Chameleons Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kristina Washington-Morris

Kristina has taught a variety of elementary classes and has a master's degree in elementary education.

Wouldn't it be fun if you could change the color of your skin to let people know how you are feeling? Chameleons are an animal with this very skill. Read on to learn other skills and interesting information about chameleons.


Have you ever heard someone say they were red with anger or feeling sad and blue? If a person says this, it doesn't mean they actually change color when angry or sad. But there is one animal that can! Chameleons are amazing lizards actually change color according to their mood. There are over a hundred different types of chameleons and they all have cool features.

Chameleon Features

Chameleons can vary greatly in size and color. The smallest chameleon is about a half inch long - smaller than a dime. The largest chameleons can be nearly 27 inches - about the length of a regular bed pillow. They are shaped like wide, rounded leaves propped up on short legs to help blend into their surroundings.

Chameleons are most commonly known for their ability to change color. It is a myth that chameleons alter their color to camouflage or match the environment though. Their skin color actually changes to show how they are feeling. When they get angry their skin may become brighter. This helps them appear large and strong when fighting other chameleons. Chameleons may also change their coloring to maintain their temperature in cold or hot weather.

People may have thought chameleons change color to camouflage because these lizards can be almost any color of the rainbow. A chameleon's skin usually camouflages well with the environment before even changing coloring.

A Chameleon Naturally Blends into Branches

Chameleon Tongues

Chameleons also have very helpful tongues. A chameleon's tongue is long, stretchy, and has a suction cup-like tip. Some chameleons have tongues that are twice as long as their bodies! Chameleons are slow walkers, so they use these long tongues to quickly catch their food. A chameleon's tongue is like a fast yo-yo. It flicks out and returns with food very quickly.

A Closer Look at a Chameleon Tongue

Chameleon Eyes

If a chameleon's skin and tongue weren't already cool enough, they also have very interesting eyes. Take a second to try and look at two different sides of the room at the same time. Pretty hard, right? A chameleon has special eyes that can look around independently. This means each eye can work alone. This skill helps chameleons find and track quick insects.

Where do Chameleons Live?

Most chameleons live in Africa, especially on the island of Madagascar. A few types of chameleons do live in Asia and Europe.

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