How I got bitten by a chameleon

8 Jan

On Monday, I got bitten by a chameleon. This is not the sort of thing that happens often, so let me explain.

As my brother and I drove out of the access control point just off the R40, we noticed a chameleon crossing the road. (Why, we don’t know; presumably to get to the other side.) We avoided squashing him, but we were both worried he wouldn’t survive the journey. ¬†Chameleons make tortoises look like Usain Bolt.

Chameleon crossed road

“We have to save it!” I yelped. My brother put on the hazards, drew to a halt and I leapt out to assist the reptile. He was not happy. Not unreasonably, he assumed I was about to attack him.

First he puffed himself up:

Chameleon 2

Then he gaped to show me the bright orange interior of his mouth and hissed like an angry cat:

Chameleon 3

There was no way to get him out of the road without picking him up. He immediately clamped his jaws shut on my left index finger. Chameleons don’t have teeth, so he couldn’t do much damage. I shrieked with laughter, did a little dance, and deposited him in in the grass on the verge where, I hope, he went on his way no worse for wear.

This was a big chap, as chameleons go – I’d estimate he was over 20cm nose to tail. The red jaw-shaped mark he left on my finger lasted about 15 minutes, the only side effect of the experience. Sadly, I have gained no chameleon powers.



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