Friday, April 01, 2011

Warning: contains graphic reptile photos

Well I may not have had my camera to hand when I fed a hapless grasshopper to a hungry chameleon, but I certainly had it when we found said chameleon's big brother/sister (or perhaps other half?) in the garden.

What a beautiful beastie! (Although I suspect my mother may not agree...)

Sebastian was extremely impressed, and gamely handled it - gently - before we released it into a cashew tree.

Now I think that's a pretty big chameleon, and I know that Northern Mozambique is home to the world's second-largest chameleon (the largest, and also smallest I think, are found on Madagascar), but I don't know enough to judge whether this is an example of it. Any ideas, naturalist friends? (Should that be naturist? Which one means nudist? I always get confused, but hey, my nudist friends are also welcome to air their opinions!)

Chameleons really are exceptionally cool. Fused toes, funky walk, eyes that look in different directions, and of course the ability to change colour at will. This one obliged by going from greenish - as you can see in the photos - to grey/brown when we placed it on the trunk of the cashew tree. I once had to kill a chameleon as part of some field research (humanely, I hasten to add). It went completely black - one the saddest things I ever saw or had to do. But let's hope this one has a long and happy life.