Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I think he's pregnant!

The children have a new pet.

When Della and I went to Peterhouse this past week-end to watch the girls swimming in an Inter-schools competition, they asked us to bring home their new pet. Technically it belongs to Dayna, and it is of the "flap-neck" variety - the other two that we get here being the "dwarf" and the "horned"

Any guesses as to what their pet is?

Named 'Frederick' - or 'Fred' for short, I am slightly concerned as he seems to be pregnant! Hopefully not, but he/she has been eating us out of house and home - Della spending at least twenty minutes every morning and evening crawling about the garden on hands and knees catching grasshoppers and the like to offer up. We have now reached the stage that Fred is eating out of her hand - literally! Even if he does stick his tongue out at her every time she feeds him! That is a photo for a later blog - as I haven't taken it yet!

Here are all our three girls with their new pet - starting with Dayna....

So - a chameleon!

They have independently moveable eyes - and they only focus together when there is prey to be caught - because otherwise they wouldn't have any depth-perception, would they? Fred has a telescopic tongue - which shoots out alarmingly when he is catching his dinner - and his tongue can stretch slightly more than his full body length. As he gets ready to shoot it out, he readies himself rather like a red-neck preparing a gob of spit in a spitting competition!

This is Cara holding Fred....... tell me how come no-one else thinks he's pregnant?

Here is Courtney holding Fred - any guesses as to whether a chameleon walking on your hand is slightly ticklish? The flap-necked chameleons have fused opposable toes (clearly visible on the pic above) - rather like the two-toed Tonga people of the Zambezi Valley, and their grip is remarkably strong. No wonder it gave Courtney the giggles - and........she had been instructed NOT to smile!

So - I shall try and get a pic of him eating in the next day or two.

The other problem is finding him - because he tends to blend into the background! But he can't 'do' blue with white stripe quite as well as he does green! But he/she did try - look again at the pic of Courtney holding him, and you'll see it wasn't a bad attempt!

Actually - chameleons do not change color to blend into the background - they are already cryptically camouflaged already - just as an Army uniform is, and they blend naturally into most backgrounds. Any change of color is entirely due to mood or temperature stimuli - being thrown enthusiastically about by three girls being enough to ensure a change! As kids we believed that a chameleon placed on a red surface would.....explode! But that isn't true either.

And the other photo I shall try and get is of Preacher and the other Staff meeting Fred. Expect some wide open eyes!

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