We can look back on an eventful 2023. We had a great conference, lots of news about the world of chameleons and, most recently, we were able to successfully place a number of animals. Let’s hope that 2024 will be even more active. The entire board of the AG Chameleons wishes you all a Merry Christmas and happy holidays! We are particularly looking forward to next year’s conference, which will be held in Fulda for the first time in over 20 years. The programme is currently being prepared and will be published shortly – then you will also receive more information on registration and room bookings. It will be a very interesting and varied programme – stay tuned!
A long-standing member of the AG Chameleons is looking for new owners for ten panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis) at short notice. There are ten females, including animals between 10 months and three years old. Four females belong to the local form Ambilobe, five to the local form Sambava. The animals are available individually or in groups free of charge. If you are interested, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
A female, still quite young Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) from an official confiscation is looking for new and, above all, chameleon-friendly owners within Germany. If you are interested, please contact us at email@example.com for further information.
Two female, juvenile panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis) from an official confiscation are looking for new and above all chameleon-knowledgeable keepers within Germany. If you are interested, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
A keeper has contacted us as AG Chamäleons because he is looking for new keepers for his three Trioceros jacksonii jacksonii. Two males and one female (2.1) are for sale. One of the males was bought in 2020 already adult. Together with a female that unfortunately died, it then had offspring, of which two still remain with the owner. The two offspring are a male and a female born in November 2020. All three chameleons eat very well and are not used to daily handling. If you are interested in adopting the animals, please send an email to email@example.com.
Addendum 27.09.2023: All three animals have found a new owner.
The European Union plans to ban mercury-containing lamps and light bulbs without exception from 2027. In terrarium keeping, this will affect almost all lamps that are also used in chameleon keeping, such as fluorescent tubes and metal halide lamps. Some are already banned. These lamps are indispensable, even vital, for keeping chameleons. So far, EU legislation under EU 1194/2012 had always made an exception for “special purposes” such as animal husbandry. This time, however, no exception is provided! Such a ban would make countless animal husbandries impossible, for private keepers as well as in zoos and species conservation projects. Therefore, a number of associations, including the German Society for Herpetology and Terrarial Science, of which AG Chamäleons is a member, sent an open letter to the EU Commission yesterday.
The open letter can be downloaded and read free of charge here. Please support the cause and share the open letter widely so that other keepers become aware of the current situation. We need strong associations like the DGHT to represent our concerns at EU level! Please also write to your MEPs so that they get wind of this issue.
The decision has now been made: we will meet for the 2024 conference in beautiful Fulda in Hesse. The venue is the Stadtgasthof Drei Linden in Neuenberger Str. 37 in 36041 Fulda. The rooms have recently been renovated, the food on site is good and there is also a beer garden and playground for children. IMPORTANT: Room bookings at the Stadtgasthof Drei Linden are only possible from January 2024! It is a ten-minute walk from the inn to the historic centre of Fulda. So if you don’t want to stay overnight directly on site, you’ll find all the options in Fulda itself. Fulda has an ICE train station and can be reached from all directions in Germany within a few hours. More information will follow as soon as the conference programme has been finalised.
With its independently moving eyes, shooting tongue and ability to change colour, the chameleon was already the subject of superstition and myths in ancient times – and has remained so in many places to this day. An article now published by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Böhme and natural historian Thore Koppetsch deals with precisely this topic.
The content ranges from the so-called Brooklyn Papyrus, which described a still unexplained “colour-changing” creature of antiquity, to bizarre events involving mother’s milk and chameleons in the Gambia of our time. Probably the oldest written record of a chameleon comes from Greece, from Aristotle himself, who lived from 384 to 322 BC. The term chameleon itself probably goes back to the Greek: chamai and leon were put together to form “earth lion”. However, this interpretation of the origin of the word is not entirely undisputed. The article also deals with superstitions on the island of Samos, in Morocco, Tunisia, Togo, Benin, Cameroon and Madagascar, and the use of chameleons for pseudo-medicine and occultism.
