Sunday, December 7, 2008

A veiled chameleon falls ill...



Here's a picture from healthier days. The male veiled chameleon drinking water from a ficus leaf






You may or may not remember that Child #2 became the proud owner of two veiled chameleons. They were his big birthday present about a year and a half ago. Then, last May, the female died.

Well, last week, the male stopped eating, got big knobby and swollen joints and was barely crawling around. Thursday evening, Child #2 (who is fifteen, and I'm sure that one word, fifteen, tells you a lot) spent much time wringing a wet facecloth above his still chameleon so that a gentle rain cascaded over his pet. The chameleon turned the most beautiful turquoise we have ever seen.

Fast forward ten minutes. I tucked in Child #3 who shares a room with Child #2. The chameleon had fallen off his little log and was lying at the bottom of the cage. His eyes were somewhat sunken; his eyelids dark. Oh dear. I did not want Child #2 to Learn a Life Lesson that evening. He'd already had a water polo disappointment; he still had a lot of homework; and he needed a decent night's sleep. So, I dusted the little chameleon off and propped him back up on the log. We could all face the Life Lesson in the morning, or better yet, after school.

Imagine my surprise the next morning when I saw the chameleon had crawled a little higher up the log. DH had the day off. We got the kids to their various schools, then carefully placed the chameleon on a bed of his special mossy stuff in a cut-off milk jug and drove him to the reptile expert at the pet store. Yes, this is what happens during these crazy busy times of Christmas and a book launch when you're the parent of a child with a pet. Don't think I'm some kind of saint. I'm not. I wasn't happy with the turn of events, with the to-do list sitting at home on the kitchen counter and the milk jug on my lap as we headed into San Diego.

The reptile expert took one look at our fat-jointed lethargic chameleon and pronounced: Metabolic Bone Disease.

It's curable! I texted Child #2 who responded with Yay!!!

Now our chameleon is eating crickets dusted with calcium powder + extra Vitamin D for absorption, housed in a smaller cage so he's always close to the UV + heat lamp, basking on fake wood laced with fake ficus leaves which stay stable for his sore joints. With proper care and a certain measure of good luck, he will live to a ripe old age. When he's a little bigger, we'll find him a female and help him settle into married life. It'll have to be a female accepting of gnarled joints because these won't return exactly to normal. This is all doable.

And now I up with insomnia, working through the to-do list, because...
IT'S EXACTLY TWO DAYS UNTIL TUES DEC 9 AND THE RELEASE OF I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES!

I would post an updated picture of the chameleon, but the entire house is quiet and sleeping as it's only a little after 3:00 am.

11 comments:

Laura said...

The things we do for our kids!

Glad the chameleon is going to make it - glad you were able to protect your young man one more day - that is what is important.

Dealing with death and a book launch would be no fun at all...

Excited for you!!!!

Cheers!

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm glad the chameleon had a treatable problem. I'd probably never have thought of that.

Jessica Burkhart said...

I'm so glad he's ok! :) And YAY for your oh-so-close release!

beckylevine said...

Wow! I've heard how hard chameleons are to raise--thank goodness for your reptile expert!

Are you even going to sleep at ALL in the next two days?

I've asked for your book for a Xmas present, which I'm now thinking was a REALLY STUPID idea, because maybe they'll all get me something else, but I won't know, so I won't be able to buy it anyway for THREE MORE WEEKS.

What was I thinking?

Barbara Martin said...

Barrie, a caring mother is what you are. Thanks for providing this information about chameleons. Who knows, it might end up in some writer's book some day.

Barrie said...

Aww Becky, I'm on your Christmas list?! That is so sweet!

Barbara--possibly one of mine. :)

Sara Hantz said...

I'm so glad the chameleon is going to make it.

YAY on two days to go..... so exciting!!!!!

preTzel said...

I'm glad your chameleon is going to make it. That's great! I'm also glad you didn't discount him either. He's got spirit. Find him a girly - girl who likes knobby joints and he will be happy. :D

Patti said...

nothing like a little lizard drama right before other big events...whew.

David Cranmer said...

I'm glad the chameleon is on the rebound. I always wanted one as a kid but my Mom so doesn't do lizards of any sort.

Beth Yarnall said...

Yeah Mr Chameleon! Yeah mom for taking him to a reptile expert. I hope he has a long happy life.