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.