Ep 34: History of Modern Chameleon Husbandry with Philippe de Vosjoliadmin
Take a step back in time as Philippe de Vosjoli, the man behind the Advanced Vivarium Systems books and the Vivarium Magazine, takes us on a tour of the early days of keeping chameleons. The vision and inspiration that the community had 20 to 30 years ago is still relevant for us today! .
It is worth going over the three waves of herpetoculture. The first wave was just learning how to keep them alive. The second wave is learning how to reproduce the reptile. This is often accompanied by learning the most efficient ways to keep them, and others, alive. The third wave is beauty and quality of life. This is creating naturalistic vivariums for our chameleons to live in. We do not know how much enrichment a chameleon needs, but we know that the larger the enclosure and the more heavily planted and gradient rich the environment, the more behaviors show through. These three waves can be applied to the industry, but also to the personal level. When we get our first chameleon, we start with the first wave. We gather all the information we can and throw it together and trying hard to build up your skills in keeping the chameleon alive. By the second wave you are thinking about breeding and refining your husbandry to the point where your chameleons can reproduce. And once you get to the third wave you are concerned with creating beautiful environments and exploring a wider range of behaviors that comes with a more interactive environment.
We should acknowledge that this might be the first time many of you have heard of Philippe. Especially with social media pouring information into our head at the rate it does, it is easy for even recent history to fade quickly. But there is something called a legacy. It is what you leave behind. It is what goes on after you. Whether you have heard of Philippe’s name before or not, you have been touched by what he has done. His legacy continues. There is a part of him that inspired the core purpose of Dragon Strand Chameleon Caging Company. The whole purpose of the invention of the Dragon Ledges was to provide a major step for us in the chameleon world to embrace the third wave of herpetoculture. Those are the anchors that attach to the major commercially available cages that allow strong horizontal branches and the mounting of potted plants along the sides. They allow us to make the cages more beautiful. There is also a part of what he did that provided the motivation to do this podcast. So, even if you have never heard his name, the fact that you are listening right now means his legacy has touched you.
So let’s talk about legacy. We all will leave a footprint on the chameleon community. Some of those footprints will be minor and blow away with the next breeze of social media posts. And that is okay. Some keepers dip into the chameleon world for a short period of time and then are on to other pursuits. This world of chameleon keeping is fun to visit . Not everyone puts down roots. Then there are others that will stay for a while. These are the people that are respected in their circles. They help others along or play the part of the devil’s advocate and provide the requisite drama that is characteristic of human interaction. And then, there are those few that have chosen the chameleon world as their home. These are the people that add their footprints and finger prints to the mold of our community. Whether you know their names or not, they have inspired the next generation. That is their legacy. How about you? If you are just dipping your toes in the chameleon waters then welcome to a fantastic world. Enjoy yourself while you stay with us! But if you want something more serious then know there are many opportunities for you to make a difference. From specializing in one species and becoming a spokesperson/mentor for it or becoming a veterinarian and figuring out a way to get rid of coccidia with a medicine that has fewer side effects, your choices are many. What are your strengths? Some people moderate forums or Facebook pages. The Facebook pages are now the front lines for people entering into our community. Solid husbandry information is critical at that point. Some people prefer quiet research. What ever your strength is, consider how you can leave the chameleon community stronger.
As for me? The chameleon world is my home. It has been for 80% of my life. My world is filled with research of far away lands, an insight into the microscopic life and death struggle of the parasites, plants, insects, Latin, construction, and so much more. …and, most of all in my world? Thar be dragons!