The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Skink in the House

So after the hawk story – the same day – a little later I am walking through the bedroom to put something in my closet. As I turn around to head out of the bedroom – across the room, in the floor – something catches my eye…

There is a skink in the bedroom! You know – one of those cute little five-lined dark lizards with the bright blue tail. Well there is one – in the bedroom floor – about eight inches in length (including the tail). The tail is really about half the size – so the body is only about 4 inches. And I make note that the tail is still attached because in my house – more than likely the cat finds these creatures before I ever know they are here. She will swat at them and put her foot on them – sometimes the tail – and usually what I find is a lizardless tail in the floor and wonder where the rest of it is. AND usually this is in the basement – not my bedroom! I get the all over body shiver when I think about slipping my foot into my Crocs only to find a lizard already there!

OK – so time to think – how can I get something this size out of the house the easiest way? Just last weekend I culled the massive book pile that lives under my side of the bed. A few weeks ago I cleaned out my closet. I am thinking if it heads in either direction I am sunk because there are so many places for this little guy to hide – I would have to take EVERYTHING out to find him! (Yes, I said I cleaned and culled -- but I still have a lot of stuff) Then I remember my daughter has a nice (I made it) butterfly net in the basement. We have used this for skinks in the past – you know catch inside and release OUTSIDE. So I ask her to go get it for me while I keep in eye on the current trespasser. Don't ask about the butterfly net and what she caught with it – it was educational and she is now a vegetarian – so never mind….

With butterfly net in hand I am standing in the doorway of the bedroom wondering what is the best approach. I decide to climb on the bed to try a swoop down from overhead – and it works! It works well until the skink notices the coat hanger that holds the net had a kink in it so it doesn't lay flat to the floor – so the skink escapes due to the kink. It runs under the bed to hide forever in the stacks of books. Oh no! I won't be able to reach for a book or magazine again! I lean the net against the wall in the hallway and head off to make some tea and think of what to do.

As I head back through the bedroom a few minutes later I remember how the cat loves for me to open the blinds so she can lay in the sunshine. Many times I have opened the blinds for her and spied a skink outside the window on the bricks, basking in the sun. Soooo, I think the little guy under the bed must be chilly with the air conditioning blowing – a little sun might be what he is looking for! I raise the blinds about a foot and leave the room. Thirty minutes later – there he is – smack in the middle of a sunspot and all spread out. Again, I grab the trusty butterfly net and creep onto the bed. He saw me coming this time and ran under one of my husband's shoes. I keep the net close with one hand and lift the shoe with the other hand. He scurried up against the old trunk I have in the bedroom – he is slam up against it! So I put the net right in front of him and drop the shoe right behind him. When that shoe hit the floor – he ran so fast – right into the net! YAY! The next minute he was outside under a bush.

We have had skinks in the house before – twice I have found them after the cat did – tail still attached but they had bite marks on their bodies. It has happened in late September both times. The first time I thought the lizard would die – but I put him in an old aquarium with "Reptile Chips" and all the accoutrements courtesy of a trip to PetSmart. The skink healed and lived a happy winter in the aquarium growing fat on crickets from the same PetSmart. When spring arrived, outside he went. The very next September the same thing happened – I was beginning to think I was being conned for a warm place to stay and all the crickets they could eat. I mean really, all they had to was let the cat bite them a little. But last year – no skink wintered over in the basement. I still have the set up: aquarium, light, screened top, water dish, etc. ready if I need them. So far this year – besides the live one in the bedroom – I have only found a tail in the basement. As I sit here now – in the basement – my feet under my workstation – barefoot – I am creeping myself out that a skink might skitter across them at any moment.

Here is a link to see a photo of a skink and read a little information about them.

I have run across one of the males (tannish in color). The young males and females are the pretty dark color with lines and the blue tail. In the yard and around the pond I see them frequently. The very young, very tiny skinks are very cute. The blue of their tails is incredibly bright! They are really very pretty and with the blue tail they are quite a gem of a lizard.


Anonymous said...

are they poisoness

Donna Rosser said...

I don't believe they are poisonous -- I have heard they can make a cat sick. My cat was OK after coming in contact with them.

Blog Top Sites

Arts Blogs