Tag Archives: Hoedspruit

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.



When you lift your bathmat to find… this

20 Dec

A lot of Joburgers, like me, enjoy getting away from Joburg by going to the bush. There we go to disconnect from signal, unplug from our laptops and get in touch with nature. Occasionally, nature would also like to get in touch with us. Last night I lifted my bath mat to find this:


Normally I disapprove of people who kill spiders and Parktown prawns. But I’d be a hypocrite if I told you I had the same compassion for scorpions. This one was very small, but the relative thickness of that tail had me thinking that I might not want to encounter it barefoot in the dark. Also, I’m paranoid about the possibility of¬†Parabuthus. So I thwacked it repeatedly with a slipslop and despatched it to the afterlife.

I feel bad about this. I don’t like killing things. I tell myself that there are lots more where this one came from.

Which is rather worrying, when you think about it. Perhaps I should invest in the special scorpion torch they sell at the Khamai Reptile Park up the road.

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