It’s a colourful world for a college’s 10 newest arrivals.
In a rare captive breeding success baby chameleons have been born in Shuttleworth College’s biosphere environment.
It is unusual to breed chameleons in a captive environment and even rarer when they enter the world as live babies rather than eggs, as these have done.
Carl Groombridge, animal centre manager, said: “As we house chameleons in such an open environment it has allowed learners to view fantastic behaviours from courtship of the breeding pair to birth of the 10 babies.
“The males are very territorial whereas the females are reproductive machines.
“It is immensely impressive for the learners to observe what would be very unlikely to be witnessed in the wild.”
The babies are Jackson’s Chameleons and they are especially good at changing colour. When they are in a bad mood they even go black.
Jackson’s Chameleons have opposable toes, prehensile tails, independently rotating eyes and specialized tongues for snaring insects.
The males will have three horns when they reach maturity. They use these for combat with other males.
Chameleons, who have ancestors living in the Kenyan mountain ranges, are famed for their ability to change colour, though not all species can.
In a few types the colour change is used as camouflage but in most it is actually a form of communication.
When not communicating with potential mates or warning off rivals these chameleons will revert to a default colour that merges with their habitat; green for a jungle species and beige for a desert one.
The animal centre is home to just about every family of species in the world and habitats include a tropical rainforest setting where the sounds of the forest give an added dimension to the environment.
Carl added: “The success of this breading programme is down to the very dedicated team providing quality animal husbandry within the animal centre.”
Shuttleworth College offers a range of courses for those who want to learn more about animals, from Saturday morning sessions for children and adults to full time courses leading to animal science qualifications.
Shuttleworth College offers a range of courses for those who want to learn more about animals, from Saturday morning sessions for children and adults to full time courses leading to Animal Science qualifications.
To find out more see www.shuttleworth.ac.uk
To see the college’s video about its Jackson’s Chameleons visit www.biggleswadetoday.co.uk or click the link below.
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Weather for Biggleswade
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 11 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North