Monday, June 23, 2008

Reptiles we tend to forget about while on night drives!

The Chameleon... A slow moving colour changing reptile you normally see at night in a dense green tree or bush. When you are driving around at 40 km/h with a spotlight and suddenly you slam the breaks on and reverse. Evverybody thinks this is it , the leopard everybody wants to see so badly. Then a big surprise when you get out and everybody in great suspense thinking - what this mad game ranger is going to do now?

To everybody's amazement you gently pick up this small green creature. They all wonder how on earth did you see this green reptile in the green tree at night. Well there is a big secret: it is actually quite easy to spot with the light. There almost florescent green bodies reflects from the spotlight almost like a reflector. It does however take some practice before you can spot one at night.

They are very interesting animals. They have small scales and lack bony plates. Their tales are prehensile and they can not regenerate it like most other lizards. They have quite good vision and their eyes can operate independently. They are slow moving so the telescopic tongue makes up for that. They can shoot it further than the body length to capture prey. They are mainly arboreal creatures and the males are very territorial and will normally have one tree to themselves.

Colour varies to match the surroundings. They darken quite a bit when stressed and the colour gets intense when aroused. It is greatly feared by many tribes and some believe that they would become sterile or die if they see one, but they are harmless not poisonous at all.

They are mainly preyed on by snakes like the Boomslang orTwig Snake. They are great to use when you have children on the vehicle. They get totally captured in the moment with this gentle reptile.

Next time when you see a chameleon look at it from a different angle.

Hope you enjoyed this colourfull story. Till next time!


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