Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Spring is Sprung

One of the signs of Spring in Perth is the emergence of the bob tail lizard (goannas as they are more usually known). They are sometimes called shingle backs because of their rough scales. They are making their way out of their winter hibernation to soak up the sun, feed and mate. I saw the first sad road kill casualties last weekend. Sometimes they sunbake on the roads and they don't move fast if they are crossing. It's easy to not see them until it's too late but ignorance plays a part too and some folk run them down deliberately. It is a sad indictment on our society that we can't live and let live, I think.

We have had a colony breeding in our garden for as long as we have lived here and it's always a pleasure when the first one trundles past. They are shy creatures, preferring to keep out of sight for the most part, but if you frighten one it will open its mouth to expose a pink throat and dark blue tongue in a startling display which is no doubt very effective in discouraging an aggressor. Unfortunately not everyone appreciates these useful creatures and, while it's true they do have a liking for strawberries and the occasional other soft vegetable or fruit, for the most part they do more good than harm. Snails are a favourite snack. At least once a year one of my neighbours comes across one in the garden and has no idea how to deal with it. They are easy enough to handle. Just grasp firmly behind the neck and move to where they will be safe. I usually wear gloves when doing this - not because they will bite (they have no teeth but very powerful jaws but I haven't had one bite me yet in many years of handling them) but because they can carry ticks.

You can find photos of this fascinating creature here.

2 comments:

Rosanne Dingli said...

Oh, I just have seen my first few too - and road kills, as well - sadly. They come off the bush golf course and take their time across the very hazardous road. But the bitumen must feel so warm under their toes!
Our resident family has not shown its shingles yet: perhaps when it's warmer and quieter, and the children have gone back to school.

Imagine me said...

I haven't seen ours yet but to judge by the dog's behaviour they are out and about.