Archive for July 9th, 2009

Who needs pets when you have wildlife?

Posted on July 9, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Games, Musings, Science |

Yesterday I was peering into my back garden, as I often do, and noticed what appeared to be a family of lizards frolicking about. There was a light rain at the time, in advance of one of our summer monsoon deluges, and the lizards seemed quite perky in the mist. I had seen what I assume were these same four lizards several days ago, and a day or two before that. There was one large one, almost as big as a baby gila monster; a smaller but still substantial one, and two smaller lizards. They ran around in circles, sometimes chasing each other; sometimes not. I had always thought that lizards were solitary creatures, and until about three years ago, also thought they were always on the move, and didn’t stay in one place for very long.


This latter erroneous supposition was put to rest when I met Fred. Fred has been living under the Desert Spoon in my front yard now for four years. I’m pretty sure he’s the same lizard each year, when he emerges in the spring, because he has a spot on his hindquarters that looks familiar. I guess he hibernates in the winter. When it starts to get warm again, I’ll see Fred sunning himself on a rock as I go out the front door to take a hike or fetch the mail. He immediately scrambles under the Desert Spoon (even after all these years, he’s not quite trusting) and then pretends he’s not under there. I will speak to him, however, saying “Hiya Fred, don’t worry, it’s just me! You know me. How are you doing?, etc.” Then, he wiggles a bit, and I fancy it’s to acknowledge my presence. He and I have come to an understanding over time: I won’t trim off the bottom of the Desert Spoon (which I wouldn’t want to do anyway because it makes them look even more hideous than they already do), although I will, from time to time, trim back the individual spines. He may continue to call the Spoon home, for as long as he likes. In return, he has agreed not to bite my toes.

So, Fred and I—we’re cool. Fred certainly doesn’t seem to have a mate or a family, so I had continued to believe that other lizards are loners, too. That is until I saw the frolicking family. The first time I saw them, I thought there just happened to be four lizards in the back garden, all at once. I thought they’d go away. Then—although I don’t know for sure it’s they same four—they came back. Or were still there. And yesterday, watching them play in the rain, it occurred to me they all had taken up residence in the back, as Fred had in the front. Hmmm. They got along; they never strayed more than a few feet from each other, and they seemed to interact. I wondered if they were indeed a family, and if so, if that was usual for lizards.

After a consultation with my trusty Internet, I discovered that lizards have a variety of social behaviours. Some like to live alone, while others stay in family groups and rarely stray from the rock crevice they all call home. Some, usually those in colder climates, are born “live”, while other species lay eggs. I had no idea there was such a variety.

There are many creatures to watch in my garden (I’ll have to write about the Prairie Dogs someday), but these normally slow-moving lizards, who perked up and frolicked in a rain storm, were just so cheery, I invited them to stay. I’ve called them Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa—for no good reason I can think of, as I haven’t even ever seen an episode of The Simpsons, but somehow, the names seem to fit.

=   =   =   =   =

So I turn from my lizards to complete a meme. It’s only fair that I do, as I requested blog friend B0bby to complete it, which he graciously did, only to wonder why I had not done so myself.

“Why is the meme in this post?”, you ask. (“Why do I project questions onto you which you may not even have?”, I ask.) Well, the meme is about MY wild life. Get it? It relates to the title? No? Oh, well, here goes anyway:

20 nosy questions meme:

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?   “Whew! better than I expected! 😉 “

2. How much cash do you have in your wallet right now?   “$17.38. Time to go to the bank.”

3. Do you label yourself?   “Constantly! I just have to remind myself to turn the yuccky ones into ones I like better.”

4. What does your watch look like?   “I have five watches! Three of them need batteries, so I don’t wear them (!) one runs two hours fast a day, so the one I wear most often is an old one I have to wind up. It’s quite traditional looking; gold-ish band, round face; second hand—always reminds me to get my other ones fixed, but I need something more than a reminder, obviously…”

5. What were you doing at midnight last night?   “Really? Truthfully? Reading the ICanHasCheezburger website. 😐 “

6. What’s a word that you say a lot?   “”Splendid’. I say it when I’m asked how I am (most of the time). I say it when describing my activities. And sunsets. And the state of the world. Oh my.”

7. Who told you he/she loved you last?   “Um. This person that I know.”

8. Last furry thing you touched?   “A dog that was a guest at the Independence Day party I went to.”

9. What was the last thing you said to someone?   “So, when we look at it from a broader perspective, we don’t see the tragedy of it all, we see it as very rich experience we can learn from. Doesn’t mean we don’t want to or can’t change it, though.”

10. The last song you listened to?   “Last song? I’ve been listening to a lot of Baroque-era instrumentals lately, but the last song would be ‘We are the World.'”

11. Where did you live five years ago?   “In a town, north of Tucson, Arizona; which is where I live now.”

12. Are you jealous of anyone?   “No. Jealous is a different word than ‘envious’, so I’ll say, no.”

13. Is anyone jealous of you?   “I don’t think so. I hope not. No reason to be.”

14. Name three things that you have on you at all times?   “There aren’t any! I guess the three most frequently used items are Contact Lenses (I don’t wear them at night, though), Underwear (but, you know, there are times…[whoa! TMI alert]), and the aforementioned watch. Whichever one is working.”

15. What’s your favourite town/city?   “So far? I haven’t been to ALL that many…Drat! Am I allowed to pick three? No? Alright, than I”d have to say ‘Paris’. (But if I were allowed three, I’d also say San Francisco and Canterbury.)

16. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?   “Uhhh…Ummm…1996? maybe?”

17. Can you change the oil on a car?   “Not anymore. I used to have a really old VW on which I could, but not since then.”

18. What is your current desktop picture?   Stonehenge. I occasionally swap it out for something else, but always come back to Stonehenge.”

19. When did you start your blog?   “July, 2007. I’m almost two!”

20. What country would you like to live in other than your own?   “I like my own pretty well; but the next choice would be England.”

So, there you have it. I feel reconciled with B0bby again. I will not task others with this, but if YOU feel you’d like to take it on, by all means do. It was both entertaining and introspective for me.

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