The name of this reptile is included among the “swarming creatures” that were “unclean” under the Mosaic law. (Lev. 11:29, 30) The name is considered to have been derived from a root word meaning “to pant” or “to blow.” Koehler-Baumgartner’s Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros (p. 1035), by comparison with Arabic, suggests the meaning of “snorter.” While identification is uncertain, the name may apply to the chameleon. The common Chamæleon vulgaris is frequently found in Egypt and Palestine.
The chameleon is a slow-moving, tree-dwelling lizard noted for its color-changing ability, which is due to the expansion and contraction of pigment-bearing cells in the skin, controlled by the nervous system. Color response is primarily determined by temperature and light intensity
At Leviticus 11:18 the same name is applied to the swan as among “unclean” fowl.