Chameleon Myths/Legends etc?

Stella

New Member
I am living in Malawi where chams naturally occur. As practically in all other parts of Africa these animals are feared and mostly killed. They are associated with witch craft and bad luck, with bad magic.
Has anyone more detailed information?
Greetings from the warm heart of Africa
Stella
 

Nicodemayo

Avid Member
Well this forum is dedicated to chameleons so you only going to find chameleon lovers here! I dont think theres any wizards or witches on here haha.
 

bucky

New Member
I am living in Malawi where chams naturally occur. As practically in all other parts of Africa these animals are feared and mostly killed. They are associated with witch craft and bad luck, with bad magic.
Has anyone more detailed information?
Greetings from the warm heart of Africa
Stella
Well...I would think this has been goin for centuries now. If your worried about chameleons decreasing in population to this,its not as bad as people who illegally take them and sell them and dont care for the chameleon while they are tryin to sell them on illegall markets.
 

Dean Pulcini

Avid Member
As soon as I started keeping chameleons I started growing a third eye and another head. Chameleons are just another animal surrounded by mindless superstitions.
 

SoCaliSon

Avid Member
I know the most common myth is that they change there color to blend with any background they encounter.

How could anyone relate such an animal to evil? Personally my chams are theraputic for me when I am stressed. Just watching cruise and eat in there little jungle relaxes me.
 

Jeweledchameleons

Avid Member
Come on
"Mindless superstitions"

Preacher heal thyself!
western societies have their own myths and cultural hocus Pocus
not the least of witch is symbolic cannibalism every sunday for the catholic failthful.

reptiles generally have a bad rep in many cultures
for example, all the snakes in england have been killed over the centuries
no doubt due to the belief that they once housed satan and are themselves evil.

The simple sad fact is that "people are people".
I wish we would all behave more intelligently and be kinder to not only each other
but to all the things that we "grew up with" on this planet.
color changing lizards included.
 
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Dean Pulcini

Avid Member
Your more of a preacher then I am. Anyone who believes in faith healing is desperate which makes them mindless. And people who kill animals for no reason deserve what they get bad luck and all.
 

bucky

New Member
Your more of a preacher then I am. Anyone who believes in faith healing is desperate which makes them mindless. And people who kill animals for no reason deserve what they get bad luck and all.

I agree, useless killing of animals and abusing them aint right in this house!:mad: (house meaning anywhere in general...)
 

knighty

New Member
there are many wierd supperstitions and different cultures have different ones.

a black cat crossing your path is supposed to be bad luck over here!

no need to kill an animal on myth though! otherwise next doors cat would of been dead years ago! lol
 

newyorkbreed

New Member
Stella,
let your local's know, We are all RELATED!!
The 2 legged
The 4 legged
and The winged brothers and sisters all
Belonging to 1 Mother Earth.
Aho (Kinda of like a catholic saying Amen)
They can relax now and honor them as their lil brothers and sisters
that have extrodinary gifts..
 

Jaidensmomma

New Member
this topic seems to be heading into dangerous territory!!:eek:
that said, my opinion is that people killing cham's out of fear/superstition, while sad, isn't as bad as the way pigs, cows and chickens are housed and treated before being slaughtered so people can eat them! In America and other countries, that's completely acceptable and thats ok but other countries they think we are horrible people because those animals are sacred to them. Just remember, the way people may treat certain animals may upset us, but the way we treat other animals may upset them.

oh, and back onto the original post topic. i don't know anything about cham myth's but i'm going to google it to see what i can find:)
 
Killing of animals for food or for regulated hunting is justifiable and necessary.

Killing animals for the sake of killing them is not right, and is never justifiable.

Killing them out of ignorance, or some imagined fear, while wrong, is not an "evil" act. It's just something done out of ignorance. Old fashioned, universal ignorance.

Chameleons are not evil, they can't hurt you anymore than a bite, they aren't venomous enough to cause more than a rash (recent findings show many lizards might be venomous to a small degree)/

They're just weird.

In Asia, some people think tokay geckos crawl into the bed at night and eat testicles.

Toads "cause warts" in the US.

Hampsters "bring mice".

Cats steal the breath of babies (Italian superstisions... there's no end to them).

