September 21, 2014

September 21, 2014

Color Me Sad

Photograph by Nicolas Le Boulanger, National Geographic Your Shot

When Your Shot member Nicolas Le Boulanger sees his friend’s pet chameleon, housed in a terrarium, he can’t help thinking that it's in the wrong place, even if it’s loved. “I wanted to [relate] the confusion that this animal seems to feel as it is separated from its natural environment,” he writes. “His look seems to call for help.”

Le Boulanger’s picture recently appeared in the Your Shot assignment Not Your Average Pet.

This photo was submitted to Your Shot. Check out the new and improved website, where you can share photos, take part in assignments, lend your voice to stories, and connect with fellow photographers from around the globe.

13 comments
Emily Alford
Emily Alford

It gives me hope to know that there are people (like other responders) that have empathy for other beings and are willing to speak on their behalf.  If anthropomorphism or thinking of a nonhuman entity in human ways gives us reasons to judge that other life forms are worthy of ethical care and consideration, then count me among those who believes that animal emotions exist and are similar to those of humans.  View the Nature series on animal friendships and the emotional lives of animals entitled, Animal Odd Couples for greater insight into this issue.

Bev Hennager
Bev Hennager

He is beautiful as though he were made out of beads.  He looks healthy and more curious than sad to me although I am sure he would enjoy a more natural environment.  When people keep animals like this, they should have an entire room for them to hang out in, not a cage.  I have two parakeets that rule half of my house.  They like their cage to sleep in but otherwise they are flying about and chirping all day long.  They do look longingly at the birds at the feeder outside and chirp to them..   It is hard to get rid of them because one always dies before the other and the one that is left needs a new companion.   If I gave the last one away no one would allow them the freedom I do.  They can sure create a mess so I don't recommend it.

Claudia Christiane Gelzer
Claudia Christiane Gelzer

Breathtaking photo. What a miracle this creature is. Thanks to National Geographic for continuing to raise awareness on this and many issues related to how humans compromise the natural needs and rights of non humans. The exotics trade should cause us all to question why we are allowed to keep these unique creatures in unnatural environments for our own immediate pleasure and entertainment. We can see animals like this up close in more natural environments at conservation or nature science centers dedicated to education and rehabilitation and re-introduction when possible.

Robert Moran
Robert Moran

You're right Nicholas.  We've traditionally kept wild animals as pets and I think now more and more people are starting to question that.  I feel terrible when I see a bird in a small cage.  They were born to fly.


Great photo though!

Norma Okun
Norma Okun

the colors are beautiful and the expression timeless. great photo

c. chow
c. chow

I believe it's right that Nicolas questions the contentment of his pet chameleon.   To his credit he's considering his actions and the well being of his loved pet.


Imagine if you were taken from your birth of origin, country, culture, language, way of life, comfortable home and surroundings and displaced into unnatural confinement.  Regardless if you were well taken care of, loved, admired the loneliness and isolation that you would feel separated from your family, friends, activities would create distress.  How could it be different for this chameleon or any other wildlife taken from it's natural habitat?



Joy Saldanha
Joy Saldanha

Tho' its a great photograph,I think I'll skip the comments.  j.e.s.........

Yolanda Patterson
Yolanda Patterson

What a wonderful little creature that he can change his color to suit his fancy! 

James Loeffert
James Loeffert

Certainly some emotions are reflected in animals in as fight or flight. Expressions of happy or sad might fall into the perception that we interpret the emotions of animals, not as they are, but as we are.Case in point, we treat out pets as family members.

Linda S.
Linda S.

The poor thing does look sad...

Special Offers

Shop National Geographic