Julie Lyles Carr: Leapin' Lizards

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Leapin' Lizards

We've had a foreign exchange 'student' of sorts over the past few days, particularly if you consider that this individual comes from a completely different genus. I'm speaking of this little beaut' right here (I still miss Steve Irwin...)

Meet Beans...


She's a girl. We checked. It's actually not as, um, lurid as you think--the male spiny lizard  has iridescent blue coloring on the inside of his back legs. The female does not--I have to say, it may be one of the most obvious color-coding systems available in nature when it comes to genders.


Now I have to confess--I pretty much despise all things reptile. I grew up in the Mojave Desert of California and almost all reptilian life in that desert is ominous and venomous and creepy and scary and evil. You doubt me? Check out the Mojave Green, a venomous snake that even has herpetologists (that's snake scientists--get your mind out of the gutter)....that even has herpetologists getting the snake shakes. Its venom is 16 times more potent that a sidewinder...16 times. They are nasty, nasty, nasty....

But I digress.

Beans was hanging around our front flowerbed and 3 of 8 asked for the opportunity to have her spend a few days in our swank bed-n-breakfast aquarium. After establishing that Beans was not the protected Horned Lizard but was in fact the common Spiny Lizard, we agreed to let her bunk with us for a few days. 1 and 3 of 8 procured a tasty selection of crickets for her at the local pet store and Beans settled in for her long weekend.

But we always knew that it was a relationship only for a season, partly because Beans gave me the heeby-jeebies every time I needed to get something out of the garage and she would be staring at me from her glass aquarium on the shelf, and partly because 3 of 8 always knew she would be happier back in the wilds of the flower bed.

And so, 3 of 8 bravely bid her adieu...


(For those of you familiar with my horrifying gardening skills, never fear--what you see on the shrubbery that looks like a particularly nasty case of plant blight--it's actually that fake spider-web Halloweeny stuff that renders your landscaping to look like it has...plant blight...)

And I was able to develop some sort of appreciation for this type of reptile. I think her scale pattern is pretty amazing. And I appreciated her ability to keep several of my troops spellbound while she slurped up crickets. And then, of course, there was the photo op....I'm particularly pleased with this shot of Beans, poised and calm, looking at her own visage in the glass of the aquarium, prior to heading into the shrubs....


I call it 'Contemplative Sceloporus Olivaceus'....fitting, don't you think?

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