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

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Member
Repeat after me..."Chameleons do NOT love you."

You can love them all you want, but they do NOT love you. You are a walking food delivering non-threat. That is all.
Cold-blooded creatures... you get no love from them! :p

My cham is a stone-cold cricket killa and he doesn't take prisoners.
 

pssh

Avid Member
I like the above comment :D

Edit: I have been told that my veiled chameleon does not 'love' me and is mean because I don't love him enough. I like him as much as I like the rest of my chameleons and possibly even more than the others as he has been with me the longest of my current group. What my feelings for him have to do with his natural instinct is, I have no idea. As far as I am concerned, he's a lizard, he's weary of people as a smart reptile would be in the wild, BUT he does indeed recognize me as his keeper. He reacts differently to me than anyone else and seems to be more comfortable with me. He generally does not get agressive towards me when I have him out where as he would get agressive with anyone else had they taken him out.

I agree that a 'special' connection can be made between a keeper and the chameleon. I do not agree that the connection is associated as affection to the animal. Sure, they get used to you, tolerate you, and even sometimes use you (;)) but it's not the same as specific mammalian emotions. Being conditioned to allow kisses, hugs, snuggles, etc is just that. Conditioning. Would your chameleon give you a kiss all on it's own? Nope.



I also do not like the sexist remark and find it sad that a teenage boy being raised in this day and age still associates women with such stereotypes. Both 'sides' of the information are indeed correct and incorrect. Sharing knowledge in respect to another comment is not a bad thing. Putting someone down for an 'incorrect' comment, however, is not.
 
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laurie

Retired Moderator
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."...
http://zoosociety.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/solomon-islands-skink/
"adults in the circulus, even those not related, protect the young"...
http://www.hhpz.org/files/hhpz//documents/AnimalFactSheets/HHPZ_AnimalFactSheet_PrehensileTailedSkink.pdf
"adults frequently attacked unrelated juveniles but not their own offspring"...
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6W9W-4DXB91Y-1&_user=10&_coverDate=12/31/2004&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=6ca05a86efe2835c72ecea5f8f311381&searchtype=a
Prehensile tail skinks (monkey tailed skinks) are a big exception to the no parenting guideline. Both my sister & Dr. Ivan Alfonso have kept these for many years. Both will warn you that putting your hand into a cage where a newborn is will result in both mother and father trying to rip said arm off. These reptiles even live in extended family groups. They are not chameleons.

I love my chams but do not harbor any illusion that they love me. The closest one have ever came was a w/c taken by customs while being smuggled into this country. I think due to my caring and concern for her, while nursing her back to health, she came to associated me with safety. She would often climb on my arm, but did she love me? Sometimes I like to pretend, but sadly no, she didn't. Even when she had a rupture and bled out she chose to be in my hand, but again that was where she was the safest. I on the other hand will always love her.:(
 

Ace

Avid Member
Did that comment get removed, I didn't come across it.. I would have commented on it though.. Thanks for the apology :)
i asked for it to be removed...lol....should of thought before i posted it....

now every girl in the forums is gonna hate me:eek::eek:
 

DChalo

New Member
Clearly its in our own nature as social animals to bond with family, friends and pets. A lot of this is tied to fundamental characteristics of our species and behavior such as our cooperative social structure, maternal investment and care, etc. Because of these traits we naturally tend to see human characteristics in other animals and their behavior when the reality is that such behavior is often more instinctual or survival oriented than social.

The reality is that most reptiles have a fundamentally different reproductive strategy than mammals and their level of maternal investment, at least as far as care of their offspring is concerned, is in stark contrast. Much of our own bonding and social behaviors are tied to our reproductive strategy and the fact that our offspring are reliant on a considerable amount of care after birth in order to survive. In order to provide the required care, this often requires social cooperation with other members of our family. Most reptiles have a more primitive reproductive strategy whereby little to no post birth care is required for the offspring to survive. As a result, most reptiles lack or have limited physiological responses that cause bonding behavior and its associated emotion (yes, there are chemical changes at the physiological level that cause bonding and brooding behavior in mammals). While some exceptions are known (i.e. crocodilians, some skinks, etc.), chameleons are not believed to be an exception to this rule. Baby chameleons are able to survive on their own from the moment they are born and are not known to purposefully associate with their parents, particularly for any parent-offspring related protection or care.

