Friday, April 3, 2020

C is for Chameleons (Folktales of Endangered Species)

Welcome to the 2020 A to Z blogging challenge! This year my theme is Folktales of Endangered Species. I am researching cool traditional stories about rare, fascinating animals - to raise awareness of what we might lose if we don't get our collective act together. Enjoy!

Belalanda chameleon, image from here

: Belalanda chameleon (Furcifer belalandaensis), Bizarre-nosed chameleon (Calumma hafahafa), Brookesia bonsi, Tarzan chameleon (Calumma tarzan)

Status: Critically endangered (with another 23 species listed as Endangered)

Chameleon and the other animals
Malagasy folktales

In one folktale from Madagascar, Boar meets Chameleon by a waterway, and decides to make fun of him. "You walk so slowly! You are so tiny and weak!" Chameleon notes that yes, he walks softly and carefully, but he is still capable of getting all the food he needs. Even more so, he suggests they should run a race. At first Boar laughs, but then they make a bet that whoever loses will serve the other one forever. When they get to the starting line, Chameleon carefully climbs up some grass and grabs on to the Boar's tail. Boar runs the race, then turns back at the finish line to gloat - and Chameleon jumps off his tail, pretending to beat him to the finish. They run again and again, always with the same result, until Boar admits defeat.

In another story, Chameleon and Lizard have a conversation. Lizard notes that life is beautiful, but the careful Chameleon notes it is also dangerous. Lizard then makes fun of Chameleon saying he is skinny with large, bulging eyes, that's why he sees danger everywhere. Chameleon retorts that Lizard is ugly and dirt-colored, that's why he is never in danger (possibly because no one wants to eat him). Eventually a human shows up, and the two reptiles run their separate ways.

Sources: Read the first story here or here, and the second here or here.

How can I help?

Read about conservation efforts here, here, here, here, or here.

Tarzan's chameleon, image from here


  1. That's a funny story about the boar and the chameleon :)

  2. These chameleons have such distinctive expressions. Almost as though they were people in disguise.

  3. Thank you for sharing the story of boar and chameleon, I have never heard.

  4. Chameleons are the most extraordinary animals. I do like that he's a trickster in the first story - someone who can change colours so well has to have an edge.
    Tasha đź’–
    Virginia's Parlour - The Manor (Adult concepts - nothing explicit in posts)
    Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles

  5. Great stories -- thanks for sharing :-)

    An A-Z of Faerie: Cù Sìth

  6. Never underestimate the slow and the smart ones. I am one of the!!!!

  7. Clever and Careful: what an alliterative chameleon.
    I like your theme Zalka

  8. Finally after years of repeating the Hare & Tortoise story- here is new version of Slow & Steady wins. Infact can put it as "Smart & steady wins a race"

  9. In our culture (Tamil culture belonging to the southern part of India) we liken people who change their colours (turncoats/ betrayers/ opportunists) as chameleons. Liked the boar and chameleon story, it reads like another version of the hare and tortoise tale.

    C for Chir Batti - the ghost lights

  10. I didn't know that chameleons are endangered. Cool tales, slow is often used to illustrate the point of better judgement, whether tortoise or chameleon. The latter do look as though they are snobs of the reptile world, very haughty expression on some of those faces.. :D :D

  11. When I lived in Algiers, we found a chameleon on our green fence which made the chameleon green. I also think some of us humans have tendencies to blend in much like a chameleon. Me. :)

  12. Another interesting folktale :)

  13. I honestly didn't know they were endangered! :(
    I like the race story. That's sneaky.

    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

  14. Chameleons are such amazing creatures! They are indeed slow, but have such interesting "hands." I used to work in a independent pet store (local breeders supplied the animals, usually (4-H kids)and we all would gather around the baby chameleons. Too fragile for me! And they belong in the wild...

  15. Interesting insights . Refreshing tit bits.

    Welfare unto all
    Rab rakha

  16. LOL! Both the stories are funny.
    I love chamaleons. they are so cute!

    The Old Shelter - Living the Twenties

  17. That story about the race sounds familiar, is it a story “type”?

  18. Chameleons are so neat and beautiful. When I have the money and space, I'm going to get some pet lizards. Chameleons aren't recommended as ideal starter lizards, but once I have more experience with other kinds of lizards, I'll happily add some chameleons to my menagerie.