Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cape Dwarf Chameleons

Photo: Vincent Mounier

Ever since we got to Cape Town, Vincent has been obsessed with finding chameleons. He loves them.

He stuck to his quest, and they were found. And he keeps finding more.

Do you know how hard it is to find a chameleon in a tree? Hard. I found the first one by accident, and that was all the encouragement he needed. Now, if you see a tall, hairless man standing in front of a tree peering at it for hours, not moving a muscle, possibly turning slightly green in sympathy, that's my husband.

The chameleon whisperer.

He doesn't want to tell people who stare at him what he's looking at, because he's worried about them. The chameleons, not the people. They are very vulnerable. He has quite a collection, now, including babies, and he checks on them. He worries.

You can see some of them here, and here.

I think he's beginning to develop two-toed hands and a prehensile tail. He looks at flies in a beady way...


  1. Vince is not alone in his obsession with chameleons. I, too, stand for long periods of time looking for the ones that live in my garden, in fact in places my gardening revolves around them, to the extent that there was a plant - Salvia uliginosum, that could not be cut back when it should have been as there were 4 baby chameleons who were using the dead brown stems, exactly the same colour as they were, as a nursery.

    1. Hi iv always wanted to find a baby chameleon but I have no clue where to look and the internet does not say what type of trees they like to be in can anyone help me ?

  2. Ha! the chameleon whisperer. Good one!
    I think it's just a transfer he did from nudibranchs now that he know longer dives. Psychologists say it happens a lot, even in "relatively" sane individuals.
    Besides, they're both ferocious animals and he's always enjoyed a bit of risk-taking.

  3. I love it! The Chameleon Whisperer! I've seen the other amazing photos on Vince's blog, but then these creatures are so beautiful, I can totally understand how one could become obsessed with trying to ensure their survival.


  4. He know longer dives.... I'm getting better everyday!

  5. Chameleon Whisperer! Yes, it's perfect.

  6. Vince may be visiting you, Lyn :-)

    Sigrid - he know longer dives, he know shorter dives and now he know shorter and longer chameleons.

    Hi Keli'i - give Ikaika my love!I miss the gang on Estorbo's blog.

    dinahmow - yes, it's intense...

  7. Hmm... Maybe you should try feeding him a few flies and see how he likes it!

  8. The chameleon whisperer! ROTFL! :-)

    Flies, on the other hand, not sure about them...

    And better than nudibranchs, I would compare chameleons to seahorses.

    But yeah, I know longer dive, sea my previous post about deep dives too... ;-)

  9. Nice to see others are interested in chameleons, they are a gentle and special species. I used to breed dwarf chameleons over a 12 year period and being there to see them born was always a magic occasion. I had 11 chameleons full time. Never had a chameleon die even one which had been with me for over 10 years before having to say good buy when I moved to Australia. A female named Chammy :) The babies born over the years (7-15 from each birth) were set free around the area I lived.

    Whether I had a chameleon since birth or had caught an adult in the wild they all became very tame. They would run down the tree to the end branches reaching out as far as they could with 2 front legs outstretched trying to jump on me or anyone who came near them. Best fly swatters ever, either pointing them as a gun from your index finger to target flies, or leaving them to roam around the barbecue food to find there own flies was always a pleasure to behold.

    Been in Oz for 11 years now and they don't exist here nor are they allowed to enter the country. The future of chameleons is poor as is the future of all creatures that have their habitats developed. Never keep a chameleon caged. They need their space. I kept them on small trees outside my bedroom window. As they sleep in the same spot every night they are easy to find (occasionally they will move to new spot near by). Little living legends I say.

  10. Interesting, Anonymous. But sad that you collected wild animals - that is one of the reasons we did not tell anyone where these chameleons were.

  11. Urgent: I need help with an injured chameleon. I'm not sure what happened exactly, but at my daughters chreche on Tues (8 May 2012), I discovered a chameleon that was obviously in quite a bit of pain, and surrounded by a bunch of toddlers in their play area. There are trees in this play area, and I assume the chameleon might have somehow fallen out of the tree and landed in the play area with quite a bit of traffic. It might have been stepped on, or run over with a tyre (that the kids like to run and push around). I immediately took it away, but thought that its injuries might be too bad, and that it would surely succumb, and die. I put it in a tree far from prodding hands and further harm. Every day since when I drop my daughter off, or collect her in the afternoon, I have to check the tree, and every time I find it still there, but in a different position, and this morning I touched its head and it responded, but still looked in pain. I was sooooo surprised to see that it is still alive. We've had two rather cold nights in Stellenbosch since it happened...! What do I do? I feel so sorry for this little being, and don't know how to help or prevent it from suffering any longer (if that really is the case...)? Do you know who I can contact in the Cape Town/Western Cape area? Please, any help will be appreciated!!!!

  12. Anonymous - All you can do is take it to a local vet, or put it out of its misery. Thank you for caring about the chameleon.


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