Friday, March 27, 2009

One Drawback Of Gardening

One of the only drawbacks of gardening along the California coast is coming into sudden contact with a few of the less than benign creatures who occasionally make their homes amongst the flowers. Spiders don't usually faze me, as brown recluse and black widows are the only two poisonous types in North America. Grasshoppers can be startling, as they blend so well and have a tendency to jump out of nowhere. Lady bugs, stink bugs, potato bugs, assorted beetles - they're welcome. Seeing a lizard dart across the patio is no big deal, but coming upon one unawares is something else again. Case in point - the beautiful mosaic shown above is the back of an alligator lizard, which appeared in response to the hose being turned on.

This fellow popped out of the flowers and into the sun on the side of the house. Neither of us was all that happy to see the other. Mainly, alligator lizards eat bugs, but they'll tangle with cats and aren't shy about biting humans. Let me put it this way - they're called alligator lizards for a reason. This particular lizard was about 15 inches long, and would have been longer, but part of his tail was missing, probably from a previous encounter with a raptor. After something of a stand-off, he held his ground and my gardening efforts were redirected elsewhere.


High Desert Diva said...

We have lots of lizards here in the desert, but I've never seen an alligator lizard before. Very pretty, but I would have moved to another area, too.

Ann said...

I have seen many lizards, but this is the most beautiful kind I have seen.

Mum used to trap monitor lizards which are two feet long. They came to prey on mum's chooks. We ate them. didn't think of keeping th eskin.