Why Do Chameleons Change Colors?

It is a common misconception that chameleons change colors for disguise, to camouflage themselves and blend in with the environment. Chameleons, in reality, change color to either regulate their temperature or communicate. They can absorb more heat from the sun or reflect it by making their skin color darker or lighter. They also change colors to communicate information to other chameleons and even people.

The color of the chameleon is a reflection of its intent and mood. For example, a bright red chameleon is possibly upset, threatened or excited. Chameleons are able to change their colors thanks to layers of skin that contain cells with different pigments. The mood or body temperature of the chameleon causes these cells to contract or expand, changing the color of the chameleon. Chameleons can achieve a wide range of colors this way.

More about chameleons:

  • Chameleons are a type of lizard that mostly live in Madagascar and other parts of Africa.
  • Chameleons' eyes can move independently and their vision has a 360 degree field.
  • Chameleon owners can determine the mood of their chameleon by observing the changes in their color.

Discussion Comments

Flywheel1

Some other sites say that chameleons change color also for camouflage. So is this not true at all?

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