Outside Safety PSA!

Rasta

Member
Hello all! I just wanted to share a story that happened with me and my Cham Rasta recently. A little outside safety PSA.

so it’s starting to heat up here in WNC which warrants me to let my chameleon, Rasta, outside for some natural heat and uvb time. This was an everyday norm for me once I got home from work and he earned my trust for me to only check on him every couple minutes while I sit nearby and read. He would rarely move and if he did I would catch him before he gets to the ground. It was a 5 foot high azalea bush that he would recognize right away and start basking in the top branches. He loves this time of day so much and so did I

WELL…. I may have been a little too trusting because one day he wasn’t on the branch when I did one of my checks. I may have left him for 5 minutes while I was right next to the bush he was in. I spent 10 minutes searching the immediate surroundings and didn’t see him anywhere. At this point I was panicking and wondering if he was climbing a tree, running on the ground, or in a snakes or birds mouth by now.

Fast forward, my partner and I recruited friends and neighbors to help look and by HOUR 5 of looking, I let out a huge cry and was giving up as the sun was lowering. I felt like a horrible parent and I knew I would never forgive myself. My partner ushered me to not give up and there’s still hope of finding him we just have to look high in the trees at this point. Unfortunately, our property is heavily forested so I was very hopeless.

At this point it was 7pm and I was staring up into the trees with tears in my eyes.. and alas… about 120ft high in a pine tree I saw one little branch moving awkwardly. I stood up and screamed as I saw his little body moving around way up there!!! I was so excited that I didn’t even think about how the hell I was even getting him down. I was more happy at the fact he was still alive!

Luckily the tree had a network of branches going all the way to the top so I quickly got a bunch of dog leashes and made a makeshift harness and safety straps and started climbing while my partner kept eyes on him. At this point the whole neighborhood was outside drinking beers and watching me lol. I spent 1 hour climbing and figuring out how the hell im going to get him.

At this point it was getting dark and I knew I had to do something. I brought a backpack up with his favorite treats (hornworms) and as soon as I got to the top I got one out and waved it in the air. Luckily he saw me and the worm and he started SPRINTING towards me which made me so happy. Once he got close I straight up YANKED him off the tree and put him in my bag (he was fine and his claws were still intact).

He had the best adventure of his life and I had the most stressful and dangerous experience. I loved him so much and couldn’t stand to think he was going to die in my backyard. SO GUYS… don’t trust your chameleon because they are FAST and can climb 120ft high trees in a matter of an hour so please please please keep a close eye on your Cham outside or make an outdoor enclosure.. i definitely learned my lesson and I’m just so happy he’s ok and home safe:)

Picture is the famous bush, the black circle is where I was in the tree, and the moment I lured him in with the hornworm.. and my heart exploded with joy. Also a pic of the heart and dedication I put in his cage
 

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Hello all! I just wanted to share a story that happened with me and my Cham Rasta recently. A little outside safety PSA.

so it’s starting to heat up here in WNC which warrants me to let my chameleon, Rasta, outside for some natural heat and uvb time. This was an everyday norm for me once I got home from work and he earned my trust for me to only check on him every couple minutes while I sit nearby and read. He would rarely move and if he did I would catch him before he gets to the ground. It was a 5 foot high azalea bush that he would recognize right away and start basking in the top branches. He loves this time of day so much and so did I

WELL…. I may have been a little too trusting because one day he wasn’t on the branch when I did one of my checks. I may have left him for 5 minutes while I was right next to the bush he was in. I spent 10 minutes searching the immediate surroundings and didn’t see him anywhere. At this point I was panicking and wondering if he was climbing a tree, running on the ground, or in a snakes or birds mouth by now.

Fast forward, my partner and I recruited friends and neighbors to help look and by HOUR 5 of looking, I let out a huge cry and was giving up as the sun was lowering. I felt like a horrible parent and I knew I would never forgive myself. My partner ushered me to not give up and there’s still hope of finding him we just have to look high in the trees at this point. Unfortunately, our property is heavily forested so I was very hopeless.

