Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The taming of the shranole

Here's a sight you don't see every day.
It started with this anole trapped in a garden bucket.  My dog attempted to eat him.  I rescued him from the dog, and then did what any decent gardener would do:  I took him on tour around the neighborhood so I could show him off to the kids.  

See, normally you can't pick up an anole - they are as fast as lightning and if you try to grab one, you're just as likely to fatally injure it as anything, because they will stop at nothing to escape.  But the unique circumstances of yesterday evening led to a different reaction from the anole.  
 It's all a question of relativity.  Once I had him in my hand, his priority became aiming those independently-swiveling eyeballs toward the ground so that he could keep a fix on the dog.  He correctly deduced that the hand, however dangerous it might be in its own right, was simply his better option.

But then something happened.
You'll notice that he's in his bright green phase in these pictures (he was the deepest, most vivid shade of terrified charcoal brown when I first picked him up).  That's because he's totally relaxed.  Here, I think he was attempting to chat with me.  
Reptiles in general are fast learners.  Once they determine that a novel situation is not dangerous to them, they tend to become disinclined to vacate that situation.  I've noticed this with snakes (although I would never be so dumb as to handle a poisonous one).   They may start their interaction with you fighting for their perceived lives, but once you make friends with them, they don't necessarily want to leave.
And that's what happened in this case.  After about 30 minutes of hand habituation, he strongly resisted all attempts to release him back into the wild.  Here I was attempting to set him back into the garden, but he wasn't having any of it.  What better new territory to claim than a willing human?  After all, we do attract yummy flies in abundance.  
From the picture above, he ran up my arm, hopped onto the top of my head, and then took up residence on my shoulder.  I had to get my husband to help me get him safely off and back where he belongs.

Another day in suburban paradise.

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