07/06/2018

Tiny bearded chameleon hatches at Bristol Zoo Gardens

Meet Fred, the latest – and smallest – addition to the reptile house at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The size of a grape (15mm long) and just three weeks old, he is one of two bearded pygmy chameleons which hatched in their enclosure from eggs the size of Tic-Tac mints.

A further eight tiny eggs are being incubated behind the scenes in the Zoo’s Reptile House and are expected to hatch in the coming weeks.

It’s just the second time the Zoo has bred bearded pygmy chameleons. Curator of reptiles and amphibians, Tim Skelton, said: “bearded pygmy chameleons are a very popular species; they are remarkably small and only grow to around 3 inches (8cm) when fully grown.

“Although not endangered, we can learn a lot from breeding and caring for these animals which will help us in our breeding efforts for more endangered species in future.”

The species is named after the beard-like scales below its mouth. Its native habitat is sub-montane and lowland forest and shrub in Eastern Tanzania and South-eastern Kenya. They eat a variety of small invertebrate food including small crickets and flies. 

Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the Zoo but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.

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