In looking for similar behaviors, emotions and care in other animals as we would expect in mammals, we often misinterpret what we see. The example of the chameleon from Life in Cold Blood that gave live birth (Bradypodion pumilum) is a good example. The female in this case did not clean the offspring or wipe the offspring down with her feet as was suggested earlier in this thread. The offspring break free of their birthing membrane on their own and clean themselves up on their own. The footage of the female touching one of the babies with her feet is simply an example of the female walking over the offspring that have just been born and could have very easily been partially staged. There are various reports of live bearing chameleon species predating on their offspring shortly after birth.

Now, obviously different chameleons will respond to different people in varying ways and their response to people can change. Chameleons do learn what should and should not be considered a threat and they can learn to associate things with food, etc. In that sense their response to people, even individuals, can evolve based on their experience. Learning that their keepers are not a threat and learning to associate their keepers with food or other things, however, is not the same as affection. Often we completely miscategorize the behaviors to fit the response we want or hope to see when the reality is these are signals with completely different meanings.

Chris
Very detailed and thought out description. I think i understand now.
 

Cainschams

New Member
I talk to Ace in the chat room. He is quite the jokester along with the rest of us who frequent there. I am sure he didnt mean it to offend anyone. He apologized (maybe not how Jesse Jackson would want it:rolleyes:) and also realizes he should have thought about it before posting. We all post hastily sometimes. Hopefully his apology and realization of how it offended some can be enough to get this thread back on track.

Not that I think it really needs to go any further. Read what Chris A. wrote. Some of you can debate it all you want but in reality its the truth.

I think the whole idea of free ranging will get your animal to "love you" is a false hope for others that so want to have them as a pet that will show them affection. Yes, it probably does make them happier, at least the larger species. They are probably not so worried about defending what little territory they have in a cage when free ranged. Regardless, it is not puppy love.
 

Ace

Avid Member
I talk to Ace in the chat room. He is quite the jokester along with the rest of us who frequent there. I am sure he didnt mean it to offend anyone. He apologized (maybe not how Jesse Jackson would want it:rolleyes:) and also realizes he should have thought about it before posting. We all post hastily sometimes. Hopefully his apology and realization of how it offended some can be enough to get this thread back on track.

.
Its ok Jared,

they have the right to be angry and offended by my post. and i derserve the comments of what they have to say.

however i am at heart not a sexist person, nor racist,or of any kind of discrimination.

i guess my humor was to crude , and should of taken others feelings in consideration. and for that i am truly sorry....
 

Elizadolots

New Member
Ya know...if you think your chameleon is expressing affection or appreciation for you, then that's what's happening as far as you are concerned. I don't see why anyone would need to intervene in that relationship. It's your pet. No one else really has a right to pass judgement on whether there is affection or not.
 

Cainschams

New Member
Re: post #36...Well said Chris!
But they do, Eliza!!!! I find it funny that some of the most experienced keepers feel the exact same way!!! Along with the other experienced keepers that tend not to post because of what ever reason.

Kinyonga, I am so glad you still actually post on the forums. With all the members that have years of experience, you are one that still posts and gives tons of credible help. There are lots of very experienced members that post here and there but you are one that gives tons and tons of info. Please, do not stop!
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thankyou for the compliments! There is still so much I have to learn even after years of keeping chameleons and other reptiles. There are times I wonder if my advise is good...and times I wonder why I'm posting...but then someone says something like you just did and I have to keep posting!
 

Julirs

New Member
But they do, Eliza!!!! I find it funny that some of the most experienced keepers feel the exact same way!!! Along with the other experienced keepers that tend not to post because of what ever reason.

Kinyonga, I am so glad you still actually post on the forums. With all the members that have years of experience, you are one that still posts and gives tons of credible help. There are lots of very experienced members that post here and there but you are one that gives tons and tons of info. Please, do not stop!
I second this! Kinyonga-you are a valuable resource!
 

