ChamEO Madagascar Expedition 2017 | Part II

Monday, February 27, 2017

Day 3: Leave Antsirabe, Hike Ialatsara, and Arrive in Ranomafana

Welcome to the second installment of the Madagascar trip! On this day, day 3, I awoke after a horrible night with a fever of 102°F (yay!) In true mother-of-two-girls form, not two minutes after texting Elisa that I had a fever she and her daughter April showed up at my room armed with a thermometer and bags of medicine under each arm. Properly loaded up on Tylenol and a yummy breakfast we set off again. 

The food in Madagascar was honestly pretty good, but the breakfasts were particularly nice. In true French fashion, the spread every morning included coffee, teas, fresh fruit juices, fruit, bread, butter, fresh marmalade, and eggs in whatever fashion you wanted. Definitely a nice way to set off for the day!

We we sad to leave this hotel, I think. It just really was such a beautiful little place; an oasis in an otherwise unattractive, bustling little city. But on our way out April spotted a baby Oustalet's chameleon (F. oustaleti) from the night before a second time. 

ChamEO Madagascar Expedition 2017 | Part I

Monday, February 20, 2017
After several attempts at starting the Madagascar trip recount, I think I will begin just by extending my enormous gratitude to Elisa Hinkle of Chameleon Education and Outreach (ChamEO) for putting together this expedition for the ten of us. It could not have been easy to coordinate so many aspects of the trip and so many people from various cities, but the final result was a nearly flawless excursion through Madagascar. I say nearly flawless because there were certainly unexpected hiccups; such as losing Ryan only a few minutes after entering the country to the Malagasy customs agents, who had swooped him away for questioning in French! Or the fever of 102° that started with me on only our second night and spread to everyone else throughout the remainder of the trip. But despite the little unforeseeables, losing about 10 lbs, and getting tagged by leeches, the trip was a resounding success for me.

I will be dividing up the photographs into blog parts, as I came back with over 900 photos and 30 videos and cannot possibly post them all!

Male or Female? How to Sex a Veiled/Yemen Chameleon

Tuesday, February 7, 2017
This week I am elbow-deep in the Malagasy tropics, hopefully stopping now and then for a cold beer. So this week's blog post comes courtesy of Trevor Neufeld from Niagara Herpetoculture in Ontario, Canada. He has been breeding veiled/Yemen chameleons (C. calyptratus) for about 20 years, and specializes in producing amazing individuals, especially of the translucent variety.

His photos will illustrate how to sex veiled chameleons easily, even as babies. This will apply in over 90% of all cases; there is always the odd chameleon that is a female with large spurs or a male with little ones, but by and large this method is a great way to identify a chameleon as male or female before any of the adult coloration comes in.

As adults identification should be easy; the male sports an impressive casque, has bright vertical bands of color, and has the thick tail-base typical of male chameleons where they hide their hemipenes. Females should be overall smaller, with smaller casques, typically solid green with speckles of color instead of bands, and a narrow tail base. In addition to this, males will have what are known as spurs on the back of their hind feet; a little protuberance like the spur on a cowboy's heel. Something (most) females do not have. The spur is present at the moment of hatchling, so even a newly-minted baby chameleon should be sexable this way with good certainty.
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