When Others Want You to Breed X and You Want to Breed Y

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
My chameleon room is undergoing a lot of change currently so I don’t really have any tutorials or informational topics to cover until my various little projects are done, so for the time being I’m going to write another opinion blog. I hope that everyone enjoys these as well, and that you feel free to add your input in the comments. I always enjoy seeing if my readers agree or disagree with me on some of these topics.

One of my T. melleri (Meller's chameleons), my favorite
species currently. But definitely not everyone's! 
I’m going to talk a little about something that pops up in my chameleon social circle and on the forum every so often. It’s totally normal for chameleon keepers to realize that they have a favorite species or genus that they love to work with, but sometimes they start feeling that everyone else should be interested exclusively in their favorite species as well. So the person that loves K. multituberculata starts thinking that everyone else should also focus on breeding this species. And the person who’s passionate about the Chamaeleo genus can’t understand why everyone else overlooks them. And another friend of mine, who has been keeping for years, can’t understand for the life of her why I love my Meller’s chameleons so much, as she finds them ugly! 

(What's most curious is that each of them has a completely different species that they feel is the most important for everyone to love and breed!)

And what’s perhaps worse, is when people insist that experienced keepers who do not break away from panthers and veileds are clearly not very good chameleon enthusiasts. Otherwise, they would be attempting to breed much rarer species because panthers and veileds are for novices, and other species for the more advanced, serious keepers in their opinion.

Whenever I see any comments or threads about this I just have to laugh to myself. People forget that it all comes down to personal preference. It’s why I find Meller’s to be beautiful while my friend finds them ugly. It’s why another friend finds Veileds to be the most amazing species while they bore me tremendously. It’s why some people love working with tiny, dwarf species and I like working with very large species instead. We cannot control other people’s preferences and interests, regardless of how much we would like everyone to love what we love. And we can’t make people feel inadequate because they choose to make one species their pet project instead of another.

Are there certain species that deserve more attention and dedication from more people, especially to establish a thriving captive-bred population? Sure, I don’t deny that. But the only hope these projects have of succeeding long-term is to be in the capable hands of someone who has a genuine passion and drive to see them succeed. Breeding, especially rare species that may only be available as WC individuals takes a tremendous amount of money, time, and effort. Without a genuine interest you can see why these projects are more likely to fail in time. So more than encouraging people to pursue the breeding project we are passionate about, we need to encourage people to pursue their own, individual passion.

So while I hope to succeed in breeding Meller’s in captivity, I also hope that everyone else has as much success with their own species of choice, even the ones I don’t particularly care for. And I also hope that the people who are happy with their pet panthers and veileds who don’t want to take on the financial and ethical responsibility of breeding don’t feel pressured into doing it, because it’s ok to just keep these animals as pets too. Thankfully, there’s enough room for everyone to follow their own vocation within this hobby. The best we can do is encourage each other to pursue individual interests and to never stop sharing what we learn with each other.  


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