Most people settle for a cat or a dog as a pet. In fact, it’s estimated that 24% of people in the UK have at least one dog, while 17% own one or more cats. However, a small proportion of people own chameleons, a type of reptile that can change its colour to blend in seamlessly with its surroundings. While this is a popular and recognisable trait that is quite appealing, it is not the easiest of reptiles to look after. This means you should always take the time to learn about them before you even consider buying one as a pet.
Are chameleons dangerous?
Any pet has the potential to be dangerous, but a chameleon does pose considerations that are very different to more familiar pets. For example, they eat live insects, so you must be prepared to buy these and feed them to your pet if you do decide to get a chameleon. These insects shouldn’t pose any danger to you, but they can bite if they feel threatened.
It is very important to realise that all chameleons are different. Some will become very tame and enjoy being handled and interacting with their owners on occasion. On the other hand, others will never want to do this. If you try and encourage a chameleon to sit with you, or pick it up when it doesn’t like this, it may attempt to bite you. It is more likely to bite another chameleon in the wild than it is to bite a human, but it is wise to understand the unique nature of this reptile if you are thinking of keeping one as a pet.
Other dangers associated with chameleons
We’ve already mentioned the colour-changing abilities of chameleons, and this can be problematic when they are out of their usual environment. Since they will easily blend into the background, it is quite easy to walk into a room and not to realise they are there.
Ideally, they should be kept in their habitat and let out when they can be properly supervised. If you are visiting someone’s home and they have a chameleon, they should let you know if it is out of its tank while you are there. If you don’t know it is walking around, there could be the potential to trip over it.
Whenever you think of slips, trips and falls, you’ll very likely think of tripping on a paving stone, or perhaps slipping on ice or falling over an obstacle while shopping or even at work. Such things do happen, but they are still quite rare. However, tripping or having an accident when you encounter a chameleon you cannot see must surely be very rare.
This is true, but we can all imagine the injuries you could potentially sustain if you did experience this accident. If a chameleon changes colour to blend with the carpet it is walking on, how would you know it was there? It would be easy to fall and to suffer an injury, such as a sprain or strain, or even a broken bone. If you fell down the stairs, your injuries could potentially be even worse, with a broken coccyx. If you fall backwards onto your coccyx, it can easily break or shatter. The pain associated with this (which can continue for many months after the injury is sustained) is known as coccydynia, or tailbone pain.
Should you seek treatment if you suffer an injury caused by a chameleon?
This will depend on the type of injury you have. Sometimes, simple first aid is all that is required to sort things out.
However, you may be at risk of infection with a bite, so it is always best to get medical treatment for a chameleon bite if you have experienced this. You may need a tetanus injection if the skin has been broken and your injections are not up to date.
Obviously, if you suspect a broken bone or another more serious injury, then proper medical attention will always be advisable. In most cases, there will be no need to call an ambulance. Instead, see your GP as soon as you can, or visit a local out-of-hours centre or minor injury unit. If they recommend you go to hospital, you can then go to a casualty unit, but many minor injury units can treat a range of injuries.
Could compensation be paid if your injuries were caused by someone else’s chameleons?
No doubt you are familiar with the duty of care employers have when looking after their workers to prevent them from being exposed to undue risk of injury. The same applies to other people too, though, and if you were injured because of their pet, you may have a chance to receive compensation.
It is virtually impossible to assess any amount of compensation you might be entitled to, because all injuries are different. Claims are assessed on the injuries sustained and how serious those injuries were. If you are likely to suffer ongoing problems because of that injury, your compensation amount could be worth more than if you had made a full recovery.
Call us today for assistance
Chameleons may make an exotic pet, but they can also be potentially dangerous, especially if they are kept by people who do not know how to look after them properly. If you have been hurt by a chameleon and it was not your fault, you should find out whether someone else caused your accident or injury to occur. This can be difficult to do, but it becomes easier when you call the Accident Advice Helpline team.
Our experience, gained over more than 16 years, puts us in the best position to help you get the answers you’re searching for. Find out if you could claim by calling us now on 0800 689 0500, or on 0333 500 0993 from your mobile. We also have a test you can complete online today, and it will take just 30 seconds to find the answers you want.
Date Published: May 1, 2014
Author: Accident Advice