Monday, November 24, 2008

A Lizard's Tale

I've been busy painting our small gate which leads
to the back of the house. On Friday, after I had
finished off with the first coat, on one side of
the gate, something caught caught my eye. Next to
the gate, on the tomato bed was a tiny lizard so
still I thought it was dead! A closer inspection
revealed that it was alive and splattered with
white paint!

I picked it up and placed it on this rock. Its
left front-leg was stuck to its body. I'd never
held a lizard before but holding it was so soft
and tender that it reminded me of the underside
a dog's paws. As gently as I could I pulled away
the leg. It separated easily and did not seem to
cause the lizard any pain.

I only got one chance to photograph it. I did
wonder about the tail when I picked it up. But
the moment it realised its mobility was back it
took off like greased lightning!

And I felt good that I'd saved a life. End of story,
or that's what I thought!

Little did I know that this sight would greet me the
next day! Stuck to the gate! On fresh paint! With the
severed tail next to it! I hadn't noticed the tail
stuck to the gate...My first thought was--well, babies
will be babies! Did it think it could retrieve its tail?
Why did it come back to the same dangerous place?!

The imprints of the lizard can be seen here. Again as
gently as I could, I removed from the offending paint.
Now there was more paint on its body than before.
Placing it on my palm, I tried to peel away dried
paint, as much as I could. Most of it came off easily
and I assumed that the rest would go with time.

I placed it on this growth of Maidenhair. For a second
or so, it didn't budge. Maybe it was still under the
impression that its mobility was gone forever.

Realisation dawns...and it loses no time in disappearing
into the world it knows so well! That's the last I saw of
the paint-splattered lizard!

After this experience I read up some tail facts on the

Sometimes a lizard might eat their own tail after shedding
it. This is done in order to regain weight from losing the

Some lizards store up to 60% of their body fat in their tail.

Female lizards produce fewer eggs because their body's energy
is used to regrow their tail.

Small lizards may take a month to regrow their tail but bigger
lizards may take up to a year.

The new tail can only be shed above the point where its old tail was lost.


Chandramouli S said...

I always enjoy your lizard stories and so did I do this too. Somehow I've had an allergy for lizards right from my childhood. They freak me out. I guess that's something that's been fed to me right from my childhood. But reading your blogs make them interesting creatures, but that still means scream-like-a-horror-movie-heroine when I see it near me.
You were so kind to it - so touchy!

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting. We have lots of lizards like the one you discuss today. One of my cats delights in "de-tailing" them. When I'm in the garden, I see many a tail-less lizard!

Zoë said...

As a child I lived in the Far East, Singapore for the most part. I recall little lizards everywhere, we called them Chit-Chats. We were very naughty and would try and catch them whole, the one who caught one and the tail broke off was the loser!

julian said...

Was it the same lizard the second time round? The tail (what's left of it) looks a bit longer.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Chandramouli, it's blogging that's making me more sensitive to my surroundings. Over the years I've seen so many beautiful creatures in my back-yard but never made any notes or photographed them. But now I don't want to miss any opportunity!

I may not post them all but they'll definitely be with me for posterity. Thank you for your kind words.

Mildred, ordinary piece of work can turn out to be harmful for wildlife?! I'd never have imagined.

Hi Zoe, that's interesting! As a child I only liked watching them!
Thank you for stopping by.

Julian, now that you've mentioned it, the tail does look a little longer but the smudge of paint on the left eye and the limbs was the same. Hmm...

Anonymous said...

This place where I live is a haven for lizards, especially house lizards. They are in every nook and corner of my house! I was most delighted, therefore, to read that "Female lizards produce fewer eggs because their body's energy is used to regrow their tail." Maybe, now I can devise a plan to control their proliferation by making them shed their tails! If it works, I'll be much grateful to you for providing that gem of information:)) BTW, I've read somewhere that garden lizards are poisonous. So watch out.

Susie said...

Thanks for posting this info about the lizards. I knew if they lost their tail it would grow back but I didn't know all those other interesting facts. I guess your little lizard came back to eat his severed tail.

At work I am still seeing quite a few lizards even tho it has been pretty chilly for them. When they get cold they don't move too much which makes it easy to catch them. Their little bodies are soft and warm. But as soon as they warm up they are wiggly and ready to go.

tina said...

That would've shocked me beyond doubt and I am SO glad the lizard was okay and you saved him. I hope the gate is okay too:)

easygardener said...

Fascinating - lucky for the lizard that you found it before it had stuck fast forever. It is like it has a death wish, coming back to the paint for a second time!

Anonymous said...

I hope your little lizard is okay now & doesn't return to the scene of the accident again. He'll grow his tail back soon I'm sure. Who knew painting a gate would be such a dramatic experience! ;)

walk2write said...

Our cat Peanut in FL has quite an appetite for lizards. I haven't seen nearly as many of them since she joined the family. Too bad, because they are voracious insect eaters. I'm thinking maybe the lizard came back because it may have seen some bugs hovering near the paint like it did (attracted by the aromatic VOCs) and tried to pounce on them. Great story, Kanak!

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Most fascinating Kanak and terribly exciting, thank you my dear friend.

Carla said...

How interesting! If only you could read its little mind! VERY interesting tail facts-thanks for sharing your mircale today:)

Kanak Hagjer said...

Anonymous, not a bad idea. Glad you mentioned the poisonous bit. Thanks.

Susie, it must have. I mean, gone back for the tail! Thank you for sharing your lizard experience.

Tina, the only 'damage' to the gate would me my shoddy paint-work!!:)

Easygardener, once in a while you do get a chance to save an animal. But the same one twice! I think that's rare.

Honestly Racquel, who'd have thought?!!

W2W, either the flies, or like Susie said, it could've been the tail! BTW, Peanut is a cute name!

Glad you found it fascinating, Tyra!

Carla, if only! Thanks for putting it that way!

Thank you all for stopping by and for leaving your comments..Have a lovely week! And to all my American blogging friends..........


Titania said...

Kanak, you describe so well your observation in your garden. I shall retell this lizard story to my five year old grand daughter she will love the happy ending of the tiny lizard.

Sunita said...

Great story, Kanak. I dont think I could ever bring myself to touch a lizard though. There is something so'ugh-ably shudder-some' about them for me. I dont mind sharing space with them... just so long as I dont have to touch them! But, as with any species, babies are different, arent they?:)

Kanak Hagjer said...

Hi Trudi, so glad to know this. I hope she likes it. Thank you so much!

Thanks Sunita. I can understand about you not wanting to touch them. Most people do have that 'ugh' feeling for reptiles! I have that too. In this case I didn't think..I only reached out. Had it been a snake I think I'd still have helped but without touching with my bare hands.

sano said...

Dear Kanak, although I have been meaning to get online and come to your space, since a long time now, I am glad that I have managed to google in to your name and find an entry into your space... :-) Your lizard experience was truly touching and informative too. Thank you for sharing. This in fact also reflects what you are as a person... very sensitive to life and living!! Will write back later cause I just cant wait to go through your entire page ... :-)
Love and Peace...

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your kind comment about my Mother. It means so much for you to visit my blog. I enjoy your posts so much and so does my husband. We feel very blessed to be meeting people from so many different areas.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Sano....I'm sooo glad you're here! Thank you for all your kind words and I hope to see you here again! Happy to know you liked the lizard post...Regards to Leona and Roon.

Mildred, about meeting people, I feel exactly the same--blessed. I'm so happy to know that from across the oceans my blogging friend and spouse take time to visit me and leave heart-warming messages. Thank you, and my regards to Nalley.