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Chameleons

Find, identify & discuss the marine species of SANParks
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DuQues
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Chameleons

Unread postby DuQues » Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:16 pm

Chameleons are famous for their ability to change their skin color to blend in with their surroundings. But experts say camouflage is only half the story of the tropical lizard's remarkable trait.

"Communication is also partly the function of coloration," Christopher Raxworthy, associate curator of herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, wrote in an e-mail interview.

Part of his research involves studying what the lizards communicate with each other via changes in their color. He's found that the color shifts often express territorial dominance or unwillingness to mate.
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Unread postby francoisd » Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:53 pm

Here is one we saw last year crossing the S100 and in the process nearly got flattened by another 4x4 vechile. We also found one crossing a tar road near Letaba
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This one I photgraphed 2 weeks ago walking on a sidewalk in a Stellenbosch suburb
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Sep 29, 2005 6:44 am

I have seen plenty of Chameleons in the Park over the years. On night drives they can be spotted often by the guides. The best chameleon spotter I have came across was a guide at BnD. Kenneth the Chameleon Man I dubbed him. :lol:
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Unread postby Jumbo » Thu Sep 29, 2005 8:49 am

Once saw a very interesting interaction between 2 chameleons - have stunning video footage, no photos. :?
We had to slam on brakes when a chameleon RAN across the road - never seen one move so fast.
He was black in colour and on his way to a female on the other side of the road.
He then mated with the female, very awkward ritual.
What was interesting, was while the mating was in progress, his colour slowly started changing from black, to light grey and eventually to green.

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Unread postby Stoffel » Thu Sep 29, 2005 4:04 pm

Amazing how easy some people can spot chameleons. We went on our first and only sunset drive (up till now) during May in Talamati. Our driver/guide/ranger said that we must look out for chameleons after dark. He was willing to take a bet who's going to see the first chameleon. We all thought he was making a joke as it was turning dark when he said it. Well, he showed us three chameleons that night on three different occasions. All were sitting in shrubs next to the road. He had to get out of the vehicle and walk towards them to show it to us because we struggled to see them in the spotlight. He explained how he finds them in the spotlight (I cannot remember anymore), but to me it was unbelievable how easily he saw them from a moving vehicle.

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Unread postby madach » Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:33 pm

Stoffel wrote:He explained how he finds them in the spotlight (I cannot remember anymore), but to me it was unbelievable how easily he saw them from a moving vehicle.

Spotting chameleons at night using a spotlight looks like a cool magic trick but is in fact very easy if you know what to look for. At night the chameleons lose their colour so when you see them in a spotlight they look like a very palish green/off white leaf. This stands out in a bush that is otherwise green. The trick is that as soon as you put the spotlight on the chameleon it will change colour so you only see the chameleon for a second or so. Tourist will never pick this up though because they don't know what to look for. The first view they'll have of the chameleon will be when it has fully changed it's colour.

It's very funny to do a nightdrive in Kruger and spot chameleons all the time using the spotlight :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Unread postby cybeR@NGER » Sat Feb 03, 2007 12:46 pm

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Unread postby Wild about cats » Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:02 pm

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Unread postby deefstes » Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:13 am

I have a story to share (not a happy one unfortunately) of something that happened just the other day.
I was birding around the area north of Pretoria and driving towards Rooiwal Sewerage works when I noticed a Chameleon crossing the road.
I slammed on the brakes and swerved out.
I really put my car's ABS and stability control to the test but was delighted to have successfully avoided running the Chameleon over.

I thought I'd better turn around and help the little fellow out of the road as he was obviously in mortal danger but I had not even gotten to him when another car came blazing down the road and ran straight over the Chameleon.
I was furious! I can understand that it was a public road and he was not guilty of breaking any laws (other than speeding perhaps) but I feel he could at least have tried to stop or swerve.
If this had happened in the KNP I would so have reported this idiot but what could I do?

I backed up to the Chameleon anyway and noticed that a long string of eggs were protruding from its belly. Clearly this was a pregnant female and the thought that not only she but all of the unhatched younglings were killed in an instant was horrendous.
I don't know, maybe I'm just a softie.
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Unread postby Elsa » Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:25 pm

deefstes wrote:I don't know, maybe I'm just a softie.


Nothing wrong in that Deefstes, the animals and birds etc need all the softies they can get nowadays and I am unashamedly one of them as well. :wink:
I would have been just as upset as that drivers blatent callousness of the Chameleon trying to cross.
I think these little creatures are really hard pressed to survive especially in the cities and towns with cats /dogs and the traffic. :(
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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:39 pm

Any single chameleon is important considering they have been largely wiped out in residential areas by cats and pesticides :(
and Deefstes, you should see me stopping cars here for all manner of creatures :wink: ...our locals take great glee in purposely driving over puffadders :evil: :evil:

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chameleons

Unread postby BunnyL » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:00 pm

My husband and I are leaving for South Africa for a three and half week trip beginning on Feb 6. e'll be starting in Kruger and then going through KZN, Eastern Cape and Western Cape to Capetown where we fly back to Johannesburg.
We are also planning to stay in Addo and then one or two parks on the Garden Route most likely (haven't booked too much in advance as we want to be able to not get too locked in to "staying on schedule").
We have the flexibility and equipment to camp so am hoping this won't be a problem.

But the thrust of this post is our interest in seeing chameleons.
My husband spent his early childhood in Morocco where chameleons were his constant companions (as well as snakes, scorpions, etc) and then when we lived in Hawaii we enjoyed trying to find them while hiking (Jackson chameleons were an invasive species there).

Could anyone give us advice as to the best places likely to sight chameleons that are native to South Africa, given our route?

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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:04 pm

okay one bit of advice: go on a guided night drive and ask the guide to find a chameleon, he will...and fetch it off a tree to show you :wink:

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Unread postby arks » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:21 pm

BunnyL, as well as on night drives, you also often will see a chameleon crossing the road in Kruger, just drive slowly and watch out for them. (Unfortunately, many visitors drive too fast and many chameleons get killed :() I don't know if there are any special "conditions" or times of year when they come out onto the road, but I have seen them — alive — on the road fairly often. Good luck with finding some, and have a great trip!
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Unread postby G@mespotter » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:22 pm

Here a Berg-en-Dal beauty :D

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