Taronga Zoo – Baby Chameleon Hatchlings

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  • 30/03/2015

Special Tour to see the Baby Chameleons

For the first time ever 20 baby chameleons hatched at the Sydney Zoo, causing cuteness overload. These baby mega stars are drawing crowds from all over Australia and even international guests.

Perhaps cute is not always the first thing to come to mind when you are thinking of reptiles, but reptile babies that are newly hatched take cuteness to a whole nother level. Their little heads are about the size of a small shirt button. They can cling to the end of a pencil with there arms just barely making it around. These little guys are simply adorable.

The chameleons just born at Taronga are veiled chameleons. They are native to Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They change colors when stressed, when hunting, and as part of courtship rituals. Temperature change can also inspire them to change.

The tongue of the chameleon can stretch to one and half times the length of their body. They use their long, sticky tongue to catch insects to eat. The hatchlings have already begun feasting on crickets.

These little spies give new meaning to the phrase, “she has eyes in the back of her head”. The eyes of the chameleon allow it to see both forward and backward simultaneously. Their feet have zygodactyls allowing them to cling to tree branches, giving them a vantage point that allows them to see much more than most creatures. Chameleons are always aware of people, predators, and food that is around them.

The reptile supervisor, Michael McFadden at the Taronga Zoo said, “Veiled chameleons are a visually amazing species that we’re fortunate to have at Taronga. While they’re not endangered they do play an important educational role in helping us to get people excited about reptiles and reptile conservation.”

These adorable little monsters will spend the next year learning how to change to all the different colors they will use throughout their life. They will be able to change to various shades of green, yellow, aqua, rich dark brown, and even black. Contrary to what you see on TV chameleons do not just change to whatever their background is. What inspires a chameleon to change is if they get frightened, feel defensive, or alternatively if they are courting a lovely chameleon of the opposite sex.

This docile reptile is not endangered, in fact they are somewhat plentiful and many breeders sell them as pets. They make good pets. I remember my high school biology teacher had a pair of chameleons as pets. She was horribly allergic to feathers and fur so dogs, cats, and birds were out of the question. She ended up adopting reptiles as pets and they lived in the classroom. We were able to observe them eating, mating, and changing colors. They were used to highschool students so not a lot actually scared these guys anymore. They were very used to people and enjoyed being held. My instructor adored them because they allowed her to be a pet owner when her allergies otherwise would have prevented it.

Educational Tours

The Taronga Zoo is a fantastic place for learning.  They hold educational courses for school children aged 3 – 12.  Private groups as well as school groups are encouraged to book private talks by keepers.  Talks can be selected based on interest.  In addition to keeper lead talks there are also teacher professional development classes and certificate courses available for educators who would like to supplement learning in the classroom.

There are a number of options for preschool aged kids up to six years old.  Engaging children at a young age to interact with animals is likely to lay a foundation for a lifetime of compassion and caring.  Introducing children to baby animals, birds, reptiles, and more when they are very young will predispose them to be aware of the world around them.

Moving up in age there are additional courses for children between the ages of seven and twelve.  Continue building on what they have already learned.

Concord Coaches is happy to assist you in all your transport needs.  Book a minibus or private coach for your private groups or school group to visit the Taronga Zoo today.  Simply fill out our online enquiry form and a logistics operator will be happy to set everything up for you.

Photo Credit: Facebook

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