Welcome to the Zoo, Hugo!


Little Hugo arrived last week from Kammerflage Kreations in California.

He made his FedEx overnight flight connection and arrived at my door right on schedule.

I opened the box, and there he was in his plastic cup.

He looked as happy as a little clam.

I photographed him before I removed the cup from the packing box.

This is our first glimpse of each other!


Right away, he began to explore his new house.

He seemed perfectly at home.

I think he explored every inch of his cage!

A friend asked where his ears are?

Chameleons do not have outer or inner ears.

Their hearing is not good, but they can hear some sounds.

As you can see below, there is no ear!


However, their remarkable eyesight compensates for their poor hearing.

Chameleon eyes have a 360-degree arc of vision allowing them to see two directions at once.

Their upper and lower eyelids are joined leaving only a pinhole to see through.

This anatomical feature is unique to chameleons.  No other reptile has this eye structure.

This structure provides sharp, stereoscopic vision allowing them to see small insects

from a distance of up to 5-10 meters. (Source: Twisted Sifter)

Below, Hugo is looking in two directions.

The location of lighting in his cage makes it almost impossible to photograph through the screen!

But, you can see the pupil on the left side and the upper portion of the eyelid on the right side.


In the photo above, the structure of his feet are visible, too.

Chameleons have three distinct toes on one side and two on the other side of the front feet.

On the back feet, the toe arrangement is reversed.

The toes have sharp nails to aid in climbing.

Since Hugo is an aggressive hunter, I managed to get some photos

of him catching crickets with his remarkable tongue.

I will post them later.

Hugo is a wonderful little guy, and I am happy to have him with us!

48 Comments on “Welcome to the Zoo, Hugo!

    • Hi, my Golden Girl! 🙂 His feet are very well designed for climbing. The chameleons are all aboreal creatures, so they have to be able to hold on to limbs! Their little feet are soft and so human-like. Their skin is not pseudo-scaled like the bearded dragons. They’re soft little creatures who grow to something like 18 inches, including the tail. These are six-seven months old, so they are still very young. They change colors depending on mood rather than background colors. Thanks for stopping by to visit us! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, my Lovely Aunty! 🙂 I’m surprised to learn he is soft. Very interesting. I’m looking at the way his skin has a texture pattern, with bigger and smaller nodules. Is that significant?


        • Yes, the larger ones on his head are fat pads. If they shrink, he is dehydrated or too thin. …I think I’m right about that. He reminds me of a little snake when he stretches out his body to climb! I have to read more about this. Thanks! 🙂


  1. Oh Geaorge!!! I’m in love! He is absolutely gorgeous! I know you will get many hours of joy from watching this little boy especially. Thank you for sharing truly great photos of him> xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Charlene. He’s colorful and he fires up readily. He’s a much more aggressive hunter than little, fat Sam! They are both fascinating to watch! I really do enjoy both of them. Thank you for visiting us! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Serious color there! You have to wonder what environment those colors blend into! 😉 You do a fabulous job taking photos of these guys, you really do! I’m glad you’re enjoying them so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Blue Girl! The Veiled Chameleon is from Saudi Arabia and the Panther is from Madagascar. I really do enjoy watching them. They are fantastic animals. It’s hard to photograph them through the fine mesh screen. Especially, since Hugo’s lights are in front of the cage. I have to rearrange the lights. 🙂 Thank you for visiting us! 🙂


    • Thank you, Sarah. He’s doing fine. He “fires up” (shows his colors) much more readily than Sam does. Color change is a reaction to temperature, light, hunting response, and general mood. They don’t change colors to blend in with their environment as most people believe. Thanks for always visiting us here at the zoo. I really do appreciate that, Sarah.


  3. Hugo is so magnificent, George. How excited you must have been to open that Fedex box! I love his happy smile. 😀 Your photos are gorgeous and I enjoyed reading all about what makes him tick. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thanks, Sylvia. I was excited to open the box. I always worry about shipments of live creatures. Even the crickets, worms and roaches that are shipped alive! FedEx and UPS do a good job of moving live animals aboard flights across the country and, I guess, across the world. I knew when he was scheduled to board his flight and to make his connection to truck and arrive at my house. It all happened within the twelve-hour period that he would have been asleep in his darkened cage, so he didn’t know that he was being shipped. Chuckle… He seems to have adjusted very well. I understand his behavior because of my experience with Sam! Thank goodness! These guys require more specific care than the bearded dragons. Irma helps me with them. It she didn’t help, I really couldn’t keep up now. They are such a joy for me and keep me busy. Thank you for always visiting us, Sylvia. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, they ship live animals by air all the time. So does UPS. It’s amazing that they could get Hugo here within the 12 hours that he is normally in his darkened cage, so he probably didn’t suspect a thing! Thanks, Jo Nell. 🙂


