When Your Dinner Eats YOU…

Fired-up

(Sam is fired up as this display of pattern is called in the Chameleon world.)

Sam hunts insects from among the vines and foliage in his cage.

Often, I am unable to remove the ones that he doesn’t eat in one day.

They should not remain in the cage for several reasons,

among which is that they may bite the animal while he is sleeping.

Here, Sam is climbing around hunting his dinner.

Chameleons can be trained to eat from a cup

but they enjoy hunting their prey

and they get the added benefit of exercise.

They have the ability to stretch their bodies to incredible lengths.

Their tongues extend to twice the length of their bodies.

They are extraordinarily flexible and can contort themselves in any way they choose.

Nov-14-cup-worms

The spoiled little rascal is waiting for his wax worms.

I feed them in a cup, and he knows that he is going to get some

every morning.  So, he often waits to be served!

Initially, I don’t think he noticed the cricket since he was hunting.

Finally, I think he felt it on his back and began to look warily behind him.

This one has no calcium/mineral dust on him, so he has been in the cage too long.

Nov-12-Supper-on-Nose

Here, he sees the cricket clearly, but his long tongue doesn’t operate backwards

(at least, I don’t think it does) so he can’t catch it off his nose!

He is beginning to puff out his gutteral pouch in annoyance

 as he watches the dumb cricket.

Halloween

Ah-ha!  I got you!

That really isn’t why he’s displaying like this, but it looks that way!

Actually, I think this is an amusing threatening posture.

I think he is practicing his adult behaviors as the dragons did when they were young.

 

Nov-11-cup

 Ah, what a joy little Sam has been for me.

I love watching him and taking care of him.

Chameleons are not pets.

They are not appropriate animals for children.

Their care is not difficult, but it requires constant monitoring and careful attention.

They are not “lap dog” animals.

They are wild, exotic creatures who must be treated and accommodated as such.

Chameleon-II

Very soon, Sam will be joined by a male Panther Chameleon, Hugo.

(Sam is a veiled chameleon)

The two will be housed in separate enclosures as are all chameleons.

The setup for them is somewhat complicated and has taken several weeks.

 Hugo will not be shipped until his home is completed and approved by the breeder.

Ed and Liddy Kramer of Kramerflage Kreations are the breeders.

(They require very specific proof of suitability from the applicant keeper.)

I am so excited to be receiving him into the Sherwood Zoo

that I simply couldn’t resist posting a preview of him!

🙂

31 Comments on “When Your Dinner Eats YOU…

    • Yes, they are commonly sold in big chain pet stores, online and almost everywhere now. They require more specific care than the bearded dragons, but they are absolutely the most interesting animals to observe! Thanks for stopping by to visit us, Jessie! 🙂

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  1. Sam is gorgeous! And you do him full justice. Looking after your lovely creatures sounds like a lot of hard work George. They are fortunate to have such a devoted keeper 🙂

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    • Thank you, Richard. Photographing through the glass under incandescent light is hard for me, as I have discovered, but I keep trying! The bad light makes him look brown and dull. I do love watching him with his human-like hands and his slow, deliberate movements. They are fascinating and sentient creatures. Some are very shy, but he is not so shy. He has grown accustomed to the camera and to my hand inside his enclosure. He will climb onto my hand if I offer it. I tried to weigh him when he was tiny, but he kept desperately climbing back onto my hand when I set him on the bird perch that is attached to the gram scale. I gave up and decided I’d watch his poop and his body shape to decide if he is eating enough! The chameleons are a bit more difficult to keep since correct ambient temperature and humidity are critical. Hugo is a Panther, and they are more human-friendly. You can hold them more, but I don’t really handle the reptiles much. It is not really good for them. I will handle Hugo more, I think. The breeder says he is friendly and fires up easily. He is a cross that is not found in the wild. Sam is a natural specimen from a wild-caught line who was domestically bred. Hugo’s breeders are prominent in the Chameleon world. Sam is a commercially produced animal from PetsMart. But, he is very healthy with no parasites, etc. I got lucky with him. And I love the little critter. He makes me laugh. Without my zoo, the last months would be very depressing for me, I think. They give me a real reason to hop out of bed in the mornings! They NEED me as much as I need them. God, how awful life would be without passion for what you do, huh? 🙂

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  2. You know what makes you a good keep of animals George? YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE AS THEY COME. And, that’s wonderful. Raising animals does take responsibility and it’s unfortunate that not lots of folks realize that … much to the detriment of the animals they’ve taken responsibility for. You and know this. Hugo is certainly a handsome fellow … I hope Sam’s nose won’t be out-of-joint! Nice post … nice photos. Thanks. D