All of them out of ignorance.

My adivice to you is to be an educator - when you hear someone speak of chameleons as bad animals, tell them the facts.
 

Jaidensmomma

New Member
it looks like most, if not all, cham myth's come from africa. One states that the cham changes color to mourn the sloth of Unwaba. He was sent to bring immortality to humans but was to slow, and a lizard bearing the message of death arrived first. this seems to be the recurring theme in all of them.
If i was raised in a situation where my faith was strong, cham's would be happy things for me...
 

Stella

New Member
Do not misunderstand me: I have studied biology and this is my main interest and I am untouched by bad omens/superstitions etc.
I am just interested in these believes as they seem somehow universal in Africa.
As I have only very limited access to the Internet in Malawi I could not research. But I have first hand information from Africans. So far I was told:

Chameleons can inflict a terrible bite.
If they touch your skin they will attach themselves and one can only get rid of them together with the skin
If one touches them one can die, especially if one has taken African medicine.
They are made of glass and therefore hazardous.
They can kill and eat snakes.
They explode and out come the babies.
Older women put their witchcraft into them and vice versa: A woman with a chameleon must be a witch
One can lose all the money after touching them.

Literally EVERY African (academically highly educated to illiterate) in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia was totally scarred and positive that chameleons are dangerous- even if a 3 year old had a cham on his arm in their presence with no consequences. It is very difficult to get to the bottom of these believes as most people do not want to elaborate on such "terrible thoughts".
 

Stella

New Member
That is interesting. Lately a Malawian told me a very similar story. Although the chamelion intended to do good and the lizzard prevented that, the cham is now feared and killed and the lizzard not even a topic.
What is the "sloth of Umwaba"? In his version the two were on the way to a funeral.
 
I would have to agree with some of these superstitions. namely:

If they touch your skin they will attach themselves and one can only get rid of them together with the skin. Or, does it just feel that way?

They explode and out come the babies. If you don't get that egg laying container in there in time.

One can lose all the money after touching them. Yeah. Big time. Suddenly all your money disappears to "Reptile Depot" or "LLLreptile", for supplies, or to Pam and Mike and....:D


Seriously, though, having studied a bit of anthropology it seems that most such superstitions began as plausible explanations for unexplainable events, or, as a way to please deities, or as a way to exercise some control over seemingly random circumtances. Even though we're in the Christian ministry, and even though some of the superstitions hurt our sensibilities, my husband and I tend to respect them for what they are. We find researching their origins, as Stella wants to do, quite fascinating. And, often we discover a hint of God-conscience and of Creationism in their origins. When anthropology is taught in the seminary we attend, the students are taught that a missionary does not go forth to convert other nations to "Americanism", nor even to our values, but to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To those who receive the message and become Christians, we do not expect them to drop their culture, except for those issues within their culture that would violate the Word of God (such as the drinking of blood, which is forbidden in the Bible). In actuality, the Bible itself, and the history expounded within its pages, originated in Northern Africa. I would love to go to Africa someday and experience some of the many varied cultures for myself. Although, I have read of some traditions, such as throwing a chameleon into a fire for good luck, that I would be hardpressed to stand by and watch.
 
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Larger chameleons can inflict a bad bite - they have strong jaws and teeth. It is a bad bite, but not nearly as bad as a cat or dog.

Their feet are very strong,a nd can grip branches very well. If they grip your fingers, or skin, it requires some effort ot pull them off. This makes sense, as they must hold onto tree branches every day!

They're made of flesh and bone, of course.

Some certainly do eat snakes - the namaqua chameleon, of the desert, is able to eat vipers.

They do not explode, but some chameleons give birth to live babies, and do not lay eggs. When they give birth, it coudl seem like they are exploding.

Old women that want to be seen as a witch will probably find an animal that scares people. Chameleons scare people, so they associate with them! In Western countries, it is said black cats are evil and bad luck. It's also said that witches associate with them - same story, different culture, different animal! Pretty interesting, how the stories are the same.

Lose money after touching them. Just like the witch story - blame an animal that is misunderstood. People dont' like chameleons, so it is not surprising that people would blame them, and not something common and friendly.

Many of these beliefs are based on some facts. The exploding with babies, eating snakes, etc.
 
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