Gardening Discoveries

Yesterday was a gardening day in Villa Corrado where we spent time working on the hedges and climbers around the property. During our time there we discovered some of the wonderful nature that can be found here, a chameleon!!

Common Chameleon

I was lucky enough to have my mobile phone and got some great videos and pictures of it as it crawled along the branches of the hibiscus hedge.

Having never seen a chameleon before except in photographs I was really excited and had to look up the internet to find out more about them  and thought I would share it with you.

The common chameleon (native to Cyprus)  like others of its family enjoys a branchy habitat, scrambling about in trees and bushes with feet that have four toes, two on each side for grasping branches. It also uses its prehensile tail to maintain balance and stability. As I found out yesterday movement is slow, and often with a slight swaying motion this is to avoid detection by predators. The animal can move more rapidly when involved in a territorial dispute.

They are usually solitary animals which maintain a territory and only tolerate members of the opposite sex during the mating season. Average length of the common chameleon is from 20 to 40 cm, with females often being substantially larger than males. The colour of the common chameleon is variable, between yellow/brown through green to a dark brown. Whatever the background colour is the common chameleon will have two light coloured lines along its side. It has a small beard of scales and some small hard scales on the top of its back.

Colour Changing

Many assume the colour changes undergone by the chameleon are a result of its attempting to camouflage itself, when in reality the chameleon changes its colour as a response to light and temperature stimuli and as an expression of its emotions (like chameleon body language). Often when caught for analysis, the chameleon may turn a dark colour, Their colours are also important for interspecies communication, especially during the mating season.

The common chameleon eats insects, capturing them by stealth and the rapid extension of its long tongue which has a terminal pad which grasps and adheres to the prey. Adults are known to eat young chameleons and have been observed to eat fruit.

It is definitely worth keeping an eye on the hedges and green shrubs when visiting Cyprus as we also found a praying mantis in the hedge too.

Praying Mantis

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These creatures are so difficult to spot hidden in their lush green surroundings, however, it is well worth keeping an eye out for them as they are so interesting to watch.

They have triangular heads with bulging eyes supported on flexible necks. Their elongated bodies may or may not have wings, but they all have forelegs that are greatly enlarged and adapted for catching and gripping prey; their upright posture, while remaining stationary with forearms folded, has led to the common name praying mantis.

It is definitely worth having your camera ready to snap these creatures!!

2 thoughts on “Gardening Discoveries

  1. Pingback: Baby Praying Mantis in the Garden!! | Villa Corrado

  2. Pingback: Can’t believe it!! A YEAR AGO – WE MOVED TO CYPRUS!! | It's About The Journey, NOT The Destination

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