Chameleon's memory

morpheon

New Member
After some private chatting with Kinyongia (hey! :) ), we both were wondering how the chameleons' memory are working. Has anything been found about it?

The central question came out of me wondering: if I'd move my chameleon outside, on a small tree or in an enclosure, would he still remember it the day after? A week later? A month later?

Would he remember my backyard? What if i made two different enclosure, placed both of them very close. Would he be more stressed if I put him in one, and then the day after in the other? Would it be different if the enclosures were made of different plants, or same plants and same setup?

What about always the same enclosure, but in different parts of my backyard? Or perhaps in another backyard, with the same enclosure?

I think you understood what i meant!

Then, if your answer is "yes, something has been done", then, my questions are 1) what are the conclusions and 2) how have they made the research? (ie what they measured, what was the "n", what were all the variables?)

I know you guys might tell yourselves "but why doesn't he just make one enclosure and place it always at the same spot?!?". Yes, this is what exactly i'm planning to do. But i still think that learning about their memory is something that could help us breed them in a better way.

EDIT: To moderators: I am sorry if I posted this thread in the wrong part of the forums. If this is the case, I apologize and feel free to move it where it belongs. However, since i am more looking into scientific information, i thought this would be the right place. Thank you. :)
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Based only on my personal experience I would have to say they do remember some things. If I change or even move plants or perches I have seen them react. i would like to see some research on their memory, how it works, what triggers it, and what sort of thing they remember for how long. This would help us understand if a w/c remembers it is a w/c. Do they miss the "old life" not that we have them in a cage?
 

pssh

Avid Member
After a vet visit my chameleons have an extreme grip. I don't know if that's just Coincidence, but they puncture my skin deeper when I hold them afterwards and for about a week after. Perhaps it's a sign that they were uncomfortable and are unsure if it will happen again (since it's a random change in their usually calm and regular lives,) and they don't want to be held at all or disturbed again just in case?

They certainly recognize their keepers over other humans, which requires some degree of memory. Mine recognized me after a week on vacation. My friend tried to get them out of cage and they would hiss and gape more than they would with me(normally for Pan anyways, the panther never hisses so that was new.) When I tried they didn't put up a fuss. At the vet they refused to leave their boxes for the vet but would run up my arm when I tried to take them out.

Again, I don't know if it's just coincidence or not, but it's just stuff I notice.
 

serenitystarlite

Established Member
When I had my first Senegal chameleon, she "knew" certain people. She recognized me, my parents, and my best friend. She would remain calm and green when any of us were near her, feeding her, or picked her up. When someone that she didn't know would come into the room to look at her, she would puff up and turn dark. I always thought it was really cute that she knew the difference between people.

I haven't really noticed this from my current chameleons, they all seem to act the same around me as they do around new people.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't have any scientific information but have learned allot from personal experience. My chameleons free range and have access to my entire house, except the bathrooms and I keep those doors closed BUT Luie is always checking to see if I leave it open. He will walk down the hall and check.......push on the door to see if it's closed all the way. For some reason he really wants to get in the bathroom. I caught him half way up the glass shower door on several occasions. Then I started worrying they might could fall in the toilet and drown so I started keeping the doors closed. They definitely know outside and their trees outside. They get all excited reaching and grabbing for their trees before we even get close enough to get on. Luie will often come down out of the inside trees and sit over by the slidding glass door, scratching and begging to go out on the screen back porch that leads to the back yard. I have also noticed with both that once they come down and check out something, if it's something that I really don't want them doing, like climbing the front of the china cabinet, I'll pick them up and put them back in the trees and they will continue for days to come back down and make a beeline for whatever they were doing and try it over and over again. They both know where the trees are throughout my house and will get down and go from one tree to another in a different room. They definitely recognize me and my husband. When we come home from work and when Luie sees us (either of us) he gets excited and starts bobbing up and down and as I get closer to the tree he comes over to the side where I'm at and reaches for me to take him off the tree. I have found these little animals to be way more intelligent than more of you give them credit for.
 

dodolah

Retired Moderator
I think so... My veiled (just recently passed) gets violent whenever he visit a vet. He hates the vet's office.. because that's when he get probed and examined. He tensed up immediately when he saw the vet's face even if it is just a picture of him on his website.
 

buddhacham

New Member
Reminded me of a rescue story of a wild cham (if not mistaken) that I read on here somewhere. I keep searching but can't find it.
Story was about a wild cham that someone took care of (probably hawaii) and it would return to his home. One time returned without a front leg and tail I believe. I just remember the story being about how the cham always seemed to know where to return..maybe someone else remembers.
 

draetish

Avid Member
Along with memory, I've always wondered if a cham's personality reflected the personality of the keeper. Would a Type A person have a more aggressive stressed out cham than Type B?

Type A Behavior
1.Time urgency and impatience, which causes irritation and exasperation.
2.Free floating hostility, which can be triggered by even minor incidents.
3.Competitive, this made them orientated towards achievement which caused them to become stressed due to them wanting to be the best at whatever it may be i.e sports or in work.