    • I should have called him Mr. Batik! 🙂 He dramatically changes color all the time. Sam, not so much. He’s more aggressive in his hunting, too. Chameleons have distinct personalities. Sam is laid back. Hugo,not so much. That is the reason for his constantly changing hues and color which is what chameleon breeders want. And, it’s how I determine whether conditions in the environments are good. They respond to temperature, humidity, hunger, and especially to their basking space light. That’s a bit lower for Hugo who is a Panther. Sam is a veiled. Slightly different requirements, but not much. I’m fascinated by these little guys! Thanks, Lorna, as always! 🙂


    • Thank you, Joe. Hugo is an interesting little fellow. He fires up easily. Sam is more laid back and doesn’t fire up easily. He also changes color more frequently. They change color depending on factors like temperature and humidity and mood. Not to hide themselves. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂


  4. George, the rest of your menagerie must be green(er) with envy at this newcomers splendid colouring 🙂 I am awestruck by those swiveling pinhole eyes!! Thank you for sharing the joy of his arrival with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thank you for all of your recent visits to us here at the zoo, Madhu. I love seeing you here. As you know, I admire you tremendously. You were one of the first people whom I knew who was not from the US. Your life and work have always fascinated me. These guys are from Madagascar. Have you ever visited there? We have Anole lizards here that most people think are chameleons. They change color as frequently as chameleons and their behavior is very similar. I have them in the garden, and they were always my favorites. They move too fast to keep in captivity, but people do keep them. I saw one on the hood of my car once when I was two blocks from home. I stopped and snatched him off and released him in a man’s yard. The old guy glared at me! Thank goodness, he was obviously too slow to catch the little lizard! 🙂 I’m always finding the little ones on my porch. I capture them with a hand towel and release them outside. They would die inside the screened porch.

      The eyes are fascinating. Sometimes, it’s hard to photograph Hugo because he’s looking in two directions, and I’d get one eye with a visible pupil and one with a solid eyelid which looks very strange on him because of his brown eyelids. Actually, I like Sam’s color better than Hugo’s. In the chameleon breeding world, Hugo is considered a prize and Sam would be considered to be a rather mongrel character of little interest. Chuckle… The fancy breeders breed for color, etc. Hugo’s breeder was “breeder of the year” in 2013. I bought from them because I knew Hugo would not have diseases like the dreaded Coccidia. I had a bad experience with that in a chameleon from California. I sent him back because I can’t afford to introduce that into my colony of creatures. Reptiles carry Salmonella, Coccidia, and parasites, so you have to do fecal testing and be careful what you introduce into your family of reptiles!! This new interest of mine keeps me going, Madhu. It’s good for me although I increasingly need the help of my housekeeper to maintain all of the cages, etc. She is so very good with the animals. I’m fortunate to have known her all of these years.

      I hope you and your family are doing well. I haven’t kept up with your adventures for a long time now. I have to visit. Thank you so much, Madhu!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Joanna observed that Hugo is a handsome addition. I couldn’t shut her up … she was full of oooohs and ahhhhs as I scrolled through the beautiful collection of photos. Your menagerie is now a full-time-job! D

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, Farmer, you really do have to get a chameleon for Joanna! They really aren’t that much trouble. Well, that’s only a slight exaggeration… Once you get everything set up, they’re easy, especially for a scientist and an animal whisperer like you and Joanna! Chameleons are fascinating to watch. Dragons are fascinating to watch and hold. The dragons communicate with us and are not reclusive like the chameleons. Of course, any chameleon who lives here has to get used to the camera and the old woman meddling constantly in his cage. They adjust. Sam ignores me now. I suppose he gave up on trying to intimidate me with his fired up color changes. Now, it’s difficult to get him to fire up his color! Chuckle… Thanks. You’ll love the photos of his tongue in action. Not so great photography, but you’ll be able to see how it works up close. 🙂


      • Joanna and I were out and about today and she asked, “So, just how much work is it really to raise a Chameleon?” I said “LOTS … and there’s an end to that!” Joanna would really like to raise a Canary again someday. I do think I will draw the line … this side of Chameleons and Dragons! We’ll leave them to you! Winter is upon us … I wish I lived in Texas! D


        • If you lived in Texas, Joanna would inherit bearded dragons and a veiled chameleon and a panther chameleon! Chuckle… No, the chameleons are little trouble once you get the setup right with an automated misting system and lights on a timer. Of course, you have to keep crickets and worms. It probably doesn’t seem as much trouble to me since I started with the dragons and one chameleon after that. I’ve gotten into a routine of caring for them. They are not cheap to set up, however. One chameleon and a hand pump mister with a couple of lights would be easy. But, you guys have huge animal responsibilities as it is now! Maybe, when you retire, Joanna can get into this. 🙂 Canaries are a piece of cake! So are the little parrots. She’d love a Sun Conure. They are gorgeous and sweet and little trouble. The major expense is a good cage. I bought Cheeky’s stainless steel cage from King’s Cages. I’d suggest that you are talented enough to build your own cage! 🙂


