Chester Zoo has hatched three pygmy chameleons that are as small as your fingertips. One of them is so small that it can fit on a pencil tip.
Pygmy chameleons are one of the smallest species of chameleons in Africa and we still don’t know much about them. They are only found in coastal forests of Tanzania. They have skins that change colour to help them blend seamlessly with the leaves of their surroundings.
Chester Zoo hopes to establish a new conservation breeding programme for the species, that can grow only to a maximum of 7.62-centimetres. The three hatchings came as a result of the zoo’s effort to study more about these tiny creatures.
Ben Baker, team manager of reptiles at the zoo, said there was “very little known about bearded pygmy chameleons” but as a group, chameleons were one of the “most threatened reptiles” in Africa.
“The new clutch will play a vital role in establishing a new breeding programme. This will allow us to create a sustainable population and help gather new information about the species that has previously been unavailable to us, helping us play a key role in preventing the extinction of chameleons and other reptiles in the future.”
The chameleons were born after an incubation period of 70-days. They are being cared for in a special limited access rearing facility at the zoo.