Smaller than your smallest finger and waggling its beady eyes with full 360-degree vision, is this hatching chameleon cute or creepy—or an indeterminate mixture of both?
Emerging headfirst from its egg, the baby lizard warily stumbles around Bambi-like, taking in its new surroundings of a giant human hand. Chameleons can have a gestation period of between four and 12 months, depending on whether the species is ovoviviparous or oviparous.
If oviparous, such as the flap-neck chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis), the mother will dig a burrow in the ground between 10-30 centimeters (4-12 inches) deep and leave the eggs to hatch later.
But if ovoviviparous, such as the side-striped chameleon (Chamaeleo bitaeniatus), the mother will give birth to live young encased in individual sticky membranes, which she will then attach to a branch. The newly-hatched chameleons are left to immediately fend for themselves once the membrane later bursts.
Video credit: rmh355
Chameleons have zygodactyl feet—five toes on each foot bunched together into two prongs—to allow better grip on slender branches.
When kept in captivity, baby chameleons must be hatched in special temperature-controlled environments.