I am bicycling down to Economart late Monday morning.  The sun is burning through light cloud cover, doing a slow-bake into the roadway.  Passing the T-junction, there is a patch of forest crowding the road where birds are always singing, and several animal trails have been worn through the walls of vegetation.  I can see something creeping onto the roadway; from 50 meters, it walks like a large insect, tentative footsteps jerking forward, legs splayed out to the sides.  It appears not at all comfortable with its slow progress across the fry-pan of tarmac.  As I close in, I can see now that it is a chameleon.  I didn’t realize how slow-moving these creatures are, but this explains why I have seen several squashed into the tarmac along this section of road.

I decide to intervene, and I blow off my trip to Economart to rescue this miniature dinosaur.  Sue will be thrilled to have a closer look, and photographic subject.  Returning home with a reptile hanging from  my hand, I notice some quizzical looks from the few drivers I meet on the road.

Flap-necked chameleon, Chamaeleo dilepsis

My little friend is unusually strong for its size and manages to pry itself forward out of my grip, its little mitten-hands pinching my fingers for traction, its swivel-socket eyes constantly askew as if its focus has been short-circuited.

Sue hastens over with camera and after a failed attempt at chameleon portraiture, letting it crawl about the patio, we release it onto a small bush in the garden, where it can climb and blend into environment.  Suddenly it is in hunting mode and shoots a surprisingly long tongue into some leaf cover, startling a praying mantis we had missed.  The mantis manages to free itself, and another attempt by the chameleon is unsuccessful, sending the mantis scuttling across the garden.  After 30 minutes of posing for us, the chameleon decides to leave and disappears into a hedge, changing from a light green color to green with dark-stripes, presumably to enhance its camouflage.

2 responses to “chameleon”

  1. OK, so I must have missed something, who is Sue? Nice photo

  2. Love how you captured his cute lil eye!

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