Welcome to the Reptile House
May 1, 1999

GRAND RAPIDS - Hello all, welcome to May, I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the nice weather we have been having!  I know Mike has!!!

With the change of the season, the zoo put Mike in charge of reacclimating the reptiles to their "summer" habitats in the outdoor section.  While most of them did quite well, a few remained sluggish. 

Most were quite responsive to the warmer weather however, and exhibited pronounced increases in physical activity as well as appetite.  The snakes in particular seemed happy to be outside again, and were observed to be engaging in what passes for "frolicking" (although with snakes it is hard to tell).

The largest concern was for the chameleons.  Contrary to the behavior of their reptilian cousins, the
chameleon couple were seemingly not even interested in doing anything remotely associated with
"normal" spring-time animal behavior.  They simply laid about in the corner of their enclosure, as if still in dormancy. 

They were not even interested in eachother, which dismayed the zoo staff as they were hoping that the pair would breed (a "normal" spring past-time for most animals).

The zoo brought in several veterinarians, who all said the same thing: "I dunno".  Finally, an animal
psychologist was summoned, against the zoo director's better judgment. 

After two weeks of observation and analysis, the psychologist gave the zoo the bad news.  It seems that the chameleons were extremely frustrated.  The male was unable to change colors due to an anomoly inherent in his genetic structure.  This in turn caused the female to show less than a favorable responses to any "approaches" by the male.  This created a cyclical and self-sustaining situation which deteriorated into the circumstances which now posed the above mentioned problem. 

The psychologist offered no suggestions as to how to rectify the conflict, as it was obviously biological, and suggested a veterinarian. 

The zoo director personally showed the psychologist the "great egress" immediately.  With his foot.

It only took Mike a matter of minutes to figure out a solution, and as he was on good terms with a
local costume shop (see episode #2), set out to put his plan into action.  The idea was that if he could awaken the female lizard's natural spring-time urges, she would eventually be so frustrated that she would accept the advances of her partner. 

The idea sounded good to the zoo administration, and as Mike's previous plans always ended well they even offered financial backing. 

The below photo is of Mike in his full regalia, strutting in and out of the female chameleon's view, just outside of her enclosure.  Although you can't see it, the color changing display which the costume provided was spectacular. 

As you might have guessed, it worked fantastically and Mike is once again the hero of the whole zoo.


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