Do Chameleons have the ability to show affection to their owners?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DChalo, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. DChalo

    DChalo New Member

    Hey guys, my one year old veiled scratches his cage everytime he sees my walk into my room. I think it may be because he thinks of me as a walking tree or something. But everytime i see him in his cage he is a shade of dark green or brown and when i take him out and let him walk around my shoulders and arms, he turns light green and he has never bit me or shown any sign of stress around me. All of this makes me wonder, do chameleons know their owners and show love, affection or trust towards them? Or do they think of their owner as a non predator?
  2. ferretinmyshoes

    ferretinmyshoes Veterinarian
    Staff Member

    No. Reptiles don't possess the emotional centers in their brains that mammals do to allow them to bond or anything to their owners. They associate people with threat or non-threat or at the most, positive experiences. So your cham (and mine) associate you with food (positive), know you're not a threat to them and know you let them out of their cage (positive). That's the end of the world to my veiled, but heaven to my panther! So we associate it with them liking us, but really they don't care anything about us, just the benefits we give them. :)
    withlime likes this.
  3. DChalo

    DChalo New Member

    Then how about a mother chameleon giving birth to its babies, obviously she watches them and raises them. Does it really show no affection towards its babies?
  4. ferretinmyshoes

    ferretinmyshoes Veterinarian
    Staff Member

    Actually she doesn't even a little bit! Most species lay eggs in the ground and walk away and never look back. They certainly do not stick around to wait for them to hatch or by any means 'raise them'. Some species give live birth but don't even look to see if they survive more than a few seconds, if even that. There's no recognition of them as her offspring later. As soon as she crawls away that's the end of her mothering. Turtles are the same way. Some snakes may stay with the eggs to keep them warm, but once they hatch they're pretty much on their own. Alligators will guard the nest and get the babies to the water safely. But after a few days they're on their own. Komodo dragons will protect the nest, but not the babies. Reptiles are not known for their mothering for sure!
    Brad likes this.
  5. DChalo

    DChalo New Member

    Explain this:

  6. ferretinmyshoes

    ferretinmyshoes Veterinarian
    Staff Member

    Obvious photo opportunity? If if someone did not place the little one there (which is unlikey), that male does not look very pleased about the situation regardless...

    If you don't believe me do a little outside research on it. I'm not lying to you!
  7. DChalo

    DChalo New Member

    I dont know, its just hard to believe that such a small chameleon could survive in the wild by him/herself
  8. Olimpia

    Olimpia Biologist & Ecologist

    That's a male Jackson, who would eat his baby if it wasn't on his head. He might probably be hissing because of the "thing" on his face. Female jackson's will eat their babies if left in the same cage.
  9. ferretinmyshoes

    ferretinmyshoes Veterinarian
    Staff Member

    Happens every day. You can google it...
  10. DChalo

    DChalo New Member

    You guys are right, it makes sense. In the jungle if a chameleon lays eggs she probably wont remember where she laid it.
  11. DChalo

    DChalo New Member

    And you can also see that in the background of that pic is like a window or cage or something. So it is not in the wild.
  12. Olimpia

    Olimpia Biologist & Ecologist

    In many species out of a female's entire life, perhaps 1 of her X babies will survive to reproduce again. Out of a sea turtle's 40+ eggs one 1 typically makes it into adulthood. That's why these animals depend on laying looots of eggs, so increase the chances of at least one making it.

    Since mammals raise their young they have the luxury of investing more energy in care instead of number of babies. But that's the trade off, unfortunately.
    ferretinmyshoes likes this.
  13. Johnny909

    Johnny909 New Member

    That baby is in for some trouble.
  14. ferretinmyshoes

    ferretinmyshoes Veterinarian
    Staff Member

    Hard to fathom as mammals that don't kick their young out for 20 years! Even birds try to be good mothers. Reptiles are just programmed so differently. It's part of the fascination. :)
    #14 ferretinmyshoes, Jan 15, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
  15. fluxlizard

    fluxlizard New Member

    Most mommy chameleons will eat their babies whether they give live birth or lay eggs. The live birthers won't eat them at first, but after a few days will happily gobble them up.

  16. Maurer3D

    Maurer3D New Member

    As for the starting question of the thread it is possible for reptile to recognize their owners (as for love no probably not) much like fish they learn scheduled things like feeding time, feeding setup, misting, and also trust). If they didn't learn trust it would be very hard to handle them without extreme stress.

    So your chameleon is showing trust in you and associates you with food and maybe a comfy warm body to absorb heat from. I have also had experiences of my reptiles only trusting me and hating other members of the family.

    There are some reptiles who are doting parents, Alligators are the best example. Alot of the monitor and snake Species, the mothers actively work to keep the eggs at just the right temperature till they hatch.
  17. pssh

    pssh New Member

    Ditto. People have had problems with the mothers or other escaped individuals eating babies. Momma's gotta eat something and a little moving chameleon that can fit in her mouth looks just as good as a big bug.
  18. kinyonga

    kinyonga Chameleon Enthusiast

    Some reptiles will protect their young.....I have seen it in cordylus lizards and in one species of skink and one species of gecko....never seen it in chameleons...
    "The parents will actually protect the young in a group called a circulus."...
    "adults in the circulus, even those not related, protect the young"...
    "adults frequently attacked unrelated juveniles but not their own offspring"...
    #18 kinyonga, Jan 15, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
    ferretinmyshoes likes this.
  19. mardithepanther

    mardithepanther New Member

    crocodiles protect their young until they are old enough to harm them. And I agree. there is a reason why chameleons lay so many eggs :/
  20. ferretinmyshoes

    ferretinmyshoes Veterinarian
    Staff Member

    Interesting! I hadn't heard of that, thanks for the links. Love to see the exceptions to the rule and the sheer diversity with such similar species. :)

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