Scientific Study on the Effect of Social Isolation on Juvenile Veiled Chameleons

DeremensisBlue

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The study in 2013 on the effects of social isolation on juvenile veiled chameleons sparked numerous discussions on the needs of lizards for social interaction. Much of the media coverage made leaps that were not part of the study. For example, both the titles "Lizards Need Social Lives Too" and "Early Isolation Makes For a Dull Chameleon" were inaccurate portrayals of the results of a study that sought to show that social interaction affected behavior.
I wrote a analysis that can be found below and am interested in the experiences and opinions of those here as they relate to juvenile behavior in groups or isolation. (Note: The image is of panther chameleons and the study was with veiled chameleons. The behaviors and conditions are parallel)

Analysis: The 2013 Study on the Socialization in Juvenile Chameleons

The actual report and link to the media coverage are included in the above link.
 
I would like to see the study towards the breeding aspect. I have a hunch that an individually raised chameleon might also undergo less aggressive breeding habits as well, which for a pet wouldn't matter but to someone planning to breed might be a concern. I would like to see a more in depth and detailed study. I've started to raise mine in a more individual manner, but still not isolated, 3 to 4 per bin/cage. Im curious to where this study can be found, and thanks for posting.

Scott
 

DeremensisBlue

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I would like to see the study towards the breeding aspect. I have a hunch that an individually raised chameleon might also undergo less aggressive breeding habits as well, which for a pet wouldn't matter but to someone planning to breed might be a concern. I would like to see a more in depth and detailed study. I've started to raise mine in a more individual manner, but still not isolated, 3 to 4 per bin/cage. Im curious to where this study can be found, and thanks for posting.

Scott
Scott,
We (the community) would have to run a study on that ourselves as I don't think anyone has done one on affect of dominance display skills on future confidence and breeding. Although we, as breeders, would have to be careful. It goes to reason that building one male up at the expense of another male would create a better breeder and a worse breeder than if they both were raised individually. And if females are likewise affected then dominance play could create more difficult female breeders and easier female breeders.

I had a pair of Jacksonii living together and the female was dominant. Not only was she not interested in having the male mate with her, but the male wouldn't even think to try. I separated them and did what may be the first psychological therapy session with the male where I would bring a mirror towards him. As soon as he shied away I made his opponent (the mirror) run away. I did this over a period of time. It took a little while, but he engaged longer and longer to the point where I was concerned he would rush the mirror. I finally got a successful mating. She still wasn't easy about it, but he didn't care. I was worried about her biting him, but he was able to handle the situation on his own so I didn't interfere.

So I firmly believe our conditions are affecting the behavior of our chameleons.

Maybe the ideal situation would be individually raised with periodic controlled introductions between a male and a slightly smaller female. Because of the size difference, the odds would be stacked in favor of the male and the correct dominance/submissive dynamic would be created for future mating. It makes sense on the surface. We would just have to do a structured test to show it actually works out this way.

Bill
 

junglefries

Established Member
After losing my breeder male ambilobe, I had to do test runs with his offspring to search for keepable males. I had already noticed from the past, that my nicer male who tried to 'woo' his women often missed the opportunity. She would get frustrated and walk off, leaving him holding his chocolates and flowers. My main breeder I nicknamed 'the rapist' (truly sorry if this offends anyone, the situation was a little intense for me at the time) would be on top of any female within 6 seconds, regardless of receptivity. While searching, I noticed mainly the alpha males and individuals who were complete a-holes were able to go with minimal or no learning curve. The nicer, more mellow chameleons need coaxing and/or teaching. I should also add, I don't handle my chameleons at all. Never. (I do recently have one who I am letting free range a little, trying to boost confidence. He is harmless and wants to mate, but is a little unsure of himself. He will bob, while with a lady, only if he sees another male outside the cage. Alone with a female, he just walks around her trying to build up the courage to engage. His first time out, he was good to go, with no issues. Now he is intimitaded a little. Wonder, if I missed a little domestic issue, while they were together.)
 
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