Postcard: I Love Me A Chameleon

Chameleon in Timbavati South Africa

Elvis, our guide in Timbavati, South Africa holds a chameleon he found while we were on a night drive

When it comes to many of the animals that are supposed to give women a fright, I’m not much of a girlie girl. I don’t mind snakes. I find bats incredibly interesting, and when I was a kid I had mice as pets (I actually had 24 mice….man they breed fast), and lizards, I really like lizards, especially chameleons.

In Africa, some lodges and camps offer night drives where a guide waves a large light rhythmically back and forth, left to right, to illuminate the bush so that you can see any wildlife you may come across.

On night drives, chameleons are a guide’s best friend. When other animals are hard to find, chameleons are the perfect fall back to keep guests amused. They’re surprisingly easy to spot—they shine bright green when the light passes over them— but travelers rarely see them as quickly as a guide’s trained eyes.

Initially, I thought my guides had super x-ray vision to spot the lizards hiding deep within the branches of a tree. It wasn’t until later that I realized that the light made them stand out like tiny beacons.

Chameleon found outside my room inBotswana

Chameleon found outside my room in Botswana

In Botswana, there was a  chameleon in a bush outside my door, and I loved the fact that the little guy found my room a satisfactory hang out.

I’ve only seen the green chameleons in Africa (they change color to brown and back depending on the tree they’re in) but there are species that are brightly colored with all the pomp and circumstance of an exotic bird.

I read recently that half of the world’s chameleons are found in Madagascar and I would absolutely love to go there and photograph them. What a treat that would be!


6 replies »

  1. Chameleons are cool looking, so are geckos, especially the ones I’ve seen in Hawaii. Very colorful. Also the blue lizards in Puerto Vallarta.


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