At this point it was 7pm and I was staring up into the trees with tears in my eyes.. and alas… about 120ft high in a pine tree I saw one little branch moving awkwardly. I stood up and screamed as I saw his little body moving around way up there!!! I was so excited that I didn’t even think about how the hell I was even getting him down. I was more happy at the fact he was still alive!

Luckily the tree had a network of branches going all the way to the top so I quickly got a bunch of dog leashes and made a makeshift harness and safety straps and started climbing while my partner kept eyes on him. At this point the whole neighborhood was outside drinking beers and watching me lol. I spent 1 hour climbing and figuring out how the hell im going to get him.

At this point it was getting dark and I knew I had to do something. I brought a backpack up with his favorite treats (hornworms) and as soon as I got to the top I got one out and waved it in the air. Luckily he saw me and the worm and he started SPRINTING towards me which made me so happy. Once he got close I straight up YANKED him off the tree and put him in my bag (he was fine and his claws were still intact).

He had the best adventure of his life and I had the most stressful and dangerous experience. I loved him so much and couldn’t stand to think he was going to die in my backyard. SO GUYS… don’t trust your chameleon because they are FAST and can climb 120ft high trees in a matter of an hour so please please please keep a close eye on your Cham outside or make an outdoor enclosure.. i definitely learned my lesson and I’m just so happy he’s ok and home safe:)

Picture is the famous bush, the black circle is where I was in the tree, and the moment I lured him in with the hornworm.. and my heart exploded with joy. Also a pic of the heart and dedication I put in his cage
Wow, you are so lucky to have found him! I’m glad he is safe
 
Honestly you are very lucky... We have had members lose their cham to large birds being on a short tree outside. Free ranging a chameleon outside is honestly extremely dangerous. It does not take much for them to wonder off or become a meal.
It looks like you built your cage for indoors. I would build a nice big one for outside time. Using strong material for the mesh so that nothing can get into it. This will give you peace of mind and allow for him to be outside. :)
 
Honestly you are very lucky... We have had members lose their cham to large birds being on a short tree outside. Free ranging a chameleon outside is honestly extremely dangerous. It does not take much for them to wonder off or become a meal.
It looks like you built your cage for indoors. I would build a nice big one for outside time. Using strong material for the mesh so that nothing can get into it. This will give you peace of mind and allow for him to be outside. :)
Yes I am so lucky I was able to spot him and retrieve him while it was light outside. This made me reconsider everything about outside time and I know I was negligent and I feel horrible. My next project is to make an outside enclosure! Thinking of buying a bigger potted plant and just enclosing it.. what sort of materials could handle the outside? It storms a lot here in the mountains
 
If I've said this once... as you have learned outside time is only safely done with them in a cage of some kind. They know when you are not looking and are faster than you can imagine. A pop up laundry basket with a plant and stick makes a great outdoor cage. Glad you found him.
Yes. I know I thought I was fine and he would rarely run but I definitely learned my lesson. Like I said I feel so bad I just loved how much he enjoyed it outside. Thanks for the tip!! Will be my next project
 
Yes I am so lucky I was able to spot him and retrieve him while it was light outside. This made me reconsider everything about outside time and I know I was negligent and I feel horrible. My next project is to make an outside enclosure! Thinking of buying a bigger potted plant and just enclosing it.. what sort of materials could handle the outside? It storms a lot here in the mountains
Here is the thread on the one I built. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/my-outdoor-enclosure-build.175829/
@crosscutts has done some beautiful ones. I think he may have a thread so I have tagged him here.
 
Wow! Quite a story! Sorry, but I have to laugh at imagining your neighborhood having a little watch party. You are exceptionally lucky, not only to find him alive and having a great time, but for not falling out of the tree! I lack trees and bushes in my yard, so I sit with my chams either with them on a small plant on the table in front of me or on my hand for outside time.
Btw, your azalea bush is gorgeous! I love the peachy ones.
 
Wow, you were extremely lucky to catch him up there 😱. It take 30” out of sight too loose them. I once made the same mistake and it took me 7 weeks of tears till I finally got reunited with my little friend. They monitor your eyes constantly and take their window of opportunity the second it appears for them.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/the-most-unbelievable-but-true-story.187712/
What!! That’s incredible!! I would love to imagine mine would do the same if I didn’t find him but who knows 😅 he must really love you!
 
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