5-speed listening (Smallest Reptile - Level 2)

World's smallest reptile discovered in Madagascar






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Scientists have discovered what could be the world's smallest reptile. It is a chameleon and is the size of a sunflower seed. Chameleons are usually 35-40cm long. Scientists found two of the tiny lizards in the mountains in northern Madagascar. They are just 22mm long. The length of the male's body is 13.5mm. At first, the scientists thought the reptiles were juveniles, but later found they were fully-grown adults. The scientists called the lizards "nano-chameleons". The scientists tried to find more of them, but "despite great effort" could not find any more.

Madagascar is home to two-thirds of the world's chameleons. Scientists say they may be from there. However, the chameleon's survival is threatened by deforestation. One scientist said the nano-chameleons are lucky to survive. He said: "Their habitat has unfortunately been subject to deforestation, but the area was placed under protection recently, so the species will survive." Nearly all of Madagascar's eastern rainforest could disappear by 2070 if deforestation and climate change does not slow down. This would put many of the island's unique species in danger.

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