Locked on.

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
What is it about chameleon anatomy that allows them to lock on to something and hold on with zero effort? Do they have special ligaments, muscle structure, or other evolutionary adaptations that make this possible?

As humans we have to actively concentrate on keeping our muscles contracted to hold on to something. If our concentration breaks we go limp, nodding off is a good example. Sleep = no concentration = loss of muscles control.

But this doesn’t seem to be the case with chams. How is it they are able to maintain their grip and never fall?

Good example:
E60824A4-79EF-4CDB-A320-4169D8BADDA6.jpeg
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Good question, my guess is their hands relax into a gripping state and it probably takes muscle contraction to open them. That way they can easily relax or sleep on a branch. I might be way off though.
That’s what I’m thinking too. I’ve also heard that their muscles are set up like what can only be described as a ratcheting system. When they let their muscles relax a biological backstop kicks in locking them in place. That’s why it’s so bad to just pick them up when they are trying to hang onto something, their ratcheting system gets stripped out.

I have no idea if this is true but I seem to remember it from somewhere...
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
As I was watching the chameleons sleep one day I had the same question as I saw there little hand just clamped on in such a deep sleep. I was wondering how the muscles just lock like that with out getting fatigue
 

krikinit

Chameleon Enthusiast
That’s what I’m thinking too. I’ve also heard that their muscles are set up like what can only be described as a ratcheting system. When they let their muscles relax a biological backstop kicks in locking them in place. That’s why it’s so bad to just pick them up when they are trying to hang onto something, their ratcheting system gets stripped out.

I have no idea if this is true but I seem to remember it from somewhere...
Raptors have a " ratcheting " type grip. Quite useful for hanging on to prey. The more ramped up they are the longer it will be before releasing.
 

Daesie11

Chameleon Enthusiast
Spoke to Petyr, had a bit of translation to do but I believe this is accurate:
“They have a special structure of muscles of so called static fibers . They allow to set a position and with minimal energetic loss keep them clinched in the position for a very long time : hours and hours.”
Would this also explain why they seem to be ridiculously strong even as babies with tiny little arms? I like watching Pesto do acrobats across his enclosure because it just seems impossible that he should be able to pull himself up on to a branch with just one arm and his tail holding him steady underneath, his other two legs just dangling around
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Would this also explain why they seem to be ridiculously strong even as babies with tiny little arms? I like watching Pesto do acrobats across his enclosure because it just seems impossible that he should be able to pull himself up on to a branch with just one arm and his tail holding him steady underneath, his other two legs just dangling around
Yes
 
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