12/10/2018

Two tiny bearded pygmy chameleons have hatched

Two tiny chameleons have hatched from eggs the size of Tic-Tac mints at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The tiny creatures emerged over a period of about a day and are now being monitored in a special vivarium.

The bearded pygmy chameleons  are currently 2.5cm (1 inch) long but even when they are fully grown they will only be 7.5 cm (3 inches) from head to tail.

Their eggs were incubated at a steady temperature of 23C for around eight weeks. They emerged just three months after the Zoo successfully bred two others.

Curator of reptiles and amphibians, Tim Skelton, said: “The key to successfully breeding them is to get the temperature right.

“Whilst they come from Tanzania where it is generally quite warm, they live in reasonably cool places: either at higher (pre-montane) elevations or among leaves on the ground.”

These amazing animals have the ability to change their colour from grey to brown to blend in with their leafy surroundings.  They eat a variety of small invertebrate food including small crickets and fruit flies and live for about three years.

As well as Tanzania they are also found in South-eastern Kenya and can buzz when frightened to  intimidate other chameleons, predators or insects. 

Tim said: “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.”

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