Friday, January 13, 2012

The End of a Chapter: Fat Letta Dies

It is with a heavy heart that I post today about the death of Fat Letta, our 4 + years female veiled chameleon.

She was an overachiever when it came to egg production, and, basically, she just wore herself out. It got to the point where no amount of calcium supplements was going to help her poor, depleted bones. She had trouble hanging onto branches and couldn't make her way around the cage anymore to chase crickets. I had to put crickets in a plastic bowl and hold it within reach of her tonuge.

I'm definitely the person the most broken up about her death. Probably because I ended up being her main caretaker. Even though she was originally Child #2's pet! Over time, I learned to read her pretty well. I could tell when she was ready to lay eggs and needed the 5-gallon Home Depot bucket filled with sand. I could tell when she'd be receptive to Mr. Conehead, her significant other. I was even able to predict her death.

I'll never forget how much self-confidence she gained after laying that first cluch of eggs. Twelve hours digging alone in the cold, damp sand taught her to stand up to Mr. Conehead. She never let him bite her again. She made sure he shared the heat/ultra violet lamp. And she stopped allowing him first crack at the crickets.

The only thing I regret is not keeping one of her female babies. Then, I would've gotten to know one of Fat Letta's daughters, and, somewhere down the road, perhaps one of her granddaughters. But, we sold all the babies to the reptile store in Oceanside. Here's the story. And there's really no way to track one down now. Sadly, there are no surviving eggs from Fat Letta's last clutch.

So, goodbye Fat Letta. I certainly never expected to get attached to a chameleon. But I did.

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures of her.

Fat Letta


An x-ray of Fat Letta full of eggs




23 comments:

Teresa said...

So sorry to hear about the death of Fat Letta, Barrie. My condolences to you and your family. It is always hard to lose a pet.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Aw. So sorry to hear that. I had one just like that once and she wore herself out, too, with no male in sight even.

Barrie said...

Sarah: Thank you for sharing. I've been feeling a bit guilty that I didn't move the male to another part of the house in the hopes of slowing down her egg production.

Barrie said...

Teresa, thank you. I know it's ridiculous, but I'm still sad.

Reb said...

I am sorry for your loss and it's not ridiculous at all to be blue about it and miss her.

Marty said...

She was not only your much loved pet but great fodder for many of your most interesting blog post. You have already honored this little chameleon with the words written.

Chantal said...

Oh Barrie I am so sorry to hear that. I am sad too. :( Hugs.

Barrie said...

Reb, thank you for the kind words.

Marty, I'm so glad you enjoyed the veiled chameleon posts.

Chantal, thank you for the hugs.

Sarakastic said...

:( I'm so sorry I always thought she was awesome too.

Barrie said...

Sarakastic, she was awesome. She was.

Tania said...

I'm very sorry to hear this. I've always enjoyed your stories about her. Be well.

cheryl said...

So sorry to hear of your loss, Barrie. Doesn't matter the species, it is what another living being adds to our lives that matters. I will miss the tales of her reproduction.

Eschelle said...

awww that is so sad! I am so sorry for your loss.

Sarah Laurence said...

Oh, Barrie, I am so sorry. Of course you were attached. I still feel sad remembering the death of my first pet, Sammy the Snake, when I was in elementary school. Cold blooded creatures have a heart. A pet is part of your family.

I'll miss your chameleon tales. Maybe Letta will inspire you to write a picture book or a nonfiction chameleon book for kids.

Gabriele Goldstone said...

I'm sorry to hear this. Interesting how caring brings out the bonding. Lesson in there. I bet your kids are sad for you, if not for the chameleon. Was she a ripe old age for a reptile or does captivity lengthen their lives?

Gabriele Goldstone said...

I'm sorry to hear this. Interesting how caring brings out the bonding. Lesson in there. I bet your kids are sad for you, if not for the chameleon. Was she a ripe old age for a reptile or does captivity lengthen their lives?

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm sorry to hear that. One of the things, though, that gives me hope for the human race, is our capacity to love and cherish even the small creatures that share the world with us.

AbaGayleb said...

I'm so sorry to hear that. ):
I know I couldn't stand if my dog died. She was an amazing pet. ;\

Maureen McGowan said...

So sorry, Barrie. :( Your words about her are a great tribute.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm sorry. She was a worker, that one.

kaye said...

I'm so sorry . . .

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that. She will remain in the hearts of your millios of fans, including me.

Jen S.

Jenn Jilks said...

Poor wee green queen!
She did her part!
You have wonderful photos of her!