This post was written to create a model of descriptive writing for my sixth grade students at Rift Valley Academy.

Ever since we moved to Africa, my son, Adam, has been obsessed with chameleons. These harmless creatures cover the school campus where we live. They make an ideal pet, and they are so common, in fact, that hardly a day goes by that we aren’t graced with the company of this unique reptile in our home.

The Jackson’s chameleon possesses three pointed horns protruding from its scaly forehead and nose. Its intimidating appearance reminds one of a Triceratops from the Creataceous period – just shrunken down a bit.

The chameleon, when frightened by the approach of a predator or the grasp of a four-year-old boy, may at times open its toothless jaws and turn to bite. There is no reason to fear. Its gentle squeeze is harmless to a human finger as its mouth is only designed to trap flies unawares.

The chameleon hardly makes any sound, and that fact, coupled with its camouflaged appearance, is what makes them so difficult to find–at least when you’re looking for them. They are too small or light to break a branch or even create much rustling movement as they creep slowly through a bush. These lizards may occasionally let out a frightened hiss to scare off potential predators. Its greatest defense mechanism is, of course, its polychromatic skin.

Some find them revoltingly ugly. Others see them as quite beautiful. One thing is undeniable: chameleons are wonderfully fascinating creatures.

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