After the rescue of the Russell's viper I gained some popularity among a few boys. So on this fine evening, we were chatting among ourselves in our regular hangout place. Suddenly a crowed gathered around a car in the middle of the street. I thought that some kind of accident could have happen. But some boys from inside the crowed was yelling by my name to check it out. So I got up and positioned myself in the center of the crowed. And I didn't belief what I saw.
A chameleon was sitting on the bumper of a car. I was stunned. I never saw one outside a zoo and seeing one on the streets of Tamluk like this would be the last thing to come to my mind. In a moment by the roar of the crowed I came into reality. The crowed became hysteric. they were touching, pocking, gesturing, doing all sorts of thing to the chameleon. I cant blame them knowing the fact that it was the first time for them to see such an spectacular and peculiar species. But they were really threatening it. So I grabbed it and picked it up but it was tied with a rope. I tried to loosen the rope but could not. And the driver was shouting,"hey! put it down, put it down." Then he started the engine and of they go. But before their escaping, I did one important thing. I recognized the driver.
He was from our neighborhood. So the first thing in the next morning was to go to his house and have a talk. I didn't even waited for toilet. I caught him before he went out for his days work. they had put the chameleon on a tree but the rope was still there. he told me that he found it on the road near Ramnagar. the chameleon was walking on the road and only because it jumped seeing the light of the car he saw it. Now he is clueless what to do with it. One thing was assuring that he don't want to keep the chameleon as a pet. So I suggested him to return it to the Forest Dept. I even told him about the rareness of these fine creature and also about the Wildlife Protection Act. of India by which he could have been punished for upto 7 years of imprisonment. So after all thing discussion he agreed to go to the Forest Dept. But again he said he didnt know anybody there. So I asked him to come with me as I have some folks there. We made a timing and I returned home.
Due to some incidents i was late. So when i reached him, he told me he already returned it to forest dept. So I called my friend from Bartaman newspaper, he is a photojournalist of that paper, and we headed for the office. There we found our little fella in a cage. The officials were very much helpful. So we took out the chameleon, put it on a brunch and started our photo session. We even managed to feed the chameleon 10-12 grasshoppers. It was essential 'cause I was not sure how long will it be there. We measured it to be of 13" in length. My photographer friend was really fascinated by it. So after a long 1-1/2 hours photo session we left the place.
Chameleons are one of the most bizzare lizards of the world. They are mainly found from East Africa abd Madagascar but one species occurs in India i.e. Indian Chameleon. Their distribution is through out India except the heavy rain fall region but due to their territorial and solitary nature Indian Chameleons are uncommon to rare in their habitat.
Every aspect of this fantastic lizard is fascinating in some ways or other. If we start from the head, they have a cone shaped on their head which looks like a helmet. They have a tongue which can be extended as long as its body length and the tip of the tongue is sticky and club shaped by which they capture prey. They have huge eyes but the eyelid has only a small opening for the pupil. the eyes are also capable to move independently. The chameleons have brilliant eye sight due to its binocular vision. As chameleons are adapted to live on trees, their foot has become specialized to clamp the brunch which become awkward when it comes to walking on the ground. Chameleons have most remarkable body colour variation power among the lizards. They can change colour almost instantly. Body colour variation happens in response to light, heat, background and emotional state. Even the tail of a chameleon is remarkable. Its tail is prehensile. When needed it can work as an extra limb. chameleons actually uses its tail in support with hind legs to reach out and extend its striking distance.
Overall it has such a comic appearance and its behavior compliments its look so fantastically that it became my second favorite lizard of all.
At birth Indian Chameleon is 50mm long. The longest recorded adult is 375mm. Mating occurs in the months of August. Egg laying occurs in October. Incubation period varies from 82 days to 9 months.