Kamakhyanagar: A rare chameleon, known for its distinct range of colours and capable of shifting to different hues and degrees of brightness, has been sighted at Bija forest in Dhenkanal district, a report said Wednesday.
The reptile which is on the verge of extinction was found while it was crossing a road in Bija forest. According to available details, these are found in large numbers mainly in the dense forests of East African country Madagascar.
The reptile growing 14-22 inches in length and weighing around 60-180 gram is known as ‘Bahurupi Endua’ in local parlance in Odisha and ‘Girgit’ in Hindi.
The male reptile is bigger in size than its female counterpart. The males have all seven colours while females are found in brown and grey shades. They use their colours as means of communication with the females and protection from enemies. Its yellow colour signifies anger and offensive mood while the green colour signifies its cool and calm posture. They use the blue colour to attract females of the species and can effectively change its colour according to environment, surrounding conditions and necessity.
These animals, non-venomous in nature, prefer to live alone in bushes. They prey on small insects with their tongues which they can extend as long as three times the length of their body. They can move their round eyes to 360 degrees and can focus on two different objects at the same time with both their eyes.
Poaching and smuggling owing to superstitions and myths apart from wildfires are the major factors leading to a decline in their population. Environmentalists said the survival of these reptiles is highly essential to maintain equilibrium in environment.
Kamakhyanagar West ranger Kailash Chandra Sahu said that wildfires during summer and unavailability of water are the chief causes behind the sharp decline in their population.