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A chameleon at Portsmouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium has delighted her keepers by laying a clutch of 30 eggs.
The veiled chameleon, nicknamed Veronica, arrived at the Southsea wildlife attraction late last year as part of a captive breeding programme.
The aquarium has been looking after a male chameleon called Vince for more than three years. Late last year they were given Veronica in the hope they would eventually breed.
“Veiled chameleons are naturally shy creatures who spend large amounts of time completely motionless so to have had such success after a relatively short time is fantastic,” said curator Robbie Robinson.
“Veronica is doing really well however we have taken the decision to separate her from Vernon for the next few months and we have removed the eggs and put them into incubators.
“The eggs are being kept at a constant temperature of 7-0-75 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity level of 90-100 per cent. If all goes well we’re hoping they will start to hatch out around Christmas time,” he added.
Female veiled chameleons can produce up to three clutches of eggs a year with each clutch containing anywhere from 20 up to 70 eggs.
Native to Yemen and south Saudi Arabia, the veiled chameleon has eyes that move independently and can swivel almost 180 degrees as well as a gripping prehensile tail.
Their tongues are up to 1.5 times as long as their bodies and used to catch insects. They change colour both for camouflage and to attract a mate.
Chameleons come in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from a tiny 1.5cms long species found in Malawi to the giant Parson’s chameleon which can reach lengths in excess of 60cms.
Regardless of size all chameleons share several common traits including their feet which are divided into two toes, their long tongues and their bizarre eyes which can operate independently and effectively provide them with virtual 360 degree vision around their body.