Friday, March 18, 2011

Anoles and Road Runners

I heard a mockingbird on the bedroom patio this morning so I carefully slid the glass door open and crept outside in my pajamas, camera in hand. As I tiptoed toward the sound, I suddenly felt something scamper across my foot and up my leg!

At first, I was afraid it was a scorpion. I have been stung before and know I am not allergic to the tree bark scorpions that are so numerous around this house, but we found a red scorpion on the ceiling yesterday, a type I'd never seen before and could not find on the internet, so of course my heart was pounding!

I started to carefully remove my pajama pants and the creature moved on my leg once more. That was when I realized it was a lizard. For the second time in a week, a lizard had run up my leg! I really couldn't help but laugh. And sure enough, when I reached into the waistband I found a lizard on my thigh. A tiny, bright green anole.

I placed the anole on a branch of the wisteria and it looked down at me calmly as I took many pictures. It turned its head to the left, then the right, showing both profiles in case one was better than the other. Then he apparently grew bored of the paparazzi session and closed his eyes to take a nap. When I went inside, he was still sitting on the wisteria, enjoying the morning sun.

I checked on him a few minutes later and the red part beneath his chin was puffing out. This generally means he's being territorial, or that he's showing off to a nearby female. Either way, I knew there was another anole on the wisteria. I had to leave, but it was comforting knowing he was having so much fun!

I don't think the anoles live long around our house. We have plenty of them, but we also have two road runners who show up every spring with a baby, teaching their child to hunt. They like to strut in front of the house where the anoles hang out in the ivy. I saw one catch an anole once. It broke my heart. Fortunately, it is very quick. The road runner snatches the lizard so fast you can't even see it happen, then slaps it on the ground to knock it unconscious. It is a fast, painful death for the anole and a plentiful meal for the bird.

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