A short update of the situation with the gravid chameleon.
We saw the female again in the early hours of the 28 Jan and it was moving in the poinsettia bush.
An hour later it had disappeared and despite our thorough search in the original poinsettia and surrounding bushes, we could not find it! We checked on the ground as we were convinced that it would not walk more than a few metres around the bush. Still nothing!
We got concerned about its fate as we know that pied crows are around and that they are capable of killing chameleons. However, there was not much else we could do. Stephen would have found it but it was his day off so there was no hope there.
There was lots of hope in other parts of the garden though. The female we saw digging the nest during the night of the 26 Jan (Live Cham 3) had finished its job as described and then it left quietly. The nest area is now fenced and protected.
In addition, a third female was spotted at a passion fruit plant and she was also gravid and very active.
Yesterday (28 Jan) it changed position to a lemon tree, walking about 10m to get to it.
The female moving through the grass.
Searching for a suitable spot.
It climbed on the tree through a stick and remained on the tree for rest of the day.
It eventually decided to climb up a lemon tree. The eggs bulging through the skin can be seen in its ventral part.
Luckily yesterday (28 Jan) Stephen returned home by mid afternoon and immediately located the missing female that we had lost earlier during the morning! It had moved 33m! to another area of soft earth and it was busy digging, despite its rather bulgy belly. By the time we left it last night, it could go in its totality inside the hole but it was already dark for pictures. We protected her again to avoid dog interference and left.
This morning, as with the previous female, it had finished and covered the hole, looking dark and rather quiet. I am sure it will soon recover and move away.
So we are now left with the third female that has now climbed down from the lemon tree and it is -again- walking in the garden, looking for the right spot to lay her eggs.
As we are traveling to Uruguay before dawn tomorrow, this is the last post from Zimbabwe but I will resume once I touch down at the other end.
In any case, I am beginning to think that next year we will have a “chameleon population explosion”!