5-speed listening (Smallest Reptile - Level 3)

World's smallest reptile discovered in Madagascar



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

Madagascar is home to two-thirds of the world's chameleon species. Scientists believe they may have originated there. However, the chameleon's survival is threatened by deforestation on the island. One of the scientists said the nano-chameleons are lucky to survive. He said: "The nano-chameleon's habitat has unfortunately been subject to deforestation, but the area was placed under protection recently, so the species will survive." A study published by the journal "Nature Climate Change" stated that 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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