This Newly Hatched Chameleon Will Totally Melt Your Heart
It’s hard not to be totally captivated by these baby chameleons. They really display personality. A guy sticks his finger in the nursery aquarium. His finger is huge compared to the size of the baby lizard. In the background we see what looks like eggs, probably chameleon eggs in various stages of incubation.
The finger juts intrusively in front of the baby’s face. It stops, pulling back its little two-fingered hand. And, oh that look! Have you ever seen such adorable rotating eyes? It’s like it’s thinking, “Uh, what’s this? What am I supposed to do now?” and then as instinct takes over, it climbs up the finger.
This is the veiled chameleon (chamaeleo calyptratus), a species endemic to the Arabian Peninsula. The adults look even more otherworldly than the babies, if you can believe that. At five years, they don’t have an especially long life. After all, other reptiles such as the Galapagos tortoise can potentially live for hundreds of years. These little guys really have to seize the moment starting from…now! Each day has to count for something.
With the first couple of shimmies the baby chameleon gains confidence and security. “This stubby pink branch isn’t so bad! Kind of soft and warm, too!”
The chameleon is really alert, with eyes that rotate like no other animal. Each movement gives it a different anthropomorphic emotion. The one where the eyes look upward makes it look introspective. When the eyes look backward, it seems to be thinking, “I’m not so sure I want to commit to this.”
“Do I take the next step? Or, should I go back, now?” In time the chameleons will get used to their home, just like any baby, probably. For now everything is completely new. They are so trusting! You really have to give babies credit for reaching out to the other living things. In the wild it’s hard enough, where some strange species more often than not makes its sudden appearance for a wicked purpose, not to help. Babies don’t know that, and don’t have a lot of choice about what will happen next.
These babies are so lucky, because the owners will go out of their way to ensure they are safe from predators, given food and warmth, and shelter. They will probably be sold to herpetology enthusiasts who understand their peculiar needs.
We know chameleons have this ability to camouflage themselves by changing color to match the background of whatever it’s next to. The very word for the ability to blend in is chameleon. These guys haven’t mastered that skill yet. Maybe that lesson comes on Day 2.