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World's smallest reptile discovered in Madagascar

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Smallest Reptile - Level 0

Scientists found the world's smallest reptile in Madagascar. It is a chameleon the size of a sunflower seed. They are just 22mm long. At first, the scientists thought the chameleons were babies. They later found they were adults. The scientists called them "nano-chameleons". The scientists tried to find more, but didn't find any.

Madagascar has most of the world's chameleons. The chameleon's survival is in danger because of deforestation. A scientist said the area is now protected, "so [they] will survive". A lot of Madagascar's rainforest could disappear by 2070 because of deforestation. This would put many of the island's unique species in danger.

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Smallest Reptile - Level 1

Scientists found what could be the world's smallest reptile in the mountains in northern Madagascar. It is a chameleon the size of a sunflower seed. Chameleons are usually 40cm long. The new ones are just 22mm long. At first, the scientists thought the chameleons were juveniles. They later found they were fully-grown adults. The scientists called the lizards "nano-chameleons". The scientists tried to find more of them, but didn't find any.

Madagascar has two-thirds of the world's chameleons. They may come from there. The chameleon's survival is in danger because of deforestation. A scientist said: "Their habitat has...been subject to deforestation, but the area was placed under protection recently, so the species will survive." A lot of Madagascar's rainforest could disappear by 2070 if deforestation does not slow down. This would put many of the island's unique species in danger.

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Smallest Reptile - Level 2

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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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11 online activities    |    8-page printable   (PDF)

Smallest Reptile - Level 3

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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