          • You are right when you say that it’s all pretty easy once you establish the routine. At one or another time we have raised, llamas, sheep, goats, hogs, horses, cattle, geese, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and (of course) dogs and cats. And, that sounds like a lot of work … but, you know, it wasn’t really … once you got the routine down. Now that we’re trying to simplify (and are down to just dogs, cats, geese, chickens, a horse, and lots of sheep (and turkeys seasonally)) we wonder how we used to do so much. I imagine that Joanna will indeed have either a Canary or a Parrot some day … when we move from the farm. D

            Liked by 1 person

    • He is a colorful little character. And, I think the temperatures and humidity are correct. Those factors and food are all they require to make them happy, unlike humans… Chuckle… Thanks, Ute!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mike. Heck, I see more now than I want to see and hear more than I want to hear, too. 🙂 You could shoot two scenes simultaneously with two cameras! Might be interesting photography! At least, we could see what’s creeping up on us! Chuckle… Thank you for stopping by, Mike!


        • You certainly could put a small camera on Pumpkin’s collar. And, you could buy a drone, but you’d crash it along with the camera! Chuckle… Just do it if that’s what you want to do. Hell, I always did what I wanted to do. And, now, I’m happy that I did. I spent more than I could afford to spend on art or on anything else I really wanted. You only live today, Mike. To hell with tomorrow. Chuckle…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hey, borrow a body camera from the police department. They just might let you do that. There are all sorts of little cameras around. I’d research their availability and do it! Can you imagine the interesting results?


  6. WOW!!! That little guy is beautifully colored! He seems to be right at home in his new digs, doesn’t he? I can’t wait to see him. Can he see Sam next door?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, he can’t see Sam, but I swear they talk through the walls! Sam is much more actively hunting since Hugo arrived. Maybe, Sam senses competition for food now! 🙂 You’ll see Hugo soon.


    • Yes! The animal world is filled with beautifully colored creatures. Chameleons really do display wonderful colors. Thanks for stopping by, Ramesh!


  7. George, I very much hope that you and Hugo get on just fine – certainly I know that he’ll be very well looked after! The thought of a chameleon flying overnight with FedEx (who, incidentally, also deliver my Blurb books to me here in Bristol) is quite mind-boggling – next you’ll be telling me he was in Business Class! I hope you’re fine and well, my dear! Adrian

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’re doing fine, Adrian. Many live animals are shipped by FedEx and other carriers. He got to me in a bit over twelve hours which would have been close to his night time lights out period. I”m sure he hardly knew the difference. The breeders are prominent in the chameleon world so they produce from good blood lines. I love my Sam who came from Petsmart and was bred in a large commercial facility, probably. Actually, I like Sam’s color better than Hugo’s . Chuckle.. Reckon blood lines mean nothing to me, considering my own background. Both of us are mongrels… Chuckle… I’m doing fine, Adrian. Thanks!


    • Thank you, Lynda. They are not all that difficult to keep, but they do have very specific environmental requirements in order to survive. I learned a lot from the bearded dragons, so these guys weren’t all that difficult for me. Their homes are rainforest humid and the dragons are desert animals. Dragons are from Australia. Chameleons are from Madagascar. Both species fascinate me! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my oh my oh my…. what a lucky fellow to have such a wonderful home… and he does seem happy…. what beautiful colours he is displaying for you to capture…. and how beautifully he has been captured…. love this blog

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hugo is fascinating to watch. He changes color more frequently than Sam. I can tell if he’s happy, warm enough, thirsty, hungry, etc., by his color changes. They communicate well. Otherwise, we’d never know if we are providing what they need! He has adjusted well. Thanks for the nice words about the photos. His lighting is the reverse of Sam’s so it’s very hard to photograph him through the screen. I have to change the arrangement. Did you get the shipment you were expecting?

      Glad you like the photos! 🙂


  9. Hugo’s beautiful. Love the shots, George. (I never knew that about chameleon eyes – fascinating – I’m trying to imagine what it would be like having two distinct visual feeds – it would certainly make photography interesting).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I knew about it from watching Sam and reading about it. You could use two cameras and get twice the number of images! Might be interesting! Thanks, Richard. Glad you liked the photos. Hard to get a photo through the screen since his lighting is the reverse of Sam’s. I have to change that arrangement!



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: