This page last updated: 19 May
Our first lizard was a bearded dragon named Norman
who passed away on 13
February 2009. Having done desert for Norman and sea for the fish,
we decided to have a go at tropical jungle to house a chameleon named Marty.
He was born on 2 February 2009 and came from the Ambanja
Madagascar, hence he was a blue chameleon. However we suffered
on 6 September 2009 when, returning from a night away, we found him
dead on the
floor of his cage. We believe that, as was his wont, he had been
hanging by his tail
from a log looking for locusts when he lost his grip and fell badly on
neck. You can find out about the process of
conversion from desert to jungle at the bottom of the Marty page. On 28 September 2009
we began again with
Eddie but this turned out to be a short-lived
he was dead after just over a week and a half. Lee at
Reptiles advised us that watering was the problem but we think he was ill when he arrived with is.
The remainder of this page is the diary for our third chameleon,
the beautiful Ramone, an Amilobe Panther chameleon, born 16 June 2009 we
reckon, who was with us for six years.
Finally, a video of Ramone eating and then begging for
He's not very accurate (three tries for the first one and five for the
second) and it looks a bit bruising for his tongue. Click on the
picture below to see it.
Ramone had a particularly impressive bout of shedding today, his whole body turning flaky. He didn't like it very much and spent a lot of time rubbing up against anything he could to get rid of it.
Ramone wanted to come out of his vivarium today and, while sitting in the sun, suddenly ducked down and hissed. He had seen a bird fly past outside. We've not seen this sort of reaction to things so distant before. He really is sensitive to birds, which are apparently one of the main chameleon predators in the wild.
Oh, and he continues to grow healthily.
Ramone has been wandering around on the carpet, trying to find some Up. The problem he's got is that all the Ups, in this case a chair leg, have been polished smooth by some fiend. Poor Ramone.
Ramone has realised that being out of his vivarium is more exciting than being in it. For the last week or two he's begun pawing plaintively at the glass or watching what is going on outside with interest from the nearest perch. If we open his vivarium he will now fairly quickly dash up your arm, possibly after some initial posturing. He likes wandering around outside for as long as we will let him and doesn't like being put away again. Here's his special "red chin" display when he began to get upset the last time.
Got a few good pictures of Ramone a few days ago while he was in "oooh, look at me!" mode.
Today Ramone moved to what we think will be his final home: the largest Exo-Terra glass-sided vivarium, 90 x 45 x 60 cm. We've used some very nice plastic plants around the walls (also from Exo-Terra), a ficus on the side furthest from the heat lamp, a scindapsis on the other side and some very expensive but interesting wooden branches across the middle. We've retained some of that green plastic garden netting as he seems to really like clambering over it and it doesn't look too bad. Ramone comes out to hunt for locusts, sitting on the branches of wood, and spends the rest of his time hiding amongst the plants. All the spraying is manual at the moment, once in the morning and once in the evening; he has been seen to lick water from the leaves so this seems to be working OK. Will invest in a strong enough pump to get the automated spraying working next year.
Meanwhile the long-wide home is being redecorated so that he can live in that also.
It's been quite interesting to notice the difference in gaits between Marty and Ramone. Marty moved quite slowly and had a walk where he'd make a motion forward, then back again, then forward again, a sort of disco-dancing effect, presumably testing whether the new thing he was putting his weight on was stable. Ramone does this much less often and instead has a low, crouching, commando crawl that he uses when he's suspicious of something nearby. He seems to notice people movements more and reacts to them by moving his head and his body. We didn't get to notice much with Eddie other than that not moving very often and liking to stay on the bottom of the vivarium is not a good sign.
Ramone is doing well. He shed his skin for the first time this morning, is eating everything in sight, evacuating same and he's put on weight. A lot of the poo appears in the plant that is immediately below the water drip, so we assume he's drinking from there as well. We're increasingly of the view that Eddie came to us with problems.
Here's Ramone. He is an Ambilobe Panther chameleon, one of the most beautiful varieties, supplied by Lee at Millennium Reptiles of Bishop's Stortford. He is housed in the small wide low vivarium with the new drip system. He is an extremely active creature, more active than either Marty or Eddie. He is being fed on crickets (3rds) dusted with Nutrobal (from Vetark) and Calypso Cricket Dust. We will be watching his eating and drinking habits carefully.
Having looked into the watering problem we're going to try a different approach. Rather than automated spraying, which is too indiscriminate and usually too strong for a young chameleon, we're going to try dripping. A spot of research turned up Williamson Pumps who supplied their 101-Aquadoser03-FS-016/2 peristaltic pump but fitted with a 3 RPM motor. This delivers a drop of water every ~5 seconds. It's also blissfully quiet compared with the very high pressure spray pumps supplied in the Lucky Reptile Superfog system. This is plugged into a timer so that it comes on for an hour in the morning, an hour at lunchtime and an hour in the evening. This is in addition to the usual hand spraying every morning and evening. All water is dripped or sprayed onto plastic leaves that the lizard can lick it from.
Here is the small-wide-low vivarium with the drip pipe running into it at the back and some plastic netting arranged for Ramone.