Thursday, June 18, 2015

Eureka... a Chameleon!

Well, it's been no secret that we have been on an absolute MISSION to find a chameleon during these past almost 2 years in Malta. After hiking and looking and walking and looking and driving and looking... nada. Correction, we did technically see a chameleon a few months ago, be it a squished one. 
Yesterday, after walking about 50 yards from the house to get Ceti from school, I spotted a chameleon. He was literally in my path, stepping from the sidewalk down onto the busy intersection. I nearly stumbled over myself, floored by what lay before me. So many racing thoughts from "OMG!!!" to "I'm gonna be late" to "he's gonna get squished". I picked him up from his back, which he did NOT appreciate, quickly opening his mouth. So I readjusted him. He still wasn't havin' it. So I just decided to sit him on my forearm. His mouth closed, and he sat fairly calm as I hurried back home with him. I didn't have time to take him to a safe place. And I could NOT take just a photo and tell the family "so sorry, look what you missed". So I planted him in an olive tree inside our center courtyard garden and ran to pick up Ceti from school.  I called Chris as I ran, overflowing with excitement!!
Thought it best not to tell the girls he was lingering in the garden until Chris got home. I told them which tree (now the pomegranate) he was in and enjoyed their reactions. He stayed the night with us, and today we watched him most of the day. The courtyard has 2 walls of glass, so we could walk inside the house and observe, and boy did we! We watched his color change often, climb reeds, climb plants, climb trees, hang on the furniture and walk across the floor. He was very entertaining and very educational.
But he was not ours. We taught about how we couldn't give him enough food or the right environment... or another chameleon to love. None of us touched him from the time I put him in the tree. We promised the girls they could hold him for a moment before we let him go. Ceti would've slept on him, while Ceiba was happy to touch him. He crawled up on me while we headed down the hill from our house to a good release point. I lightly covered him with a straw hat while we walked, and upon reaching the grass, he was quick to move on his merry way.

We may not have the cornfields or creeks of my upbringing, but gosh do I relish this opportunities to teach a love for nature and need for conservation. 

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