Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Town Monday: News From the Chameleon Cage

I'm publishing my My Town Monday post early this week because tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day, which means the Summy children have the day off school. Who knows what we'll get up to! Chores, haircuts, dental visits. (Kidding!)

Anyway, I've had several emails asking about our veiled chameleons. I figured a My Town Monday post is as good as any to bring you all up to date. So, here goes...

When we got home from our crazy roadtrip to Oklahoma over Thanksgiving, I flipped up the incubator lid to check on the humidity. Whoa!!! There were three baby chameleons completely hatched and wandering around, prancing on the eggs of their brothers and sisters.

Over the next couple of weeks (the end of November through the beginning of December), all the eggs hatched, and we are now the proud owners of THIRTY-TWO beautiful-in-a-reptilian-way babies!! The above photo is one of two cages housing said cutie patooties.

On a sad note, all the babies from the September hatching died. I think there were about 42. It was horrible. It got to the point that I didn't want to check the cages in the morning. :( The bottom line was we couldn't get them to eat. We took a few to a vet who showed us how to handfeed with tweezers. Very time consuming! Unfortunately, though, so many of those babies were deformed that we were fighting a losing battle. Why were so many deformed? No one's really sure. Perhaps the mother laid clutches too close together. Perhaps her calcium deficiency played a part. Perhaps...

On a much happier note, these current babies are eating up a storm of crickets, clambering all over the cage and slurping water off leaves. They have already lived much longer than the last batch. I don't think any of the September babies lasted more than a week while the oldest of these Thanksgiving babies are eight weeks today. It's time to start looking for buyers, and we'll be approaching pet stores and people who sell at reptile shows.

So, we finally did it! We got our male and female adult veileds to mate. We dug up, then incubated the eggs. And now we've got two cagefuls of happy, bouncing baby veiled chameleons (more baby girls than boys). Whew. It's been quite a ride.

After a few weeks, we separated the dominant eaters from the smaller babies. In this photo, I'm holding a small and a larger baby. Quite a difference in size, eh? But both are oh so adorable!



This is the proud mother, Fat Lettie.




This is the proud father, Mr. Cone Head. In reality, neither parent has anything to do with their offspring. Fat Lettie passed us the parenting baton after laying the eggs. Mr. Cone Head was only involved in a very small part of the whole process! Ahem.


And that is where we are with veiled chameleons.

This week, I'm the hostess with the mostest for My Town Monday. So, if you've put up a MTM post, let me know in the comments section here or on the official My Town Monday blog. And I'll link to you on both blogs. Happy Monday!




12 comments:

Teresa said...

Congratulations on your successful hatching of veiled chameleons! And they are very, very cute (both the large and the small)!!

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm off tomorrow too, or today now, which explains why I'm up so late.

Travis Erwin said...

Very cool and congrats to all the parents involved.

Stacy said...

Oh, they are cute!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Sorry about the dead hatchlings. Wow, is this project a lot of work! I had no idea--am more appreciative of mother chameleons now.

Sarakastic said...

so cute!

Clare2e said...

So Cool, Barrie!

I lost two lizards (many years ago) to an unknown something that turned them into dry lizard curls- awful! Having reptiles and/or a fish tank (especially with those needing live food) presents the *cough* wonders of nature in startling ways.

Congrats on your persistence and the happy crowd of chameleons! I think they're VERY cute!

Barbara Martin said...

Raising any kind of reptile has it's ups and downs. I thought once of getting a lizard, but decided dogs were easier.

Lovely chameleon babies! If I could keep my apartment warmer I might invest in one or more. But, I can see how darling they are on your hand.

Eileen said...

You should make tiny feetie jammies for them

kaye said...

congratulations--that's quite an accomplishment.

Sarah Laurence said...

I was wondering how your other family was doing. Adorable! Sorry to hear about the last batch. Loved the photos!

On the post below – congrats! I recognize my neighbor Cynthia Lord’s book too. You are in good company.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Holy cow! Thirty-two baby chameleons?!? That's really cool, but it sounds kind of overwhelming, too. The pictures are a neat addition, too. The one with them crawling all over the hand looks surreal.