Chameleons are just awesome. Period. Some of the abilities they possess are unlike any other. They are able to change color to camouflage themselves. They are able to hunt prey by launching out their sticky tongues. But even with all of these abilities, there is one chameleon that stands above the rest. It is the Namaqua chameleon.
This chameleon can only be found in the southeast areas of Africa. Most chameleons are known for living in forest habitats, but this chameleon actually thrives in the desert. How is it able to do something like this? Well, God has blessed this creature with some very unique abilities. Let’s examine some of them:
(1) Special feet. Since most chameleons live in forest areas, their toes are fused into groups of three and two. They use their feet like forceps and grip onto the branches. If the Namaqua chameleon had the same feet as other chameleons, it would have a difficult time moving through the desert. Unlike the others, this chameleon is able to spread its toes. This provides more surface area on its foot and gives it the ability to walk on the sand without sinking. Think of it like a “snowshoe” effect. While this may seem small and insignificant, it is rarely seen in any other chameleon. It is a specialized characteristic of the Namaqua.
(2) Hunting abilities. Not only can it move easily through the desert sand with its specialized feet, it is even able to run to catch prey. If you have ever tried to run in sand, then you know how difficult it can be. Most chameleons can’t run at all, much less run in sand. Chameleons normally just wait around for the opportunity, or move slowly towards their prey. The Namaqua can sprint in the sand and run down its prey. It needs to be able to do this since food is scarce in the desert and it can’t afford to waist an opportunity. So, it is able to run and launch out its sticky tongue, making it superior in the chameleon family. This chameleon is perfectly equipped to catching prey in a tough environment like the desert.
(3) Color changing abilities. Like all other chameleons, the Namaqua chameleon changes the color of its body for camouflage. But unlike most chameleons, the Namaqua has to deal with scorching temperatures in the day, and near freezing temperatures at night. The Namaqua uses its color changing abilities to overcome this. In the morning, when it needs to warm up, it will change to a very dark color to absorb the heat. In the hottest part of the day, it will change to a very light color to keep cool. Sometimes this chameleon will even turn one of its sides dark and keep the other side light depending on how it wants to regulate its body temperature. Not only is this color change going to keep the chameleon cool, but it will also help it conserve water; something that is just a little bit important in the desert. Once again, the Namaqua is completely equipped to handle life in the desert.
If any other chameleon was put in the desert to survive, it simply would not last. The desert is an incredibly harsh and unforgiving environment. So, how is the Namaqua chameleon able to survive? Most scientists stick with the popular answer of evolution. But how could a chameleon learn such abilities and adaptations to survive? If it wasn’t able to spread its toes, it wouldn’t be able to move around the desert well and certainly would have a very tough time catching prey. Not to mention it had to learn to run. Also, how did it know to change color to regulate its body temperature? If it didn’t learn to change color to keep cool in the day, it would fry in the desert heat. Like we just stated, the desert is cruel and doesn’t exactly give second chances. The Namaqua chameleon is unlike any other chameleon. It is able to survive in the desert because that is exactly how God made it.
God is almighty. God is great. The Namaqua chameleon is just one more brilliant creation that tells of God’s magnificence.
Namaqua chameleon camouflaging.
Absorbing heat in the cool morning.
Cooling down in the desert heat.