A chameleon has been treated and released back in the wild after it was attacked by a dog and left with a large hole in its side with part of its spleen and air sac protruding from the wound.
The injured flap-necked chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis) was attacked by a dog in the area of Dinokeng near the South African capital Pretoria.
The googly-eyed reptile was attacked several weeks ago and was taken to a vet nearly 100 kilometres away with a large wound on its left side and part of its air sac and spleen protruding from its abdomen.
On Tuesday, the non-profit Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital in the municipality of Midrand in Gauteng State said the chameleon has returned to its former “angry” self and has been released in the wild close to where it was found.
A spokesperson for the wildlife hospital said: “Initially we applied F10 (antiseptic) ointment and closed the hole with a bandage. He needed to be stabilised before we could attempt surgery.”
Tube feeding, pain medication, antibiotics, and subcutaneous fluids were used to stabilise the little chameleon.
The hospital spokesperson said: “He was then stable enough to undergo a general anaesthetic and we were able to close the hole in his abdominal wall.
“And by the next day, this chameleon was back to his old and very angry self.
“He made a full recovery and has been released back into the same territory – away from the dog!”
Flap-neck chameleon populations, which are native to sub-Saharan Africa, are considered species of ‘least concern’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital cares for indigenous animals for no charge and relies on support from the community to keep practising.
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