Punchy The Chameleon

Here at Punchy The Chameleon & Chameleons of the Keys we specialize in breeding and raising Ambilobe Panther Chameleons  (Furcifer pardalis). Ambilobe refers to the location (or “locale”) of Panther chameleons, which are found in Madagascar in a tropical forest biome. The Ambilobe is of the most common subspecies of panther chameleon with its vibrant and wide range of colors including, red body with a blue stripes (Tiki), green body with blue/red stripes, blue body with red stripes, yellow body with red/blue stripes (Punchy), orange body with blue stripes (Punchy Junior) and even mixtures of them all including; showing rainbows of color and color changes throughout their growth into adulthood (from ~3-4 months to ~12-18 months). Yellows and oranges are of the more rare colorations.

Our main goal is to spread the most up-to-date, scientific based information, that is both easily understandable and easy to follow for all chameleon owners. We also strive to provide the ability for anyone who wants a chameleon to be able to afford a very happy and healthy companion who will live a long healthy life.

Zak got his first chameleon at 10 years old, and chameleons have been his favorite reptile ever since. He was born raising, rescuing, and grew up with and owned 40-50+ species of reptiles/amphibians and animals. He had everything from bearded dragons, iguanas, tegus, red-eyed alligator skinks, blue-tongue skinks, collard lizards, leopard lizards, monitor lizards, basilisks, horned toads [and various other types of lizards as well], ~10 species of snakes, various types of frogs and salamanders, a hairless rat, cats, dogs, goats, ducks, and many more. He also had a rescued rabbit, opossum and squirrel among others. Growing up he always had a special interest in reptiles in particular, especially chameleons.

When Zak moved from Texas to Florida in 2014 and started dental school, he decided to look into and buy a few animals for a nice stress relief and distraction from the daily stresses of dental school (including corn snakes, a Veiled and Oustalet Chameleon, and a Dog). Shortly after, and after rescuing several chameleons (one of which had severe MBD broken ribs and was abandoned at a pet store), he rescued a pregnant female veiled and began raising chameleons. Zak also spent a lot of his spare time trying to help spread correct information and prevent people from following all the misinformation on chameleon husbandry online. Dr. Ferguson was a big inspiration to him and he explains that a quick read of the abstract of one of his first evidence based scientific research articles from 1996 disproves some of the most common information you find online regarding chameleon husbandry.

“Spending just 2 minutes reading Dr. Ferguson’s abstract should be a prerequisite to owning a chameleon”, he states. He proclaims that even if you already own a chameleon (or have even read this abstract in the past), you should read it. European countries already implement programs with prerequisites such as a class, test, and license, in order to buy and own chameleons and other exotic animal species.

Since early 2015, Zak has since spent his spare time and made a hobby researching, rescuing, and attempting to help potential chameleon owners buy a healthy chameleon, while providing them with the most current, up-to-date scientific research, and making care as easy as possible. Due to consistently seeing vitamin imbalances (mainly Calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D3) he researched and worked on making a very easy to use daily vitamin with specific concentrations of each, along with other multivitamins. Both indoor and outdoor vitamin powder (outdoor powder does not contain D3), is given away free to all buyers to ensure their health. He was also able to receive a lot of help on his research from UF’s Reptile and Amphibian Pathology Department which opened in 2017.  He explains being able to help both people and animals is an incredible experience. Additionally he enjoys knowing that he is providing some of the best and most current information to set new owners up with easy to follow and basic information in order for their babies to live long, healthy, and happy lives. To date, he still receives pictures of chameleons who are now over 4 years old and still flourishing.

Chameleons Of The Keys

We are now Chameleons Of The Keys, formerly, Punchy The Chameleon!

In February of 2020, Sylvia contacted Zak after watching Zak’s YouTube video on chameleon care to purchase one of his beautiful chameleon juvenile offspring of Punchy and Tiki, never realizing that what began as a purchase of a chameleon would turn into friendship and business partnership for both.

Sylvia is a nationally and internationally well known prophetess/clairvoyant,

When Sylvia made initial contact with Zak, Covid19 was not yet announced and Zak went through his normal screening questions about enclosure size, basic knowledge about chameleon care and requesting photos of Sylvia’s chameleon enclosure for the anticipated chameleons (2 chameleons, because Sylvia had not been able to decide between a Punchy baby or a Tiki baby, so one of each was her request). For those of you who do not know Zak, he is truly one of the most ethical and responsible breeders of Panther chameleons you will find! Money will never dictate who purchases a chameleon from us!! (Survival, happiness and health of our chameleons are far more important points than what a perspective client is willing to pay us for our babies!) While our prices are lower than most all other breeders on the internet, our reasons are two-fold, 1) a Panther chameleon should be affordable, not a gouging price of $450 and up. 2) We are more interested in the joy of chameleon ownership and proper care of our babies than how much we profit from our end. We hope you appreciate this dedication.

