The Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis), called Endormi in Reunion Creole which means "asleep" because of its extreme slowness, is the most fascinating animal that you can observe on Reunion island. This reptile is an exotic specie introduced from Madagascar in the 19th century. It is now quite rare and endangered (protected) its habitat being destroyed by man activities. It is part of a very ancient group (over 100 million years old). Males can grow up to 20 inches and displays vibrant green and blue with hints of red, yellow, black and white. The color depends of the animal’s state of mind, surroundings and location; it becomes much darker when under stress. Females are much smaller and colourless: ochre and red-brown. When gravid, they turn black with orange strips to inform males that they are not interested in mating.
Reproduction season is in September. After a brief mating, the female lays in the ground about 20 eggs (often on out-of-the-way footpaths warm and humid). 1-inch baby chameleons will hatch out almost a year later and will have to survive on their own, especially facing cannibalism from their elders.
Caution: Chameleons eyes are very sensitive to bright light. Make sure to turn off the flash when taking pictures, otherwise the animal could be blind, therefore unable to find food and to survive.
Female chameleon during reproduction season and sloughing of its skin
Male chameleon under stress
Female chameleon laying eggs