Take the kids to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore to check out the new chameleons.
The Meller’s chameleons, also known as Giant one-horned chameleons, are the largest species of chameleon found on mainland Africa. They are on display in the African Journey section of the zoo.
Meller’s chameleons are native to the east African savannas of Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania and are found in bushland trees and tropical grasslands. Meller’s usually display dark green and white or yellow stripes, and like other chameleon species they can change color.
They can grow to be almost two feet long, and have a crest that starts at the back of their head and joins up with a small horn on the snout.
“Meller’s chameleons have these somewhat stout-bodies and prehensile tails which help them climb and balance in the bushy trees in their native habitat,” said Kevin Barrett, reptile and amphibian collection and conservation manager at the Zoo. “They also have extremely long tongues which allow them to quickly grab their prey from a distance of up to 20 inches.”
The chameleons move in a manner that mimics a leaf blowing in the wind. They sway back and forth as they maneuver along tree branches so they appear to be leaves, camouflaged enough to avoid notice by predators.
“Meller’s chameleons are also one of the few chameleon species that are able to be housed in groups, which makes them a great choice for a zoo exhibit,” continued Barrett. “The tree they are on is large, so they can each have their own space. At the same time, guests can peer through the branches and find the chameleons as they explore.”
The Meller’s are 10-months-old and came to the zoo from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Virginia. They can be found at the zoo along the African Journey boardwalk next to the rhino, zebra and ostrich.
For details, visit the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore website.