Type B individuals, in contrast, are described as patient, relaxed, and easy-going, generally lacking an overriding sense of urgency
 

hallenhe

Avid Member
The closest I've come to testing memory was when Thaxter (panther) was young and - free-ranging like Jann's, prone to wander - we'd keep a board across the living room door to keep him in. One day the board was not lowered and he found his way to the cricket cage in the kitchen. When I found him, my first thought was "Let's take you back home", but as I was carrying him back to the living room, I realized this could be a test. Set him down on his Chameleon Condo but left him alone and didn't lower the board; 20 minutes later, he was on top of the cricket cage, so he would have marched pretty much directly back there. He remembered that he'd found something good, and how to get there.
This was only very short term, and it was some time before the gate was left open again; I never found him back at the crickets. He certainly always recognized the front door as leading out, would be calm if I carried him to it and out, but agitated and reaching for the door if I carried him past it. He also recognized it from the outside as leading back in, and would struggle when I brought him near it from the outside.
 

morpheon

New Member
These are interesting stories, but sadly nobody came up with something more rigourous and more scientific.

Draetish, your question is also something i have wondered before. I mean, we all know someone who is able to get any dog or cat very calm and relaxed, even if they usually are agitated or agressive. Heck, just look at Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer). I'm sure you have guys thousands of stories like that about snakes, iguanas and others. But then again, most stories would be based on anecdotes, not scientific facts.

In fact, it would be fairly easy to find an answer to our question Draetish. A good n (number of pvolunteers), each with several chameleons of the same species, you split chameleons into different behavior categories, and then you run the stats! Without the stats it would be impossible to explain why some breeders have agressive and non-agressive chameleons at the same time...But with them, the correlations would be possible. And if you want to have more mathematical fun, you could add new variables, such as age, sex of the breeder or chameleon, for how long they have been with their owner, the way they are usually fed, etc!

Another concern i have is related to behavioral and learning. For example, would it be possible to make them associate you, your hand, an enclosure, etc, to something positive like food. The opposite is also possible, with the veteranian clinics that are POSSIBLY associated to something negative like pain and stressful manipulations. Once again, anecdotes are fairly commun, but some underlying factors may be causing the chameleon's stress and without statistical assessment, it would be impossible to infer any valid conclusion.


Ohhh, if i was closer to you guys, i surely would do such research just for the fun of it! :rolleyes: Sometimes i hate living 400km away from the USA border!
 

buddhacham

New Member
Another concern i have is related to behavioral and learning. For example, would it be possible to make them associate you, your hand, an enclosure, etc, to something positive like food. The opposite is also possible, with the veteranian clinics that are POSSIBLY associated to something negative like pain and stressful manipulations. Once again, anecdotes are fairly commun, but some underlying factors may be causing the chameleon's stress and without statistical assessment, it would be impossible to infer any valid conclusion.
I use a bag to dust crickets in, my guy definitely learned that the bag means he's about to get fed. As soon as he sees the bag near his cage he moves to where I usually release the crickets. Also when he was hesitant to walk onto my hand, I would place something like a hornworm out of reach and make him walk onto my hand to be able to grab it. I think it helped, but I guess we could never really know.
 

morpheon

New Member
Buddha, these are probably the two best examples i have read on this post so far! However, we'd have to work on it a bit more to make it solid scientifically-wise! ;)

Lynda, that's a good idea! Perhaps i should give you reputation points for that! :p
 

Jono

New Member
My dwarfs will dab their tongues to taste every new surface or tree they move onto, including when they climb onto people. When put onto unfamiliar surfaces (or people) they become much more cautious and timid and won't move around as much. I'm pretty sure they build a comprehensive network of tastes that they remember to identify their surroundings more effectively.
 

draetish

Avid Member
My dwarfs will dab their tongues to taste every new surface or tree they move onto, including when they climb onto people. When put onto unfamiliar surfaces (or people) they become much more cautious and timid and won't move around as much. I'm pretty sure they build a comprehensive network of tastes that they remember to identify their surroundings more effectively.
Same with my panther. He also will not go to someone he doesn't know. If a stranger is holding him and he sees me, he will reach out to me. It's flattering to know they want you.
 

jamncristian

Established Member
i have read some articles about mellers recognizing their owners as territory mates and if the owner would drasticly change his/her look the melleri would get really terrirtorial but as soon as you go back the way you were before they would be fine

i got this from http://melleridiscovery.com/
 

Eyal

New Member
My male Yemen knows my female is next to his cage. Haha , they cant see eachother but the last time he went out he noticed she was there. Now he is eager getting there as soon as i open the mesh.

David
 

Scott85

New Member
Maybe proving that they could be "target trained" like zoo animals are would prove it?
I'm not sure if this is what you were getting at but...
I have a male ambanja, strained his tounge when he was young. At first he could only project 3-4 inches. I started to feed him with tweezers, moving farther and farther away over a few months. Which worked wondefully. Out of habit I continued to feed him that way. Now he will strike at the Tweezers whenever he sees them, even if there is nothing in them.
 
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