Sunday, November 04, 2007

Blogobituary: Eldridge the Chameleon, July-November, 2007

Mr. Eldridge the Chameleon, a mere six months old, died Friday night of a baterial gut infection. He is survived by his three leopard gecko friends, Liquid, Solid, and Mr. Fat. At the beginning of October, Eldridge stopped eating, ignoring and at times moving away from available food sources. Despite constant prodding by his owners, Eldridge began to deteriorate. I took him into the vet a few weeks ago, and the herp specialist believed that he had a bacterial infection, probably since before we bought him. He suggested I feed Eldridge baby food and get a stool sample. Although he ate a lot of baby food in the next two weeks, Eldridge did not seem to produce any fecal matter, and if he did, I was not home when he did his business (only a fresh sample would do).

Thusly, Eldridge died from a combination of starvation and gut infection. I would later learn thatn chameleons in general are very difficult to care for, and are prone to many kinds of infection, especially early in their lives. I had an adult Jackson chameleon for several years (this was a long time ago), and I got him when he was three, and he died when he was six. The average lifespan of male Jacksons is five. Although I was reluctant to buy another lizard from the pet store (might it also have an infection?), I purchase a frog-eyed gecko today from a different, newer pet store (Petzoo). He looks very healthy (and weird) and fits comfortably in Eldridge's old tank, albeit with changes to the environment.

I wanted to salvage Eldridge's skull, but he was so tiny that his bones would have boiled away with the meat. He ended up being put in the garage trash can. :-(

While this is not a picture of the new gecko itself (which I named Big Boss), it is a picture of a frog-eyed gecko.

Frog-eyes are burrowing geckos, and look like a transitional form between wall-crawling geckos and leopard geckos. Like the latter, frog-eyes have no laminae on their toes but instead posess sharp claws. They are burrowing lizards (moreso than leopards) and tend to have the spotted pattern which is so unique to leopard geckos. Their scales overlap, leading to concerns that a sandy substrate could get stuck between their scales. I've read conflicting reports, so bought a small bag of quartz sand for a base layer, and wood chips for an upper layer. He seems to like the quartz sand. Unlike leopard geckos, but like wall-crawlers, frog-eyes lack eyelids and have un-segmented tails. Frog-eyes are comical thanks to their oversized, cone-shaped heads.

Apparently, frog-eyes should not be handled very often, as their scales easily pop off and they become prone to infection (again with the infections!). Leopards have interconnecting scales and are basically smooth-skinned. In all my years with my leopards, I have never seen them cut or injured. Frog-eyes also have a reputation (on the interweb anyway) for being aggressive and difficult to tame. We'll see about that!


Amanda said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Eldridge. May his tiny soul rest in peace. Hope you're feelin' okay.

Scott said...

Sorry to hear that.

Eldridge was truly neat. I'm glad I got to meet him.

Luke said...

RIP Eldridge... you will be missed.. by everyone.. whos lives you touched