 eggs, which will incubate for several months before hatching. The young are independent from birth and receive no parental care.

What is the lifespan of a flap-neck chameleon?

The lifespan of a flap-neck chameleon in the wild is typically around 3 to 5 years. In captivity, with proper care, they can live slightly longer. Factors such as predation, habitat loss, and disease can influence their lifespan in their natural environment.

Are flap-neck chameleons endangered?

Flap-neck chameleons are not currently listed as endangered; they are classified as "Least Concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, they face threats from habitat destruction and the pet trade, which could impact their populations in the future. Conservation efforts are important to ensure their continued survival.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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