7 Weird Piebald Chameleon Facts
If you have ever wondered a Piebald Chameleon is and what the difference is to the conventional veiled chameleon, you are in the right place. I had this same question in my head and decided to put this article together for you.
What is the Piebald Chameleon? A Piebald Chameleon is, for example, a Veiled Chameleon with a distinct white colouration. It is caused by a lack of pigmentation and essentially a colour mutation. It is not a different specie, but a specific colour pattern.
Now that you understand what a Piebald Chameleon is now, lets look at some interesting facts about this chameleon.
01. Is the Piebald Chameleon just a Veiled Chameleon in Disguise?
— Amin (@aminart) June 29, 2018
In this section I’m going to discuss the differences between the piebald chameleon and the veiled Chameleon. Some people often assume they are different species of Chameleon.
But in reality they are one of the same species. However, there is just a difference in coloration. The scientific name for the Piebald & Veiled Chameleon specie is Chamaeleo calpytratus.
The veiled Chameleon has various different nicknames as well as its official scientific name. For example, it is known as the “Yemen” or “Cone Head” Chameleon, but more about the Cone Head in detail later on in the article.
02. So why is it actually called the Piebald Chameleon?
So in this section I’m going to discuss why the piebald chameleon has earned its name. In the last section I briefly explained that the veiled Chameleon and the piebald chameleon are effectively the same thing.
The piebald earned its name mainly through a pigment mutation. Meaning that parts of its body has white patches. These white patches are due to a lack of pigment in these areas.
This causes a freakish discolouration. So this is also known as Piebald. Piebald is not a term which is unique to the Chameleon, it is also used for other animals as well such as dogs cats even snakes.
So this term piebald is merely an explanation of the type of colour for a veiled chameleon, if that makes sense?
03. So why is it also called the “Cone Head” Chameleon?
So now I will discuss why people have also named this chameleon the Cone Head Chameleon.
To be honest the reason why it is called the cone head is quite obvious when you look at it. It has an almost shark-fin like object on its head, which is simply looks like a cone head.
However there is a practical reason for this weird shaped head. It is actually used to channel and direct dew water down its head into its mouth to keep itself hydrated. Smart huh?
04. Spooky rocket launching tongue!
So there is a good chance that you may have heard about the phenomenal chameleon tongue, right? They have a very interesting tongue which they use to capture their prey.
Their tongue has a sticking ability at the end to grapple its pray. And has the ability to extend its tongue up to 1.5 times its body length. Not only this, the speed that the actual tongue can be propelled is also quite amazing.
To put this into perspective, if its tongue was a car, it could do anything from 0 to 60 miles per hour in one hundredth of a second, which is quite amazing.
05. Weird eye movement?
If you’ve ever heard of Chameleons before, then you probably heard about their interesting eyes. The piebald veiled chameleon is nothing different. The eyes have the ability to almost see 360°, I say “almost” because, to be perfectly honest it’s not exactly 360.
But it’s about as close as you’re gonna get. They can see 180° horizontally and plus or minus 90 degrees vertically, which is quite an amazing feet when you compare that to the human vision.
They achieve this in two ways:
- Anatomical specialisation
- Binocular and monocular movement
Anatomical specialisation is a very posh way of saying that the eyes have an amazing amount of freedom of movement and secondly binocular and monocular movement meaning they can focus on one object with both of their eyes or two completely different objects using each eye independently.
One of the reasons they have this amazing skill is the location of the eyes. Which are located on the opposite sides of their head. Just to put this into perspective, they’re able to see in front of them, to the side and even behind them as well. Just imagine having that capability, what would you use it for?
06. They don’t change colour because of the environment
In this section I’m going to discuss and dispel some of the myths about chameleons and how Chameleons actually change their colour.
Many people believe that chameleons change their colour based on their environment, to try and disguise or blend in. However, this is not really the reason.
The reality is they actually change their colour to accommodate how they feel. In particular, its to do with temperature. So let me give you an example of this, if the chameleon is feeling exceptionally cold it may change its colour to Black, so that it can absorb more heat. Obviously it would be a different colour if it was feeling exceptionally hot at that time.
Another interesting trigger of colour change for these chameleons is their mood and how their feeling mentally. For example, if they’re feeling exceptionally angry they may decide to change their colour to a red colour. This is not necessarily a conscious decision but more of a physical change that happens automatically.
07. Their hearing is completely different to us.
In this section I’m going to discuss how chameleons hear and exactly what level of hearing they can actually have and their techniques used to hear.
Chameleons have very different hearing capabilities to us. In reality they can not hear very well at all. This is to the extent that you could even consider them to be partially deaf.
The first factor that largely contributes to this lack of hearing is the physical size of their ears. As human beings we have very visible ears at either side of our heads.
A chameleon has got two microscopic holes either side of its head, near its eyes. Meaning that their hearing capabilities are significantly less than ours.
To put this into perspective, in comparison to human beings. Human beings have the capability of listening to sounds in the range of 20 Hz right up to 20K hertz.
However a Chameleon can only go from 200 Hz up to 600 Hz. This may not mean much to you unless you’ve actually researched and looked into what these ranges actually mean, but take it from me, in a nutshell, chameleons have significantly less hearing range than humans have.
Do Piebald Chameleons Need Light at Night? Yes, but they appreciate a cooler temperature at night. For this reason it is a good idea to go for red nightlight. They also require UVB lighting to maintain their calcium levels.
Do Piebald Chameleons Lay eggs or Live Young? They actually lay eggs. AN interesting thing about this is the fact that do not actually need a male to lay the eggs. They will lay groups, or “clutches” as they more commonly known of infertile eggs.
How can you tell if your Piebald is male or female? This is done by the “Tarsal Spur”. This is unique to the male. It is located behind their hind legs. If its there, they are a male. And obviously if it is not, they are female.