I’m going to go ahead and guess that you’ve never seen a chameleon give birth before. I haven’t either. And if I had to guess, it would lay eggs like many reptiles do. However, some chameleons, like the cape dwarf chameleon, give birth to live babies in the form of sticky, wriggling little jelly beans.
Yeah, you’re about to see that happen, so if you’re squeamish, go watch puppies instead.
The images above were taken from a video by Atmosphere Chameleons that has been making the rounds. Cape dwarf chameleons are ovoviviparous, meaning that the baby chameleons gestate for a few months inside the mother and are then born live, ready to move and hide and eat.
What astounded me though was the stickiness of the membrane that surrounds the little reptiles at birth. Typically, the membrane is laid down in such a way that it sticks to the branch of a mother’s choosing. In this instance, it didn’t stay on the branch but caught the next leaf down. The stickiness is a brilliant evolutionary strategy for an animal that must birth live babies on branches.
And according to Atmosphere Chameleons, the mother in the video above went on to produce a total of 27 healthy, kinda gross, fully-functioning babies.
Normally it isn’t legal to own these critters who call South Africa home, but you can obtain special permission from the South African government to do so. Atmosphere Chameleons is apparently the first exporter of chameleons in the country’s history.