Chameleon still thinks it's in an egg

Photo: Nick Henn/Canvas Chameleons

 

Whoever says reptiles aren't cute is out of their mind. Case in point: This tiny chameleon hatchling who thinks it's still inside an egg!

While it's certainly an adorable sight, the newborn Nosy Be panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) is actually curled up like this as a result of a natural hatching mishap — one that could only be remedied with a little help from his human caretaker, Nick Henn of Canvas Chameleons.

Generally, young chameleons of this species don't need any help hatching so long as the first crack they make in the shell (known as the "pip") is located at the end of the egg where their head is positioned. However, if they pip on the side of the egg (as the one in this photo did), then it can be a grave challenge for them to push out of the shell since their head isn't near the cracked pipping hole.

That's why Henn knew he had to keep a careful eye on this particular egg as he oversaw the hatching of the whole clutch.

Itty bitty chameleon face

Photo: Nick Henn/Canvas Chameleons

 

Once they officially pip, hatchlings take about a day to absorb the rest of their egg's nutrients before finding the strength to push out completely. Sadly, no matter how strong and ready for life they are, a poorly directed pip can mean a death sentence for them.

"When his siblings were running around the container and he was still hanging out in the egg, I knew it was time to help," Henn explains on his Facebook page. "This isn't to say that he wouldn't have found a way out, but based off my past experiences with situations just like this, I felt it was necessary to play Mother Nature and give him a helping hand."

It turned out to be a good call because shortly after this, the little chameleon uncurled itself and is now thriving with the rest of its brothers and sisters.

While the little ones are currently a pale yellowish green, their pigment will eventually mature into a brilliant turquoise blue, as seen below.

Nosy Be panther chameleon

Photo: reptiles4all/Shutterstock

* * * 
 
Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.