Chamäleons in der Mythologie der Völker
Wolfgang Böhme, Thore Koppetsch
Koenigiana 17, 2023, pp. 39-50
DOI: nicht vorhanden
Dried bodies of Chamaeleo chamaeleon have always been used in traditional medicine in Algeria. In the El Oued region, extracts and powders from common chameleons are still regularly used today for the therapy of various diseases and various superstitions. An Algerian biochemist has now tried to prove the benefits of chameleon powder in a somewhat curious way.
Allegedly exactly 1000 users of the powder as well as 100 hunters and sellers were questioned for a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes by means of questionnaires or interviews. The evaluation of these was not published. However, the author states that according to the interviews, chameleons are only hunted by “experienced persons”. However, the breeding season is left out, so no damage to the chameleon population is to be feared.
In addition, an unspecified number of wild Chamaeleo chamaeleon were captured and killed in Algeria. The organs were removed, the chameleons washed, salted and dried at 35 to 40°C for over a week. The dried bodies were then washed again and re-dried in an oven at 45°C. The chameleons were then killed using mice. Then the chameleons were ground using a mortar to obtain powder. Dry matter, ph values, protein, carbohydrate, fat, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and ash contents of the powder were examined. A relatively high phosphorus content of 14.01% stood out, and traces of iron, zinc and copper were also detected. A relatively high concentration of vitamin E (19.23 mg/100 g powder) was noticed, as well as vitamin B1 (21 mg/100 g powder). Under laboratory conditions, the powder proved capable of scavenging radicals. Also in the laboratory, the powder as an extract at 100 mg/ml showed some efficacy against various bacteria. In a chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay, angiogenesis was tested around a powder disc inserted into a fertilised chicken egg.
Several groups of laboratory rats were treated with carbimazole in the drinking water. Afterwards, one group was freely injected into the abdomen with a solution containing chameleon powder, one group was fed chameleon powder in various mixtures, another was given levothyroxine in the drinking water, another nothing at all and a final group was injected with water in the abdomen. After the experimental period, blood was taken and then all the rats were killed and dissected. The rats showed no reaction to the chameleon powder, while treatment with levothyroxine, not surprisingly, resulted in various changes in blood count and blood chemistry.
The author interestingly concludes from all these experiments that the use of dried chameleon powder is safe for use in humans and can treat tonsillitis, coughs, skin diseases such as vitiligo, scorpion stings, urinary tract infections, leukaemia (!) as well as thyroid diseases. However, none of his studies provides any proof of this and so this “study” remains more of an absurd curiosity.
Physicochemical composition and evaluation of biological activities of Chamaeleo chamaeleon
Thesis TD571/007/01 der Universität von Eloued, 2023
In the bi-monthly magazine of the DGHT e.V., the Elaphe, a nice article on the panther chameleons of Madagascar has been published. It was written by two members of the AG Chamäleons who regularly travel to the island.
The article describes in words and pictures the distribution area of the panther chameleons on Madagascar, which extends over the northern half of the island, more precisely from a few kilometres south of the village of Ankaramibe in the northwest to the north of Madagascar and down the east coast to about 90 km south of the port city of Toamasina. The chameleons are found mainly in secondary vegetation in open landscapes, but also in cocoa plantations, overgrown gardens and rainforests.
The life cycle of the panther chameleons in Madagascar is mainly determined by the rainy season between November and March. The chameleons mate during this time. After 30 to 40 days, the females lay between 11 and 35 eggs in a nest they have dug themselves. The young hatch only in the next rainy season.
The article goes into particular detail about the different local forms, the different colour appearance of the male panther chameleons depending on the location. The authors currently count more than 30 different local forms on Madagascar, which are separated from each other by natural barriers such as rivers. There are probably many more, but not all of them have been discovered yet.
Pantherchamäleons (Furcifer pardalis) – Meister der Farben
Thorsten Negro and Alexandra Laube
Elaphe 3, 2023, pp. 12-25
Photo: Panther chameleon of the local form Ambanja on Madagascar, photographed by Thorsten Negro.