Backyard Hunt

Yesterday, we had two kids over to play.  They’re siblings and live just down the road.  The older is a boy, and he’s graduating from Kindergarten tonight.  He’s by far the CUTEST kid in school, and he’s smarter than the average kid.  I’m not talking book smarter -though he may very well be.  I’m talking real life smarter.  He constantly asks questions about how things work, why things are the way they are, and if he can get his hands on a project.  He told me how to differentiate between a bad mushroom and a good mushroom while I was doing dishes.

As the day progressed, I found the key to his success: persistence.  When he got something in his head, he refused to give it up until he’d found a satisfactory answer.  And that’s how I came to help catch a lizard.

Growing up, we had tons of lizards around the house.  We had horned lizards (horny toads), racer lizards, wood lizards, and even a few iguanas.  With three older brothers, our house was never devoid of wildlife.  I enjoy the fruits of their hunts without ever having to hunt anything myself.  Horny toads were my favorite.  My brother, Mike, was the best at catching them.  After he did all the hunting and catching work, I would sit by and play with it (or watch him make it so angry it would shoot blood).

So when my little neighbor friend asked me to hunt lizards with him, I told him sorry.  I was no good.
“But you can TRY,” he insisted. He had a point. He had tried chasing one and it had run into the neighbor’s yard. He wasn’t about to be stopped by a FENCE, but I pointed out to him that there was something called property lines that you shouldn’t cross.
“There’s tons of lizards in our yard,” I said, “I’m sure you can find one.”
“Can you help?” He asked again.
“I’m no good at hunting lizards,” I said again, “But where do they usually hide?”
“By rocks,” he said.
“There’s a bunch of rocks over there,” I said, pointing to the east side of the house.

I walked him over and he started flipping rocks and digging through dirt. He found a racer -it got away. As I walking back into the house the FATTEST lizard I’ve ever seen in my LIFE ran across my porch and under my evergreens. I called the boy over.
“Kick the fence!” He called to me from the other side of the evergreen, “Scare it my way!”
So I kicked. We heard it rustle and then… we found it. Our yard has a sort of fence around it and at the very bottom of that fence there’s a line of chicken wire. I don’t know why it’s there or who put it there. But I like it. It tends to keep critters out. That lizard was SO FAT it got stuck in the chicken wire. I watched it’s head and tiny arms squirm and wiggle and I shrieked.
“Grab it!” I heard my neighbor shout from under the evergreen; he had a firm grasp on it’s tail. I timidly reached for the wriggling lizard and shrieked again.
“Blake, I can’t!” I said.
“THEN GET OVER HERE AND GRAB IT’S TAIL!” He ordered. He wasn’t putting up with this cowardly crap.
“No,” I took a deep breath, “I can do it. I can do it. I can do it…” I reached forward with more confidence, wrapped my hand around the fat lizard and ever-so-carefully tilted and pulled it until it was completely free from the fence.
“Get a jar, Blake!” I said, making my way quickly into the house.
“Let me hold it.” He said, walking along side me.
“Just get a jar,” I said, walking faster.
“I’ll grab his body…” He persisted, holding out his hand. Just then, the lizard STRUCK at Blake’s hand and I screamed. The lizard was now half-way out of my scared little hand.
“GET A JAR!” I jumped, “HURRY!”
So he did. We dumped the lizard in and I fell onto the couch, glad the adventure was over.
Blake sat next to me.
“So…” he said, staring at the lizard, “Is it a boy a girl? Why is it so fat? Is it pregnant?”
“I don’t know,” I shrugged, “Sorry. I don’t know anything about lizards.”
“You can type it,” he said, pointing to my computer.

He wanted me to use Google. Who am I to refuse a child Google -something I love dearly?

I spent the next 30 minutes researching information about lizards, and as I read to him, he asked more questions.
The verdict? It’s a girl. We think. The pregnant thing? Lizards lay eggs, sometimes inside of their bodies.
What should you take from this? Persistence pays off!
And always ALWAYS consult Google.

Note: these pictures do not do justice to the fattyness of this lizard.  Object is larger than it appears.

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