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Panther Chameleon Hatches at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: November 28, 2021 12:01 am

Panther Chameleon Hatchling ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The tiny panther chameleon hatchling sits on a pencil being held by a reptile keeper from ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Photo Credit: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo have welcomed a tiny panther chameleon hatchling which emerged from its egg on Sunday November 7th 2021. At just 3cm long the tiny chameleon was able to perch on a pencil for the photos shown here.

Keepers have nicknamed the new arrival ‘Titch’ until they are able to determine the gender of the hatchling. It is hoped that in the near future the hatchling will be joined by siblings in the near future.

Team leader Alex Cliffe said: “This intricate, tiny creature is a wonderful addition to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. They are doing very well, snacking on fruit flies and exploring their environment.” 

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At present the infant chameleon can only change its hue slightly from dark brown to light brown. Within the next few months it will take on the ability to change its color through a kaleidoscope of colors like its parents.

To allow for this the top layer of a chameleon’s skin is made up of two layers of special cells called iridophores which in turn contain pigments and nanocrystals. These can be arranged differently to reflect light in different ways so they can change colors.

Alex Cliffe continued: “People think that chameleons change colour for camouflage, and whilst that is sometimes true, the primary role of their incredible colour-changing ability is associated with social signalling and communication, or as a response to changes in their environment, like temperature or humidity.” 

Zookeepers are planning to move the baby chameleon in to the Madagascar Zone inside its freshwater aquarium. Guests can currently see the father of the hatchling.

Learn more about Panther Chameleons here – Panther Chameleon Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about ZSL Whipsnade Zoo on their website – ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Panther Chameleon Hatchling ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The tiny panther chameleon at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Photo Credit: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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