Reality Check


New Member
I ran across this: Hit home.
Fact: Chameleons should be regarded as strictly “look but do not touch” animals. Some, such as veiled chameleons are typically quite aggressive and can give a painful (although rarely very injurious) bite. Others rarely bite. Nevertheless, chameleons are solitary animals and handling is invariably stressful. Constant handling is a stressor that evokes the secretion of various hormones that, among other things, inhibit the body’s immune system. The result can be a dramatically shortened lifespan. New keepers often say such things as “But my chameleon likes me! Whenever I open the cage he climbs out to me and crawls up my arm.” Such statements are a prime example of anthropomorphizing our chameleons’ behavior, i.e., of attributing human motivations and emotions to our animals. There is virtually no scientific evidence that a solitary-living animal such as a chameleon forms any sort of affectionate bond with another chameleon, much less with a member of a large, strange primate species such as Homo sapiens. Neither is there evidence that early handling will make an animal less aggressive. Certainly, hand feeding a chameleon will teach him to associate you with food and might even cause him to approach you when the cage door opens. But it does not facilitate the formation of a “bond” and it likely does not reduce the stress of handling. Certainly there are some chameleons that react less aggressively to handling but that is not evidence that the chameleon enjoys being handled or that the handling has no deleterious effects on chameleon health. Chameleons, like every other living organism, exhibit behavioral differences. But to believe that early handling changes the animal’s personality is to confuse an anecdotal tale with scientific proof. The fact is that virtually all long-term keepers, whose animals routinely live to ripe old ages, avoid handling their animals except when cage cleaning or other maintenance issues require it.
Or in this case, when someone looses thiers. My best friend says I loved and doted on him too much and it drove him away. I used to see a look in his eye when I would hold him outside. I should have known better. I'd better get out there and keep looking.
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