Famed for the unusual talent of changing colors for camouflage, the chameleon at the Zoo named Isadore had other tricks up his reptilian sleeve.
  • 1950s

Presented to the Zoo as a gift, a foot-long chameleon named Isadore—nicknamed Izzy—was a reptile of many talents. Equipped for life in the trees, this species has formidable claws and a prehensile tail to keep it attached to branches. The keepers had created a special “free-roaming” outdoor patio area for Izzy at the Reptile House. Staff was pleased to observe him contentedly basking in the sun and snapping up his ration of insects.

But occasionally, the intrepid reptile would get carried away with the free-range concept and vanish from his patio—and a concerted search would ensue. A stiff breeze could cause the little guy to shamble away to a secluded spot where he felt safe from being buffeted. One time, he was discovered after several minutes in another room, scurrying up a broom handle. The next time, he was found plastered to the undercarriage of a wheelbarrow. His third vanishing act took him to the laboratory, where he was spotted curled up sound asleep on the rungs of a stool. Clearly, this clever little creature did not need to resort to changing colors to sneak away for a little alone time.

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