Tuesday, January 5, 2010

80 ~ The Lizard and I

lagarto in shower In the Shower

Here on these islands we have many little lizards or lagartos in Spanish, populating our garden, stone walls and warm pathways. Some are endemic to their island, such as the Giant Lizard of Salmor, from the island of El Hierro, which reaches 70 cms (27.5 inches) in length and which is nearly extinct.

But the one I found in the shower recently was a little smaller, although not by much and was of the species
Gallotia galloti, or Tenerife Lizard, Lagarto Tizon. These are plentiful on Tenerife. Their diet consists mainly of plants, flowers, seeds, insects and larva.

Bananas are a favourite food of these little creatures, and one can be almost assured of a good photo moment by offering a little piece of overripe banana to them and waiting with a little patience. I used to feed the largartos in my garden every day at 12 noon, when I'd put out a saucer of milk and some pieces of ripe banana.

If I were late, they would line up along the tiled roof of the garden shed, looking over towards the door and waiting for me to appear with their lunch. When they saw me, they would scamper down a vine that touched the roof and come for their food, arranging themselves around the saucer like spokes on a wheel.

But getting back to our new visitor in the shower, my concern when I found him was how best to remove him and put him back outside where he should have been hibernating. At this time of the year they are usually sleeping until the spring, although winters here are very mild and weather most days is springlike.

I found a ripe banana and made a trail of pieces leading to an exterior door. Later I saw that he had gone so I figured he'd found his way outside, although the banana was still on the floor.

However imagine my surprise a couple of days later when I picked up the kettle on the stove to prepare morning coffee. Here is what I found curled around the burner.

lagarto on stove Lizard on the Stove

Well it gave me a shock and when I rattled the stove grate it jumped down to the floor and disappeared under the fridge. I consulted some wise heads on a local forum where I asked for advice on how best to remove this fellow (at the time I wasn't sure if he was a male) but before I could put their advice into practice I found him a couple of days later up on a curtain rail in the living room. I understood that this little creature would be searching for warmth and so I guess he found it up near the ceiling, as we had turned on the heat the night before.

To be brief, my cleaning lady Teresa managed to carefully dislodge him using a feather duster and catch him in a wastebasket. We took him outside where he crawled to a window and looked in, scratching at the glass as though trying to get back inside.

lagarto at window Lizard at Window

Here you see the blue spots on him which indicate that he's a male. His colour looks quite different from the photos I took indoors.

But my cat soon found him there and became overly interested, thinking he might make a good plaything. So Teresa scooped him up again and I suggested we drop him on the tiles of the garden shed, where there are many crannies where a lizard could crawl in for a good long sleep, with the warmth of the sun above.

garden shed
And so we did, and after a few shakes of the basket, our lizard dropped out and disappeared.
And so the story ended happily with no harm done.

Thanks for visiting... ¡Hasta la Vista!


Anonymous said...


gardeningAngel said...

That is a great story of how you feed the lizards. They seem almost like cats in that respect. I love to see lizards in the desert, there are not many here in the mountains. Kathy

AndyMont said...

This tale is very familiar! We constantly find lizards in the kitchen and bathroom and really struggle to evict them in one piece. None of our food trails seem to work and we end up trying to cut off all their exits (ie under the fridge, the washing machine etc)and finally catching them in a waste paper basket and restoring them outside.

Unfortunately we don't always succeed and I'm sure that when I come to move the fridge freezer for spring cleaning I'll find at least one lizard skeleton underneath!

Marysol said...


Ok, they're rather cute, in a prehistoric sort of way.
But I think it's the element of surprise, stumbling upon a slyly (not to mention super fast) lizard in the bathtub that would probably give me a coronary.

What did you do with the lizard lounging on the burner?

Lizard Fricassee? ;-)

Canarybird said...

Yes Kathy and if I didn't have cats now I would be feeding lizards again. But instead I'm feeding birds and cats. Unfortunately my young Siamese thinks lizards are toys and brings them inside the house, luckily unharmed, to show them off to me. They should be all hibernating at the moment now but she manages to find them.

AndyMont...yes it's sad isn't it to find the victims who didn't make it back outside. I have found them crushed by crawling under doors which were open and later closed. Now I have to look first before closing a door.

Sol...it was the same lizard both in the shower and on the burner. When we finally caught him on top of the curtain rail we were able to put him outside. I know it was the same one because he was so BIG lol!


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