At the point Sylvia met Zak and requested her Panther babies, Zak was contemplating returning to the dental field, which he had gone to dental school for and phasing out of the chameleon's business. Pursuing both dentistry and chameleon breeding was near impossible due to the time dedication requirements of both fields. Sylvia is educated to be an attorney, but working as a highly regarded prophetess/clairvoyant. She had made plans in December of 2019 for a family vacation to visit her youngest son’s grandparents and father in Florida in the end of May 2020. In anticipation of their vacation, Sylvia had prepaid for their tickets and vacation with excitement prior to ever watching Zak’s chameleon care video and contacting Zak. At the time, Sylvia and her youngest son Nicolas owned 5 other chameleons, 3 vailed chameleons and 2 Panther Chameleons. A big chameleon family already, which initially concerned Zak, as he wanted to be sure any of Punchy or Tiki’s babies would have time spent, proper care and love shown. After speaking to Sylvia numerous times, being provided pictures and also speaking specifically about chameleon care, Zak felt safe selling babies to Sylvia and her son.

As time came closer for the first chameleon to be shipped out to Sylvia (A Tiki baby) Zak and Sylvia spoke and coordinated shipping and delivery of what was to be named Stewy, the sub-adult baby showing colors of beautiful red and turquoise blue stripes. In mid-March, Stewy arrived safe and sound via Fed-Ex overnight delivery and was welcomes into Sylvia and Nic’s chameleon family with much excitement.

What both Zak and Sylvia NEVER anticipated was COVID and the life changing implications it brought. Right after Stewy was delivered or around that same time, COVID19 came out in a worldwide announcement, which did not change much with Sylvia’s world, but forever changed Zak’s world as dental offices closed due to COVID and what he had already begun to wind down as his chameleon business could not be reversed to return to normal either as all reptile industries were shutting down as industry wide everyone was fearful of how COVID was spread and too little was known. Unknown to Sylvia, this left Zak in a total tailspin and panic as he wondered how he was going to meet day to day survival and basics. Sylvia’s business as a prophetess/clairvoyant was booming post-COVID and as the time to vacation in Florida neared, she contacted Zak to ask if she and her son could stop by and meet him when they would be so close by while they were in Florida visiting family.

On the second day of vacation Nicolas caught a huge female iguana and insisted to him mom that they must show Zak, not realizing how common Iguanas were in Florida. Sylvia contacted Zak to ask if they could stop and show him the Iguana and Zak was gracious and said of course. That would be the beginning of an inseparable time for the three, as they traveled together to Key West and Zak showed the two a tour of various unique places on the ride to the Key’s that he had personally visited and thought they would enjoy. Zak also took them hunting for wiled veiled chameleons, shark fishing, catching toads on the golf course Zak lived on and other adventures Zak thought of as being fun and educational.

Sylvia was fascinated by the fact they all got along so well that any available time not spent with grandparents or other relatives, was spent with Zac and when the end of vacation was nearing, as a clairvoyant, she picked up vicariously on Zak’s deep depression over his life circumstances, although at NO TIME did Zak mention his personal situation or even show any outward signs of how depressed he felt about life and how his options for work and income were gone.

Just a few days before leaving Sylvia felt God impress on her heart and showed her that Zak literally needed her help to survive what he was going through, so in a complete turn of tentative plans to move back to Florida in a few years, she decided it must happen NOW for Zak’s life.

In an effort to not make Zak feel uncomfortable, she offered to join forces with him as a financial business partner in Punchy The Chameleon and offered to move to Florida and find a property where they could expand the chameleon business and make it grow again. Zak was shocked at the idea of the three cohabiting household space and unsure of how that would all work, given that he had not shared living space with anyone since dental school and Sylvia had not had any roommate's either in even more years. So began the search together and separately for a suitable property for moving the chameleon's business and both had always enjoyed the Florida Keys, so it seemed quit logical to look there first.

The result was a newly built home on Big Pine Key Florida for our newly formed family life, a new home for the chameleons and a new name for Punchy The Chameleon!

Thanks for sharing in our journey, Zak, Sylvia and Nic

Chameleons Of The Keys Inc.