Julirs

New Member
Ya know...if you think your chameleon is expressing affection or appreciation for you, then that's what's happening as far as you are concerned. I don't see why anyone would need to intervene in that relationship. It's your pet. No one else really has a right to pass judgement on whether there is affection or not.
There is a difference between passing judgement and stating scientific facts. I don't think anyone has a problem with people loving these animals or with people that want to believe the animals love them back. Humans like to believe in all kinds of things that are not really true/factual.
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
Ya know...if you think your chameleon is expressing affection or appreciation for you, then that's what's happening as far as you are concerned. I don't see why anyone would need to intervene in that relationship. It's your pet. No one else really has a right to pass judgement on whether there is affection or not.
Failing to recognize the meaning of the signals your animal is giving you is the first step toward failing to recognize a problem if it were to occur. No one has a problem with people loving their chameleons and developing a mutually beneficial relationship with them, its just important that people understand their behavior so they can accurately monitor them for potential issues and respond to those signals in a timely manner.

Chris
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
Failing to recognize the meaning of the signals your animal is giving you is the first step toward failing to recognize a problem if it were to occur. No one has a problem with people loving their chameleons and developing a mutually beneficial relationship with them, its just important that people understand their behavior so they can accurately monitor them for potential issues and respond to those signals in a timely manner.

Chris
I agree. All you have to do is watch (although I know a lot of people on here boycott the channel) "Fatal Attractions" on AP, and watch the people kissing on their cobras and handling them without any safety precautions, thinking that their snakes love them so much that they've learned never to bite them. And then they do! They get TOO comfortable and get blinded by the false sense of love that they share mutually. Or their full grown big cats, or bears, or chimps... or hell, even dogs! We see all the time that the people that love and spoil their dogs too much usually have obnoxious, unstable, and neurotic dogs - because they've crossed that line into treating their dogs like children and not like dogs, therefore denying the dogs THEIR needs, like rules and exercise.

I LOVE my pets to death, there's no question of that. But I have to remember that my chameleons (and dog lol) don't want to sit there and cuddle or even see me all day, and part of loving them is respecting their needs.

If your chameleons actually do like to snuggle up and enjoy kisses and physical affection then I think that's adorable and amazing, and that the owners are very lucky. But you can't lose sight of recognizing what they're doing or need. It can't be only love without objective care, basically. And that's my small rant of the week!
 

pssh

Avid Member
[...]

I LOVE my pets to death, there's no question of that. But I have to remember that my chameleons (and dog lol) don't want to sit there and cuddle or even see me all day, and part of loving them is respecting their needs.

[...]

MY dog wants to cuddle up with me ALLLL day. She's above all those other gross dogs. ;)


Actually, she does like cuddling all day. It's annoying! She pushes me off my bed when she sleeps with me (and she's only 12 lbs!!) because she cuddles so aggressively! :)
 

fluxlizard

New Member
If your chameleons actually do like to snuggle up and enjoy kisses and physical affection then I think that's adorable and amazing, and that the owners are very lucky.
When I was a kid I had an iguana I loved very much. I would pet him, and he would lean into it like a cat and close his eyes. I was sure he loved it because he acted like a cat being petted.

Then later I read "iguanas of the world". Not a pet book, but a natural history and behavior book. Turns out iguanas push against each other to determine dominance. It also turns out they close their eyes to block out things causing stress (must be something like if I can't see it, it can't see me).

After reading that book, I viewed my interaction with the iguana in my childhood very differently. The lizard probably thought I was asserting dominance and closing eyes as a stress response to the interaction.

If humans with our large and well developed brain can misinterpret our interaction with our lizard, imagine how much easier it is for our lizards to misinterpret that same interaction.
 
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Julirs

New Member
When I was a kid I had an iguana I loved very much. I would pet him, and he would lean into it like a cat and close his eyes. I was sure he loved it because he acted like a cat being petted.

Then later I read "iguanas of the world". Not a pet book, but a natural history and behavior book. Turns out iguanas push against each other to determine dominance. It also turns out they close their eyes to block out things causing stress (must be something like if I can't see it, it can't see me).

After reading that book, I viewed my interaction with the iguana in my childhood very differently. The lizard probably thought I was asserting dominance and closing eyes as a stress response to the interaction.

If humans with our large and well developed brain can misinterpret our interaction with our lizard, imagine how much easier it is for our lizards to misinterpret that same interaction.
Great example Flux! It really demonstrates what is being said here.
 
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