[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
IS a small animal of the lizard species, about eleven inches in length. His natural colour is a bluish grey, but varies considerably when exposed to the sun, or placed upon some stuff of a bright colour, which he generally reflects so strongly as to lose his own. It has been discovered that it is by swelling himself to a certain degree that this curious animal can impart to his skin a smoothness sufficient as to refract the colour which surrounds him. The Cameleon can live several months without taking any other food but air and a few flies, which he seems to swallow with great difficulty; his skin is very thin, and almost transparent. The tongue is nearly as long as the whole body. When he descends any height, he moves very cautiously and curls his tail to save himself from falling. He inhabits Asia and Africa, and is also found in the Mexican dominions. He is often used as an emblem of obsequiousness and flattery; and as a symbol to describe, allegorically, those vile sycophants, who conform themselves to the opinions and wishes of their feeders.