Lest anyone slap me with a libel suit, I hasten to remind my readers that Gene Simmons is the name my son gave his chameleon, on account of the long tongue. In any case, Mr. Simmons turned out to be a female. For the past few weeks she had been growing more lethargic, spending a lot of time on the bottom of the cage and hiding under foliage, and finally not moving at all. Even when my husband picked her up, she wouldn't try to climb his shirt as usual. She was also growing chubby.
He took her to the vet, who took an x-ray and told him that unfortunately young Mr. Simmons had started producing eggs before her body was really ready to. They were forming in such quantity that they were sucking up all the calcium she got, and her body wasn't expelling them, so they were just building up inside her abdomen. "Egg bound" I think is the term, though I had only heard that used with respect to chickens.
In the end, the vet confessed she didn't know what to do except try surgery, which she had seen on video but never done. Visions of this tiny little body hooked to an IV. How does one judge the amount of anaesthesia for a creature that weighs an ounce? It was too horrible to contemplate. So in the end, they decided to put her down. It wasn't fair to prolong her pain, and her condition would have led to death eventually anyway. It's still sad.
The cage at home stared reproachfully at us, still looking full with foliage and crickets. As we stood looking thoughtfully at it, my husband asked, "Do we still have the bird cage in the basement?"
"No, but we have two hamster cages and the fish tanks."
Not yet. I don't think we will replace Mr. Simmons right away. The cage will wait quietly until it's the right time. She was an interesting little being, who intrigued and charmed us. In the end all we could do for her was give her a dignified passing, to be witnesses to her tiny existence. To thank her for sharing a small moment with us.