what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby Rana pipins » Sun May 06, 2012 6:09 pm

Hi
a week ago I was surprised to find a dwarf cape chameleon in my garden, (cpt tableview), at very low level, in a small lavender bush. I left it over night and the next day circa 10am it was in the same place, i decided to move it to a rather large bush. Did this with minimum fuss. Reasoning: there are LOTS of cats in and out of my garden, and it was at cat eye height.

It stayed in the bush for about 3 days, then I found it again in another low lying dwarf lavender bush. I decided not to move it but made a little bark shelter from the bark i spread on my water wise garden. This was about 20 cm from where it was staying in the lavender bush.

We had that BIG rain storm (may 2/3) and then i went out to check and haven't seen it since.

NB while in the lavender bush my cat paid the chameleon no mind at all so i decided that "ok the chameleon has a plan".

As yet after googling and 'asking' etc., have yet to get a clear answer WHAT DO CHAMELEONS DO IN WINTER? nest? hibernate? It's not freezing here in cpt but its rather cold at the mo, I'm wearing a sweater, so it can't be fun for a chameleon.

I'd like to know just in case there is anything I can do that will be helpful to it (tho i know it's wild and managed it's whole life without my help) AND because I'm curious.

Thank you for your time and attention to this question.
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby Westley Price » Mon May 07, 2012 5:00 pm

Hi Rana

Doesn't seem like anyone know the answer to you rquestion.

I do not know either, but I can give some of my own observations.

In winter on the west coast (Northern Cape) I have seen Dwarf Chams also very low in shrubs during winter.

However, I have found some under rocks as well, so this might indicate that they do try to find a suitable spot to "hibernate."

I don't think they're too bothered by cold weather down in the Cape if they can survive the winters in the Drakensberg. But of course they are more vulnerable to predators.
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby Bushviper » Mon May 07, 2012 6:30 pm

I have also seen them in low bushes in winter and these can get very cold but they still just hang in there. I think the bush gives them protection from frost and that's how they survive the cold nights.
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby Solid Snake » Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:07 am

Bushviper wrote:I have also seen them in low bushes in winter and these can get very cold but they still just hang in there. I think the bush gives them protection from frost and that's how they survive the cold nights.


Its my understanding that this is what they do.

They will try to find very dense foliage, and stay closer to the earth, where its warmer.

Ive never heard of them actually burrowing, or hiding under rocks. That is very interesting.
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby Chameleon Company » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:30 am

Good day all.

Members of the Bradypodion sp. tend to do very well over winter and are well adapted to their extreme winter weather conditions (Western Cape being a winter rainfall region). Mainly dwarf chameleons will shelter in low thick fynbos that offers some protection.

I have seen Bradypodion species underground, which were dug up by accident. They do not dig their own burrows but rather will venture into disused burrows left behind by other animals.

One must remember that non of our chameleon species actually hibernates but rather goes into a state of minimal metabolic activity to see it through temporary unfavourable conditions. When the sun comes out, so do the chameleons and due to their colour change abilities, they are experts and thermoregulation during the winter months.
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby jka » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:51 am

Very interesting topic! Have always wondered what they do.
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby Pieter89 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:45 pm

I agree, very interesting!
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby John Rees » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:31 pm

I am up in KZN and we were wondering the same thing a few days ago. We don't see many out and about even during our relatively warm winter. Perhaps I am not looking for them? Very interesting though. Will look in the lower shrubs.
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby KrisBL » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:39 am

I have quite a few Cape Dwarf Chameleons in my garden (Blouberg) & i've noticed that eventhough they climb to higher branches during the day, they seem to each have a preferred branch to sleep on.
The easiest way to find & keep track of chameleons is to sather look for them at night-time using an LED-torch or LED-headlight...
i became concerned this past week when i noticed most of them weren't on their usual sleeping spots.
Thanks to this forum i've learned that it's probably due to the cold weather & that they have probably just found a slightly warmer place to sleep...
BY THE WAY:: take care when using insecticides (for example DOOM, RAID etc.) & other aerosol poisons. Wind can carry the mist in unexpected directions & even the smallest amount of these products WILL kill chameleons in the most horrific & cruel way imaginable...
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby Chopper 1 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:30 am

KrisBL wrote:I have quite a few Cape Dwarf Chameleons in my garden (Blouberg) & i've noticed that eventhough they climb to higher branches during the day, they seem to each have a preferred branch to sleep on.
The easiest way to find & keep track of chameleons is to sather look for them at night-time using an LED-torch or LED-headlight...
i became concerned this past week when i noticed most of them weren't on their usual sleeping spots.
Thanks to this forum i've learned that it's probably due to the cold weather & that they have probably just found a slightly warmer place to sleep...
BY THE WAY:: take care when using insecticides (for example DOOM, RAID etc.) & other aerosol poisons. Wind can carry the mist in unexpected directions & even the smallest amount of these products WILL kill chameleons in the most horrific & cruel way imaginable...


Great comment on the DOOM etc. Even rat poisons (racumin is ok) kill owls, reptiles and other predators!
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby DesreB » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:05 pm

Hey everyone,

I know this is a super old thread but hopefully someone can answer me (I've tried every conceivable combination of words on Google, to no avail).

My cats (the evil little bastards) got a hold of a Cape dwarf. He was lying on my carpet when I got home (Stellenbosch so it's pretty chilly right now). I gave him the once over, and there were no visible injuries, so I put him in a lowish branch of a tree (after reading this post). He clung to the tree, and has now been in the same spot for over 2 hours. If I touch him lightly, his little feet move and you can see him breathing, but then goes back to not moving with his little eyes closed. Could it just be the stress of being caught by the devil's cats? Do they recover from that kind of stress? I read somewhere that they can succumb to stress pretty easily.

I also read I should keep him warmish, but I feel like that's bad advice. If they're surviving in the wild, human intervention is just going to make it worse.

Any advice?
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Re: what do chameleons (wild) do in winter?

Postby Ruan Stander » Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:52 am

Not much you can do, other than getting rid of the cats or releasing the chameleon where your cats won't get to it.
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