I hate Valentine’s Day but I think I’ve just seen the most romantic film ever – a BBC documentary about Madagascan wildlife.
Many a cynic would feel their heart melt watching a tiny Brookesia chameleon, about the size of an ant, gently reaching out for his mate’s tail. Add the soft tones of David Attenborough saying ‘he won’t let go’ and even I was going a bit misty-eyed.
I’ve already explained just how much I love chameleons but these tiny little specimens are really special. They look like dry brown leaves, with skinny little legs and worried eyes. Their clasping feet look a bit like oven gloves and they move like fragile old men.
There are over 20 species of these lovely lizards, sometimes known as leaf chameleons. And as Wikipedia helpfully explains, they ‘range from small to very small in size’. They live only in Madagascar, and according to our friend David, the slightly smaller male sometimes clings onto the female’s back for days. As he points out, ‘at least this way they won’t lose each other’.
I think the BBC and David Attenborough probably had a big hand in sparking my enthusiasm for animals when I was very small, and I’m glad they’re still making me smile today. I hope one day I get to meet one of these tiny chameleons, but for the moment the world feels like a better place just knowing they exist.