Monday, June 09, 2008

Big Strong Men

All dressed up and locking the house on our way to lunch yesterday and I heard my neighbour calling me. He and the landscaper had found a blue tongue lizard (really a skink but known locally as a bobtail goanna) curled up hibernating under some of the bushes they were about to pull out.
I called back, "Just pick it up by the neck behind the head. It won't hurt you."
Neighbour points to landscaper. "He can pick it up. He's got gloves on." He did too - great thick workman's gloves.
Landscaper, "I'm not touching it."
"It won't hurt you. Even if it tries to bite, it can't hurt you."
Neighbour and landscaper look at each other, at lizard, back to each other. Neither makes a move towards the lizard. So I go and pick it up and release it in my garden, more than happy to have it join the resident population which has lived and bred there since we moved in. They help control slugs and snails and if the odd strawberry goes their way it seems fair payment.

Sadly many people are afraid of these fascinating creatures. They do have a fairly effective scaring mechanism where they open their jaws wide, exposing a dark blue tongue and deep pink mouth while raucously hissing but it's all show. They have fairly strong jaws for their size - they only measure about 30 cms full grown - but they are highly unlikely to bite. They are timid and just want to be left alone to go about their business.


Laura E. Goodin said...

You rock!
-- Laura

Imagine me said...

Thank you but why anyone would be scared of them I don't know.

Laura E. Goodin said...

Reptiles vs. mammals -- always a recipe for disaster. Big, weird-looking reptiles with threatening behaviors -- doubly so. And when the mammals don't have enough information to override the reptiles-vs.-mammals reflexes, well, then, there's your answer. It's all very primeval.