Chamaeleo dilepis (Flap-neck chameleon)
Living on the farm sure has its advantages, and the primal one for me definitely has to be the first hand interaction with nature in various forms,shapes and in this case colors.
These little flap necked chameleons holds such great childhood memories for me, back then they were much more readily found, and as children we used to often catch them and play with them, keeping them indoors on our curtain rails, an feeding them whatever insects we could catch, then setting them free again. However, now you hardly see them anymore, and finding one by chance, like this one I came across, is a rarity.
One of the main reasons that these fascinating little creatures are not as easily found anymore, is because of the superstitions beliefs of many resident African tribes, they are believed to be a bad omen, the can see into both this world as well as the spirit realm, they bring tiding of death and can draw your soul to the world of the dead, as such, the are often killed on site by African people.
Another big reason fir their decline in numbers, can be attributed to mechanization on agricultural farms. Machinery such as harvesters and trimmers leave little escape for these guys when crops are being processed.
I found this one in our driveway area, out in the open where he would have very little defense against predators such as birds and other wild creatures that would be delighted with such an easy meal, so i decided to find him a more suited space, a litchi tree close to the garden, where he would be able to source food shelter and moisture, while being able to camouflage himself better against predators.
These fascinating creatures often use the color of their skin as a for of communication, disguise and a way to attract mates. they can easily live for up to 8 years
Once I picked him up, he almost immediately changed his color to a darker shade and coiled up his tail, these are both signs of stress in chameleons. he wasn't showing any sighs of aggression towards me though, which was a good sign.
And after a minute or so of me handling him, he soon realized that I had no intent of hurting him, and he started to relax, he uncured his tail, and progressed his green and yellow colors to a brighter more cheery hue, still holding a tiny bit of the darker outlines.
However once I put him in the tree and tried to take a photo of him his entire demeanor changed, he went almost a solid black, and hissed at me profusely, as if to say 'you have done your part now please go away'...