Friday, November 25, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things: Reptilian Friends

My backyard is teeming with wildlife. It's a real menagerie inhabited by all manner of creatures...mostly small, and all very interesting, and many quite noisy.

Ever since I was a boy I have loved reptiles. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve chasing and catching lizards from garden skinks, to blue tongues, bearded dragons and frill-necks. I remember one day, when I was in junior high school, I decided to build a herpetarium in the backyard. I recall how horrified my father was when he came home to discover the massive hole I had dug in the middle of the yard which was stage one of the awesome reptile enclosure I planned. Needless to say, my construction permit was denied and I was forced to fill in the hole.

I still love reptiles, and find lizards especially fascinating. My backyard here in Darwin has garden skinks and water skinks with which I am familiar, but I've also met a couple of new reptilian friends: Gilbert's Dragon These are cute little things with an unusual upright posture and an endearing habit of nodding, and also waving. It is from this latter gesture that this lizard derives its nickname: The 'ta ta' Lizard. These guys probably don't know I exist, busy as they are flying around the yard hunting for bugs, so to call them 'friends' is a bit of a stretch.

Not so unaware of me is my other little mate, who comes inside each evening, under the door and climbs the walls and ceiling. I watch TV while he watches me, and occasionally attempts to catch flies. Let me introduce to you...

The Asian House Gecko, Australia's only non-indigenous gecko. One of the reasons I like them in the house, apart from the company, is that they eat spiders, and I don't like spiders. This gecko also has a distinctive barking sound which is nowhere near as annoying as the cacophony caused by the Green Tree frogs outside.

I really love these lizards. They're so cool, and they make me happy. That's what I'm thankful for today.


  1. What nice lizards...and ones I hadn't heard of yet. My son had a gecko for awhile until it escaped, not to be found again. As to the holes in the yard, I love your intentions. We dug several too in my mother's garden, but our goal was to reach China.

  2. Ha ha ha. Digging to China...I love it.

  3. We used to see large grey skinks in the zoo I worked at years ago. The other keepers warned me not to get too close because the skinks might take a bite at my fingers.

    The wildlife in my backyard includes possums, raccoons, deer, squirrels, birds, and stray cats. We feed everything.

  4. Hi Kimberly. Thanks for visiting Square Pegs and for taking the time to comment. The good old food chain, eh? My mate the Asian House Gecko likes termites too.

  5. I got a laugh out of your building permit being denied by your horrified dad! I love geckos too. I have several little ones living in my flat. They eat ants, which we're plagued with here, and also small flies that breed in the floor drains. I cleaned out my drains about a month ago, and my geckos spent the next week giving me the evil eye for taking away their meals. Have a great week!