For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Flap-necked Chameleon

This is the largest chameleon (genuses Chamaeleo) I have ever seen and took pictures of it on my hand so you can get an idea of its size. When I first picked it up, it hissed at me and turned itself black in order to scare me off, but did it? No, not until I got my pictures. LOL!! Although not considered endangered, chameleons are a highly threatened group - particularly the flap-neck chameleon which inhabits populated and agricultural areas. They have many natural predators which include arboreal snakes, larger shrikes and certain raptors. Like most birds and reptiles, there is only about a two percent probability of survival to adult breeding age. The chances of successful breeding are even less.
The greatest threat to their survival comes from human activities. Destruction of habitat for development and chemical control of their (insect) food species severely restricts their range. Traditional, cultural ‘taboo’ results in unjustified persecution. Veld (grass) fires are probably the greatest killer, from which they have no escape. Their natural instinct is to climb up from danger, which takes them into the hottest part of flames. There is very likely 100 percent destruction of chameleons in a hot burn. I put it into my fishtank to crawl about and out popped this cricket to hitch a ride on its tail. :) Would you look at those claws!! A good thing he is not larger than he was or he would most likely have dug a hole in my hand with those nail. (And I thought mine were bad!! LOL!!) They are very pre-historic looking but here he was hanging on to my finger for dear life. After a while he calmed down and slowly got used to me handling him and started turning back to his natural colour. These larger chameleons lay their eggs in the soft sand soil while the dwarf (about 14 species) give birth to live young.

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