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    • Well, Dave, I could no more keep a dog or a dragon without taking care of him than I could ignore a child. We take these animals from their natural environment, so we are absolutely obligated to provide an environment in captivity that is as close to the natural one as we can manage to make it. Otherwise, we should flush the things down the toilet and be done with it. Chuckle… When I got the poor dragon from the breeder in California before Sam and discovered that he was loaded with Coccidia, I had a fit. I telephoned them and demanded that they do something about their animals. I told them that I would either knock him in the head or send him back. I didn’t care which. Frankly, I thought killing him would be merciful since I knew their big facility was full of coccidia. And, I said I didn’t give a damn whether they refunded the money. I was outraged. They had me to send him back and did notify me that he arrived in good shape and claimed they would treat him. Bullshit. They credited my account, but I haven’t used them to order supplies and probably won’t. Those commercial “farms” are disgraceful. When I found Ed and Liddy Kammer online and found out who they are, I was impressed. They are about as strict about their “adoptions” as a child placement service! I have to send photographs of his new home before they will ship him to me. The Kammers referred me to Bill Strand who is also a prominent person in that world. See: http://www.chameleonnews.com/Editors.html. Bill is one of the founders of the online magazine. Both people are invested in the responsible breeding of captive reptiles for years. You’ll find them interesting folks, I think. Bill has been so responsive to my questions and given me such wonderful advice and links to what I need. That is very unusual. His aim is to help chameleon keepers do it right. I have been so lucky, Dave. 🙂 My passion for the animals keeps me hopping out of bed in the mornings. Without them, I might have time to worry about stupid stuff! Chuckle…

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  3. Lol, sweet Sam. I love Chameleons! In South Africa we may not keep them as they’re endangered.
    Here is a little tthing I wrote about a visiting Chameleon and my grandsons. It is an extract from my book (in progress) There’s an Emu in my Garden. I’m writing about encounters I’ve had with beautiful beasties.

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  4. Once more I have to mention the brilliance of the photos… such artistry displayed in your captures…
    My cousin keeps snakes and he once over fed his python with mice… the snake was full and the mice tried their best to eat the snake, actually did quite a bit of damage to the poor python…
    We obviously have chameleons here in the wild and they are fascinating reptiles to watch, having seen their stealthy approach and final capture of their target is a very rewarding observation… once saw a vid clip of a fight between a snake and a chameleon… can’t remember what type of snake it was … but the chameleon had a good bite on the snake, as did the snake on the chameleon… in the end I think the snake won, but not without the scars to go with the battle….

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    • Thank you, Rob. I spend a great deal of time observing Sam and the dragons. I photograph him constantly. Partly to get him used to the flash and the camera and to try to capture some of his activities that I think are so fascinating. Their little hands feel like human hands and they are gentle and soft little critters. Sam will grow to 18-20 inches long including his long tail. He is young now, but he is beginning to show pattern and colors. He won’t develop his adult coloration until he is about 18 months old.

      WOW. I would have loved to have seen the encounter between the chameleon and the snake. I’m sure that was fascinating since both are very quick and agile. I would never be interested in keeping a snake. I never thought I would like any reptile until I fell in love with the bearded dragons! 🙂 I do everything I do with a passion, you know. I always did. How does one grow old without many interests and passion about what he’s doing? A life lived without passion is a life of misery…seems to me. I never understood boredom or what people call “rest” either. I’m either going full-steam ahead or asleep. And, the animals require most of my waking hours. I do enjoy them so much! 🙂

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  5. This such an outstanding photo series with wonderful shots of Sam – and Sam vs Mr. Cricket… I’m sure the braveness of the cricket was due to shear stupidity! 😀

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    • Crickets are a pain in the butt. I don’t like them at all. I have to keep them now for the chameleons though. They require as much care as any of the reptiles! You have to keep them at about 90 degrees in a large container with egg cartons or something for them to climb and hide under. Otherwise, they eat each other! And, you have to feed them just as you would any other pet. Good grief! I have them housed in the laundry room with a basking lamp hanging over their house to keep the critters warm. They have to be gut-loaded to use as feeder insects. Otherwise, you’re feeding exoskeletons to your animals! And they have to be lightly dusted with calcium/mineral supplement for feeding. Now, try catching 12-15 crickets and keeping up with how many your chameleon eats. Plus, getting out the leftover ones. I’m tempted to cup feed them! I hate to do that since the chameleons love to hunt their prey… But I don’t want them eating crickets that are the same as eating cardboard after they’ve been in the cage for over a day.

      Thanks, Ray. I’m happy that you liked the photos. I love watching Sam. Crickets are indeed stupid, but they can bite the chameleon while he sleeps. When I got Sam, he had bites along the inside of his elbows that I know were from crickets. UGH!

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    • Hi, Tots! Most people find reptiles to be creepy creatures. I do not like snakes and most reptiles, but chameleons and bearded dragons are fascinating creatures to watch. The little chameleons are cute. They use their hands like humans. They are often described as “living art” because of the beautiful patterns they sometimes display. Thanks, Totsy. 🙂

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      • Good grief! I made the corrections in the reply above when I noticed them. I fear the cognitive function is slipping a bit, Totsy. Chuckle… Oh, shut the hell up! I know you thought it was long ago. I do love hearing from you, Totsy. One of the honest folk. And there ain’t many of them left… 😉

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    • It’s the turned down mouth that makes him look grumpy. 🙂 Actually, he’s very laid back for a chameleon. I snap him so much and he sees the flash go off so much that he pays little attention. He isn’t as shy as many veiled chameleons are. Fat chance he’d have to be shy around here! Chuckle… Thank you, Sylvia. You always make me feel good about my photos!

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  6. Little Sam is SO cute with all his funny “expressions” and those eyes!!!! The new guy is going to be really spectacular; you’ll have fun photographing him.

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    • His turned down mouth and those eyes give his face such expressive looks. The photo of Hugo is of him when he is really “fired up”. He won’t be quite so spectacular looking normally, but Panther Chameleons are friendly and respond to people more readily than the Veiled Chameleons like Sam.

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