Monday, June 27, 2016

Lizard Dies - Weirdly Mummified

A lizard, a brown anole, stalked inside the Florida room at the back of the house. She crept among the stored furniture and boxes looking for a bug or two to dine on. Alas, poor lizard, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Any bugs in the room had succumbed to the various sprays heaped on them and then vacuumed up and disposed of. Starvation loomed for her – I prayed I could catch her before that happened.

Every morning she would move to a window sill or to the top of a small table I had placed near a window so some seedlings would catch a bit of sun. Each time I noticed her I would slow all movements and creep in slow motion to where she was perched. Would I catch her this time or would she elude all my efforts?

Fast as Flash the action hero, she would jump and scamper into the pile of things waiting for me to unpack and move to a more permanent place in the house. I scampered also but only at my inadequate human speed and I would watch in frustration as she disappeared under the stacks of household goods and extra stuff.
This went on for a few more days. She would perch near a window and once I saw her I would move slowly in her direction. She would watch me approach and as I reached to try and capture Ms. Anole, she would jump and scamper into/under things where I could not follow.

lizard runs
hides under storage
failure to captivate

Then nothing! The vibrant little she anole was not to be seen. For two days I stayed alert looking for her, hoping that somehow I would be able to catch the little speeder. It was not to be. A few days later I moved the spare refrigerator to a new position (by that time I had unpacked and moved quite a few items out of the Florida room) and found the lizard – mummified.

refrigerator moved
lizard found
remains dried up

She had crawled under there and waited for death. Her body had dried up until all that was left behind was dried leather and bones. A pity as she looked much better as a live lizard than as a mummy. A proper burial is planned – perhaps next to a group of Silky Gold milkweed (the seedlings on the table). Sorry folks there will be no wake although if you wish you can make a donation to the Nature Conservancy Florida Chapter.

Chapter 2 - Another Lizard dies and mummifies - sunroom is a deathtrap!

I will admit that I have/had a lot of stuff piled up in the sunroom at the back of the house that needed to be moved, sorted out, designated useful or not. Heck, some of it was stuff we brought with us from Broward and some of it was stuff left behind by the previous owners. We (or I) just didn't have the time or desire at the time to figure all that out while getting important things done (like cutting the grass).
Reckon that is why I found another lizard dehydrated to mummification. Just reptile leather over bones just like the first one.
Do lizards have heart attacks?
I ask because this lizard was intact and looks like it is ready to scamper off. If it wasn't for the missing eyes I could imagine this little lizard moving from where I put it to another location all on its own. A lizard lich?
Well wouldn't that be interesting? A dead lizard on the move, scurrying from place to place - perhaps I will give it some eyes so it can see where it is going. It should help keep down the "bumps" in the night. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Skeletal Lizard

In a dark corner of my shed, I caught sight – out of the corner of my eye – of a small gleam of white. I wondered, “what could that possibly be,” sitting in the corner almost obscured by a heap of sand? Was it a pearl, a piece of jewelry, or perhaps even a ring of white gold? A closer look was warranted.

I removed the couple pieces of lumber that were leaning against the shed’s wall on that side and bent down for a closer look. Well, it wasn’t a precious jewel, although to the animal that owned it, it was a precious commodity. It wasn’t silver or gold, or any type of jewelry that fell forgotten in the corner. No it was a skeleton and not just any skeleton but that of a lizard gone dead.

Around the little skeleton was a pile of sand. I would guess that the lizard died and ants scavenged him for food. Just like hyenas would attack and devour a dead wildebeest in Africa, the ants swarmed the pile of meat left behind and stripped it all off the bones (except hyenas would probably take some bones with them to chew on) – leaving the skeleton mostly intact to sit in the shed’s corner until I found it.

Mother Nature recycled the dead lizard, allowing it to feed and nurture a whole colony of ants. Why did it die I wondered (not out loud, just in my head). Was it injured? Perhaps it died from old age or a disease. It wasn’t from being trapped in the shed. Believe me, there are outlets to the outside world available here and there.

little skeleton

hidden in darkest corner

stripped of flesh, ant food

A lizard there was
Bold beyond compare
Who entered a shed
And laid down dead
He fed the beetles
he fed the ants
And left his bones behind
Evidence of being

So I posed the little skeleton, trying to get the legs in the right orientation. I notice one paw was missing. Perhaps I lost it when I moved the skeleton lizard around, or could this have been the cause of death? Maybe something, or someone, or even an accident removed the paw and the poor thing bled out in the corner I found him in.
bones gleam white, picked clean
remain intact until found
mysterious death

Here’s what a live male lizard looks like when he is trying to attract a female to himself. Full of life, he strut’s his stuff and extends his dewlap. With a bit of luck, a female will run to him and they can find a secluded spot to mate. (Bad luck would be a black bird swooping down and taking him back to the nest for the bird’s nestlings to feed on.)
Lizards are predators. They eat meat, mostly bugs. A few flies, beetles, ants, even some roaches will make their hunger pains disappear. Like most animals, they need the 3 basics to survive: food, water and shelter. OK, OK, four basics – add a willing mate to procreate with.
Lizards are also prey. Snakes will gobble them up, birds will peck them to death and slide them down the gullet (or feed them to their voracious young), and bigger lizards will make a meal of smaller ones. It’s tough being a lizard.