Bradypodion taeniabronchum, or Smith’s Dwarf Chameleon, is a currently endangered species of chameleon native to southern parts of africa. This species is known for their ability to camouflage themselves which is actually quite uncommon. With this unique adaptation, they can change color on demand and hide from predators in their native jungle habitat.
This species was discovered in Murray, South Africa near Cape Town. There, the species still mainly resides. The Smith’s Dwarf is best suited for South Africa's generally hot climates. Specifically it inhabits mountain fynbos habitat, and lives among fine-structured vegetation.
The Smith’s Dwarf Chameleon has a few physical adaptations to survive in their environment. The first of which is their ability to change color. This gives them the ability to camouflage themselves to avoid being seen by predators. These chameleons also have long tails which give them the ability to hang from trees to collect food and stay out of reach from predators. Another adaptation of these chameleons are their incredible eyesight. Their eyes give them to see slight color changes and the ability to sense movement much easier than other species.
Their physical attributes include rounded back, long tail, and opposable grip. They have a rigged back and sloped nose and chin. Their tails are longer than most other chameleons. These adaptations allow these chameleons to live in trees.
Their diet is mostly made up of crickets, mealworms and other small insects. They mostly hide in plain sight on a tree branch or near a bush and wait for the insects to come to them. Although they are not particularly fast, they can catch their food quite easily. They are mostly threatened by birds and snakes for predators, but they aren't easily caught because of the unique adaptations.
These chameleons are endangered are mostly because their habitats are being destroyed. This started during the major age of deforestation in the 1960’s. the species was last assessed in 2010 and has been on the watchlist since then. Not much has been done about their impending extinction, but many laws have been put in place to prevent deforestation in South Africa.
Although many species of chameleons are endangered, the Smith’s Dwarf Chameleons are some of the most adapted and underrated endangered species on the planet.
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