Cover reveal 4 of 5: Water-Walking, Sidewinding, and Other Remarkable Reptile Adaptations (Nomad Press, August 2020; illustrated by Katie Mazeika). I’ll be honest…I’m not much of a reptile fan. Or at least, I wasn’t. But, in researching these prehistoric creatures, I’ve gained a new respect – they truly are remarkable.
I’ve written before about painted turtles that breathe through their butts in the wintertime and the American alligators that are truly the keepers of the Everglades ecosystem – helping to keep the system stay balanced and functioning. One of my other favorites in this picture book is the chameleon. Not only do chameleons have 360-degree eyesight, they have amazing tongues. Once they spy a tasty treat, they lash out their tongues with remarkable speed. The end of a chameleon’s tongue is a ball of muscle that works like a suction cup, snatching up the prey. These extra-long, elastic, spring-loaded tongues are so quick the poor insect doesn’t even know what happened (if they were a car, they’d be able to go from 0 to 60 in 1/100th of a second). Maybe it’s better that way. Chameleon tongues are so amazing that they are a source of interest in the science of bioinspiration.