Saturday, October 13, 2007

Leapin' Lizards!

Living in Texas has introduced us to a whole new ecosystem of wildlife that we had not encountered any of the other places that we lived. I was really nervous to move to Austin because I thought that I would have to fight my way through fields of rattlesnakes to get into the grocery store and sleep with a mosquito net over my bed to keep the cockroaches and arachnids from eating me alive. I was pleasantly surprised once we got here to find that our bug problems are minimal (unless you count those pesky fire ants, but those aren't gross- just annoying). And we have only encountered two snakes. One tiny, almost wormlike, snake in our yard. It doesn't bother me because it lives underneath our grass and, if you've seen Texas grass you will know, it's like a who different world under the first layer of thick grass. The second snake was like something out of a horror film. I am pretty sure it was an Amazon python or something, it seemed like 20 feet long and as thick as Gaston's neck. It was slithering it's way across a major street a couple miles from our house. It is debatable as to whether it was slithering or whether it was roadkill, I couldn't tell. Anyway, surely it fell off a truck that was headed to the zoo because snakes like that cannot possibly live that close to my house.

What we didn't expect was that our house would be literally covered with transparent little lizards (geckos?) everynight when it gets dark. They are super fast and kind of creepy (since you can practically see through them), but lizards don't really bother me. Plus I am confident they are eating the giant arachnids that want to come and eat me alive. So, we have a pretty symbiotic relationship. [Do you like how I am pulling out vocab from my zoology 201 class, I knew I took that for a reason!]

Another fun surprise was Erb the toad. He might be a frog, I'm not really sure the difference. He's huge, like the size of a softball (that's big compared to the Minnesota frogs I would catch on our walks). He only comes out sometimes, like after a rainstorm and at night. And we haven't seen him in a while. I have faith that he is still alive (actually I am pretty sure he got mowed over, but we are trying to not think about it).

There are bunnies and birds and lots of fun things here in Texas.

About the cutest thing I have seen though are the offspring of the transparent lizards. The tiny transparent lizards. They are so cute (in a reptillian kind of way--- wait, reptillian or amphibian, not quite sure. I knew I should have taken another zoology course. . he he he). I have seen a couple in our garage and every now and then in our flower bed. . .

So the other day I was opening the back door to come inside from the backyard and there was one of these tiny little lizards in the crack of the door. He wasn't running away as they so often do. No, he couldn't be. . . dead, could he? So I shakily reach my hand forward to scare him away. He doesn't move. I touch his little tail. He doesn't move. He got squished in our door. Sad times at the Bassett house. It's not like it was an insect that I could just get with a paper towel or something. It was a cute baby lizard. So I shut the door (knowing I was shutting him in it again, I felt bad), and left the job for my super manly husband to take care of.

The next day I was doing the dishes and I saw a piece of food or something fall in the sink. I went to go and grab it and. . . .LEAPIN LIZARDS! It was a lizard in my kitchen sink. Not any lizard, but I am pretty sure it was the reincarnated little lizard I smooshed in the door. He was out to get me. Luckily my super manly husband was home (he screamed like a girl when he saw it!) and resolved the problem.

Never had a lizard in my house before!

6 comments:

Julie said...

What adventures! I think I'd not be happy if I were you. We have a million Box Elder bugs around our place and they are ANNOYING as can be, and everywhere! I always kill them, and Jeff always shoos them outside.

Ralphie said...

After coming home late one night I saw one of the wall of our bedroom. And like a big pansy shook my husband awake and demanded he take care the little creature. When Erin was younger she was in the bathroom getting ready to take a bath and one jumped from the window seal onto her shoulder. But unlike her mother reacted calmly and simply said "I think his name is Fred."

Gretchen said...

We only got one of those little geckos when we lived in apartments, but they're so prolific here at our new house, I've taken to banging our door to the garage in the evenings before I open it to scare any by the door away so they won't come scurrying in when I open the door. But since they're harmless, only downstairs (away from my bed) where I have all tile, and probably, like you said, eat other grosser stuff, I kinda like them. But I do feel horribly guilty when they die in doorjambs. We have collectively named them all "Smelly" for no logical reason. Even the biggest ones are so cute and little, they're about as lovable as lizard things in my house can be. Now I'm itchy everywhere and have to stop talking about this...

Bart Bradshaw said...

You had the exact same experience I had with a gecko coming up out of the sink in our apartment when we first got here. I was pretty shocked to find the little guy inside, especially in the apartment.

We hardly even find them inside our house, but they're all over the backyard. And I agree - finding their little dead bodies is sad and a tad gross.

Wikipedia says the main difference between amphibians and reptiles is amphibians are half water creatures, and can often breathe through their skin, while reptiles are pretty much just land-locked. So I'd say these are reptiles, though their skin is certainly softer than what you think of reptiles having.

And they do catch spiders. Here's a picture of one in Austin, TX, with a spider in his mouth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:House_gecko_with_spider.JPG

Jennifer said...

Ok, this is making me a little more nervous to move to San Antonio. In fact the only thing that I can think of is the bugs and critters there. Not something I'm looking forward to.

Jamie said...

It took me a week of living here to decide I wasn't cut out for the bug and reptile population. I think there are more frogs living in our yard than there is over at the pond behind our house. Fortunatlely, Easton doesn't care to touch them, but Trey (not afraid to touch anything) has now discovered the frog holes and I can tell you now...you will all know the day he brings one in the house. :0