Great karma for chameleons

Now you see them.... actually, now you don’t. Exmoor Zoo’s itsy bitsy teeny weeny multi-coloured new arrivals need constant eagle-eyed attention...

CUNNINGLY concealed tiny baby chameleons have put Exmoor Zoo staff into a state of total concentration.

The duo of Johnston’s three horned chameleons have just hatched at the Bratton Fleming zoo and are smaller than a thimble, as well as being able to change colour at will.

The pair are thought to be the first of their species ever hatched in captivity – but they are lucky to be here at all.

Their mother was in an illegal shipment of chameleons seized by Belgium customs enroute to the Czech Republic. It was scheduled to be destroyed before the intervention of Specialist Wildlife Services in the UK, working with HM Customs.

Exmoor was one of several UK BIAZA zoos to take on expectant chameleonic mothers, but only the first so far to hatch out eggs.

The Johnston’s chameleon only occurs in the Western branch of the African Rift valley – the Albertine Rift – and is extremely rare in captivity.

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They are about the size of a 10 pence piece when curled up and have been lovingly cared for during incubation by education officer Stephen Eddy at Exmoor Zoo. Their doting substitute father is currently feeding them gourmet meals of fruit flies and recently hatched house crickets.

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