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Constantia Chameleons – 2012 Pilgrimage

The green belt in Constantia is changing. Some areas are being cleared, others encouraged to flourish. Paths are drawn, bridges rebuilt. After an obviously wet spring, the belt looks lush and fresh, covered in flowers.

But the chameleon habitat seems threatened. Of course chameleons are probably spread out in multiple spots but the few low trees or bushes where I have been finding them year after year are now more isolated, the grass around them being mowed on a semi-regular basis. These chameleons seem to need high grass to commute back and forth to shelter and the trees whose foot has been cleared have been deserted.

A curious mind

Likewise, a different kind of tree with thin branches falling all the way to the grass and which had been a steady nursery (I always found young chameleons in there) is now cut off from the ground and empty. These are arboreal creatures and I feel sorry for them.

Maybe this is a normal natural variation. I was not able to find the one(s) that had been spotted last year in the garden. Time will tell. On the belt I found four, possibly five specimens, over a few visits. I would normally look for them in late afternoon when the sun’s heat is still pleasant, as they are ectotherms and rely on outside heat sources for comfort. But it wasn’t very sunny. I sympathized. I guess that makes me a Herpetologist. Oh well. I always wanted to be a Pilot. Life messes with one.

In any case, I was equipped with better glass this year and the pictures came out well. Light was very subdued but skin detail is amazing. Cute as ever.

And at the bottom I added another reptile picture (rescued from the pool) and a four-inch long arachnid (expelled from our living quarters), for balance.

Cape dwarf chameleon
Shedding
Rain spider – Possibly Palystes castaneus
Slug eater – Duberria lutrix?